Samsung Galaxy A8 Review – A Perfect Mid-Ranger
Samsung is known for its wide range of phones that cater to almost every kind of user and budget, and has dedicated series in the form of Galaxy S, J, E, A and so on. While the Galaxy S series is the flagship range of phones that come usually with the latest and greatest components that make it such a hard phone to beat, there is the A series where Samsung attempts to arrive with a renewed approach to design of the phones that sit right below the flagship S series. The latest offering in the A series is the Galaxy A8 – the slimmest phone from Samsung till now.
To provide more clarity and perspective into what exactly Samsung is trying to do with the A8, it is essentially a phone for those who do not need/care about the truly latest and most powerful processors and huge capacities of RAM but do want a phone that is physically very attractive and has one of the best cameras out there. These are the kind of users who do not game a lot and even if they did, it would be in the likes of Sonic Dash, Candy Crush, Temple Run, Leo’s Fortune and such. By now you would’ve recognized the segment of users we are talking about and they incidentally occupy a lion’s share of the user segment.
The A8 will stun you with its looks and the choice of colors that Samsung has gone with. Slimmest ever phone from Samsung measures at a thickness of 5.9mm and is quite a tall fella at 5.7 inches! And boy is he so light at 151 grams. Neatly curved edges, aesthetically designed curves at the edges ensure the device is not a cumbersome customer to hold in your hands, but you will need both of your hands for most of the tasks you do. There is one gripe though – the back of the phone is so smooth that it will slip off your hands in most of the occasions. And while we are at gripes, the positioning of the volume rockers and the power button are rather awkward as they sit almost at the top, ensuring that the A8 cannot be used in one hand. However the metallic build of the phone, the iconic camera bump et all provide the A8 with “Sexy” look and like Samsung is advertising, it will cause envy!
As sexy as the phone, is the gorgeous Super AMOLED display coming with Gorilla Glass Protection – crisp, vibrant, a tad saturated all to give you an experience that will drive you back to the phone. With the display providing good viewing angles even under the sun, the Galaxy A8 provides a very good multimedia and entertainment experience, thanks to the big display and very good quality of sound output from the speakers.
Powering the screen from down below is the Samsung Exynos 5430 Octa Core processor clocked at 1.8 GHz with a Mali T628 GPU. 2 GB of RAM along with 32 GB of internal memory will ensure the smooth functioning of the all new TouchWiz that is built off Android Lollipop 5.1.1, and boy were we sweetly surprised to see how butter smooth the OS has become. In our usage of 3-4 weeks we had no issues of lags or stutters, but there was that one occasional incident where the Google Play Store crashed on us. The theme store too has improved and we loved the Material theme which transforms the overall UI into a stock Android experience – you must use it to believe it! The iconography, the transitions et all was a breeze to use. Asphalt 8, Real Racing, Riptide all ran smooth and there was no instance where we encountered overheating. Of course there were occasional frame drops during elongated periods of gaming which was expected from a mid-range processor which is still better than the Snapdragon 615.
And we have more good news! A 3050 mAh battery provides juice to the phone and all through our usage that certainly was well above the average user pattern, we managed to get a healthy 4 to 4.5 hours of screen on time. This – for a Super AMOLED screen of 5.7” – is a remarkable piece of work. Even with 2 sim cards loaded, the A8 seemed to be undeterred. Speaking of which, the second sim tray will also function as a holder for micro SD card upto 128 GB. One disadvantage here though – if you wanted to use 2 sims and a memory card, it will not be possible sadly.
With an ability to add 128 GB of memory, you can shoot a lot of pictures and videos with the 16MP camera coming with a dual tone LED flash. This camera module is stated to be similar to the one on the Galaxy S6 and we indeed managed to get some stunning shots. The f/1.9 aperture allows for more light to come in thus ensuring some very good low light photography. However, Samsung tries to digitally sharpen the pictures to negate the noise and this at times tends to make the pictures look artificial especially when you zoom into them. The camera app is a typical one from Samsung and has tons of options. Though there are lots of changes here for good, one thing still persists – the rather slow focusing most of the times and hence the processing speed. If you were to use the Google Camera app with the phone you will know what we are talking about! Videos too come out neat with crisp audio recording. The front facing camera too is one of the best we have seen.
There is a neat way to launch the camera app – double clicking the home button which incidentally is also a finger print scanner. Programming it is fairly standard, simple and fast and you will love this as this is accurate almost all the time – we never had to struggle to make it work but it did fail once in a while but the accuracy rate it surely more than 95% which is very good and this convenience will get you addicted to the feature.
So what is it gonna take to get you an A8? Anywhere between 30-32K INR. A tad pricey considering the processor and comparing it to the competition like Mi4i, Yureka and so on? Yes it is, but considering the fact that it comes with so much metal in it, well working fingerprint scanner, a flagship level camera, brilliant battery life, a gorgeous Super AMOLED screen, an all-new slim and trim TouchWiz UI that will let you game with almost no issues most of the time – for the price one gets a reliable phone with good post sales service. If this sounds good, there is very little that can go wrong if you were to decide to pick this up and flaunt the sexy looking phone around. But before jumping into it, we would suggest you to consider phones like the Nexus 6 and the HTC E9+ which are also very good coming around the same price range.