Reviews
Pros

-All metal design
-Large vibrant display
-Thin profile
-MicroSD expansion
-Fantastic battery life
-Excellent camera
-Fingerprint scanner

Cons

-Expensive for midrange
-Occasional homescreen lag issues
-Weak speaker

Rating
Our Rating
Battery
9.4
Display
8.8
Camera
8.9
Software
9.1
Design
8.9
Bottom Line

Samsung gets a lot right with the Galaxy A8, including its premium metal construction, excellent camera experience, and surprisingly impressive battery life. With other key aspects like performance being at par with most other mid-range smartphones out there that are available at far cheaper price points, the Galaxy A8 can be a difficult device to recommend.

9.0
Our Rating
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Buy Galaxy A8


Before Samsung made its dramatic shift to metal and glass for the Galaxy S6, the company experimented with “premium” materials in its medium range first. The use of metal began with the Galaxy Alpha, and was later extended to the Galaxy A series, with these otherwise mid-range smartphones featuring metallic unibody designs.

The latest addition to the Galaxy A lineup is bigger, but thinner and more powerful. The question is, in this highly competitive mid-range segment, is it worth the buy? We find out, in this in-depth review of the Samsung Galaxy A8!

Design

Samsung Galaxy A8-16

As mentioned, the marquee feature of the Galaxy A series is the full metal unibody design, and that continues with the Galaxy A8. Unfortunately, that also means the battery is not removable. Chamfered edges go around the entire frame, and the body has been mostly rounded off along the corners and the back, with the exception of the sides that feature some very prominent angles. With a thickness of just 5.9 mm, the Galaxy A8 is Samsung’s thinnest phone to date, and the device is quite light, with a weight of 151 grams, despite its metal construction.

Samsung Galaxy A8-6

The Galaxy A8 comes with some very thin side bezels, which helps make it a little more manageable as far as one-handed use is concerned, even though it’s still a very tall phone. The metal build and extremely sleek profile is a great combination. That said, while it feels solid in the hand, the Galaxy A8 can still be pretty unwieldy at times, because of the large screen and the slipperiness of the metallic back.

Samsung Galaxy A8-5

The buttons and ports are in identical locations to other Galaxy A devices, with the power button on the right, placed within comfortable reach, along with the 3.5 mm headphone jack and the microUSB port found at the bottom. The single speaker unit is placed next to the camera on the back, and the volume rocker is on the left side. It has to be said that the volume controls are towards the top, making them very uncomfortable and awkward to reach. Also on the left is the dual-SIM card slot, with the second SIM slot doubling as a microSD card slot as well. Of course, this wouldn’t be a Samsung smartphone without the signature tactile home button, flanked by the back and recent apps capacitive keys, up front.

Display

samsung galaxy a8 2 1

The Galaxy A8 comes with a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with Full HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 386 ppi. The large size of the display makes it great for watching videos, playing games, web browsing, and pretty much anything else you’d typically want to do on your phone. It’s got everything that we love about Samsung’s Super AMOLED panels, like great viewing angles, high brightness, good outdoor visibility, and vibrant, saturated colors that make the elements pop off the screen.

Samsung Galaxy A8-15

Quad HD is what may get most people excited, but 1080p is more than enough, especially when considering the mid-range nature of this phone. The display is still very sharp, allowing for a fantastic display experience when reading text and various other content.

Performance

Samsung Galaxy A8-8

In most markets, the Galaxy A8 packs an octa-core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, clocked at 1.5 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 405 GPU and 2 GB of RAM. However, our particular model is the Korean variant, which offers 2GB RAM but instead features an Exynos 5430 SoC. While there will be minor differences, we’d expect both versions to perform relatively similarly.

Everyday performance with the A8 was good, with everything running smoothly when browsing the web, multi-tasking, or playing graphic-intensive games.

