Samsung has just released its latest A-series handset called the Galaxy A8 in the Indian market for Rs 32,500. Launched in China last month, the A8 will be the top of the line phone in Samsung’s A-series of metal frame phones. Samsung had launched the Galaxy A3 and Galaxy A5 earlier this year. So here are our first impressions of the slimmest Samsung handset.
Build Quality and Design
As we said earlier, the Galaxy A8 is the slimmest phone from the Korean giant. Measuring just 5.9mm, it is indeed quite slim. However it is not the slimmest smartphone around. But the metal frame and some thoughtful tapering design on the sides, not only makes the phone look elegant but also helps with the grip. There are no sharp edges that will bother you when you hold the phone in your hand.
Although the press statement says that it is a metal unibody, we noticed that the non-removable rear-cover is plastic, although the transition from metallic frame to the plastic cover is really unnoticeable. On the front, you have the 5.7-inch display with a decent screen-to-body ratio.
The base has a physical button which also houses the finger-print sensor. On the right hand side, you have a power/standby button whereas on the left hand side you have two distinct volume buttons. The top edge is clean and at the base you get the microUSB charging/data transfer port along with the 3.5mm audio jack. Overall the A8 has an elegant design and will surely attract a second glance.
The Samsung Galaxy A8 comes with 5.7-inch full HD SuperAMOLED display. Thanks to the SuperAMOLED display, things are quite vibrant with a slight warm tinge. However, while using it we noticed a slight tinge of colour when you tilt the phone slightly along both the horizontal as well as vertical planes. The display has Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection.
Chipset, RAM, Storage
Samsung uses its own chipset – the Exynos 5430 – for the Galaxy A8. It has an octa-core processor with one quad-core processor cluster clocked at 1.8GHz and the other cluster clocked at 1.3GHz. This is paired with 2GB of RAM and you get 32GB of storage. One of the SIM card slots can also house a microSD card which lets you expand the storage to 128GB. In our preliminary usage, the phone came across as quite responsive. Switching between the apps, launch animations were quite smooth. However, we need to put the phone through the real world use-case scenarios to give a proper performance outlook.
The Galaxy A8 comes with Android 5.1.1 with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI atop it. Just like the Galaxy phones we have seen recently, the A8 does not have a lot of unnecessary bloatware apart from a few proprietary apps such as Galaxy Apps, Smart Manager, WeChat and so on. On the left most home page, you have the Flipboard app.
The phone comes with a dual Nano SIM card slot on the left hand side. It can take in one 4G SIM card and one 3G SIM card. You can either have both SIM cards, or have one SIM card and use a microSD card on the other slot in case you want to increase the storage. The phone supports Wi-fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS and sensors such as fingerprint sensor, proximity sensor and so on.
It houses a 16MP rear camera with an f/1.9 aperture which is quite impressive. On the front, you have a 5MP camera. Apart from the Auto mode, you get the Pro mode, Panorama mode, Continuous shot, HDR mode and night mode. You can also download many other camera specific features such as Sports shot, sound and shot, and so on. The 5MP front camera comes with the Beauty mode and also lets you shoot using gestures. We shot a couple of indoor shots and the noise was well controlled. But we will test it outdoors and in low light conditions to get a complete idea of the camera performance. The video camera lets you shoot full HD videos.
The Samsung Galaxy A8 houses a non-removable 3,050mAh battery. Just like its siblings from the Galaxy S series, the Galaxy A8 also has an ultra-power saving mode which only gives you access to phone, messaging, internet and apps such as calculator, clock, memo and voice recorder.
The Galaxy A8 looks elegant and it has quite a good overall feature set. We will need to use it extensively to see how it performs in the real world. The camera seems to have a lot of potential and we are waiting to use it outdoors. The Galaxy A8 is priced at Rs 32,500 and we will do a full review of the phone to see if it is worth that price.