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The Samsung Galaxy S9 Review

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Review : Galaxy S8 Perfected!

When pictures of the Samsung Galaxy S9 first leaked, pundits criticised how similar it looked to its predecessor – the Samsung Galaxy S8. But the familiar facade hides a number of important upgrades. Find out why we think the new Samsung Galaxy S9 is the perfected Galaxy S8!

 

The Samsung Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+

Like the Samsung Galaxy S8, there will be two sizes – the Galaxy S9 (SM-960) with a 5.8″ display, and the larger Galaxy S9+ (SM-965) with a 6.2″ display. Here is a table comparing their specifications :

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy S9+Samsung Galaxy S9
ModelSM-965SM-960
Display6.2" Super AMOLED Infinity Display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (529 ppi)
5.8" Super AMOLED Infinity Display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (570 ppi)
Operating SystemAndroid 8.0Android 8.0
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 845 (US)
Samsung Exynos 9810 (Worldwide)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (US)
Samsung Exynos 9810 (Worldwide)
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845
- 8 x Qualcomm Kyro 385 (2.8 GHz)

Samsung Exynos 9810
- 4 x Custom CPU core (2.9 GHz)
- 4 x ARM Cortex-A55 (1.9 GHz)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- 8 x Qualcomm Kyro 385 (2.8 GHz)

Samsung Exynos 9810
- 4 x Custom CPU core (2.9 GHz)
- 4 x ARM Cortex-A55 (1.9 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 845
- Qualcomm Adreno 630

Samsung Exynos 9810
- ARM Mali-G72 MP18
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- Qualcomm Adreno 630

Samsung Exynos 9810
- ARM Mali-G72 MP18
Memory6 GB LPDDR4x SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4x SDRAM
Storage64 / 128 / 256 GB internal flash storage
microSD card slot (up to 256 GB)
64 GB internal flash storage
microSD card slot (up to 256 GB)
Front Camera8 MP sensor8 MP sensor
Main CameraDual Camera System
- Main Dual Aperture Camera with 12 MP Dual Pixel sensor, OIS lens with f/1.5 and f/2.4 variable apertures
- Telephoto camera with 12 MP Dual Pixel sensor, OIS lens and f/2.4 aperture
- dual-tone LED flash
Dual Aperture Camera
- 12 MP Dual Pixel sensor with 1.4 μm pixels
- OIS lens with f/1.5 and f/2.4 variable apertures
- dual-tone LED flash
Super Slow-moYes, 720p (0.2 seconds)Yes, 720p (0.2 seconds)
Samsung Live FocusYesNo
ConnectivityQualcomm Snapdragon 845
- LTE Cat18 : 1.2Gbps DL / 150 Mbps UL
- WiFi : 802.11ac (2x2)
- USB Type C

Samsung Exynos 9810
- LTE Cat18 : 1.2Gbps DL / 200 Mbps UL
- WiFi : 802.11ac (2x2)
- USB Type C
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- LTE Cat18 : 1.2Gbps DL / 150 Mbps UL
- WiFi : 802.11ac (2x2)
- USB Type C

Samsung Exynos 9810
- LTE Cat18 : 1.2Gbps DL / 200 Mbps UL
- WiFi : 802.11ac (2x2)
- USB Type C
Iris ScannerYes, with IntelligentScan capabilityYes, with IntelligentScan capability
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear-MountedYes, Rear-Mounted
Bixby ButtonYesYes
Dust & Water ResistanceIP68IP68
AudioAKG-tuned Stereo Speakers
3.5 mm audio jack
AKG-tuned Stereo Speakers
3.5 mm audio jack
FM RadioYesYes
Battery3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery
15 W Fast Wireless Charging Capability
3,000 mAh lithium-ion battery
15 W Fast Wireless Charging Capability
Dimensions73.8 mm wide
158.1 mm tall
8.5 mm thick
68.7 mm wide
147.7 mm tall
8.5 mm thick
Weight189 g163 g
Available ColoursMidnight Black / Coral Blue / Lilac Purple / Titanium SilverMidnight Black / Coral Blue / Lilac Purple / Titanium Silver

This time around, Samsung made more of an effort to differentiate the two models. The larger Galaxy S9+ not only comes with a larger battery, it also has more memory and storage options, as well as a dual camera system.

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The Samsung Galaxy S9 Colour Options

Samsung is making the Galaxy S9 (Price Check) available in four colour options – Midnight Black, Coral Blue, Lilac Purple, and Titanium Silver. However, not all of them will be available worldwide.

In Malaysia, only these three colours are available (at least initially) – Midnight Black, Coral Blue, and Lilac Purple.

Next Page > Samsung Galaxy S9 Up Close + Camera Features

 

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The Samsung Galaxy S9 Up Close

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8 in design. They both boast the same glass and metal design, with an Infinity Display and IP68 dust- and water-resistance.

