Samsung Galaxy A8+ is the latest edition to Samsung’s mid-to-high end A-series lineup, which also is the first big launch from the South Korean firm in India this year. Also, the A8+ is the first phone to sport a dual camera setup on the front, which should ideally improve the selfies on this one.
We must also note that a smaller Galaxy A8 was also launched just before CES 2018, but shown off for the first time at the mega event. There’s not sign of the A8 making it to India anytime soon, but we have the A8+ to pass our judgements on.
Since we have the phone with us right after the release, and having spent couple of hours with the phone, we are ready with our first impressions. Let’s take a look at the phone and find out more about it.
Samsung Galaxy A8+ price and release date
The Samsung A8+ is released in India on 10 January and it goes on sale from 20 January onwards.
It is priced at Rs 32,990, and the device will be exclusively available on Amazon.in for now.
The new Galaxy A8+ borrows design cues from last year’s flagship – the Note 8. Though you won’t find similar implementation of the display as on the Note 8, as it lacks those minimal curves on the sides, but A8+ has a 2.5D curved glass for smooth corners. However, the back looks very much like the Note 8’s, except for the camera and fingerprint sensor placement and design.
Since the screen has 18:9 aspect ratio, the bezels have been kept relatively thin with the body measuring 159.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm. At 8.3 mm thickness we cannot call it a sleek phone, but the curved edges on the back helps it to sit nicely in the palm and doesn’t feel too overbearing.
The front of the phone looks more like a mixture of a Samsung’s infinity display and LG’s full view display as it is totally flat and the bezels around are relatively thicker than other Samsung phones.
Unlike the A-series phones launched in 2017, Samsung has increased the screen-to-body ratio by removing the home button and physical navigation keys. It has on-screen navigation keys similar to the S8, but without the pressure sensitive under the screen home button.
There’s glass on the back and obviously on the front, but the quality is not as good as the flagships from Samsung. This does not mean the phone looks bad, in fact, it looks really premium for its price. Moreover, you get IP68 certification that makes it resistant to dust and water. But the only problem with a glass sandwich design is the fragility and that it is prone to fingerprints, so we recommend you invest in a case with this one.
The sides are protected with body-colored metal rim, which holds the glass in place. This makes it feel like a pebble when you hold it and also sounds like one when you keep it on a hard surface.
There’s a power/lock key on the right, and a volume rocker on the left, both of which fall nicely under the thumb and finger. Even the loudspeaker has been moved to above the lock key to refrain blockage when you hold it in landscape mode. But we have found front firing speakers to be the best placement for great results.
You’ll find a soda can pull tab like design on the back, which houses the camera lens and the fingerprint sensor. Although, Samsung has tried to fix the awkward fingerprint placement, it’s still not the best way to do it. We ended up smudging the camera lens most of the times as it sits right below it. Also, the fingerprint sensor is slightly debossed, which makes it even harder to locate with touch.
Samsung has retained the headphone jack though, and it sits alongside a USB-C port on the base of the handset.
Samsung Galaxy A8+ hands on gallery
The Samsung Galaxy A8+ packs a 6-inch full HD+ Super AMOLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and 1080 x 2220 resolution. It also retains the always-on Ambient Display feature, which is pretty cool.
The blacks are deep but the whites have a slight blue tint, but it isn’t too much of a problem. The display looks bright, colorful and punchy, making it great for movie marathons and lengthy gaming sessions. We used the phone outdoors and the sunlight legibility is satisfying.
One thing we would have liked is – thinner bezels for a more immersive visual experience.
We will be testing the display extensively in our full review, keep an eye out for more details.
The Samsung Galaxy A8+ has three cameras – two in the front and one at the back. There’s a 16MP, f.1.7 snapper on the back, while in the front you’ll find both a 16MP camera alongside an 8MP sensor.
First, the rear camera is a decent offering that’s capable of snapping detailed shots in well-lit conditions.
Initially, we were able to capture detailed, well-lit shots in a variety of lighting and scene scenarios, with the auto mode doing at good job at judging our surroundings and tweaking the necessary settings.
On the front, and the two cameras work together to offer the blurred background effect that Samsung’s calls Live Focus. It was first introduced on the Galaxy S8, and it’s good to see the technology cascading down the price tiers.
Live Focus on the front facing dual cameras works well in good light, but in the dimly lit areas, it struggled to pick us out from the background and properly render the background blur effect.
Power, OS and battery
The Samsung Galaxy A8+ comes with an octa-core Exynos 7885 chipset and 6GB of RAM, giving you a decent slug of power under the hood.
During our brief time with the handset, we found that it wasn’t the snappiest performer for general navigation, multi-tasking and app opening speeds, but it may not be the final software. We are hoping it gets a boost before it comes to the market.
The A8+ runs the Android 7.1.1 Nougat, which isn’t the latest version of Google’s operating system, and that’s a real shame as Android 8 Oreo has been out for several months now and rivals are launching phones with it.
The likelihood is that the Galaxy A8+ will be upgraded to Oreo later this year, but it’s disappointing it’s not launching with it.
Meanwhile the battery is a reasonable size at 3,500mAh, which is something Samsung has improved on this handset. While we expect it to last a day without a hassle, it is still to be seen how it plays up in long-term.
The Samsung Galaxy A8+ is a solid smartphone overall. While it doesn’t bring anything pathbreaking to the table in terms terms of technology, it has a solid feature set and a premium look which may well tempt those looking for a high-end handset but can’t stretch their the price tags to the Galaxy Note 8 or Galaxy S8.
Whether it does enough to compete with the cut-price flagships of the OnePlus 5T and Honor View 10 remains to be seen.