The A-series has always been a gateway from mid-range devices to the flagship smartphones in Samsung smartphones. They pack in some of the features from the mid-rangers while some they share with the flagships. This has been the case for a while now with Samsung’s long line-up of smartphones of the A-series, and that is continued with this device here. This is the Galaxy A8 Star which is Samsung’s answer to the growing number of cheaper high-end Chinese phones. So, is this device a star of the smartphone galaxy? Well, let’s find out.
Samsung Galaxy A8 Star Specifications
- Display: 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display
- Resolution: 1080 x 2220 pixels @ 392 PPI pixel density & 18.5:9 ratio
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
- CPU: Octa-core (4×2.2 GHz Kryo 260 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 260)
- GPU: Adreno 512
- OS: Android 8.0 (Oreo) with Samsung Experience 9.0 UI on the top
- RAM: 6GB
- Storage: 64 GB (expandable up to 400 GB, Uses SIM 2 slot)
- Rear Camera: Dual- (24 MP, f/1.7, CAF) + (16 MP, f/1.7, PDAF), LED flash
- Front Camera: 24 MP, f/2.0 aperture
- Sensors: Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
- SIM: Dual Hybrid SIM with 4G
- Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3700 mAh battery, supports fast charging (9V, 1.67A)
- Price: 59,990
The Samsung Galaxy A8 Star follows the trend of Samsung’s display being top-notch, even though there is no notch here. The front has a tall 6.3-inch full HD+ display with shredded top and bottom bezels just like the Galaxy A8+.
I like everything about this display, it is bright outdoors and with the Super AMOLED panel, it is well saturated, pleasing to the eyes and colorful. It certainly gives other smartphones a run for their money. If you compare it against the OnePlus 6, which is available in a similar price tag in some countries, they look quite similar to the eye. However, the bezels could have been a little shorter to make the phone look even more attractive.
The Samsung Galaxy A8 Star has followed the trend of smartphones sporting minimal bezels and a glass back. This device is an addition to the popular A8 series. What we get with it is a boxy design that has sharp edges all around. These sharp edges make the phone a little bit difficult to use. I know some of you might like this, but at a time when most of the smartphones are focused on better looks and on-hands feel, Samsung has gone old school. But still, the device has a heft to it and feels premium. The shiny glass back looks quite good don’t you think? But yes, like every other smartphone of the present time, it attracts fingerprints, so I carried around a microfiber cloth at all times.
Sandwiched between the two glasses is a metallic rail that helps with better gripping. On this rail rest a few buttons. There is a power button on the right with the volume rockers and the infamous Bixby button on the left.
For me, the worst feature of this device is definitely the placement of these buttons. Just look at it. I don’t understand why Samsung has cut corners in the user experience. The buttons are hard to reach and whenever I thought I had pressed the volume button, it turned out to be the Bixby button and trust me it gets quite annoying when it happens quite a lot of time during the day.
The other area where the Samsung Galaxy A8 Star didn’t live up to my expectation is on the battery front. With the 3700 mAh battery at its helm, I had expected it to last for more than a day. However, that was not the case as it gave me a screen-on-time of around 5 hours – 5 hours and a half. Now running for all that time is good, but for that size and for what its worth, maybe it’s not good enough. Also, this device still has full HD+ resolution, so it should be working for a long time right? There is a fast charging tech embedded inside though with the default charger which is Type-C enabled, so that’s good!
The Samsung Galaxy A8 Star, like every other smartphone of 2018, comes with dual security options – a fingerprint sensor and face unlock. The fingerprint sensor gets unlocking right every time and is a little faster than some of the Samsung devices. The face unlock, on the other hand, takes just a second to unlock the device, so you have that.
However, the disappointment here is the placement of the fingerprint sensor. Samsung and fingerprint sensors! Something that never goes together. I had praised Samsung for improving the fingerprint position on this year’s devices the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9, but yet again Samsung has fallen short of making the fingerprint easy to reach. And when you have to constantly use your phone every now and then, well, it definitely gets annoying.
Performance and Software
On to the performance, the Samsung Galaxy A8 Star features the Snapdragon 660 chipset with 6 GB of RAM. I had no issues what so ever with the CPU of the device. It performs all your basic task flawlessly and lags are already the things of the past in Samsung smartphones. It has been able to handle my day-to-day usage efficiently as well. However, you can only play pubg in medium settings, which is kind of a bummer since we can play it in high settings in the similar priced OnePlus 6.