There are some home screen stutters to be seen occasionally, especially when scrolling in and out of the Flipboard homescreen, but this is a software issue, and was also seen with the flagship Galaxy S6. Overall, the Galaxy A8 handles itself well, and in the grand scheme of things, the performance is at par with other smartphones with similar specifications.

Hardware

Samsung Galaxy A8-7

The Galaxy A8 comes with 16 GB or 32 GB built-in storage, and as mentioned, the second SIM slot can be used for expandable storage via microSD card, by up to 128 GB, leaving it on the users to choose between dual SIM or expandable storage. The device packs the usual suite of connectivity options, and while 4G LTE connectivity is available in select markets, that isn’t the case in the US, where you will be limited to HSPA+ on the AT&T and T-Mobile network.

Samsung Galaxy A8-13

A fingerprint scanner is also integrated into the physical home button of the device, and works just as well as it does on the Galaxy S6, allowing for a quick and simple way to unlock the phone. The setup process is identical, requiring a series of repeated presses until it completely captures your fingerprint, and you have the option to store up to a maximum of four fingerprints at one time.

Samsung Galaxy A8-10

Speaker quality from the rear mounted speaker isn’t the best, as it doesn’t get very loud and can be difficult to hear in noisier environments. The sound is also somewhat tinny and hollow, and so, the media-consumption experience is definitely lacking as far as audio is concerned. As is the case with any rear speaker setup, the sound also gets muffled when the device is placed on a flat surface.

Despite how thin the Galaxy A8 is, Samsung was able to pack a large 3,050 mAh battery inside the device, and as expected, the battery life it provides is really good. One of the most impressive aspects about this battery is when the device is in the idle state, often losing just 2 to 3% of battery when the device is kept without being charged overnight. Even with heavy usage that consists of a lot of gaming and watching videos on YouTube, the device still allowed for up to 4 hours of screen-on time, and because it idles so well, I was able to stretch the standby time to over a day. With more casual usage, the screen-on time reached almost 6 hours, and no matter how heavy or light your use is, you should comfortably be able to get a full day of use, if not more, out of the Galaxy A8.

Camera

Samsung Galaxy A8-9

The rear camera is a 16 MP sensor with an f/1.9 aperture, just like what is seen with the Galaxy S6. The sensor uses ISOCELL technology, but there is no optical image stabilization available with the Galaxy A8. The camera can also be launched via a double tap of the home button, which quickly launches the camera app, regardless of where you are within the phone or if coming from a sleep state. The front-facing camera is a 5 MP unit with a wide angle lens that allows for some decent looking selfies, but the default beauty mode settings are a little too aggressive, and that’s something you’ll have to tone down to get a more natural looking image.

Samsung Galaxy A8-12

The camera interface is mostly the same as what was introduced on the S6. It’s a much cleaner and more simplified UI, that the interface on some older Samsung devices. Only a few shooting modes are pre-loaded – including panorama, continuous shot, night, and Pro, which offers full manual controls. Users have the option to download other modes separately.

The main difference between the A8 and the S6 is the absence of HDR Auto, and the HDR toggle is buried in with the rest of the shooting modes, making the experience of switching between HDR and Auto mode a little bit clunky and slow.

What isn’t clunky and slow, however, is the shutter speed. It’s nice and quick, making it really easy to snap photos, and resulting in pretty good images. They’re very sharp and with plenty of detail, especially in above-average lighting conditions, and there’s still a good amount of clarity even when zoomed in. The images are colorful and saturated as you would expect from a Samsung camera, making for some very crisp and vibrant images. Dynamic range is already pretty good in normal mode, but HDR, should you ever need it, does a great job at introducing some extra detail and color without appearing overexposed or unnatural.

Even without OIS, the camera does really well in low light conditions, and the f/1.9 aperture obviously makes a huge difference here. Images still exhibit a nice amount of color and sharpness, and there’s not a whole lot of noise reduction going on in post-production, which helps to maintain a respectable level of detail.

