Samsung Galaxy A8 Review
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With the rise of Chinese smartphones offering great value for the money, Samsung has been bleeding sales and it needed to take measures.
In early 2015, it brought its answer to the emerging threat from China: the Galaxy A series, a family of slim devices with a sturdy metal body and sleek design. After the successful launch of the first trio of A series phones – the Galaxy A3, A5, and A7 – Samsung is now bringing a new addition to the family: the Galaxy A8.
The Galaxy A8 is also the largest one in the series: it comes with a 5.7-inch display, even bigger than the 5.5-inch one on the Galaxy A7. The phone runs on either the Snapdragon 615 system chip or Exynos 5 Octa (we have the latter version for review) with 2GB of RAM, it comes with a 16-megapixel camera with a wide-aperture lens, and it sports a 3050mAh battery.
Those are the specs, but how does all that work in real life? Let’s find out in our full-on review.
In the box:
- Samsung Galaxy A8
- Wall charger
- microUSB Cable
- User manual
- SIM ejector tool
- In-ear headphones
Slim and light, with a sturdy metal frame and the elegant style of the A series, design is one of the strong points of the A8.
Design is the strong point of the Galaxy A series: the Galaxy A8 is a well-built phone with an impressively thin body (just 5.9mm) and a sturdy metal frame that looks great. The phone is also surprisingly lightweight for its size, weighing 5.33oz (151g).
It’s important to note that despite having a 5.7” screen, the Galaxy A8 is narrower than many 5.5” phones (including the popular iPhone 6s Plus). Side bezels measure at just 1.2mm, and overall, the phone is just 76.8mm (3.02”) wide.
The A8 is still definitely on the tall side, towering 158mm (6.22”), and that makes it a hard fit in tight jeans pockets, but even in regular jeans pockets such a tall device would be an uncomfortable annoyance while climbing stairs or moving more actively. Also, we noticed that it’s incredibly easy for the slim and tall gadget to slip out of pockets while you’re sitting, something that commonly happened to us while in the car.
Switching over to buttons, there is the large, rectangular physical home key up front – it's clicky and has nice response. It’s situated between two capacitive buttons that light up a bright white in the dark: the multitasking key is on the left and the back – on the right. The volume keys are on the top left, while the power/lock key - on the top right, and both are very solidly constructed, with a good amount of travel and nice feedback.
There is also a fingerprint scanner of the tap (rather than swipe) type built in the home key up front, but we found it to be a hit or miss. The annoying thing about it is that it won’t read your fingerprint when you press your finger at a bit of an angle. This results in many failed attempts when you’re trying to unlock your phone. We recommend you to register one fingerprint two or even three times – every time at a slightly different angle. This way, the accuracy of reading will improve a lot.
The 5.7-inch Super AMOLED screen on the A8 is sufficiently sharp at 1080 x 1920 pixels, but most impressively, it's very well calibrated with great-looking colors.
The Samsung Galaxy A8 features a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. This results in a pixel density of 386ppi: sharp enough for most people, but do keep in mind that we are dealing with Samsung’s Diamond Matrix pixel arrangement here, so there are less subpixels. This results in slightly jagged edges and very slight pixelization, especially noticeable in monotone color areas.
Those, however, are slight niggles. What makes an even bigger difference in how we perceive a display is good color reproduction. That’s exactly what you get with the Galaxy A8 – it has one of the most color-accurate displays we’ve ever tested.
Color temperature at 6499K is as close as it gets to the 6500K reference mark, and colors are very faithfully adjusted to the sRGB color space, as long as you're using the Basic screen mode. The sRGB space is the color language of the web and Android: all content, photographs and media are created in compliance with it, and that’s why it’s important that phones adhere to this particular standard. In the benchmarks charts below you can notice just that.
The screen on the Galaxy A8 leaves something to be desired in the way of maximum brightness, as it can go as high as 339 nits, which is considerably lower than the Galaxy S6's 560 nits.. Still, the screen tends to be readable outdoors, as long as the sun isn't reflecting directly in the glass. At night, minimum brightness falls down to 1 nit, which makes the screen easier on the eyes, which is an advantage for night birds.
There are two slight niggles in the overall nearly perfect picture around the Galaxy A8 display quality: first, greens are just ever so slightly more overwhelming than the blues and the reds, and one does notice this slight tint. Secondly, the screen has a slightly lower gamma than standard at 2.06. A lower gamma like this results in slightly washed out colors in images.