Samsung has—arguably—cemented themselves as the king of Android. They build desirable flagships that turn heads, they demand a premium price point, and beyond Google itself, they are some of the most recognizable devices on the platform.
While the S lineup dominates, the slightly cheaper A lineup manages to turn heads on a budget, and this has never been truer than with the A8.
The Galaxy A8 (2018) is a stunning device that shows even at a cheaper price point Samsung does not skimp on quality. The A8 (2018) feels premium from the design to way it sits in the hand. While it does not have all the concepts you expect from the premium S9 lineup, it does have many design concepts seen in the Galaxy S8 range of phones. On top an amazing design, the A8 has one of the best selfie cams I have seen in this price range, making it great for the influencer on the rise.
Picking up the Galaxy A8 (2018) and the first thing you will notice, if you are like me, is that Samsung has taken the great S8 design and changed the placement of the fingerprint sensor. No longer will you have to deal with the dreaded off-centre placement to enjoy the stunning design. Yes, it does not have the same level of feel you can expect from the flagship range, but it comes close and feels far more premium than the price would suggest.
The front screen on the A8 (2018) is a treat for the eyes, sporting an 18.5:9 FullHD 1080 x 2220 5.6” super AMOLED display. Yes, it is not as stunning as the S8 or S9, but it manages to cost a fair amount less, so the sacrifice may be worth it depending on your budget.
While the A8 does not have the vibrancy you can find on the S9 or even the S8, it manages to feel very natural with its colour reproduction and vibrant enough for everyday use. Media also looks fantastic on the display, from high-quality YouTube, Netflix, and gaming, you will not be disappointed by what the A8 can offer.
With a great display often comes with sacrifices on battery life, yet somehow Samsung avoided this issue. While the Galaxy A8 will not win any awards in the field, the 3000mAh battery should be more than enough to make it through a full workday with ease. In testing we it was only after several hours of Netflix or gaming would there be any issues making it to the nightstand before dying. For the price point, the A8 thoroughly impressed in this field, even if it did not knock it out of the park.
In terms of the camera, the A8 is the epitome of a “Mixed Bag”. While the dual 16 and 8-megapixel selfie camera managed to exceed expectations, the real 16-megapixel shooter was below average and left a lot to be desired.
The selfie cameras manage to take some fantastic crisp and clear shots. Pictures maintained a sharp level of detail, perfect for Instagram and other social platforms. With a bevy of settings, and even the ability to set it to wide angle, there are few cameras in the price range that even come close.
While the rear shooter is serviceable and takes good photos most of the time, I did notice issues at night and during the day to overexpose and general clarity problems in a variety of lighting conditions. I also experienced far too many blurry or just downright bad photos, especially considering how good the cameras in the S8 and S9 are.
This being CGMagazine, we had to test what the Galaxy A8 offered in terms of gaming performance. The Exynos 7885 SoC with 4GB RAM crushed all gaming tests we though at it. Being a FullHD+ display, it had to push fewer pixels than the S9, but even still games such as Vainglory, Fallout Shelter, and PubG Mobile, managed to run with few to no stuttering issues. The sound from the device also impressed, and while not the loudest device we ever used, we found it clear and worked perfectly for media and gaming.
This being a Samsung device, you can expect all the good and bad that comes with that. This includes their own unique skin on Android 7.1.1. While it is not offensive, as Samsung has toned it down in recent years, it is far from the stock we can find in Pixel devices. This includes the odd double apps for many major applications, along with the obligatory Galaxy App Store.
With 2018 and the selection of mid-range devices being a bit slim, the A8 (2018) fits that niche well. While it will not compete with the flagships such as the One Plus 6 or Samsung’s own S9, it manages all things you would want from a mid-range device well enough.
Costing $649 off term and $0 on a two-year commitment, the Samsung Galaxy A8 makes a great device for anyone on a budget or not needing all the bells and whistles of the flagship ranges. The phone has more than enough power, and if you can look past the sub-par camera, the A8 makes a great addition to the Samsung lineup. While I am a sucker for the flagship phones, the A8 came close to converting me.
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