Software

Samsung Galaxy A8-11

On the software side of things, the Galaxy A8 runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, with Samsung’s typical TouchWiz interface on top. This the much leaner version of TouchWiz that was first seen with the Galaxy S series flagships, and as such, there is a lot less Samsung bloatware and unnecessary features. Since this review unit is from SK Telecom, a South Korean network carrier, there are quite a lot of SK Telecom apps pre-installed though.

Many of Samsung’s popular, and arguably more useful, features are present. This includes multi-window for split-screen multitasking, and smart gestures, like palm swipe to capture a screenshot or flipping the over the phone to mute phone calls and alarms. The new themes engine that was first introduced on the S6 is also included on the Galaxy A8, to help you easily customize and change the overall look of the UI if you’re not a fan of the blue and green Touchwiz color scheme. The theme store is constantly growing and is much more robust now than it was during its early days, and with so many different styles available, you should be able to find at least a few that will suit your taste.

Specifications

Display5.7-inch Super AMOLED display
Full HD resolution, 386 ppi
Processor1.5 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
Adreno 405 GPU

Korean model: Exynos 5430 SoC, Mali GPU
Storage16/32 GB
expandable via microSD up to 128 GB
RAM2 GB
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.1
GPS + GLONASS
NFC
microUSB 2.0
SoftwareAndroid 5.1.1 Lollipop
Camera16 MP rear camera with LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera with wide angle lens
Battery3,050 mAh
ColorsPearl White, Midnight Black, Champagne Gold
Dimensions158 x 76.8 x 5.9 mm
151 grams

Gallery

Pricing and final thoughts

The Samsung Galaxy A8 is currently available in select markets like China, India, and South Korea, priced at around $500. If previous A series phones are any indication, it’s highly unlikely that the Galaxy A8 will officially make its way over to the US. The cost to import one through sites like eBay will run you upwards of $800, at which point you’re obviously much better off picking up a flagship, or one of the many affordable mid-range devices that are available through official channels.

Samsung Galaxy A8-20

So there you have it for this in-depth look at the Samsung Galaxy A8! This is a solid mid-range device, that gets a lot of things right, particularly when it comes to build quality, the camera experience, and battery life. The price is a point of contention though, as there are plenty of fantastic mid-range smartphones that are hitting the sub-$300 mark. While the Galaxy A8 is by no means a bad buy, the premium you will have to pay for this device can be a tough pill to swallow.

Buy Galaxy A8
  • Acaa Aca

    saw a lot of Filipino foods in there

  • nebulaoperator

    “Occasional homescreen lag issues” just wait for 2-3 months !

    • StanS

      I have my Note 4 for 9 months with ZERO lag issues.
      Perhaps you have the abilities to only use an iphone, so enjoy.

      • nebulaoperator

        Apparently this phones lags from the start!
        M7 1+1 Moto G 3 gen and of course iphone 6 user

  • Simon Setyadarma

    Better wait C5 Ultra :| Hope it will be better than this phone :|

  • Daggett Beaver

    If it wasn’t for the price, this would be an ideal mid-range phone for me. I like a big AMOLED screen. The lag is a non-issue. Just turn off Flipboard briefing or install a different launcher. But I still wouldn’t pay $500 for it.

  • Tauras Zemaitis

    Korean A8 has Exynos 5430. You can also clearly see in 3D benchmarks that it has Mali T628 GPU. So no, it’s not SD615.

    • Kenny Lefebre

      I was about to ask why this scores 47000 in Antutu, where other 615 phones only score around 30000. Thank for clearing that up.

  • Angry Mobile Nerd

    Nice to see Lanh carried over the ridiculous $800 price tag from Android Authority A8 preview that was published a week ago.

    FYI Expansys USA has the 32GB A8 in stock ready to ship for $500 USD:

    http://www.expansys-usa.com/samsung-galaxy-a8-smartphone-a800-gold-lte-32gb-280861/

    • Sola Hoi

      Is it the Exynos version?