In most countries, the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) is powered by the Samsung Exynos 9810, while in the US, it runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. It comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4x memory, and 64 GB of storage (with a 128 GB option in some countries).

Despite rumours that Samsung would be ditching the dedicated Bixby button and 3.5 mm earphone port, they will both still here.

 

The Front Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) retains the Galaxy S8‘s front camera with the 8 MP Samsung S5K3H1 sensor and an f/1.7 lens. It is capable of recording 4K videos at 30 fps, and has great low-light capability.

Its low-light capability will come in handy, as the front camera does not have flash support, not even screen flash.

 

Dual Aperture Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) boasts a new dual aperture camera, that was first used in the rare and expensive Samsung W2018 smartphone (available only in China).

This dual aperture camera has a mechanical aperture that lets you switch between an incredibly bright f/1.5 aperture, and the f/2.4 aperture for a deeper depth of field.

The f/1.5 aperture is the widest aperture so far in a smartphone, offering just over ⅓ stop more light than the f/1.7 aperture of the Samsung Galaxy S8‘s camera. This translates into better low-light photography with less noise.

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New Samsung ISOCELL Fast Sensor

Samsung also used their latest ISOCELL Fast SAK2L3 sensor in the new cameras. This is a 12 MP sensor with large 1.4 µm pixels for excellent low-light performance.

The Fast designation means it comes with its Dual Pixel and Super PD capabilities. It also boasts a 3-stack FRS (Fast Readout Sensor) that allows high-speed captures of Full HD video.

The Dual Pixel technology is an autofocus technology that uses the dual photodiodes in every pixel on the image sensor for phase-detection autofocus. This allows for faster and more accurate focusing, because it uses many more autofocus pixels, instead of just a few dedicated pixels (usually less than 5% of the total).

 

Super Slow-Mo

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) supports a new Super Slow-mo feature, which allows you to record 720p video at 960 fps.

The Super Slow-mo videos can be instantly edited, with a random selection from preloaded choices. Or you can use your own music / songs. You can also create a GIF from the recorded video, with three style of looping – reverse, forward or swing.

The new ISOCELL Fast sensor, when paired with the Samsung Exynos 9810, is said to be fast enough to record slow-motion 1080p video at 960 fps / 4K video at 120 fps. However, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is not fast enough, so Samsung limited Super Slow-mo capability to ensure consistent experience worldwide.

There are other caveats too – Super Slow-mo is limited to 20 shots per video, with approximately 0.2 seconds of recording and 6 seconds of playback for each Super Slow-mo shot.

Next Page > Other New Samsung Galaxy S9 Features

 

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Bixby Live Translation

The original Samsung Bixby is capable of live translation, so a more accurate description of this new feature is AR (augmented reality) Translation.

In the original Bixby, the translation appears as a separate card. But in the new Samsung Galaxy S9 Bixby implementation, the translation appears as part of the image. Hence, our opinion that it should be called AR Translation.

In fact, it is smart enough to take note of the font and background of the text being translated, and render the translation as if it was the original text!

This is, without doubt, a truly useful combination of Bixby and augmented reality!

 

AR Emoji

This is arguably one of the coolest software features in the new Samsung Galaxy S9 camera system. You can use either the front or rear camera to take a picture of anyone, to create augmented reality emojis that look like your subject!

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) will automatically create an avatar that looks like you, which you can customise to your satisfaction. They will also automatically create 18 stickers showing a range of different emotions for you to use in your instant messages.

But that’s not all – the avatar will imitate your facial expressions. You can even record videos that can be shared with your friends!

 

Intelligent Scan

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) has a “new login method” called Intelligent Scan. This is not really a new feature, but a combination of the existing facial recognition and iris scanning capabilities.

In bright conditions, Intelligent Scan uses facial recognition to login. But when it gets too dark, the iris scanner kicks in. This allows for easier and faster logins in low light or super bright conditions.

Intelligent Scan addresses the key problem with the iris scanner – it doesn’t work in bright conditions. However, it is easier to fool than a point cloud facial recognition system like Apple Face ID, and future honor smartphones,

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New Fingerprint Sensor

Samsung moved the fingerprint sensor to a central location right beneath the main camera at the back. This is a much better location, especially if you are left-handed. But that’s not all.

Samsung also used a new swipe fingerprint sensor. It is much easier and faster to register your fingerprint with this new sensor. This addresses a major criticism of the Galaxy S8 and Note8 smartphones.

However, its close proximity to the rear camera, and its swipe functionality means you will have to regularly clean the camera lens to avoid blurry pictures.

 

Hybrid SIM

As it was with the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) will be offered with a nano SIM + microSD tray, or a hybrid SIM tray, depending on region. If you want dual SIM, dual standby capability, you will need to get the model with the hybrid SIM tray.

 

The hybrid SIM tray allows you to either use a second SIM card, or a microSD card, but not both at the same time. The microSD slot officially supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in size.

