Last year’s Samsung Galaxy A-series devices were premium looking phones, but that alone could not make up for their sub-par performance. Hence, this year Samsung has updated things and added features which were only available in its flagship smartphones till now. The result is the Samsung Galaxy A8\+ (2018), which at first glance looks good, and on paper has the specifications to match most of its competitors at the same price.
To us it seems like a well thought out device in terms of design, build quality, software and especially pricing. However, performance and image quality produced by the camera will also play an important part in making this phone “THE” option to beat in its price bracket. We will be reviewing the phone thoroughly over the next couple of weeks, but for now, let us give you our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy A8+ (2018).
Display: Could have been brighter
Given the ongoing trend of taller 18:9 displays, it's no surprise that like every other phone maker, Samsung also decided to bring more affordable phones (other than its flagship) with an Infinity display. The display on the Galaxy A8+ (2018) is an AMOLED panel and in the little time we spent with it, the display managed to impress. The colour saturation is to the point and viewing angles are good. The display is little less vibrant than the one used by the Galaxy S8 and contrast levels are also not that prominent.
The more afordable price tag means that you also don’t get the beautiful curved display we loved on the S8 and resolution is just FHD+. All that said, the display still looks good for the price. The only shortcoming we could figure is that the brightness is somewhat on the lower side, which makes it a little harder to see the display under direct sunlight.
Design and Build: As premium as it gets
Performance and UI: Looks good
The Samsung Galaxy A8+ employs an Exynos 7885 Octa-core SoC, which is coupled with 6GB RAM. In the little time we used the device, it felt snappy and worked without any lags as such. Going by synthetic benchmarks, the difference in performance compared to last year’s Galaxy A7 is quite visible. Here, take a look at these synthetic benchmark results.
As for the UI, the Galaxy A8+ (2018) carries the same software as we have seen on other Samsung phones in the past year. The UI is simple to use and has a small learning curve. It also offers some useful features hidden inside system menus such as Smart stay and Game mode, but then again you might like your phone with stock Android.
Samsung has also added Bixby to this phone but does not have a dedicated physical button for it. Instead, Bixby is now available via a swipe from the left. Bixby is also part of the camera app as Bixby Vision and in functionality works exactly the same way as it is implemented on the Galaxy S8. While you don’t get an iris scanner on this phone, it does get the face unlock feature and works as intended. We haven't tested it thoroughly, but we will be doing so over the span of our review.
Camera Quality: Quite promising
At the back of the phone, you get a 16MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture. This combination allows the Samsung Galaxy A8+ (2018) to take some crisp images in broad daylight. The larger aperture size is perfect for some macro shots and offers a satisfying blur to the background. The colour reproduction is not accurate, but what most people would like as the slightly saturated images with tweaked contrast look more eye-pleasing. The rear camera also captures a good amount of details and that carries forward to the front camera.
At the front of the Galaxy A8+ (22018), there's a 16MP + 8MP camera setup with both lenses featuring f/1.9 aperture, which not only take good images but offer Samsung’s version of ‘Bokeh’. Samsung calls it 'Live Focus' and the mode allows you to tweak the background blur to your liking. The image you see below is taken in a milder setting. There are also smart beautification sliders if you are into artificial selfies.
The f/1.7 aperture really shines in low light settings. The colour saturation seems fine, but the details are sacrificed to minimise noise. This is not a new thing and we have seen Samsung do a similar trick back when we reviewed the Galaxy On Max. All-in-all the camera quality is promising and we will be checking it further during our review.
The Samsung Galaxy A8+ (2018) is a combination of good hardware, camera, and pricing. The performance does look promising and though it won’t be at par with the OnePlus 5T or the new Honor V10, it should hold its own. As for the battery life, we expect the 3500mAh battery to provide us a day worth of usage, but that is what we are speculating based on what we have seen from Samsung till now.