In the market for a new smartphone? We think you should consider either the Samsung A8 or its slightly bigger sibling the A8+. We took a look for ourselves and was quite impressed by them.
We really like these phones – they’ve got nearly all the good stuff offered by their larger and pricier siblings like Samsung’s own S8 and S9, save for a few select features that are exclusive to those top of the line phones.
If Android is your mobile OS of choice and Samsung’s design flavor does it for you, and if you’re fine with a performance level and feature set that’s just a few ticks away from a flagship phone’s, you might just find that the A8 and A8+ are perfect for you.
Design to Die For
The A8 and A8+ get our nod as far as their design is concerned. The phones look and feel like the S8 and S8+ thanks to their gorgeous glass and metal construction and impressive Samsung style.
But what really made me say “wow” is the phones’ Super AMOLED Infinity Display. It looks terrific thanks to its lush colors and deep dark blacks. The A8 comes with a 5.6-inch screen, while that of the A8+ is slightly larger, at 6 inches flat.
You’ll note that in the A8 and A8+, the screens aren’t curved like they are in the S8 and S8+, plus the bezels in our test phones are slightly larger than those in the S8 and S8+, but we didn’t find that too much of an issue.
And just like in the S8 and S8+, the screens in our test phones are also fantastic even outdoors – no need to squint like you might with phones with less capable screens. We tried them out under broad daylight and we really loved how usable they continued to be even under the harsh light of the sun.
What else to consider? The A8 and A8+ have glass backs, which make them a little less slippery than metal phones. Not to worry though, both phones are made of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for extra durability, as well as IP68 water resistance rating, meaning that they can survive a quick dip into water without an issue.
And you might also be happy to hear that the fingerprint scanner is now located under the camera at the rear, making it easier to reach and activate.
By the way, buyers have a choice of two colors – the A8 and A8+ are available in Black, Orchid Gray, Gold, and Blue.
So you might be asking, the display might be very nice indeed, but can the A8 and A8+ take nice photos?
Let’s run through the specs really quickly. The camera setup is par for the course for a midrange phone – a 16MP rear camera with optical stabilization to counter shaky hands, and a dual-camera setup up front consisting of 16MP and 8MP lenses.
This setup helps the A8 and A8+ take pretty good pictures, especially if you’re shooting under nice bright conditions. But where these phone siblings really stand out is regarding the quality of their front-facing snappers.
We want to mention that the dual front cam setup really does help ensure great selfies thanks to those two powerful lenses. The phones’ “Live Focus” effect which blurs the background when taking selfies really goes a long way towards making your selfies look awesome – good job, Samsung!
In low-light conditions, the A8 and A8+ don’t perform as well as their higher-end siblings, but they still do manage to take decent pictures. In terms of low-light performance, the S8 and S8+ admittedly set a very high bar that other phones, even other high-end phones, find hard to match.
Lastly, in case you’re wondering about video, the A8 and A8+ can manage 1080p HD video recording at 30 frames per second.
So, how do the A8 and A8+ perform as a whole? After testing these phones we found them to be pretty adequate for what most users will put them through on a day to day basis.
These phones are running Samsung’s Exynos 7885 Octa-Core Processor and either 4GB of RAM for the A8 or 6GB RAM for the A8+. Numbers are just numbers, of course, but I’m here to tell you that Samsung has made sure that these phones run pretty well.
The processor set might not be impressive from a power user standpoint, but it doesn’t have to be. What matters at this level is how usable a phone is, and given this consideration the phones excel. We love how the company keeps continuing to improve Samsung Experience, its mobile user interface – the A8 and A8+ feel far smoother than many of the Samsung phones we’ve tested before.
OS-wise, these phones come with Android Nougat 7.1.1 out of the box, and Samsung says to expect an update to Android Oreo shortly – definitely looking forward to that.
How about in terms of storage? The A8 and A8+ can be had with either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. If you need to rock more than one SIM card at once and crave a phone that’s expandable, you’ll be happy to hear that these phones are DUOS phones; they have two SIM card slots and a distinct microSD card slot.
And as far as battery life is concerned, the A8 comes with a 3000mAh battery while the A8+ sports a slightly more powerful battery at 3500mAh. Both provide these phones with enough juice to get them through even moderately busy days without needing to top up.
The Bottom Line
The A8 and A8+ are midrange phones and Samsung isn’t necessarily out to impress with them given that that’s the job of top-end phones like the S8 and S9 siblings and Note 8.
Nevertheless, as you can see throughout our review, we found the A8 and A8+ to be pretty good performers; they were definitely more than adequate for my daily grind – and there are a couple of features like the screen that definitely get my nod.
We recommend you check these phones out too to see if they win you over as well.