The Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) is the successor of the Galaxy A5 (2017) and thus the latest addition to the popular Galaxy A series. The mid-range smartphone could make itself unpopular by its ambitious price of 499 euros. Whether this is justified, shows our test.
With Samsung one counts differently: With the Galaxy A8 (2018) Samsung introduces the successor of the Galaxy A5 (2017) and thus equates the names of his smartphones across classes. While in the upper class now the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 + frolic, the 5.6-inch Galaxy A8 (2018) is located in the highly competitive middle class. With the Galaxy A8 + (2018), it also gets a bigger brother aside, which offers a 6-inch display (also Super-AMOLED).
Both smartphones run on the brand new Samsung SoC Exynos 7885, 4GB RAM and the ARM GPU Mali G71 MP2 . There is also a 16 MP main camera and a dual webcam with 8 or 16 MP. LTE Cat.11, a USB Type-C port, optional dual-SIM functionality, WLAN 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0 complete the solid features.
With the Galaxy A8 (2018) we test the smaller of the two new A8 smartphones, which is officially estimated at 499 euros. It must compete against strong middle-class rivals, who are also very similar in terms of price: Asus ZenFone 4 ZE554KL , BQ Aquaris X Pro , Honor 9 , OnePlus 5T and Sony Xperia XZ1.
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Like its relatives from the “S-Class” of Samsung (all new S-models) also scores the Galaxy A8 (2018) with rounded edges. This gives the impression of a borderless screen. Samsung calls it Infinity display, as it apparently seamlessly merges into the case.
Because the design was not taken over 1: 1 from the Galaxy S8 or the Galaxy S8 + , for example, the screen edges are not pulled so far down. The 8.4-millimeter flat Galaxy A8 (2018) does not look as stylish as its upper-class colleagues, but has inherited its glass surface. Just like the display cover, the back cover – available in the “Black”, “Orchid Gray”, “Gold” and “Blue” colors – is made of Gorilla Glass 5 and is held together by a metal frame, which makes the overall construction extremely robust , We could not bend or impress the Galaxy A8 (2018) in the test.
The full-surface display on the front of the fingerprint sensor has moved to the back and sits slightly recessed below the main camera. In the dual-SIM variant, the Galaxy A8 (2018) brings along a nano-SIM / microSD slot on the head side with another nano-SIM slot on the left-hand side. Practical: The chassis is officially IP68 certified, making the Galaxy A8 (2018) both dustproof and waterproof. However, if you look in the footnotes of the equipment list, Samsung speaks only of dives for up to 30 minutes at a maximum of 1.5 meters water depth, which corresponds to only IP67.
Samsung offers the Galaxy A8 (2018) in various configurations, in which the hardware base with the Samsung SoC Exynos 7885 Octa and 4 GB RAM but always remains the same. Unlike the space and the SIM slots, where either 32 or 64 GB or one or two nano-SIM slots are available.
Our test device is equipped with two SIM slots and 32 GB of storage space, of which around 23 GB are free after commissioning. The internal memory can be expanded via microSD cards by up to 256 GB. In doing so, not only media files but also apps can be moved to the memory card.
Although the twist-proof USB-C port on the bottom only runs at USB 2.0 speed, it supports a fast-charging function and can also use USB OTG devices to put USB peripherals into operation. The connections are completed by the 3.5 mm jack directly next to the USB-C port.
On the Galaxy A8 (2018) running Android 7.1.1, the Samsung has its own interface Samsung UI (here in version 8.5) donated. It is also used in other current Samsung smartphones like the Galaxy Note 8 or the Galaxy S8 . In addition to a small selection of own apps, the OS package includes apps from Google, Facebook and Microsoft. They can not be uninstalled, only deactivated.
According to Internet rumor mill, the Galaxy A8 (2018) will receive an update to Android 8.0, but without naming an exact date. The Android security patch level was at the time of the test on December 1, 2017, which made it relatively up to date.
Communication and GPS
The Galaxy A8 (2018) works with Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, so it can plug into both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks. The data throughput can be correspondingly fast. In conjunction with our reference router Linksys EA8500 the smartphone comes in sending direction to good 269 MBit / s and when receiving data even to 280 MBit / s. NFC and Bluetooth 5.0 are also part of the communication equipment, the latter only works with Android 8.0. With Android 7.1.1 it stays with Bluetooth 4.2. Also offered is LTE Cat.11 with download rates of up to 600 Mbps. In upload a maximum of 50 MBit / s are possible.
Its current position determines the Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) using GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou. In the test, it locates us in the open air up to 4 meters, in buildings it is still fairly precise 9 meters. On our bike test track, the mid-range smartphone was therefore very good and sometimes even had the somewhat better route ahead of the professional navigation device Garmin Edge 500. In the end, both devices were only 50 meters apart at the measured total distance. For precise navigation via the app, the Galaxy A8 (2018) therefore has the best prerequisites.
The Galaxy A8 (2018) is equipped with a dual camera. Surprisingly, she is not sitting on the back – there is the 16-MP main camera with “only” a lens – but on the front and brings with it a considerable photo-arsenal for selfies.
The front camera uses a 16 MP sensor lens and another 8 MP sensor, allowing users to vary the focal length or spice up photos with bokeh effects. There are also various filters such as beauty effects or stickers. For selfies, the picture quality is fine. This also applies to videos that can be recorded as in the main camera in Full HD with up to 30 FPS.