  • Shalini Jain

    Wtf wrong with this man, the phone’s damn costly , it lags and will lag a lot after few months u gave software and performance good score for what … Samsung is being known for its lag and will be known for it they are in android world for so long but they can’t even repair this issue 😕 , u gave this phone an amazing score why don’t u use it as ur daily driver for a year and then say how good is it

    • StanS

      Troll comment from a liar.
      No proof.
      Haters gonna hate.

    • Rien Soewardji

      Easy…Just root it to make it faster. ..😁.

  • www.nuldolor5x.com

    As a Samsung fan, only a fool will buy this device at that price. This so called GA8 was not supposed to cost more than $400. I don’t know the type of game Samsung is playing. Even at gun point I can’t buy this thing for $800.

  • Aditya Misra

    Performance is nowhere near ‘similar’ for the Exynos and SD 615 models. The Exynos 5430 present in the Korean and Indian version is miles ahead of the distinctly mediocre SD 615.

    The exynos version is a decent deal for the money. The SD 615 version is a joke on the other hand.

  • tl3703

    this is the new note 5. same size no longer has replaceable battery but can allow the sd card to be used. probably a phone samsung used to see what reaction would be to the new design and from the article gets a positive reaction to the build. Samsung then adds better internals S pen battery stays the same and you have got the new Note 5

  • Colonel JK Stern

    so price, speaker and lag equals an 8.9????? haha what a joke

  • Qasim Haji

    Not worth it especially since you will be able to get the Moto X for $400 which I think is more powerful

  • pooja kumar

    I bought A8 on 9 th August 2015. but its response is not good.while charging it gets hot like iron within 30 minutes.I switched off the mobile while sleeping with 70% battery …After few hours when I want to start the phone,,,battery was gone,,,it was 0%..I had put again for charging…Very upset

    • Rien Soewardji

      Looks like factory defect.

  • Rien Soewardji

    I thought the speaker of A7 was very weak. But one day I put my phone on the table and I played music, the hard surface of table amplified the sound of the speaker. It became very loud.
    Maybe it’s the same with A8.

  • Yansnan Qang

    This product is discount for sale without tax go through , purchase to visit :www.honorsell.com

    Wholesale Clone Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ MT6795 32GB—258 USD

  • PREM SAMEER

    Hardly matter for SAMSUNG by PREM SAMEER:

    PLEASE DO NOT BUY THIS… BUY ANYTHING BUT NOT A8

    SAMSUNG SUCKS ….. I bought a SAMSUNG GALAXY A8 on 7th Aug’2015 which was defective so got a replacement on 11th Aug’2015.this placed phone is worse than the one i bought… it is lying with samsung service centre……. till today that is 03rd sep2015.

    Now, I feel that I must have bought INTEX OR LAVA instaed of wasting my Rs.32,500 in this shit of samsung… which even doesn’t know what is customer service and how a customer would feel without a phone for month…………

    HEY SAMSUNG need more details check with phone number 9711004343… and Honestly by tomorrow either give me my phone or else my money….

    My patience is over so may put samsung and service center in trouble…..

    – See more at: http://www.bookcomplaints.com/India/consumer-file-complaint/Samsung-online-reviews-complaints/company-product-list/company/samsung_i1874#gsc.tab=0

  • PREM SAMEER

    ALL LIES PEOPLE THIS PHONE SUCKS NO BACK UP….OVER HEATS…. FINGERPRINT DOES NOT WORK……..
    BEWARE DO NOT BUY SAMSUNG A8 IF YOU A WORKING PROFESSIONAL and DO NOT HAVE TIME TO WASTE …….
    SAMSUNG SUCKS ….. I bought a SAMSUNG GALAXY A8 on 7th Aug’2015 which was defective so got a replacement on 11th Aug’2015.this placed phone is worse than the one i bought… it is lying with samsung service centre……. till today that is 03rd sep2015.
    Now, I feel that I must have bought INTEX OR LAVA instaed of wasting my Rs.32,500 in this shit of samsung… which even doesn’t know what is customer service and how a customer would feel without a phone for month…………
    HEY SAMSUNG need more details check with phone number 9711004343… and Honestly by tomorrow either give me my phone or else my money….
    My patience is over so may put samsung and service center in trouble…..

