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Samsung Galaxy A8 Review: A Par-Flagship Device with Premium Design
Samsung has manages to stay pretty alert in the industry for a long time and thus has been proactively pulling all the spotlights towards itself by launching phenomenal devices.
The Galaxy Edge, which has rocked the smartphone industry with its awesome three-sided display, the iconic Note Series, not to forget the Galaxy S series, which stay as a premium range still and the new Galaxy A series have all made the South Korean tech firm not only the best but the favorites of the many Indian customers. The popularity that once Nokia use to boast about is what Samsung is now all about.
- Great design
- Good performance
- 128GB expandable memory
- Camera could have been better
- Over heating
Anyway, the company recently launched the new device in the Galaxy A Series - the Galaxy A8 and with no facets of a nervousness, it has easily become the most desired device among the Samsung fans.
You don't need to be the best if you can be the crowd favorite. The Samsung Galaxy A8 is Samsung's thinnest smartphone yet and is certainly learning from the Note5 in some respects, but while it can't beat it on features it's likely to rival it on popularity.
The device may look a bit over-sized at the first glance but surely, it does offer the best of the build quality and functionality as well. You will also notice a thin profile besides the display size (5.7-Inch)
Anyway, you wouldn't know about how the device performs in reality, hence after using it for a while thoroughly, GizBot has come up with a review of the handset. But before we move ahead with it, let me tell you that the device is priced at Rs. 32,500. I already know what you must be thinking, "Is it worth it?" Well, that's exactly why we are here. So let's see if it's worth your budget or not.
Samsung was following pretty much the same design language in all its smartphone but it started changing vigorously since last year. The Galaxy Edge, and the Galaxy A series projected quite a neo-feel in them. Thankfully, even the
Galaxy A8 has become a unique device in terms of design. It is the slimmest phone from the Korean giant so far measuring just 5.9mm. But if in case you are thinking that it the slimmest so fat, you are wrong. We have seen Gionee doing far better with its devices in terms of maintaining thickness/thinness.
But what makes the Galaxy A8 a great device? Among all, the obvious feature that makes it look premium and design-wise a brilliant piece is the build quality and the curves and shapes of the device. The metal frame and edgy sides highly tweaked at the corners give the Galaxy A8 an extra mileage in the market. Moreover, the design also somehow offers a firm grip to the hands.
At a first glance, you will think that the Galaxy A8 comes with a unibody design, but it's not. The back panel is crafted with plastic and is not removable. However, the transition from the plastic backpanel to the metal frame is incredible. The back panel hosts a speaker grille, camera module and an LED flash as well.
Rotate the device, and you will see a massive 5.7-inch display with a decent screen-to-body ratio. The absence of the oversized bezel and odd bulky head-space in the device I very soothing to the eyes. Right below the display, a physical button can be seen, which also doubles as the finger-print sensor.
On the either side of the device, there are Back and Multi-tasking soft buttons. On the right edge there is a power/standby button and on the left edge you have two distinct volume buttons and SIM and MicroSD card trays. The top edge is devoid of any buttons and the bottom edge houses a microUSB charging/data transfer port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Design-wise, the Galaxy A8 is a very alluring device. The metal frame and the curves and cuts made on the frame's sides are what differentiates this particular device from the rest.
Samsung has experimented with almost all the screen sizes and evidently almost all its devices have hit the popularity points. Though, it's not new to the market, the Galaxy A8's 5.7 inches display has quite suited the frame of the handset.
Yes, it is handful but doesn't feel uncomfortable to the hands.May be the thinness of the device should be accounted for it. The (1920 x 1080 pixels) Full HD Super AMOLED display doesn't fail to impress the users in anyways. Boasting the pixel density of 386ppi, it also beats the numbers of the Retina's 326ppi used in iPhone 6.
The image output of the display is excellent and the brightness level allows the users to use the phone even under the direct broad day sunlight. Also the viewing angles are great though you might see a minor blue/green tint at steeper.
However, if you find the display not so satisfying, you can also tweak it by going to the settings and adjusting the color temperature, contrast and saturation.
There is a bit of over-saturation of colors but not all can notice it (does it even matter?). Anyway, personally, the display department is excellent. There is nothing much Samsung could have done to make better while also keeping the cost the same.
Power and Performance
Samsung always releases two variants of the same phone. Out of the two, which are always almost similar, one is often powered by the company's proprietary chipset - the Exynos. In this case, the Samsung Galaxy A8 is powered by either a Snapdragon 615 chipset or an Exynos 5430 chipset.
Both have octa-core processors - two quad cores clocked at 1.3GHz and 1.8GHz respectively. However, in the Snapdragon both groups are Cortex-A53 cores, while the Exynos uses their predecessor, Cortex-A7, for one group and a more powerful Cortex-A15 for the other. Anyway, since we are reviewing the Exynos powered Galaxy A8, let's stick to it.
If you are worried about the graphic unit, the Exynos chipset which comes integrated with Mali-T628 MP6 GPU is quite efficient in terms of resolution as it compliments with the Full HD screens, unlike the Adreno 405 used by the Snapdragon 615, which is suited for HD displays.
With a lot of Chinese devices coming in with 3 or more GB of RAM lately, most might find the 2GB RAM used by the Galaxy A8 a bit of a mediocre. It's true that 2GB is enough for the smartphones but it projects a sign of inefficiency when you work on a lot of apps at the same time.
