If you’ve been hankering for the sleek, mirrored looks that Samsung’s high-end Galaxy S8 offers but didn’t have pockets deep enough to snag one, well, you’re in luck as Samsung has just announced the release of their premium midrange Galaxy A8 and A8+ phones to ring in the new year in style.
Both the Galaxy A8 and A8+ are an aesthetic departure from last year’s Galaxy A7 which still hosted a front-mounted fingerprint/home sensor on the lower front bezel and which still had, for 2017 standards, fairly chunky top and bottom bezels framing the display.
To the untrained eye, the new Galaxy A8 and A8+ are a spitting image of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ with an exquisitely rounded chassis hewn of glass and metal though they’re both slightly larger and heavier than their flagship counterparts. Like the Galaxy S8 and S8+, both the Galaxy A8 and A8+ sport their titular widescreen Infinity display up front sheathed in rounded 2.D glass which takes up the majority of the front.
The biggest telltale difference to identify the Galaxy A8 and A8+ from its flagship counterparts is that the aforementioned fingerprint sensor has been more sensibly placed beneath the rear camera to make it easier to find by touch.
The Super AMOLED Infinity displays on the Galaxy A8 and A8+ have a similar 18.5:9 aspect ratio as the Galaxy S8 and S8+ though they cap out at Full HD+ resolution which is a reasonable balance for viewability and battery life. The Galaxy A8 has a smaller 5.6-inch Infinity display while the larger Galaxy A8+sports a 6.0-inch Infinity display. Both the Galaxy A8 and A8+ both have a similar 2,220 x 1,080 pixel resolution with the A8+ having slightly lower pixels per inch on account of the larger screen.
The new Galaxy A8 and A8+ also have Samsung Pay support which will allow you to use your phone in lieu of flashing the traditional plastic card to pay for stuff as well as retaining the IP68 water resistance of the S8 and its forebear the A7.
Aesthetics aside, both the Galaxy A8 and A8+ host a midrange Exynos 7885 octacore processor running Android Nougat that incorporates a 1.6GHz hexacore processor and a 2.2GHz dual-core processor. Both the Galaxy A8 and A8+ also differ slightly in terms of storage capacity and battery size.
The Galaxy A8 has 4GB RAM and 32GB of expandable storage with a 3,000mAh battery. The larger Galaxy A8+ has more of everything with 6GB RAM, 64GB of expandable internal storage as well as a slightly larger 3,500mAh battery. Both new phones sport fast charging via a USB Type C charger.
In terms of cameras, both the Galaxy A8 and A8+ have identical setups. The rear of both phones consists of a single 16-MP camera with a bright F/1.7 aperture and phase detection autofocus though it eschews optical image stabilisation. The front of the Galaxy A8 and A8+ comes with a dual camera array (16-MP and an 8-MP camera paired up) for selfies that offer the distinctive depth of field background defocus effect seen in higher end cameras that Samsung has dubbed as ‘Live Focus’. The primary 16-MP fixed focus camera packs an F/1.9 aperture to handle most of the grunt work. This is supplemented by an 8-MP camera riding shotgun, also with an F/1.9 aperture to capture depth data in order to create defocused backgrounds in selfies.
Of particular note is that both new phones will integrate support for the Gear VR, the first time that any phone from their A-series has done so. Both new phones have a slated global release date for January 2018 in your choice of the obligatory Black as well as Gold, Blue and Orchid Grey though no local prices or colour variants have been announced as yet. Here’s the spec sheet at a glance.