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Samsung Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus announced: Sleek, selfie-focused mid-rangers (Update: Pre-orders open in South Korea)
There's no word on a release date for the larger Galaxy A8 Plus in Samsung's home region or availability details for a worldwide launch, but we'll keep an ear open for any updates.
Original story (12/19/2017): Samsung just announced its new mid-range phones, the Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8 Plus (2018).
Replacing the 2017 Galaxy A lineup, the Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8 Plus feature attractive specs and a design that is inspired by the Galaxy S series. The coolest feature is the dual front cameras, which feature f 1.9 lenses and portrait mode.
A simpler naming scheme
In recent years, Samsung has released several popular phones in the mid range as part of the A series. The naming convention for these devices – Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 – conflicted with the way Samsung names its most important devices, the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series.
With the 2018 generation, Samsung has renamed the Galaxy A5 to Galaxy A8 (2018) and the Galaxy A7 to Galaxy A8 Plus (2018).
We don’t know for now what happened to the Galaxy A3. Did Samsung kill it? Will it be folded in the Galaxy J series?
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Front-facing dual cameras
The Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus are the first Samsung phones with dual front cameras. These mid-rangers beat out the flagships to the punch, though dual front cameras have been a fixture on mid-range phones from other manufacturers.
The cameras feature f 1.9 lenses – basically, the lower the number the better – so they should give your selfie nice background blurs.
One of the cameras is 16MP, and the other one 8MP. Samsung says you can switch between them to get the type of shot you like, which makes it sound like they have different widths of angle.
Portrait modes are all the rage, and the Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8 Plus are jumping on the bandwagon. You can take selfies and adjust the amount of blur in the background, before and after taking the image – this feature is called Live Focus and we’ve seen it before on the rear dual camera of the Galaxy Note 8.
You also get stickers and a beauty mode to spice up your self-portraits.
Familiar design, competent specs
The new Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8 Plus (2018) look a lot like Samsung’s 2017 devices, mixing a smooth glass back with a metallic chassis and the 18.5:9 display form factor.
They are available in black, orchid grey, gold and blue.
The Galaxy A8 features a 5.6-inch Full HD+ (“+” denoting it’s an 18.5:9 panel), while the A8 Plus goes up to 6 inches, but keeps the same resolution.
The two phones share most of the key specs, including the cameras (16 MP PDAF f 1.7 on the back), an octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32/64GB of storage.
The smaller A8 features a 3,000 mAh battery. The A8 Plus gets an excellent 3,500 mAh – that’s the same as the much pricier Galaxy S8 Plus.
Both phones feature fingerprint sensors (placed below the rear camera), USB Type-C, Samsung Pay (with MST, so you can use them on older points of sale), and IP68 water and dust resistance.
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Comparing the Galaxy A8 to the current generation
Compared to the 2017 Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7, the Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8 Plus (2018) offer updated designs that follow the Galaxy S series (much smaller bezels, fingerprint sensor is now on the back), as well as improvements to the processor, RAM and memory.
The biggest new feature is the dual front camera. The screens are also larger, though the actual size of the phone is almost unchanged. That’s probably why the battery capacity remained roughly the same.
Samsung Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus price and availability
You will be able to buy the Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8 Plus (2018) starting from January. That’s the only detail that Samsung has revealed so far, but we expect to learn more at CES Las Vegas, when we’ll also go our hands on these two phones.
If the price of previous phones in the A series is any indication, the new A8 and A8 Plus will cost in the $350-$450 range, depending on the market.
Thoughts on the new Galaxy A8 (2018) and Galaxy A8 Plus (2018)?