The Galaxy A8 during its stay with GizBot wasn't disappointing. Neither did it lag during multi-tasking, nor did it flickered or we experienced a screen freeze while playing graphic intense games like Dead Trigger 2 and Asphalt 8 game titles.
For those who are kind of a number freak, AnTuTu rated it with 48859 points.
The Galaxy A8 is a great device for gamers, especially because of the large and crispy display. The smartphone could have used a 3GB RAM instead of the 2 GB chip (I guess that's what you would get in just Rs. 32000). Not that the 2GB RAM is less for it but Samsung could have bought an extra mileage with an extra GB in the Indian smartphone market.
Samsung fans do care about the OS but more that that they love the UI Samsung uses in its phones. Yes the TouchWiz UI which this time has been slapped atop the latest version of Android 5.1.1 OS. Therefore, you are not just getting the richness of the Android Lollipop, but also the company's age old UI along with its own native features. Preloaded apps are also part of the phone of course. You will be getting apps like Galaxy Apps, Smart Manager, WeChat and so on.
Fingerprint sensor is not the new thing in the smartphone market. There are quite a lot of devices that come with the hardware. However, not all use it for other purpose apart from locking and unlocking the phone. The Galaxy A8 also has one of the same finger-print scanner which is embedded under the home button, which is functional in itself as well. The sensor is pretty responsive but not the fastest scanner that we have seen so far.
If I say that Galaxy A8 comes with a 16MP primary camera, most of you will already that it's the same one used in the Galaxy Note 5. However, it's a bit different this time. The 16MP camera that comes with a f/1.9 aperture is the one which you had seen the Note 5 but the feature that lacks in the Galaxy A8 is the OIS, which was a huge part of the Note 5 smartphone. It's not just the OIS that makes the two camera modules different but also the sensor.
One fo the features that I liked in the camera department was the Pro mode (though it's not as good as as the one that flagship S and Note devices come with). You have the option of manually adjusting the ISO, exposure and white balance, which makes it a bit interesting. There are not much modes available in the device, but few like the HDR, Panorama, Continuous shooting and Night mode. There are some live color effects too. If you want to play around with the camera more, you can download camera apps and get features like Rear-cam selfie, Animated GIF, etc.
Another cheesy function of the home key that I liked a lot is that a simple double press of the Home key will initiate the camera quickly, which we desperately need most of the times.
As we used the Galaxy A8, we were quite impressed. Photos that we shot were sharp and rich. Even in the low-light condition, the images were decent but yes sometimes they turned out to be noisy and grainy. However, if you are much into photography, you will notice that the camera loses some detail in the bright light conditions and the shadows.
The 5MP front-facing camera is not bad in any way. It has a wide f/1.9 aperture for selfies in the dark. Moreover, the company's Wide selfie mode that pushes the field of view to 120 degrees are more than generous.
As far as the video is concerned, the Galaxy A8 can shoot them at 1080p at 30fps, at the best.
Storage and Connectivity
Samsung has been generous to the Galaxy A8 in terms of the storage capacity. It uses a 32GB internal memory, which can be enhanced up to 128GB with a microSD card.
As far as the connectivity option is concerned, the Samsung Galaxy A8 is a dual-SIM, dual-standby smartphone. This is possible because of the Hybrid Dual SIM slot, which can also be used as microSD slot. Both nano-SIM slots support 2G, 3G and 4G networks. Other connectivity options include dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1 and ANT+. However, the lacking part would be NFC so don't think about Samsung Pay in this device. Wired connectivity features include, you will get a microUSB 2.0 and USB OTG.
The Galaxy A8 is powered by a 3050mAh battery, which is not much of a wow hardware. As we tested it, the device ran easily over 12 hours in both web browsing and video playback. With the extensive mix usage - videos, web browsing, multiple apps, games, listening to music and making calls, the phone does manage to stay alive until 8 hours 54 Minutes. The company could have offered a larger cell in this particular device, because this is very similar to the Galaxy note 5, which was not well received at least in terms of the battery of the handset.
First, The Galaxy A series is a confusing line-up. You can't tell them a flagship device nor is it a mid-ranger at the price which is somewhat close to the high-end devices. Certainly, you cannot call it a low-end that would be absurd.
Anyway, design-wise, the Galaxy A8 can be called a kind of a flagship model. However, the hardware department barricades us to claim that statement. Perhaps, this is the reason why you can't judge the device from a regular point of view, like bad or good.
Perhaps a feedback on the performance would be of help. First of all, the company has done a great job in terms of design. But it is certainly over-priced smartphone. But again, you are also getting a fingerprint sensor with the device. Since it is the closest relative of Note 5 smartphone, you can call it a bit down-graded version of it, with a slightly bumped up design and build quality.
Most Samsung fans wouldn't like the Exynos chipset and would choose the chipset from premium company - Qualcomm, instead, the Galaxy A8 with Exynos is pretty close to flagship processor. Also the performance is not bad in any way. However, since it uses the Octa Core chipset, the device does tend to over-heat causing apps to collapse seldom.
To put it in simple words, the company has phenomenally built a fashionable phone with incredible design language and anointed the guts with mid-range hardware.