Next Page > Durability, Ergonomics, Setup, Memory & Storage

 

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IP68 Dust & Water Resistance

Like the Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) is IP68-rated for dust- and water-resistance. Best of all, you don’t even have to prepare it in any way before you dunk it into water! For more information how how Samsung achieved this feat, take a look at our article, Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

Officially, the Galaxy S9 can withstand complete immersion in water up to 1.5 m in depth, for up to 30 minutes. That means you can take it for jogs in the rain, reading in the shower or soaking in bath. Heck, you can even take it for a swim!

There are some caveats though. The IP68 rating applies to a specific set of test conditions : 15-35 °C, 86-106 kPa, 1.5 metre, 30 minutes. Even so, water may enter and damage the Galaxy S7 edge if it is exposed to “water moving with force“, like running water from a tap or waterfall, or ocean waves.

In other words, this is not a waterproof phone like the Oukitel K10000 Pro or the Kenxinda ruggerdised smartphones. It is IP68 water-resistant, so you need to be gentle with it. You can read more about this in our article – Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

 

Ergonomics

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) has a 5.8″ bezel-less Infinity Display, so it does not feel like a large smartphone. In fact, it feels smaller than the 5.5″ Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, and even 5.2″ smartphones like HTC 10. This means it will feel more comfortable in smaller hands, and fit better in smaller pockets.

The large Super AMOLED display is beautiful as always. However, the WQHD+ resolution of 1440 x 2960 results in a non-standard 18.5:9 display ratio. Watching movies will result in some pillarboxing – a black bar on each side of the movie.

The Gorilla Glass 5 back looks fabulous… at first. It is easily smudged by oily fingerprints, because it lacks the oleophobic coating of the front Gorilla Glass 5 cover protecting the display.

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Setting Up The Samsung Galaxy S9

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) comes with Android 8.0 Oreo installed. Let’s boot it up, and see how easy it is to set-up!

 

Available Memory & Storage

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4x memory, of which 1.5 GB (37.5%) is available for use. That is a lot of bloat, equal to that of the Galaxy S8. With that in mind, 1.5 GB of memory is plenty of memory to run several applications simultaneously. In fact, it is more memory than what some low-end smartphones ship with!

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) comes with 64 GB of internal flash storage, with 48.8 GB of free space for you to use. That is enough space to store about 11,000 photos, or 6 hours of 1080p videos, or just over 2 hours of 4K videos. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 256 GB).

Next Page > Camera Performance – Photos + Videos

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) uses the 12 MP Samsung ISOCELL Fast SAK2L3 sensor in the dual aperture camera. It is capable of switching between the f/1.5 aperture, and the f/2.4 aperture.

The maximum 12 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio, with 4032 x 3024 pixels, and a file size of between 3 MB and 5 MB.

Here are 6 high-resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

The new camera is just amazing. The detail and colour are top-notch, and the noise level is really low.

A word of caution – the f/1.5 aperture may offer great low-light performance, but it has a very narrow depth of field. If you don’t focus properly on your subject, it will end up blurred.

Too bad there’s no way to switch to the f/2.4 aperture for greater depth of field in the Auto mode. You can only switch apertures in the Pro mode.

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

Like its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) is capable of recording 4K videos from both front and back cameras. However, Samsung still limits the 4K recording time to just 10 minutes. This was likely done to ensure that the sensor does not overheat the battery.

Below are four video samples, all taken without the use of gimbals.

Video Recording Test #1 : Piano (4K)

The camera’s resolution is really good. You can pick out the tiny signs in the background very clearly. It also demonstrated good control of the highlights – you can see into the Padini Concept Store in the background.

The optical and electronic image stabilisation capabilities also appear to have improved. It was almost as good as mounting the Galaxy S9 on a gimbal!

The recorded audio was clear, but still lacked the wider dynamic range of the HTC 10 (when HiRes Audio is enabled).

Video Recording Test #2 : Piano (1080p)

Even at this lower resolution, the amount of details captured by the Samsung Galaxy S9 is amazing. We also love how well it was able to control the highlights in the bright background. You can see the details that are usually washed out in other smartphones.

Video Recording Test #3 : Street Market (4K)

Look at how stable the recorded video was, even as we walked down this street market and looked around. It may not be as good as mounting the Galaxy S9 on a gimbal, but it comes real close!

