Friday, 11 May 2018 17:40

Samsung launches Galaxy A8 (2018) model to challenge universe of competitors

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In a world where plenty of competition exists in the entry-level, mid-range and upper mid-range space, Samsung hopes to tempt you into spending a little more to get a better phone.

Want a less expensive Android phone? There are plenty around, but if the price is too cheap, the performance usually matches the price.

Still, in 2018, there are some impressive Android phones at a range of price points, more so than ever before, but as always, there's a reason why a flagship phone is $1000 or above, and a reason why a phone is $150 – and every price point in between.

While Samsung also has plenty of phones at various price points too, its A-Series range is the one that effectively sits in the upper mid-range space, with not quite all the features as the S-series, and without the higher price tag, but still with enough desirable features people want to justify the higher price than sub-$500 models.

So, what is inside the Galaxy A8, and what does Samsung have to say about it?

Well, it features "a Dual Front Camera, a large Infinity Display and ergonomic styling that draws on Samsung’s design heritage in developing beautifully crafted metal and glass devices", or so the company says.

In addition, we're told that "the Galaxy A8 deliver features and functionality synonymous with the Samsung Galaxy portfolio including":

  • IP68 water and dust resistance,
  • Super AMOLED 5.6-inch FHD+ Infinity Display with 18.5:9 screen ratio
  • Fast charging battery (with compatible fast charger)
  • Incredible front and rear facing camera
  • Gear VR support
  • Integration with Samsung services like Samsung Pay
  • There's also a fuller list of specs below.

Samsung's local vice-president of IT and Mobile, Garry McGregor, said: "The Galaxy A8 is an exciting product for Samsung, offering a beautiful form and design, rich feature set, and sophisticated smartphone experience that Australians have come to expect from a Galaxy device.

“Samsung is committed to ensuring that we provide Australians with the best possible smartphone experience across our entire Galaxy portfolio and we strive to ensure these experiences are accessible.”

The company then states that the Galaxy A8 "forms an essential part of the Samsung mobile range, along with the Note, S- series, and J-series devices", with the latest offerings in these categories including the "Galaxy S9 and S9+, Note8, J5 Pro and J7 Pro".

“Offering a mobile portfolio that is tailored to the needs of Australians and that provides choice is a core pillar in our approach to make the best in Samsung mobile technology available to our customers, whatever their needs may be,” McGregor added.

We're also told that the "Galaxy A8 also supports separately available microSD cards, allowing you to expand device storage capacity by as much as 400GB, and is the first in the A series to support Samsung’s Gear VR" virtual reality headset.

Billed as being "great for watching movies or playing games", Samsung proudly boasts that "the Galaxy A8 sets a new standard for the A series range. The Infinity Display goes beyond the bezel, offering an immersive 18.5:9 display ratio, allowing users to view a whole scene across the screen for the ultimate cinematic experience".

"Snap bright, clear selfies with the 16MP F1.7 rear camera and 16MP+8MP F1.9 Dual Front Camera, in nearly all types of lighting and backgrounds.

"The Dual Front Camera is made up of two separate cameras, so users can switch between the two to take the perfect selfie in all conditions – from close-ups to portrait shots with a clear and crisp background. And with the advanced Live Focus feature, you can easily adjust the bokeh effect before or after you take the picture to create high-quality images".

Then there's the "video digital image stabilisation, which Samsung bills as "exceptional for creating social stories" as the tech "helps to keep videos steady, and an added hyperlapse feature gives users an easy way to create time-lapses".

Available now in Black and Orchid Grey finishes from Samsung Experience Stores, Samsung Studios and the Samsung e-Store with an RRP of $649, and through authorised retail and operator partners, the only thing Samsung didn't also do was to announce whether the Galaxy A8+ was coming to Australia or not.

Given Samsung made no mention of the effectively identical A8+ model, but with 6-inch screen, which can be seen here at Samsung's Global A8/A8+ site, it probably isn't coming, although I guess you never know.

Also, the A8 comes with Android 7.1.1 – there's seemingly no word as yet on if this will receive an update to Android 8.x Oreo, or the Android 9.x "P" version later this year (or the next).

Here are the Samsung Galaxy A8 Product Specifications:

Display
5.6-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED,1080×2220

Camera
Front: Dual Camera 16MP FF (F1.9) + 8MP (F1.9) Rear: 16MP PDAF (F1.7)

Dimension
149.2 x 70.6 x 8.4 mm, 172g

CPU (AP/Application Processor)
Octa Core (2.2GHz Dual + 1.6GHz Hexa)

Memory
4GB RAM, 32GB

Battery
3,000mAh
Fast Charging / USB Type-C

OS
Android 7.1.1

Network
LTE Cat. 11

Connectivity
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80, 256 QAM, Bluetooth v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, USB Type-C, NFC

Location
GPS, Glonass, BeiDou - BeiDou coverage may be limited

Payment
NFC, MST

Sensors
Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor

Audio
MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXM IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA

Video
MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM

Here are four Samsung videos for the A8 series, the first from Samsung Malaysia, the next two from Samsung in the US, and the last from GSM Arena doing a sub 5-minute review of the A8 2018 model:

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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