By Timothy Mark Muñoz
As a new year rolls in, Samsung prepares to unleash its new smartphone offering in the form of the Samsung A8+, aiming to cut a swath across the upper-mid-range market. But how does it stack up? We at Manila Bulletin got our hands on one to find out.
At first glance, the A8+ boasts a sleek and slim unibody design, with front and back glass panels wrapped by an aluminum frame, not uncommon among today’s higher end smartphones. It has rounded edges for comfortable handling, and sports an impressive 6” FHD+ Super AMOLED display, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4, and is IP68 certified. The extra wide 6” FHD+ Super AMOLED screen is, in our opinion, the main selling point of this device. Not only does the larger screen provide a more enjoyable viewing and gaming experience, but Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology allows users to enjoy the experience for longer periods of time due to its energy-efficient nature and more vivid image quality due to a wider color gamut.
The A8+’s side facing speaker is capable of pushing a clear +30dB signal through a room with +35dB ambient noise, slightly quieter than the ones found in Samsung’s flagship models, but good enough nonetheless. Its mic possesses active noise-cancelling for clearer recording and conversing, making talking in a crowded room a little more bearable for whoever is on the other end of the line. The phone also retains its 3.5mm jack, a feature which most flagship models have foregone, but is still something people look for when making a purchase.
Perched atop the phone’s front panel are dual front-facing cameras that power the phone’s Wide Selfie and Live Focus features, enhancing the user’s selfie-experience. The rear-facing camera is no slouch either, with its 16MP PDAF camera with up to x4 digital zoom, panorama, face detection, and 1080p 30fps recording capabilities.
The Samsung A8+ boasts a robust security system in the form of two biometric scanners. The facial recognition feature is a quirky add-on and works well even in dimly lit rooms. The fingerprint sensor on the other hand is snappy and intuitive, making it our recommended security measure, since it enables you to effortlessly unlock your phone as you take it out of your pocket.
Hardware and Performance
The A8+ is powered by Samsung’s brand new Exynos 7885 Octa eight core processor (two 2.2GHz Cortex A73’s running in conjunction with six 1.6GHz Cortex A53 cores) coupled with a Mali-G71 GPU, and fed by a beefy 3500mAh lithium-ion battery, making it strong enough to handle the average power-user load, while still being able to maintain longevity. Fast-charging through the supplied Type-C solves battery issues.
The phone is shipped with Samsung’s proprietary Android 7.1.1 Nougat skin, with the option of upgrading to Android 8.0 Oreo, and comes pre-installed with Bixby- Samsung’s innovative virtual assistant app that, up to this point was only available to their top-end models. While some users may critique Samsung for shipping their devices with pre-installed bloat, making the user experience feel cluttered, this iteration of the skin is relatively light, opting for a more “stock” Android aesthetic and feel, without cutting back on its hallmark user interface modifications like Easy Mode or Smart Stay.
The two versions of the Samsung A8+ come in either 32GB with 4GB RAM or 64GB with 6GB of RAM, both with expandable SD memory up to 256GB, without having to sacrifice one of the two SIM card slots (for the dual sim variant).
To sum it up, the A8+ 64GB/6GB RAM variant is a worthy option when choosing between upper-mid-range smartphones for the budget-conscious power-user with a bit of extra cash to spend or an elderly user not worried about price, and looking for an easy yet powerful smartphone to use. However it’s not exactly the most cost-effective option out there. With that said, the A8+ is a good phone, one of the best in its category.
Display: 6” FHD+ Super AMOLED 1080p 410ppi
Processor: Exynos 7885 8 core (2.2ghz dual + 1.6ghz hex)
Storage: 64GB, expandable up to 256GB flash
OS: Android Nougat 7.1.1
- Dual front facing camera (8mp, 16mp)
- 16mp PDAF rear camera
- 1080p 30fps video recording
- 720p 30fps video recording
- Hyperlapse video with stabilizatiion
- Continuous autofocus
- Face detection
- Playback zoom
- 4x digital zoom
- Video Digital Image Stablilization
- Works even with glasses
- Needs well-lit environment
IP68 dust and water resistant.
- Loud and clear
- Right side of phone, easy to cup when watching
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