Video Recording Test #4 : Street Market (1080p)

The 1080p walk-through appears to be even smoother than the 4K walk-through. So if you want the best-possible image stabilisation for your video, try recording in 1080p.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life + Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the Samsung Galaxy S9’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Work 2.0 ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro Samsung Galaxy S9 Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy A8 2018
Performance Score
(Average)
5656 5618 5303 5197
Web Browsing 5708 5357 5155 5035
Video Editing 5888 5265 4998 4433
Writing 4509 4673 5158 5607
Photo Editing 10698 7560 7082 7238
Data Manipulation 3570 5616 4458 4183
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When it comes to work applications, the Samsung Exynos 9810 powering the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) is about 6% faster than the Exynos 8895 used in the Samsung Galaxy S8. This puts it at par with the Snapdragon 625 powering the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the Galaxy S9’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Work 2.0 Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy S9 ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro
Battery Life 12 hours 19 mins 10 hours 32 mins 9 hours 6 mins 8 hours 41 mins
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The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) lasted just over 9 hours in our battery test. That is almost 1.5 hours shorter than the Samsung Galaxy S8, and over 3 hours shorter than the Samsung Galaxy A8 2018. It only managed to beat the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro by 25 minutes

Note : All four smartphones compared here have a 3,000 mAh battery.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The Samsung Galaxy S9 comes with an adaptive fast charger with a power output of 18 W. Take a look at how fast it recharged its 3,000 mAh battery.

It took the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) about 108 minutes (1 hour 48 minutes) to recharge its battery from 20% to 100%. This is 21 minutes longer than it takes the Galaxy S8 to recharge the same battery capacity.

This gives it a battery life : recharging ratio of 5 : 1 – a rather disappointing performance.

Note : Our Samsung Galaxy S9 sample did not come with its charger. We used the Samsung Galaxy S8‘s charger instead. We will retest when we receive the official Galaxy S9 charger.

Next Page > Gaming Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the Galaxy S9’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Ice Storm Unlimited Samsung Galaxy S9 Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro
Gaming Score 39588 29509 14684 14015
Graphics 45577 33279 15201 13470
Physics 27116 21130 13121 16328
Graphics Test 1 267.9 fps 173.1 fps 134.4 fps 80.7 fps
Graphics Test 2 157.2 fps 124.3 fps 43.8 fps 46.0 fps
Physics Test 86.1 fps 67.1 fps 41.7 fps 51.8 fps
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What the Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) lacks in work performance, it more than makes up in gaming performance. Its ARM Mali-G72 MP18 graphics processor was 37% faster than the ARM Mali-G71 MP20 used in the Galaxy S8.

The Samsung Galaxy S9’s CPU cores also delivered 28% faster physics processing than those of the Galaxy S8.

 

Our Verdict & Award

The Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) looks almost identical to its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S8. While some see it as a “lack of innovation“, others point out that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Whatever we may think of its familiar design, there is no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S9 is the best Galaxy smartphone ever made.

Samsung basically fixed every major criticism of the Galaxy S8 smartphone. They moved the fingerprint sensor to a better position, and used a much better swipe-type sensor. They buttressed the iris scanner with the facial recognition system, allowing easy login in bright and low-light conditions.

The biggest hardware change was the addition of a dual aperture camera. It allows you to switch between an incredibly bright f/1.5 aperture and a f/2.4 aperture for greater depth of field. The dual aperture camera also appears to have improved image stabilisation.

Samsung also introduced a new Samsung ISOCELL Fast sensor in the Galaxy S9. It has large 1.4 µm pixels with Dual Pixel and Super PD capabilities. It has a 3-stack FRS (Fast Readout Sensor) that enables the new Super Slow-mo mode – the ability to record 720p video at 960 fps.

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The other new Samsung Galaxy S9 (Price Check) features like AR Emoji, Bixby Live Translation and Intelligent Scan are software in nature.

The downside? The Samsung Galaxy S9 comes with the same 3,000 mAh battery, but has a shorter battery life and longer recharging time.

With the exception of the shorter battery life, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is better than the Samsung Galaxy S8 in every possible way. The Samsung Galaxy S9 is the Samsung Galaxy S8 perfected, and unreservedly deserves our Editor’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Samsung!

Go Back To > First Page | Reviews | Home

 

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The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (SM-A530F) Smartphone Review

Samsung just announced the Galaxy A8 2018 and Galaxy A8+ 2018 smartphones, bringing the key features of their award-winning Galaxy S8 series to the masses. We had the opportunity to review the new Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (SM-A530F) smartphone before its official launch. Let’s check it out in depth!

 

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 & A8+ 2018 Compared

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) and Galaxy A8+ 2018 may look like they differ only in size, but that’s not quite accurate. Let’s take a look at their specifications :

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy A8Samsung Galaxy A8+
Display5.6" Super AMOLED display
- 1080 x 2220 pixels (440 ppi)
6.0" Super AMOLED display
- 1080 x 2220 pixels (410 ppi)
Operating SystemAndroid 7.1.1Android 7.1.1
PlatformSamsung Exynos 7885Samsung Exynos 7885
Processor2 x ARM Cortex-A73 cores (2.2 GHz)
6 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.6 GHz)
2 x ARM Cortex-A73 cores (2.2 GHz)
6 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.6 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorARM Mali-G71ARM Mali-G71
Memory4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM6 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage32 GB internal flash storage
microSD card (up to 256 GB)
64 GB internal flash storage
microSD card (up to 256 GB)
Front CameraMain Camera
- 16 MP Samsung ISOCELL S5K2P6SX sensor with f/1.9 lens

