It is always nice to see premium features trickling down to more affordable devices. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy A8+, users can now get an Infinity Display that covers most of the phone’s face on a mid-range model. Though similar to the 18.5:9 display on the Galaxy S8 series and Note 8, the screen is a little less dramatic as it is not curved like on the Samsung flagship models. The unusual aspect ratio means videos either have black borders or can be enlarged to fit, at the cost of cropping the edges slightly.
Apps that mostly use scrolling gestures like Instagram or web articles can be done one handed, with the taller screen letting you see more at any one time. Typing one handed, however, is still out of reach for anyone without a long thumb or significant dexterity when using the Swiftkey keyboard.
The A8+ boasts the company’s first dual front-facing cameras on a mobile, which allow users to use the Live Focus feature so that the background is blurred to make the subject standout. While the feature debuted on the Note 8 a few months back, it was meant for portrait photos as the dual cameras were on the Note 8’s rear. The cool thing about Live Focus is that you can adjust the intensity of the Bokeh after taking the shot, translating to quicker and hopefully more natural selfies. Users can now also blur out photo bombers and fully focus on themselves. The wider angle of the front-facing cameras means being able to stuff more friends into a wefie, while still getting a good amount of background in the shot so you remember where and when the photos were taken.
The 16-megapixel rear camera, while perfectly capable for day-light and foodie photography, struggles a little to keep up once twilight sets in. Like most cameras that run on phase detection autofocus, contrasty scenes are a challenge. Unlike the Note 8, it does not have OIS (optical image stabilisation), requiring users to have steadier hands to avoid blurry shots.
Two great features the A8+ has are the face recognition scanner and fingerprint scanner on the back. These work well together as the face recognition unlocks smoothly when the outdoor heat and dirt may render users’ fingers a bit too sweaty or grimy to unlock with fingerprints. Conversely, the fingerprint scanner is ergonomically placed under the camera lens, easily found even in the dark or as the phone is being taken out of a pocket or bag.
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
DISPLAY: 6in FHD (1,080 x 2220 pixels)
CAMERA: 16-megapixel rear camera; dual front-facing cameras (16 megapixel + 8 megapixels)
PROCESSOR: Exynos 7885 octa-core (quad-core 2.2GHz + quad-core 1.6GHz)
MEMORY: 64GB internal memory, 6GB RAM
OTHER FEATURES: NFC, water and dust resistant, fast wired charging