So, the talking point here is definitely the price. The A8 Star is surely expensive and compared against the OnePlus 6, the latter certainly outperforms the former with its Snapdragon 845 chipset. Yes, you get a flawless processor with the A8 Star with 6 GB of RAM, but if you’re paying a high price for it, you should definitely get the best. It should at least be equipping the Snapdragon 710 since even the cheaper Mi 8 SE has the same chipset. And if you talk about RAM & ROM, it doesn’t feature DDR4X RAM or UFS storage, so, does the pricing justify everything?
One the software front, the device comes with Android 8.0 Oreo with Samsung’s Experience UI 9.0 on top. The software is fluent and everything, and it is free of any sort of stutters if you are wondering. And if you are curious about when Android pie will arrive on the A8 Star, well we don’t know that yet.
The Samsung Galaxy A8 Star follows the dual camera bandwagon by equipping a dual 16- and 24-megapixel cameras, both with f/1.7 aperture. The pictures come out great, and they are well detailed and sharp.
They are saturated as well but if you compare it against some of the other devices of its price range, you will see where it shines and where it falls behind.
The best part of the images I shot is certainly the details captured. The OnePlus 6 loses a lot of details when you zoom in.
However, if you see the golden colored plates on the images (below), you will notice how artificial it looks. And even though Samsung’s phones shoot oversaturated images, the OnePlus 6 certainly outperforms it with the saturation and colors front.
Also, the OnePlus 6 retains a high dynamic range whereas the Samsung Galaxy A8 Star falls only a little behind in that aspect.
There is also the Live focus mode on the phone which lets you toggle the intensity of the blur. The fake blur is indeed good, but if you zoom in you can easily notice the areas around the head where it hasn’t been able to blur out properly. Compare it against the OnePlus 6 and you will notice the 6 doing it better right away.
The rear cameras on this device are capable of shooting FHD and 4K videos at 30fps. Now I tried full HD videos on this device, and even without stabilization engraved, it takes stable videos with good colors and zoom capabilities. And yeah, it shoots slow-motion videos as well, but the quality is just about average.
During night time is where things get interesting. Although the pictures are noisy and slightly grainy, they are well saturated and retain the colors quite nicely if you ask me. If you zoom in the pictures, you will notice the loss in quality, but for what it’s worth, it definitely takes some decent pictures.
On the front side rests a 24-megapixel selfie camera which is the highest megapixel count on any Samsung’s selfie camera phones. Samsung has definitely taken this step to vie against the phones from Oppo and Vivo among others. Take a look at some of the samples here. All of these images have good details and they have captured a natural skin tone. You also can apply a lot of stickers on your selfies if you want to. There is also a night mode for selfies, but I didn’t see any major difference here. So, all in all, Samsung has finally felt the necessity of focusing on selfies as well.
To check out all the images in high resolution, click here.
Call Quality, Speakers, and Storage
In terms of call quality, I had no issues with this phone. The callers on the other end never complained about the call and the earpiece gives off a pretty loud sound.
The A8 Star has packed in a bottom firing speaker. This speaker is alright to fill up a small room. It is nowhere close to the dual stereo speakers of the Galaxy Note 9 or the Galaxy S9 though. And if you play pubg or watch a lot of videos, you will have to be extra careful not to block it.
Storage wise, the Galaxy A8 Star has 64 GB of storage with up to 400 GB of expandable storage.
To conclude, the Samsung Galaxy A8 Star is a good device with a crisp display, a well-performing CPU and a good set of cameras both front and back, and it packs in almost everything you want in a smartphone. However, it all comes down to the pricing. A lot of smartphones from the companies like OnePlus, Huawei and Xiaomi are giving a tough competition to Samsung if the price point is considered. While the flagship smartphones may be worth a fortune due to the features they have, the price tag of the Galaxy A8 Star is a little expensive. The mid-range smartphone battle is getting tougher day by day and Samsung should focus on price if it wants to stay up in the game.
|– Great Display||– Pricey|
|– Good Cameras||– Battery life could have been better|
|– Top Quality Build||– Still no signs of Android 9.0 Pie|