Wide-Angle 85° Camera
- 8 MP Samsung ISOCELL S5K3P8SP sensor with f/1.9 lens
Main Camera
- 16 MP Samsung ISOCELL S5K2P6SX sensor with f/1.9 lens

Wide-Angle 85° Camera
- 8 MP Samsung ISOCELL S5K3P8SP sensor with f/1.9 lens
Rear Camera16 MP camera with f/1.7 lens and single LED flash
- Samsung ISOCELL S5K2P6SX sensor with PDAF technology
16 MP camera with f/1.7 lens and single LED flash
- Samsung ISOCELL S5K2P6SX sensor with PDAF technology
Connectivity4G : LTE Cat11
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (dual band)
Bluetooth v5.0
USB Type C
4G : LTE Cat11
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (dual band)
Bluetooth v5.0
USB Type C
SIM CapabilitySingle SIM Model : Single SIM
Dual SIM Model : Dual SIM, Dual Standby
Single SIM Model : Single SIM
Dual SIM Model : Dual SIM, Dual Standby
NFCYesYes
GPSGPS, GLONASS, BeiDouGPS, GLONASS, BeiDou
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear-MountedYes, Rear-Mounted
Audio24-bit Ultra High Quality (UHQ) support
- PCM support up to 32-bits
24-bit Ultra High Quality (UHQ) support
- PCM support up to 32-bits
Water ResistanceIP68 ratedIP68 rated
Battery3,000 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capable
3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capable
Other SensorsAccelerometer, Barometer, Gyro, Geomagnetic, Hall, Proximity and RGB light sensorsAccelerometer, Barometer, Gyro, Geomagnetic, Hall, Proximity and RGB light sensors
Dimensions70.6 mm wide
149.2 mm tall
8.4 mm thick
75.7 mm wide
159.9 mm tall
8.3 mm thick
Weight172 g191 g
Available ColoursBlack, Orchid Gray, Gold, BlueBlack, Orchid Gray, Gold, Blue

As you can see, the Samsung Galaxy A8+ 2018 is only a little larger than the Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check). But it not only comes with a larger 3,500 mAh battery, it also has 50% more memory (6 GB) and twice as much storage (64 GB).

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The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 Up Close

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) is very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8 in design. They both boast the same glass and metal design, with an Infinity Display and IP68 dust- and water-resistance.

Of course, there are some differences. The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 has two front cameras, instead of one. It also comes with a dedicated microSD card slot, instead of a hybrid SIM slot; and features a centrally-aligned fingerprint sensor.

 

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 Price & Availability

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) is available from 19 January 2018 onwards. At launch, there will be four colour options – Black, Orchid Gray, Gold and Blue. However, not all colours are available in every country. Here in Malaysia, only the Black, Gold and Orchid Gray colours will be available.

Samsung has only announced the Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) prices for select countries. Let’s take a look at what’s announced, and what we project will be the launch prices in other countries.

Countries Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 Samsung Galaxy A8+ 2018
Russia 34,990 Rubles 37,990 Rubles
Vietnam VND 10,990,000 VND 13,490,000
Malaysia RM 1,799 (~US$ 449) RM 2,499 (~US$ 625)
United States $599 (Estimated) $649 (Estimated)
United Kingdom £449 (Estimated) £559 (Estimated)
Europe €499 €599
India Rs 30,980 (Estimated) Rs 38,040 (Estimated)

Next Page > Key Features of the Samsung Galaxy A8 2018

 

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The Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) boasts, not one, but two front cameras like the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro. It consists of a 16 MP high-definition selfie camera… and an 8 MP wide-angle selfie camera, both with f/1.9 lenses.

Like the dual rear cameras of the Samsung Galaxy Note8, these dual front cameras support Live Focus. This allows you to adjust the bokeh effect before or after you take the picture!

The rear camera is no slouch either. It uses the same 16 MP PDAF sensor from the Samsung Galaxy A7 2017, but upgraded with a faster, brighter f/1.7 lens.

 

SIM & MicroSD Trays

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) comes in both single SIM, and dual SIM options. In the dual SIM model, it supports two nano SIM cards with dual standby capability.

In both versions, it comes with a dedicated microSD card tray, which officially supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in capacity.

 

Fingerprint Sensor

Like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy Note8, the new Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) has a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. But this time, Samsung moved it to a central location, just below the rear camera.

This central alignment of the fingerprint sensor makes it easier to use with both hands, addressing a major criticism of the Galaxy S8 and Note8 smartphones.

That said, the fingerprint sensor is still too small and too close to the rear camera, making it easy for you to touch and smear the sensor. The sensor is also not the most accurate of sensors, sometimes requiring several tries to unlock the smartphone.

