• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

The Samsung Galaxy A8 is a mid-range alternative to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and it packs in many of the same features – as well as at least one feature not offered by Samsung’s flagship, all at a lower price.

Highlights include a dual-lens front-facing camera, a big edge-to-edge screen and a water-resistant build, so it’s certainly an eye-catching option, but does it disappoint when you look beneath the surface?

Read on for the answer to that question, along with everything else you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy A8.

Screen

There’s a 5.6-inch 1080 x 2220 Super AMOLED display on the Samsung Galaxy A8, and those are all quite good things. 5.6 inches makes it large and therefore good for videos and games, but because the top and bottom bezels are small and there’s almost no bezel at the sides it’s still reasonably manageable in the hand.

Galaxy A8 Display

That resolution meanwhile translates to a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch, which while not quite a match for Samsung’s flagships is still very high and means visuals are crisp. In fact, that’s a slightly higher pixel density than the Sony Xperia XZ2, Huawei P20 or Huawei P20 Pro and almost a match for the iPhone X.

As for Super AMOLED, that’s a tech used by many Samsung phones and some high-end handsets from other companies. It’s generally considered superior to LCD, as it offers better contrast due to pixels being lit individually rather than backlit. Its use here means that everything looks great on the Samsung Galaxy A8.

While some phones have this screen beat, the Galaxy A8 can match or top just about everything in its class. Oh, and it’s got an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, which isn’t necessarily better than 16:9 but is a lot more modern.

Design

Galaxy A8 Colour Range

The Samsung Galaxy A8 looks the part too. We mentioned above that the bezels are slim, which certainly helps, but the phone also has a slightly curved glass back and a metal frame, just like the flagship Galaxy S range.

It’s a good look, and the fingerprint scanner is in a handy position under the camera lens, like it is on the Galaxy S9, rather than to the right of the lens where it would be harder to reach, as it is on the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Also of note is the fact that the Samsung Galaxy A8 is water-resistant. It’s got IP68 certification, meaning it can be submerged up to 1.5 metres deep for up to 30 minutes. No mainstream phone can manage more than that.

At 149.2 x 70.6 x 8.4mm and 172g it’s slightly chunkier and heavier than a flagship phone with a 5.6-inch screen might be, but that’s our only real complaint about the design, and it’s a minor one.

Power

From a performance perspective the Samsung Galaxy A8 isn’t quite so impressive. That’s not to say it’s bad, in fact it’s reasonably competitive among mid-range handsets, but it’s not nipping at the heels of flagships, like it is with its design and screen.

There’s an octa-core Exynos 7885 processor under the hood, with two cores running at 2.2GHz and six clocked at 1.6GHz. That’s paired with 4GB of RAM and delivers solid performance, whether gaming, web browsing or whatever else.

This won’t top benchmarks and very high-end games may not run as well here as on a high-end handset, but generally you should be fine.

It’s also worth noting here that the Samsung Galaxy A8 runs Android Nougat, rather than the newer Android Oreo, that’s not a huge deal but it’s worth being aware that you won’t get the very latest software. It may one day get updated to Oreo, but that hasn’t yet been confirmed at the time of writing.

Camera

Galaxy A8 Dual Front-Facing Cameras

The camera is one of the most interesting aspects of the Samsung Galaxy A8, but we don’t mean the rear camera, as in a rare turn the front-facing camera is actually the highlight.

More specifically, the front-facing cameras, as there’s two of them, which is something you don’t see on many phones and don’t even get on the Galaxy S9 (though the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has two rear cameras, which is arguably more useful.

The A8 has both 16MP and 8MP f/1.9 front-facing cameras, a combination which allows you to blur the background of your selfies for a bokeh effect. You can then readjust the focus to the level you want after you’ve take the photo, but the result is an image where the subject really stands out.

Galaxy A8 Rear Camera

The rear camera meanwhile is a single-lens 16MP one, but it’s a good one, with an f/1.7 aperture and the ability to take detailed, bright photos even in poor lighting.

Video recording is slightly less impressive as it tops out at 1080p rather than 4K, but that’s all you can really ask for at this sort of price.

Features

The Samsung Galaxy A8 has a few extra features. For one thing it has face recognition. That’s as well as a fingerprint scanner, so you have a choice of biometric security options.

It also has a fairly powerful speaker, though there’s just a single one here, so you won’t get the stereo experience that you do with some phones.

Like many other Samsung phones, it also has an always-on screen, meaning you can see the time and notifications without waking your phone up.

Battery life, memory and connectivity

There’s a 3,000mAh battery in the Samsung Galaxy A8, which isn’t massive, but is a match for the juice pack in the Samsung Galaxy S9.

That translates into solid but not exceptional battery life. Like many phones it should see you through a day of moderate use, but probably not much more. There is also fast charging here, which is handy.

Memory comes in at 32GB and there’s also a microSD card slot, so you can massively expand that. Connectivity options include 4G, Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC, so you can make contactless payments.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy A8 is a highly-accomplished mid-ranger that in many ways almost seems more like a flagship. It has a great screen, impressive front-facing cameras and a premium design, plus extras like a fingerprint scanner, face recognition and fast charging.

The rear camera and core specs aren’t as remarkable, nor is the battery, but they’re about in line with what we’d expect for the money, so there’s really nothing here that’s a true disappointment.

It’s at the upper end of pricing for a mid-ranger, and that makes phones like the OnePlus 5T closer competitors than Samsung might like, but it still vastly undercuts most flagships while out-performing most mid-range phones.

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Specifications

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm): 149.2 x 70.6 x 8.4
  • Weight (g): 172
  • Battery capacity (mAh): 3000
  • Colours: Black, Orchid Grey, Gold, Blue
  • Screen size (inches): 5.6
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2220
  • Pixels per inch (PPI): 441
  • Processor: Octa-core 2.2GHz
  • Processor make: Exynos 7885
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Internal storage: 32GB
  • Expandable storage up to (GB): 256GB
  • Camera: 16MP (16MP and 8MP front-facing)
  • Operating System: Android 7 Nougat

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