Although only equipped with a lens, the 16-megapixel main camera on the back also has a lot in store. Their larger aperture of f / 1.9 (f / 1.7 with the dual camera) in combination with the larger camera sensor (1 / 2.8 “vs. 1 / 4.0”) in poor lighting conditions for better recording. A phase-detection autofocus ensures fast focusing.
In daylight (Scenes 1 and 2), photos taken with the main camera accurately reproduce fine details of the picture, and their lively coloring adds to what is enhanced by the crisp sharpness, but they do not match the detail of the Asus ZenFone 4 . Even in lowlight environments (scene 3), the Galaxy A8 (2018) performs well and can produce more image details than the camera optics of the OnePlus 5T or ZenFone 4.
Input Devices & Operation
Samsung also uses the Galaxy A8 (2018) its own on-screen keyboard, which scores with its clear structure and numerous settings and functions. Also included in the OS are accessibility features such as high-contrast fonts, a voice output, and a flashing light notification to alert you to incoming messages or alarms. For smartphone beginners there is the so-called simple mode, which uses a simpler layout and larger controls. A nice extra is the multi-window mode, which displays several program windows simultaneously on the screen.
Physical keys are three in number: the left-hand volume rocker, the power button on the right, and the flawless fingerprint sensor on the back. The sits slightly recessed below the camera and can be easily felt. The Android buttons Samsung has put on the screen. The recognizes up to 10 finger inputs at the same time and could always be used in the test very sensitively and without delay.
The Galaxy A8 (2018) distributes 2,220 x 1,080 pixels onto its 5.6-inch Super AMOLED display, achieving a pixel density of 441 PPI, which is reflected in the crisp presentation. The rimless design makes the 18.5: 9 display even more generous. When the ambient light sensor is switched on, the smartphone displays its highest brightness. Then we measure up to 589 cd / m², while in manual mode 347 cd / m² are still in the middle of the picture. In the realistic APL50 measurement, which simulates a uniform distribution of light and dark image areas, the luminance even increases up to 684 cd / m². On average, the result is 538.3 cd / m² – so the display should be able to provide enough brightness in every situation.
The display is 96 percent very evenly lit and throws as OLED typical advantage its theoretically infinite contrast ratio in the pan, because the individual pixels can be turned off in contrast to a LC display, which produces a total black.
The only drawback: Equally typical for OLED display is the pulse width modulation (PWM) for controlling the luminosity. In the Galaxy A8 (2018), however, the PWM flicker at 242.7 Hz is comparatively low, so that it is likely to be perceived by very sensitive persons, and that only with prolonged use.
Although the graphics unit ARM Mali G71 MP2 comes from the entry-level class, but supports all current games from the Google Play Store by supporting current standards such as OpenGL ES 3.2 and the Vulkan API. And even liquid, as our gaming tests show. Demanding Asphalt 8: Airborne has a respectable 30 FPS at maximum graphics, while Dead Trigger 2 has 54 FPS. The position and motion sensors work perfectly. Although the Ulefone Power 3 and the Oukitel K10 use the same GPU, they score much lower in the game benchmarks. Here is the Galaxy A8 (2018) apparently rescued by his strong processor.
In operation, the Galaxy A8 (2018) is no longer as lukewarm and heats up to a maximum of 39.2 ° C during the stress test. As the battery test of GFXBench shows, the smartphone internally has to contend with high temperatures. In both test scenarios, the less demanding T-Rex benchmark and the computationally-intensive Manhattan benchmark, the SoC slows down after about half of the 30 runs, remaining permanently low until the end. Because of the high SoC performance you should not notice much in practice. At any rate, we did not notice anything about reduced performance in our gaming tests.
Like the Galaxy S8 , the Galaxy A8 (2018) supports Ultra High Quality (UHQ) audio with a sampling depth of up to 32 bits. A true-to-life sound reproduction does not get the smartphone due to its sound system. In the Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) is only a mono speaker, which produces little bass, but it sounds surprisingly room-filling. In addition, the tone diaphragm sitting next to the power button produces mids and highs very linearly and does not distort even at the maximum volume of 85 dB (A).
The Galaxy A8 (2018) is frugal in terms of power consumption. At idle it requires a maximum of 1.1 watts from the battery, in the unrealistic case of a full load of up to 5.97 watts. The average power consumption is 3.86 watts, which together with the 3,000 mAh strong, non-replaceable lithium-ion battery should guarantee long battery life. If the battery level is low, the supplied 10-watt power supply is very useful. It supports Fast Charge and fully recharges the empty battery in 1:35 hours.
Its low power consumption helps the Galaxy A8 (2018) in the class comparison to above-average battery life. With the realistic Wi-Fi test, which simulates surfing at a display brightness adjusted to 150 cd / m², the smartphone lasts approximately 11 hours. When playing the H.264 test video, the runtime even increases to more than 15 hours. The OnePlus 5T , the BQ Aquaris X Pro and the Asus ZenFone 4 ZE554KL are just as enduring as the Honor 9 and the Sony Xperia XZ1.
With the Galaxy A8 (2018), Samsung has a well-equipped mid-range smartphone on offer, which can convince in many ways. The workmanship is great, the high-resolution, bright and very well-tuned infinity display makes a great visual impression and the smartphone does not stop operating under water. In the dual-SIM variant you get “real” dual-SIM offered, because the microSD card finds in an extra slot. Selfie fans get optics with the dual camera, which leaves plenty of room for gadgets and at the same time shoots good pictures, which also applies to the 16-MP main camera.