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IP68 Dust & Water Resistance

Like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy Note8, the Samsung Galaxy A8 is IP68-rated for dust- and water-resistance. Best of all, you don’t even have to prepare it in any way before you dunk it into water! For more information how how Samsung achieved this feat, take a look at our Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

Officially, the Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) can withstand complete immersion in water up to 1.5 m in depth, for up to 30 minutes. That means you can take it for jogs in the rain, reading in the shower or soaking in bath. Heck, you can even take it for a swim!

There are some caveats though. The IP68 rating applies to a specific set of test conditions : 15-35 °C, 86-106 kPa, 1.5 metre, 30 minutes. Even so, water may enter and damage the Galaxy S7 edge if it is exposed to “water moving with force“, like running water from a tap or waterfall, or ocean waves.

In other words, this is not a waterproof phone like the Oukitel K10000 Pro or the Kenxinda ruggerdised smartphones. It is IP68 water-resistant, so you need to be gentle with it. You can read more about this in our article – Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 Setup, Ergonomics, Memory & Storage

 

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Setting Up The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) comes with Android 7.1.1 Nougat pre-loaded. Let’s boot it up, and see how easy it is to setup!

 

Ergonomics

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) has a 5.6″ bezel-less Infinity Display, so it does not feel like a large smartphone. In fact, it is about the size of a 5″ or 5.2″ smartphone. This means it will feel more comfortable in smaller hands, and fit better in smaller pockets.

The use of an Infinity Display means there is no physical Home button. The virtual Home button on the Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) is not pressure-sensitive like that of the Samsung Galaxy S8. You need to double tap it to activate the virtual Home button.

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Available Memory & Storage

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory, of which 1.8 GB (45%) is available for use. There is a fair bit of bloat, but slightly better than the 1.5 GB in the Galaxy S8. With that in mind, 1.8 GB of memory is plenty of memory to run several applications simultaneously. In fact, it is more memory than what some low-end smartphones ship with!

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) comes with 32 GB of internal flash storage, with 23.2 GB of free space for you to use. That is enough space to store about 4,200 photos, or 3 hours of 1080p videos. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 256 GB).

Next Page > Camera Performance – Photos & Videos

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) uses the 16 MP Samsung ISOCELL S5K2P6SX camera as the main camera, with f/1.9 lens and a single LED flash. The maximum 16 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio, with 4608 x 3456 pixels, and a file size of between 4.8 MB and 6 MB.

Here are 8 high-resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

If you compare them side-by-side with photos from the Samsung Galaxy S8, they will look less vivid. But the resolution is top-notch, and the noise levels are low, thanks to the bright f/1.9 lens.

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) is restricted to recording up to 1080p videos from both front and rear cameras. There are no time limits when you record videos. However, it is still subject to the 4 GB file size limit.

When you record a long 1080p video, it will be broken up into separate files that are about 32 minutes in length, with a short recording gap in between. Here are three 1080p video samples, all taken without the use of gimbals.

Video Recording Test #1 : Piano

The camera’s resolution is really good. You can pick out the tiny signs in the background very clearly. It also demonstrated good control of the highlights – you can see into the Padini Concept Store in the background.

That said, it has some seeking issues as Mr. Yang sways his body – it seems to confuse the camera’s autofocus. Cameras with Dual Pixel technology (used in the Galaxy S8) are superior in this respect.

Video Recording Test #2 : Street Market

There is no optical image stabilisation (OIS) capability, but its electronic image stabilisation (EIS) did a decent job of smoothing out the harsher shakes during our walk. Note too the seeking issues – they are still evident outdoors, so it’s not a lighting issue.

Video Recording Test #3 : Christmas Showcase

In this walkabout of an indoor Christmas showcase, we can see the incredible detail the camera is capable of capturing. Many cameras can record 1080p videos, but most can’t capture the kind of detail this camera can.

The only downsides – the lack of optical image stabilisation, and the autofocus performance.

Next Page > Work & Gaming Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the 2018 Samsung Galaxy A8’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Work 2.0 ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro
Performance Score
(Average)
5656 5303 5197 3846
Web Browsing 5708 5155 5035 4371
Video Editing 5888 4998 4433 3716
Writing 4509 5158 5607 2822
Photo Editing 10698 7082 7238 6671
Data Manipulation 3570 4458 4183 2753
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The Samsung Exynos 7885-powered Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) was just 2% slower than the Samsung Galaxy S8, that runs on the faster Samsung Exynos 8895.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the 2018 Galaxy A8’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Work 2.0 ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 Samsung Galaxy S8 ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro
Battery Life 14 hours 19 mins 12 hours 19 mins 10 hours 32 mins 8 hours 41 mins
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This is amazing performance! The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) lasted almost 2 hours longer than the Galaxy S8, and 3.5 hours longer than the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro. Only the ZenFone 4 Max Pro lasted longer – by exactly 2 hours.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 comes with an adaptive fast charger with a power output of 15 W. Take a look at how fast it recharged the 3,000 mAh battery.