  • PREM SAMEER

    SAMSUNG A8 Reviews… True… based on my experience…
    ALL LIES PEOPLE THIS PHONE SUCKS NO BACK UP….OVER HEATS…. FINGERPRINT DOES NOT WORK……..
    BEWARE DO NOT BUY SAMSUNG A8 IF YOU A WORKING PROFESSIONAL and DO NOT HAVE TIME TO WASTE …….
    SAMSUNG SUCKS ….. I bought a SAMSUNG GALAXY A8 on 7th Aug’2015 which was defective so got a replacement on 11th Aug’2015.this placed phone is worse than the one i bought… it is lying with samsung service centre……. till today that is 03rd sep2015.
    Now, I feel that I must have bought INTEX OR LAVA instaed of wasting my Rs.32,500 in this shit of samsung… which even doesn’t know what is customer service and how a customer would feel without a phone for month…………
    HEY SAMSUNG need more details check with phone number 9711004343… and Honestly by tomorrow either give me my phone or else my money….
    My patience is over so may put samsung and service center in trouble…..

  • SHAKTI KUMAR Jain

    Samsung GALAXY A8: A POOR AFTER SALES SERVICE

    Impressed with SAMSUNG brand name and impressed with its Ads I purchased Samsung Galaxy A8 4G. Look-wise and feature-wise the phone is attractive, but the service of the SAMSUNG is very discourteous and displeasing. After a day of purchase, the display of the phone was found defective being working from top half, the matter reported to Customer care. The front desk being not found competent to resolve the issue and Supervisor not ready to take the call the matter reported to CEO’s Office, which though responded within short period and asked the Supervisor to call back, but only the false assurances were given to meet Manager at Sec 22-D Chandigarh service center at 10.00 am. She came late at 10.55am, and she was informed that we have to wait after spending Rs.31,500/- only 2 days ago, her replies were very much unprofessional and discourteous, taking this as ill, she refused to change the phone or to hear and balance the grievances of the customer. She directly encouraged to approach the Consumer Forum.

    Though an escalation officer of the Company talked to me in the evening, but it was an eyewash since she did not tried to understand my concern.

    In fact, the handset was defective from screen, which worked for a few hours and on being heated in use, the fault (hairline small fracture) appeared on its display which was not noted by the Quality Control Department of the Company. Now instead of providing customer satisfaction by removing the fault that was developed at initial stage the service people are not ready to own anything and are acting revengefully.

    Since this is the 2nd time I had this bitter experience, in case you require services from SAMSUNG, I advise you to think twice before relying on their after-sales service, while preferring their products.

    Compared to this, I narrate my good experience with newly born Gionee Mobile Company. I did not faced any problem in its E7 high-end variant during the warranty period. After Warranty Period, I visited the service center in Sec.45, Chandigarh, where they talked with courtesy and resolved issues by format and change of software in only Rs.300/-.

    -S K Jain, Chandigarh

    • epimeteo

      Ha Ha Ha this is a joke. I completely agree w/ Samsung behaviour against you.

  • Milon Ahamed

    I am using Galaxy A8 last 2months. When I receive or dialing a number and start talking then phone screen automatically touch with my chick its automatically touch the hold button and call goes to hold option. Its really bothering. How to relief from this problem?

  • rebirthofcool

    apparently the Exynos 5430 (20nm) equipped version is the better option for the A8. for anyone who is looking for a smartphone with decent spec like full HD res screen and solid battery life at an affordable price, the A8 offers bang for the buck…do not fall for chinese copycats where hardware spec and performance are greatly compromised which offer nothing but user frustration and buyer’s remorse.