In this smartphone era, we're divided into two different segments: budget smartphones with flagship-level features and flagship smartphones with state-of-the-art features.
But what if you're someone in the middle? You want a smartphone that looks and feels high end, but you're not willing to pay a flagship price for it.
This is where the Samsung Galaxy A80
The oldest (and more atas) brother of Samsung's A series, the A80 has the best of both worlds. It has the features of a flagship phone, but the price of a midrange device.
We got to keep the A80 for two weeks, and after putting it through its paces, we finally came to a conclusion of whether you should get it or ditch it.
So, to make it easier for you to make the decision, we're going to split our review into two sections - things we like about the phone, and things we don't like about the phone.
Kinda fair, right? Here we go:
THINGS WE LIKE:
#1 That rotating camera
We thought we'll just start with the USP of the Samsung A80: the cool rotating camera. In fact, it is hard to not to talk about it, as the swiveling camera is just so cool. The A80 boasts a triple camera at the back, highlighted by the 48MP with an f/2.0 aperture
, a second 8-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 aperture
and an 3D Depth Camera
What about the front selfie camera, you ask? Oh, it doesn't have one - because the rear cameras also function as the selfie camera. That way, there's no notch or punch holes to distract you from the gorgeous screen (more on that later).
Here's how it works: in the camera app, when you select Selfie Mode, the top half of the smartphone's back slides up, and the rear cameras rotates to the front to face you. The entire motion, powered by a tiny motor, takes less than two seconds, so you don't need to waste time waiting to take a selfie. When you switch it back to normal photo-taking mode, the camera rotates back to the rear and the back section slides back down.
To be honest, the whole rotating camera thing is so much fun to play with (the whirring sound of the motor plays a part too), and when we brought the phone back to the office, our colleagues were totally amazed. Our only concern, though, is whether the motor could take thousands of slide ups and rotations throughout its lifetime.
#2 The premium build
Holding the Samsung Galaxy A80 in our hands, it doesn't feel cheap at all. It is a very well-built and very solid device. It's made of Gorilla Glass-enforced glass at the back and the front (which means, hello fingerprints and smudges), enveloped by metal sides. It also has a certain weight to it, and that makes it very premium to hold.
Speaking of weight, the A80 weighs 220g
; heavier than some newer smartphones out there. By comparison, the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Note10 comes in at only 168g. So, if you're one of those people who judge a phone's build quality by its weight, you definitely won't feel that the Samsung Galaxy A80 is a cheap phone.
We personally like how the A80 feels in our hands, but be warned though, it could be kinda slippery due to the glass back and metal sides. We suggest that you wrap one up with a protective case if you decide to get one.
#3 The gorgeous display
Samsung smartphones have always been well known for its display, and the A80 is no different. It boasts a 6.7-inch SUPER AMOLED
display, which means that the screen is just gorgeous to look at.
We absolutely loved watching YouTube videos, or streaming Netflix series, on the Galaxy A80 because we feel the colours are more vibrant with a higher contrast ratio. When we toggled the Vivid mode on, the pictures are even more gorgeous to look at.
By the time we got used to the colours on the screen, Samsung wanted their phone back, and it took us a while to readjust to the screen on our Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.
And like we mentioned above, the lack of a front-facing camera means that the Galaxy A80 is just pure screen at the front. Samsung is calling it the New Infinity Display, and we totally agree because the display is just ah-may-zing!
THINGS WE DON'T LIKE:
#1 The lack of wireless charging
It's 2019, and most of the smartphones in the market either has 1) reverse wireless charging or 2) wireless charging. Unfortunately, the Samsung Galaxy A80 doesn't have either.
We are OK with if it doesn't come with reverse wireless charging, because we barely have enough battery for our own daily use, so why would we want to share it with other people, right? But it is rather disappointing when we plopped it on our wireless charging stand after the first day of use to find out that the phone doesn't charge.
This writer uses a Samsung Galaxy 9+ -- a phone that was released one year before the A80 -- and has gotten so used to wireless charging that charging a phone any other way seems a little bit...prehistorical.
But the good thing is, it has the 25W Super Fast Charging technology, so that's a good consolation, we guess.
#2 Laggy and sometimes not-so-responsive interface
We don't know if it's because the unit we got was a test device that was dropped a million times by the previous reviewers, but we felt that the interface wasn't really responsive to our touches. We're totally fine if it was just a bug or a glitch, but it happened so many times (even after we restarted the phone) that we don't think it's a coincidence.
There are times when we click on a link and it doesn't open. It took us two or three clicks - with extra force, mind you - to open a link. And here's the infruiating bit: because the screen is so big, our thumb would accidentally touch the bottom of the screen when we're reaching for the top of the screen - AND THE APP OPENS!
So, in a way, the things we want opened did not open, while accidental taps open up apps we didn't want to open. After a while, it got so frustrating that we've decided to use two hands to use the phone.
We hope that it's just the particular device's problem and not the Samsung UI. Do let us know if this happens to you guys as well.
#3 The price tag
Now, this is the thing that we didn't like the most: its price tag. Samsung has positioned the Samsung Galaxy A80 as a mid range phone, but the price is, we feel, a little bit on the high side.
The Samsung Galaxy A80 is priced at RM2,499
and it comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage. As comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S10 retails for RM3,299 and the Samsung Galaxy Note10 is priced at RM3,699. Both are newer phones and both have great features that the A80 don't.
Maybe you would think the A80 is worth the price because of its cool rotating camera, its gorgeous display and its premium build, but for a couple of hundred Ringgit more, you could get a true Samsung flagship phone. So, why not spend a little bit more to get the S10 or the Note10?
So, here comes the big question: should you buy it? Well, yes and no.
If you're looking for a smartphone that is flagship-like but you don't want to spend more than RM3,000, then sure, the Samsung Galaxy A80 is a pretty solid choice. The rotating camera and the build quality, plus the screen, could justify the price tag (although you really need to convince yourself really hard).
But our recommendation? If you could fork out RM2,499, we suggest that you suck it up, punch your stomach and top up a little bit more to get the Samsung Galaxy S10 or the Samsung Galaxy Note10. Like we mentioned above, both phones have features the A80 doesn't, so it is worth every single penny you pay for the higher end flagship phones.
You can check out Samsung Malaysia's official website
if you want more information on the Samsung Galaxy A80.