It only took the Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) just over 86 minutes (1 hour 26 minutes) to recharge its battery from 17% to 100%. That is a battery life : recharging ratio of 8.6 : 1 – a truly amazing performance.

The Galaxy A8 2018 recharged fastest in the first 85%, taking only 54 minutes. Its recharging speed slowed them for the remaining 15%, taking an additional 32 minutes.

 

Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the 2018 Galaxy A8’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Ice Storm Unlimited Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro
Gaming Score 29509 14684 14015 9751
Graphics 33279 15201 13470 9609
Physics 21130 13121 16328 10285
Graphics Test 1 173.1 fps 134.4 fps 80.7 fps 55.1 fps
Graphics Test 2 124.3 fps 43.8 fps 46.0 fps 33.6 fps
Physics Test 67.1 fps 41.7 fps 51.8 fps 32.7 fps
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The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) is not a gaming powerhouse like the Galaxy S8, but it has more than decent performance, coming in a little faster than the Snapdragon 625-powered ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro. It was 50% faster than the Snapdragon 430-powered ZenFone 4 Max Pro.

Next Page > Overall Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Overall Performance

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

AnTuTu Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro ASUS ZenFone 4 Max Pro
TOTAL SCORE 175422 79619 65302 41952
3D SCORE 74336 17381 13431 8282
– 3D (Marooned) 43953 9977 8230 5915
– 3D (Garden) 30383 7404 5201 2367
UX SCORE 52159 24625 24848 14099
– UX Data Secure 7996 7271 6226 4655
– UX Data Process 5866 5758 3404 2328
– UX Strategy Games 11165 4032 4611 1143
– UX Image Process 22716 3743 7291 3585
– UX I/O Performance 4416 3821 3316 2388
CPU SCORE 38513 28827 21357 14940
– CPU Mathematics 10996 8545 4304 2964
– CPU Common Use 10939 7960 7150 5180
– CPU Multi-Core 16578 12322 9903 6796
RAM 10414 8786 5666 4631
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Like all mid-range SoCs, the Samsung Exynos 7885 has a decent, albeit unexceptional, graphics processor – the ARM Mali-G71 in this case. Even so, it is about 29% faster than the Qualcomm Adreno 506 used in the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro, and twice as fast as the Qualcomm Adreno 505 used in the ZenFone 4 Max Pro.

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Our Verdict & Award

In many ways, the Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) is a lite version of the Samsung Galaxy S8 (Price Check). The Galaxy A8 2018 boasts many of its key features – the same metal and glass design, an Infinity Display, IP68 dust- and water-resistance. and the new, improved battery.

Even with greater scrutiny and safety protocols in place, Samsung managed to squeeze in a plethora of new technologies into the Galaxy S8.

The Infinity Display is almost bezel-less and covers almost all of the front aspect. This also allows Samsung to increase the display size while reducing the size of the device. The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) has a large 5.6″ display in a form factor that equivalent to a regular 5″ device. It makes for a better fit for smaller hands, and most pockets.

The display also comes with the new 18.5 : 9 aspect ratio, which is useful for viewing two different screens at the same time, but introduces pillarboxing when you watch movies. Samsung allows you to stretch the videos to fit the entire screen, but you will lose the upper and lower parts of the videos. So it’s a trade-off.

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) appears to be using a similar rear camera to the Galaxy A7 2017 albeit with a newer 16 MP Samsung ISOCELL sensor. It is paired with a fast f/1.9 lens and a single LED flash. As expected from recent Samsung models, the photographic quality is excellent. The only downside – some autofocus issues while recording video.

The main difference in the photography department though is its new dual camera setup in the front. This makes it a direct competitor of selfie-focused smartphones like the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro.

In this respect, it offers a very high-resolution 16 MP main selfie camera, with a high-resolution 8 MP wide-angle camera. Its dual selfie camera setup is, arguably, one of the better ones we’ve tried.

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We also love what Samsung did with its battery. The Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) comes with a relatively small 3,000 mAh battery, but it lasted more than 12 hours in our stress test! That is 3.5 hours longer than the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro, which also has a 3,000 mAh battery. Best of all – you can completely recharge it in less than 1.5 hours!

The fingerprint sensor, while now centrally located, is still awkward to use. We recommend that Samsung move the fingerprint sensor lower, and opt for a more accurate sensor, in the next version.

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 (Price Check) is Samsung’s answer to Millennial generation’s fascination with selfies. While they’re relatively late to the game, they came literally with both guns blazing. And they paired it with an Infinity Display and IP68 dust- and water-resistance. That’s something no other selfie-focused smartphone can boast.

