Officially announced just a few days ago, Samsung’s latest premium midrange phone the Galaxy A8 (2018) sounds quite impressive on paper with a widescreen Infinity display, IP68 water resistance and dual front cameras. When viewed up close, it’s an impressive looker indeed. The Galaxy A8 also has a slightly larger, better specced variant called the Galaxy A8+.
We had the privilege of getting an up close and personal look at a working example of the Galaxy A8 (2018) and to the untrained eye, it looks almost the higher end Samsung Galaxy S8 though it’s actually slightly heavier and chunkier all around at 172g versus the S8’s svelte 155g.
The external finish of our test unit was done up in their classic mirrored black finish. Much like the higher end S8, the phone also has IP68 water resistance so it will survive in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. A mirrored black finish all around with gently rounded edges graces the phone though it also comes in other colour variants as well that include the aforementioned Black in addition to Gold and Orchid Grey.
Much like Samsung’s flagship S8 phone for 2017, the Galaxy A8 (2018) packs a widescreen Infinity display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio up front that is also sheathed in 2.5d rounded glass. In keeping with its midrange aspirations, the 5.6-inch Super AMOLED display caps out at 2,200 x 1080 pixel resolution (FHD+) and the screen offers up bright, punchy hues and pin-sharp text.
In terms of hardware, the Galaxy A8 (2018) is rather well equipped for a midrange phone with an Exynos 7885 octacore processor that pairs up a 1.6GHz hexacore and a 2.2GHz dual core processor running Android Nougat 7.1.1. This is augmented by 4GB RAM and 32GB of expandable memory. One particular way that the Galaxy A8 tops its higher end siblings is that it’s one of the few Samsung phones to actually sport a triple card slot with a hybrid SIM card slot mounted on the top of the phone that lets you mount a secondary SIM card and a microSD card slot while the primary SIM card slot is mounted on the side. The dedicated microSD card slot lets you support cards up to 256GB in size which is plenty. Hopefully, this triple card configuration becomes the norm for all phones in the future.
Another interesting design aspect of the A8 (2018) is the placement of its speaker port. Rather than being plonked at the bottom of the phone, the A8 (2018) much like its predecessor the Galaxy A7 (2017) has it mounted on the side where your digits won’t have any chance to block it when used either landscape or portrait style. The side-mounted placement also makes it ideal for gaming duties as well.
Dual selfie cameras and a better positioned fingerprint reader
The design of the rear camera and fingerprint reader has seen some tweaking as well. The A8 (2018) packs a rear-mounted 16-MP autofocus camera with an F/1.7 aperture as well as an LED flash. Rather than being placed beside it, the fingerprint reader is placed below the camera which makes it easier to find by touch. The fingerprint reader is also a means to use Samsung Pay on the A8 (2018).
The front has a dual camera array (16-MP and 8-MP), both with an F/1.9 aperture that work in tandem together to create what Samsung calls Live Focus in order to create a bokeh effect for selfies and portrait shots which ought to be a treat. The phone eschews a front facing flash and instead uses the display as an ersatz flash for selfies.
The Galaxy A8 (2018) also has the notable bonus of coming with Bixby assist which means it offers reminders and recommendations on demand. Bixby also works with the A8 (2018)’s rear cameras to offer Bixby vision which helps give info for interesting landmarks in its field of vision, QR codes, identify items you point it at and the like. There’s no dedicated button to summon Bixby though.
The base of the phone sports a USB Type C port with fast charging support for the built-in 3,000mAh battery which aims to offer all day performance.
As it stands, the Galaxy A8 (2018) looks like a very promising midrange smartphone indeed with a host of desirable flagship features in a midrange chassis that include Gear VR support, Samsung Pay and IP68 water resistance. While we haven’t gotten the official price tag of the phone as yet, it ought to cost less than a Galaxy S8 and both phones will arrive in Malaysia this coming January 2018. Stay tuned for our full review where we put the Galaxy A8 (2018) through its paces!