We go hands-on with Samsung’s Galaxy A8!
Announced a few months ago and first debuting in China, Samsung’s Galaxy A8 is the skinniest and most powerful of the A series of phones. The A8 holds the distinction of being the thinnest phone from the Korean company when it was announced, and bears the same all-metal body of its older brothers. It’s also the nicest looking one of the bunch, and has a fingerprint scanner in the home button, something that the other phones don’t have. It’s also one of the most expensive of the supposedly mid-range A series of devices, retailing for Php 24,990.
Samsung Galaxy A8 specs
- 1.8GHz Exynos 5430 octa-core processor
- Mali T628 GPU
- 2GB of RAM
- 5.7-inch full HD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 32GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 128GB
- 16-megapixel rear camera
- 5-megapixel front camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, NFC, Fingerprint scanner
- 3050mAh battery
- Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with TouchWiz UI
Initial impressions: solid and well built, easily the nicest of the A family
Samsung’s A series of phones were a nice change of pace from their usual plastic-fantastic designs when they revealed it earlier this year, and showed us that they’re more than capable of producing premium, metal-clad mid-rangers. You’re getting more of the same with the A8, though that’s not a bad thing – it feels weighty and beefy, though not overly heavy. Just like its older siblings, the A8 features chamfered edges all around the frame, along with prominent angular cuts on the side. The entire phone is just 5.9mm thin and is Samsung’s thinnest phone to date.
The A8 has a screen size of 5.7-inches, which makes it a little bit taller than the usual 5.5-inch phones that’s out in the market. Samsung’s tried to minimize the overall size of the device by reducing the bezel size on the top, sides and bottom of the device, and they’ve somewhat succeeded, though again the 5.7-inch display means that you can’t really reach your hand all the way to the top if you’re using it one-handed.
The volume rocker for the A8 is placed on the left side while the power button is on the right. Both the 3.5mm jack and USB port are located on the bottom of the phone. The A8 uses a full HD Super AMOLED display, with a pixel density of around 386ppi. We’re no stranger to Samsung’s Super AMOLED panels, so the standard schtick of excellent viewing angles, high brightness, outdoor visibility applies to the A8.
Below the display lies the trademark capacitive key layout of back and recent apps that flank the physical home button. The A8 is the only phone in the A family to have an integrated fingerprint scanner in the home button. While it works okay, it takes a lot of steps to set up your fingerprint and isn’t as fast as the offerings of other companies like Huawei and OPPO.
Turning the phone over you’ll see the 16-megapixel rear camera at the back, flanked by an LED flash and the speaker. We’re puzzled why Samsung didn’t place the speaker grille on the bottom of the phone, considering that’s what other manufacturers are doing nowadays. The result is relatively weak sound, especially when the phone is laying on the table, screen up.
In the Philippines, the A8 comes armed with Samsung’s home-grown Exynos 5430 octa-core processor, the same one that is in the A7, paired with 2GB of RAM. While that particular combination scored well in AnTuTu, we’re a little bit disappointed that the A8 didn’t come with at least 3GB of RAM, considering its competitors are offering phones with that much RAM that have lower prices.
The biggest hurdle that the A8 will face is price. Even though it’s supposed to be a mid-range phone, its price put it at high-end levels. Php 24,990 is nothing to scoff at, and there are now places that sell their own S6 flagship cheaper. Will the rest of the package redeem the A8’s pricing when we use it as our primary phone prior to the full review? You’ll have to find out once we finish our tests.