Like Samsung’s more premium S series, the Galaxy A8 (2018) has rounded edges. This aesthetic gives the Galaxy A8 (2018) the impression of having a borderless screen with the display seemingly merging into the case. Samsung has called this Infinity Display.
The design only echoes that found in the arguably more stylish Galaxy S8 and S8+though. While the Galaxy A8 (2018) inherits the glass back from its more premium sibling, the edges of the device taper more gradually. The display and rear glass are covered by Gorilla Glass 5 and held together within a metal frame. The 8.4 mm (~0.33 in) case is extremely robust, to the extent that we could not bend or twist it. The device is available in Black, Orchid Gray, Gold, and Blue.
The high screen-to-body ratio has forced Samsung to move the fingerprint sensor to the back of the device, slightly recessing it underneath the main camera. The Galaxy A8 (2018) is IP68 certified, meaning that it is both dust and waterproof. Samsung details that the device is only waterproof up to 1.5 meters (~4.9 ft) for up to thirty minutes, which corresponds with IP67.
Samsung offers the Galaxy A8 (2018) in multiple configurations, with every variant powered by the Exynos 7885, and 4 GB of RAM. Aside from the choice of colours, there are 32 and 64 GB variants, and the choice of single or dual nano-SIM variants.
MicroSD card expansion can increase internal storage by up to 256 GB with it being possible to move both media files and apps to expandable storage.
The Galaxy A8 (2018) has a USB-C port that supports 2.0 speeds, fast charging, and USB OTG. Audio is handled by a 3.5 mm jack that is located next to the USB-C port.
The Galaxy A8 (2018) runs Android Nougat 7.1.1 and version 8.5 of Samsung’s UI, also found on the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8. There is a selection of Samsung apps preinstalled along with apps from Google, Facebook and Microsoft. These can only be disabled; none of them can be uninstalled.
Communication and GPS
The Galaxy A8 (2018) supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, which means that it can connect to both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks. Consequently, we found that transmission speeds are fast, with the Galaxy A8 (2018) achieving 269 MBit/s send and 280 MBit/s receive speeds with our reference Linksys EA8500 router. Equally, the Galaxy A8 (2018) supports LTE Cat. 11, with download and upload speeds of up to 600 Mbps and 50 Mbps respectively. NFC and Bluetooth 5.0 are included, the latter of which will be supported by Android Oreo 8.0 onwards. Android Nougat 7.1.1. supports only up to Bluetooth 4.2.
GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou determine location. This helps the Galaxy A8 (2018) achieve a relatively precise location accuracy of up to four meters (~13 ft) outside and nine meters (~29.5 ft) inside. On our test bike ride, in which we compared the Galaxy A8 (2018)’s location accuracy against a Garmin Edge 500, we often found that the mid-range smartphone plotted a better route than the professional device. Ultimately, the Galaxy A8 (2018) only calculated that we had travelled fifty meters (~164 ft) more over nearly 9 km (~5.6 mi) than the Garmin Edge 500. Hence, the Galaxy A8 (2018) should be accurate enough for most people’s needs.
Telephone and Call Quality
The Galaxy A8 (2018) is available in either single or dual SIM variants, the latter of which Samsung refers to as the Galaxy A8 (2018) Duos. The Duos variant has dedicated slots for two nano-SIMs and a microSD card. When both SIMs are activated calls, messages, and data services can be assigned to a specific SIM card.
Our tests reveal that the device has good voice quality with voices remaining understandable on hands-free provided that the ambient noise is not too loud.
The Galaxy A8 (2018) has a dual-camera. Surprisingly though, it is found on the front, with the main rear-camera having a single sensor. This dual front-facing camera array brings a considerable arsenal for selfies.
The front-facing array has 16 MP and 8 MP sensors, allowing for varying focal lengths and bokeh effects. There are many filters, such as beauty effects or stickers. Picture and video quality is adequate, with both the front and rear cameras able to record video up to 1080p and 30 FPS.
Although equipped with only one sensor, the 16 MP main camera has plenty up its sleeve. The f 1.7 lens, 1.12µm pixel size, and 1/2.8″ sensor give the Galaxy A8 (2018) good low-light performance, while phase detection autofocus provides fast focusing.
The daylight shots in scenes one and two show that the main camera captures fine details with the sharpness of the focus enhancing the vibrant color scheme.
Samsung includes a modular power supply, a USB Type-A to Type-C cable, headphones, a SIM tool, and a quick start guide in the box. There are currently no official accessories listed on Samsung’s website.
Input devices and Operation
Samsung has preinstalled its own keyboard as the default; we particularly like its clear structure and the numerous functions and settings that are available. The Galaxy A8 (2018) also has accessibility features such as high-contrast fonts, dictation, and a flashlight notification notifying you of incoming messages or alarms. There is a ‘simple mode’ for smartphone beginners that applies a simpler layout and larger controls. A nice extra feature is the multi-window mode, which can display several apps simultaneously.
There are three physical buttons: the volume rocker on the left-hand side, the power button on the right-hand side, and the fingerprint sensor on the rear, which sits below the main-camera. The Galaxy A8 (2018) uses capacitive buttons for navigation, while the display has ten finger multi touch that is sensitive and worked without delay during our tests.
The Galaxy A8 (2018) has a 5.6-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2,220×1,080, and a pixel density of 441 PPI. The display has an 18.5:9 aspect ratio thanks to its narrow bezels. The display achieves a brightness of 589 cd/m² with the ambient light sensor switched, which reduces to 347 cd/m² in manual mode. The display was brighter still in the APL50 test, which simulates an even distribution of light and dark areas, reaching up to 684 cd/m². On average, the display achieved 538.3 cd/m², which should be bright enough for use in every situation.
The OLED display is 96 percent evenly lit and theoretically has an infinite contrast ratio; pixels can be individually turned off, producing total blacks.
Unfortunately, as with most OLED panels, the Galaxy A8 (2018) uses pulse width modulation (PWM) to control brightness. We measured PWM flicker at 242.7 Hz, which while being relatively low is still likely to be noticed by those with sensitive eyes after prolonged use.
The Galaxy A8 (2018) is energy efficient, requiring a maximum of 1.1 W while idling and up to 5.97 W under load. The combination of 3.86 W average power consumption and a 3,000 mAh battery should guarantee a long battery life. The battery is lithium-ion and is non-removable. The 10 W power supply supports Fast Charge, fully recharging the Galaxy A8 (2018) in ninety-five minutes.
Off / Standby darklight 0 / 0.15 Watt
Idle darkmidlight 0.67 / 1.02 / 1.1 Watt
Load midlight 3.86 / 5.97 Watt
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light Metrahit Energy
Its low power consumption helps the Galaxy A8 (2018) achieve above average battery life in contrast to our comparison devices. During our realistic Wi-Fi test, in which we simulated the load required to load websites at 150 cd/m² brightness, the Galaxy A8 (2018) lasted for eleven hours. This impressive runtime extended to fifteen hours in our H.264 video test. The Galaxy A8 (2018) lasted far longer than its competitors here, despite being beaten in some of our other battery tests.
With the Galaxy A8 (2018), Samsung has made a well-equipped mid-range smartphone that has a lot of things going for it. The design looks and feels premium while being IP68 rated. The Super AMOLED Infinity-Display is visually impressive, being well tuned, bright while also having a high resolution. Selfie fans get a dual front-facing camera with good optics that leaves room for gimmicks while still taking good pictures, the latter of which also applies to the 16 MP rear
This article was published in partnership with PR Worx