As is always the case, the Samsung A series pushes the boundaries of smartphone technology. The company generally uses the mid range A series to test out cool new out of the box features to see if it can be implemented on their flagship line of phones and no phone in the A series is a better example of that than the Samsung A80.
We’ve spoken about the rise of the mid range smartphones before and it is quite possible that no company does the “premium mid-range” better than Samsung does. The devices throughout the A Series line have been consistently good, giving consumers a good mix of great features and value for money. The A80 however, is priced at RM2700, which is pretty insane for a mid-ranged phone. Is it worth the money? We shall see, we shall see.
Akin to that of the gold rush in the 1800s, the competition to make an “all-screen” display is very much at its hottest. What started with the notch on the iPhone X has now morphed into a playground where every Tom, Dick and Harry is coming up with their own attempt at making screen’s as whole as possible. From punch hole displays, to Infinity V and eventually pop up camera’s, the race is heating up!
Enter the Samsung A80. With a beautiful 6.7 inch super AMOLED display, the first thing you’ll notice about the phone is how big it is. With a notchless display though, the bigger the better! The bezels on the device are slim and it even comes with a glass back, which is normally found on premium devices. One thing i’m not particularly a fan of is the line that separates the camera from the rest of the phone, but I suppose that’s the price you pay for a pop up rotating camera.
Speaking of the camera, the Samsung A80 has a very unique set up. Not only in the sense that it’s laid out horizontally, which is similar to that of the S10 series, but also because its rear cameras are also its front cameras. Gotta love technology, right? This is pretty much Samsung’s take on the pop up camera wave that seems to be taking Chinese smartphones by storm. I personally hate pop up cameras, but when they come like this? You have my attention.
Now this rotating pop up thing has its pros and cons. One of the pros is the fact that the triple camera setup (8MP ultra-wide + 48MP main camera + 3D depth camera) on the back of the phone, is also the same cameras you’ll be taking your selfies with. That’s right, you get wide angle selfies!
Now, the quality of photos taken with the A80 is somewhat disappointing. The camera isn’t all that great. In fact, at RM 2700, you’re not getting your money’s worth at all. Is it bad? No. But there are devices going for much cheaper with better cameras. Daytime photos turned out great for me, but shots taken at night? I expected much better.
The phone does a lot better when it comes to video recording. The A80 records videos at up to 2160p at 30fps with its main cam and up to 1080p at 30fps with the ultra wide one. Videos were crisp and clear, given its taken under ideal conditions. The fact that the A80’s main camera is also its selfie camera means you get Live Focus selfie videos too, which is a nice touch.
The display on the A80 is without a doubt my favourite thing about the device. You get 6.7 inches of uninterrupted screen, and with Samsung’s Super AMOLED proprietary technology, it really doesn’t get any better than this. Samsung have always made the best smartphone displays and the A80 is no exception. The colours are vibrant and the entire video watching experience is impressively immersive.
Software & Performance
The A80 comes with Android 9 of course, with Samsung’s relatively new One UI slapped on top of it. Samsung’s Android skin is probably my favourite skin and the A80 feels very much like the Samsung Galaxy S10, perhaps even better, given that you get a full infinity 6.7 inch display.
In terms of processors, this flagship wannabe comes with Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 730, which in all honesty is a good enough processor for whatever task you’re going to be doing with the phone, trust me. With 8GB of RAM to boot, you won’t have any problems when it comes to performance.
But can I game on the A80?
The answer is a resounding yes. The phone can handle PUBG Mobile on high graphics rather well, with the only qualm being that it does get a bit heaty after half an hour of gaming or so. When it comes to battery life, the A80 will give you nothing special. It’s a big phone equipped with a 3700mAh battery, so it does the job by giving you a full day’s worth, but that’s really about it.
One aspect I don’t really like about the phone is security. For one, there’s no facial recognition. I didn’t understand it at first but once you put the device flat on the ground, you’ll understand why. Seeing as there’s no front facing camera, the pop-up rotating camera will have to face ID you. Put the phone on a flat surface and the mechanism can pop up, but it can’t rotate. It’s quite funny when you see it struggle to flip, but also disappointing. Top that off with an in screen fingerprint scanner that’s not very good and you’re left rather frustrated.
The A80 is a premium mid-ranged phone that wants so badly to be a flagship. Amazing screen, check. Exorbitant price, check. Premium feel, check. It’s somewhat unfortunate that the camera and security detail is lackluster. It’s still a great phone, it’s too bad that Samsung priced it out of contention.
Samsung Galaxy A80
The A80 is a premium mid-ranged phone that wants so badly to be a flagship. Amazing screen, check. Exorbitant price, check. Premium feel, check. It's somewhat unfortunate that the camera and security detail is lackluster. It's still a great phone, it's too bad that Samsung priced it out of contention.