The Samsung Galaxy A8: A glamour phone that still does a good jobThere was once a time when the budget, midrange and flagship smartphone used to have clear differences in price. This is definitely no longer the case. Nowadays, flagship smartphones are nearing the $1000 mark which has caused a huge price difference between midrange and flagship handsets.
There was once a time when the budget, midrange and flagship smartphone used to have clear differences in price. This is definitely no longer the case. Nowadays, flagship smartphones are nearing the $1000 mark which has caused a huge price difference between midrange and flagship handsets. To fill the gulf between the premium and secondary phones, smartphone brands have come up with a new category, basically phones with slightly better specs than the mainstream midrange handsets. People who know the market have taken to call these phones “premium midrange smartphones”. The recently launched Samsung Galaxy A8 star is one such phone. It costs considerably less compared to Samsung’s flagship phone, ringing in at Rs 59,990. It does not have the same upgrades but does have a lot of new specs. But is it really that much better than the regular midrange phone? And is it truly worth the price hike? Let’s find out.
The Galaxy A8 star looks pretty good, to be honest. It features glass on the front and the back with a metallic frame sandwiched in between. The phone is very slim (7.6mm width) which makes it look quite elegant. Though this phone looks light, it is in fact quite heavy, weighing in at 191 grams.
The phone has a power button on the right and volume rockers to the left. The device even has the Bixby button right below the camera. There is also a SIM card slot on the right just beneath the power button. A hybrid SIM slot is added to the phone so users have the option of making it a dual SIM phone or to use the extra slot for an SD card. The handset also features a USB Type C port for charging, which lies at the bottom between the speaker grill and the port for the 3.5mm headphone jack.
The A8 star has a length of 6.3-inches. A super AMOLED makes up the display screen which means the content on the phone look far better than a regular midrange phone. The display has a great viewing angle, infinite contrast ratio, and great colour saturation. It includes full-HD (1080 x 2220 pixels) resolution in an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. So, with a pixel density of 392PPI, content on the display truly look really sharp and vibrant. That’s not all, this phone also has a good sunlight legibility. So, even on a bright sunny day, I did not have any problem in terms of seeing the content on display.
The A8 star has a dual camera at the back. The camera pair comprises of a 24MP camera backed by another 16MP shooter. Since the dual camera is basically targeted at capturing portrait images, I tested the potential of the handset in this regard and am pleased to say that I was thoroughly impressed by its capabilities. The smartphone captures the subject and background information so elegantly and merges them well into appealing, well composed images. The phone also has an excellent edge detection capability due to which the portrait images look more natural. Like always, Samsung has also added the feature that allows you to adjust the blur and focus even after taking the shots. I am really fond of this feature as it allows one to get their version of the “perfect shot”.
The device captures images with substantial details with a good amount of colour reproduction. Even on the HDR side, It captures shots while preserving the details of the highlights. Low light shots were equally impressive. The phone is capable of suppressing the noise and grains that naturally appear when shooting images in low light settings.
There is a 24MP selfie shooter residing comfortably on the forehead of this phone. With ample light, the selfies come out great with the good amount of detail and colour accuracy. There is also a beauty mode on the handset to mask facial blemishes and acne—if you wish to. But the Selfie Focus is the most exciting feature when it comes to the selfie taking capabilities of the A8 star. With this feature, the phone captures portrait selfies with the blurred backgrounds—the much touted bokeh effect. However, the front camera is not as good as those on the rear since only one camera has been employed on the front side and the background blurring effect is mainly due to software. Although it does not look perfect, portrait selfies look fine when captured under ample light conditions.
The Galaxy A8 star comes with a standard Android Oreo OS. This OS has been slightly modified with Samsung’s own Experience UI. As always, the UI comes with tons of bloatware. I found most of the bloatware flimsy so uninstalling or disabling them was the thing I did and I would recommend the same to you. However, I was quite fond of the S Health app. Since I don’t have a smartwatch or a fitness tracker to monitor my daily activities, I relied on the S health app to monitor the number of steps I walked in a day and the amount of calories burned along the way.There are also some other impressive features like Dual messenger, Bluelight filter, Multi-window feature, Ultra Power Saving, and Ultra Data Mode. So other than the bloatware, I was fairly impressed with Samsung’s Experience UI.
On the performance front, the handset comes with a Snapdragon 660 chipset alongside a 6GB RAM and 64GB of storage. With a capable chipset on board and more than enough RAM at my disposal, the performance was excellent and very fluid. As expected, I did not face any sort of lags or stutters, even while using graphic intensive apps.
I played high-end games like PUBG, Dead Trigger 2, Shadowgun Legends, and Dream League Soccer and they all ran smoothly and without a hitch. While playing those heavy titles, I expected the device to heat up after a long gaming session. However, contrary to expectation, the device stayed cool even after prolonged gaming sessions. All thanks to an inbuilt cooling technology—yes, finally!
As I mentioned earlier, the phone is slightly on the heavier side which is mostly due to its massive 3700mAh battery. Honestly, the extra weight is well worth it as this humongous battery backed me for more than a day of near incessant use. By the end of the day, I would always end up with 25 percent to 30 percent still left on my phone. So, I was very much satisfied with the backup. Charging the battery is also quite hassle-free—unlike other phones, the A8 comes bundled with a very capable charger as the battery gets refilled to the utmost in less than two hours.
The Galaxy A8 star comes with a stunning design, vibrant display, impressive cameras, and a remarkable battery life. However, despite having a decent chipset, it is not as powerful as the chipsets possessed by some of its competitors. With that said, if you want a good overall phone at a price below Rs 60,000, A8 star might not be a bad choice. Please note, if you are more into gaming and multitasking, you can skip the A8 star and instead get the OnePlus 5T (6/64GB) or the Huawei Nova 3 which though less elegant are more suited for those purposes while costing about the same.