That’s why we think the Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 deserves our Reviewer’s Choice Award. Job well done, Samsung!

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The Samsung Galaxy A8 | A8+ 2018 Makes A Big Splash!

Barring the impending launch of the Samsung Galaxy S9 next month, the most anticipated Samsung smartphones of Q1 2018 are the Galaxy A8 2018 and the Galaxy A8+ 2018. We had the opportunity to review the Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 earlier, and were so impressed, we gave it out Reviewer’s Choice Award!

Now, we are glad to announce that Samsung has officially launched the Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8+ smartphones. Join us for the Samsung launch event, and get the full details including their price and availability, as well as a special time-limited offer!

 

The Samsung Galaxy A8 | A8+ 2018 Launch

Samsung Malaysia Electronics President, Mr. Yoonsoo Kim, kicked off the launch with a short speech and a special performance by the Malaysian national synchronised swim team!

Then Samsung Senior Product Manager (IT & Mobile Division), Mr. Go Benn Lee, gave a great presentation on the new features introduced in the Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8+ smartphones.

 

The Samsung Galaxy A8 | A8+ 2018 Compared

The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 and Galaxy A8+ 2018 may look like they differ only in size, but that’s not quite accurate. Let’s take a look at their specifications :

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy A8Samsung Galaxy A8+
Display5.6" Super AMOLED display
- 1080 x 2220 pixels (440 ppi)
6.0" Super AMOLED display
- 1080 x 2220 pixels (410 ppi)
Operating SystemAndroid 7.1.1Android 7.1.1
PlatformSamsung Exynos 7885Samsung Exynos 7885
Processor2 x ARM Cortex-A73 cores (2.2 GHz)
6 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.6 GHz)
2 x ARM Cortex-A73 cores (2.2 GHz)
6 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.6 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorARM Mali-G71ARM Mali-G71
Memory4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM6 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage32 GB internal flash storage
microSD card (up to 256 GB)
64 GB internal flash storage
microSD card (up to 256 GB)
Front CameraMain Camera
- 16 MP Samsung ISOCELL S5K2P6SX sensor with f/1.9 lens

Wide-Angle 85° Camera
- 8 MP Samsung ISOCELL S5K3P8SP sensor with f/1.9 lens
Main Camera
- 16 MP Samsung ISOCELL S5K2P6SX sensor with f/1.9 lens

Wide-Angle 85° Camera
- 8 MP Samsung ISOCELL S5K3P8SP sensor with f/1.9 lens
Rear Camera16 MP camera with f/1.7 lens and single LED flash
- Samsung ISOCELL S5K2P6SX sensor with PDAF technology
16 MP camera with f/1.7 lens and single LED flash
- Samsung ISOCELL S5K2P6SX sensor with PDAF technology
Connectivity4G : LTE Cat11
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (dual band)
Bluetooth v5.0
USB Type C
4G : LTE Cat11
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (dual band)
Bluetooth v5.0
USB Type C
SIM CapabilitySingle SIM Model : Single SIM
Dual SIM Model : Dual SIM, Dual Standby
Single SIM Model : Single SIM
Dual SIM Model : Dual SIM, Dual Standby
NFCYesYes
GPSGPS, GLONASS, BeiDouGPS, GLONASS, BeiDou
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear-MountedYes, Rear-Mounted
Audio24-bit Ultra High Quality (UHQ) support
- PCM support up to 32-bits
24-bit Ultra High Quality (UHQ) support
- PCM support up to 32-bits
Water ResistanceIP68 ratedIP68 rated
Battery3,000 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capable
3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capable
Other SensorsAccelerometer, Barometer, Gyro, Geomagnetic, Hall, Proximity and RGB light sensorsAccelerometer, Barometer, Gyro, Geomagnetic, Hall, Proximity and RGB light sensors
Dimensions70.6 mm wide
149.2 mm tall
8.4 mm thick
75.7 mm wide
159.9 mm tall
8.3 mm thick
Weight172 g191 g
Available ColoursBlack, Orchid Gray, Gold, BlueBlack, Orchid Gray, Gold, Blue
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Price & Availability

Both devices will be offered in three colour options here in Malaysia – Black, Gold and Orchid Gray. They will be available for purchase starting 19 January 2018, at the following prices :

  • Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 : RM 1,799 (inclusive of 6% GST) / ~US$ 449
  • Samsung Galaxy A8+ 2018RM 2,499 (inclusive of 6% GST) / ~US$ 625

Samsung Malaysia is offering a special Early Bird Reward worth RM 417 (~US$ 105), for those who purchase either smartphone between 19-21 January 2018 :

  • a 10,000 mAh USB-C Battery Pack (worth RM 228 / ~US$ 57)
  • a 64 GB Samsung EVO Plus microSD card (worth RM 189 / ~US$ 47)

There are limited quantities of the Early Bird Reward, so make sure you get your Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 / A8+ 2018 early!

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