Samsung Galaxy A8+ Review: A cheaper alternative of the Galaxy S8+
Vinu Varughese Oommen
When Samsung introduced the bezel-less Infinity Displays on their last year’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones, it was just a matter of time when the rest of the company’s smartphone portfolio would receive the same treatment. The latest generation of the Galaxy A8 series is here and we review the Samsung Galaxy A8+ (2018).
Samsung Galaxy A8+ Design
There is little doubt that the new Galaxy A8+ looks almost similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone because of the borderless Infinity Display. And while that is the case, there are quite some differences with respect to dimensions and weight. The Galaxy A8+ is quite thicker, 8.3mm to be precise, but that isn’t the case when it comes to weight. The device felt quite heavy, weighing about 191g as opposed to the Galaxy S8+, which is only 173g. The metal edges do resemble most of the previous Samsung high-end devices and seamlessly connects to the front and back panels. One difference though is that the screen doesn’t have the edge panels on either side of the Galaxy S8.
Speaking of which, the Super AMOLED screen is 6-inches in size with the 18:5:9 aspect ratio. The resolution is also a bit lower than the flagship, bearing a pixel count of 1080 x 2220. The screen is also shielded with Gorilla Glass 5 to resist accidental scratches. Viewing angles are quite good as how any other AMOLED display should be; however, I do feel like it could have been a bit better in terms of solid colors. As for the ports and button placements, the volume rockers are located on the left side, the power button on the right side, along with a speaker grill and the USB Type-C port on the bottom. Interestingly, there are two SIM card slots, one placed on the left and one on the top. The left-sided SIM card slot can house one SIM and the top-mounted slot has space for another SIM and a MicroSD card. Yes, unlike most dual-SIM smartphones that require you to sacrifice one of the SIM card slots if you want to use a memory card, the Galaxy A8+ (2018) has its own dedicated MicroSD card slot and that’s a huge plus point.
It’s quite a smart move by Samsung to place the speaker grill on the left side, instead of placing it next to the bottom USB port. Reason being, people always tend to hold the phone by covering the bottom side of the device, while watching a video on landscape mode. This results in our fingers covering the speaker grill, and since the Galaxy A8+ (2018) has its speaker grill on the sides, this shouldn’t be an issue. The rear side of the smartphone is clean and elegant with the 16MP primary camera, and the fingerprint scanner is placed below it. That’s right! Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S9, you will not need to worry about your fingers touching the camera module and worry about fingerprints or smudges. Oh, did we forgot to mention that the Galaxy A8+ is also IP68 certified for water and dust resistance?
Samsung Galaxy A8+ Specifications and Performance
Now we talk about the specifications of the smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy A8+ (2018 Edition). The device is powered by the Exynos 7885 Octa-core processor, in which, the chip consists of dual Cortex A73 high-performance cores and six Cortex A53 low-power cores. The Cortex A73 cores are clocked at 2.2 GHz speeds and the Cortex A53 cores run at 1.6 GHz speeds. And with it is 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage. As I mentioned before, the smartphone has its own dedicated MicroSD card slot without sacrificing any of the SIM card slots. The smartphone runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS, and we hope that the device receives the latest Android 8.0 Oreo OS update soon. We ran the Antutu benchmark and got a score of 118584 points. We also tested the smartphone with Geekbench 4, and achieved a score of 1526 points for single-core performance and 4437 points for multi-core performance. During my usage, the smartphone performed pretty well for most of the times, while browsing the internet, using social media applications and playing games. That said, I did notice a bit of lag at times for the user interface and I wasn’t surprised about it.
Samsung Galaxy A8+ Camera and Battery
As we mentioned before, the main camera that’s mounted on the rear side of the device features a 16MP image sensor. The lens used here has an aperture of F1.7. This is good while shooting low light situations and when you want to get images with bokeh effects. The camera also features support of LED flash and phase detection for high-speed focusing, so that you don't miss the moment. You can shoot images on 4:3 ratio (choosing from 16MP and 8MP), 16:9 aspect ratio (with 12MP or 6MP), the 18:5:9 wide-aspect ratio at 10MP, and 1:1 ratio with 12MP and 6MP configuration. The image quality is not that bad, to say the least in both day and night time. And as for its video capabilities, you can only record up to a maximum resolution of 1080p videos at 30fps. So, there is no sign of 4K video capture for this device. The front camera setup consists of dual-front facing selfie snappers, one of which features 16MP sensor with F1.9 lens and the other is an 8MP snapper with F1.9 aperture too. The F1.9 aperture is good enough to throw some brightness and reduce some noise while snapping selfies in dark situations.
The battery, on the other hand, features a large capacity of 3500 mAh. That said, the battery life of this device is quite decent and last for a day and a bit more for the next day on a single charge. However, that depends on the type of usage that you do. Our trial involved some clicks and video capture with the camera, playing a few games, making some calls, and so forth. However, if you are someone that watches movies or plays graphic-intense games on the move, then the battery can drain faster. That's where the device can recover fast with its fast charge capability so you don't need to wait for long for a full charge.
Samsung has seriously come a long way in making mid-range smartphones, and year after year, the series gets better. As we have yet to see the 2018 edition of the Galaxy A3, Galaxy A3, and Galaxy A7 devices, the Galaxy A8+ (2018) will be the highest performer for the A-series devices. It's similar to the previous Samsung Galaxy S8 series in many ways but ranked to be a mid-tier device. You get the bezel-less display with 18:5:9 aspect ratio (sans the edge display), a decent camera with F1.7 aperture and a dual-lens front-camera, that is actually not there in any of the Samsung Galaxy flagship devices, as of now. Performance is good, although, there were some very slight lags with the user interface, if that's not a bother for you (not the perfect, butter smooth experience). One of the biggest surprises is the addition of a separate SIM slot for the Dual-SIM capability, which means that you don't need to sacrifice any of the MicroSD card slots for the second Dual SIM. The one negative part though is that the price of the Galaxy A8+ (2018), comes quite close to the Galaxy S8 smartphone price range (just AED 300 difference).