The Galaxy A8+ 2018 is Samsung's newest upper mid-range phone. It has a big, 6-inch Super AMOLED screen that makes it stand out from most other phones in its class. It also looks very similar to the flagship Galaxy S series with a glass-and-metal design and water resistance, but once you look inside, you find a mid-range chip and a different camera.
How does this combination of premium looks and mid-range hardware work? We used the phone for a while to find out, and you can find our answers below.
The A8+ is made of premium materials – glass and metal – and it’s water resistant, but it feels a bit too big and bulky.
The Galaxy A8+ 2018 looks very similar to the flagship Galaxy S9/S8 series from afar: with reflective glass back, metal frame, similar styling for the camera and so on.
But there are a few differences that you notice upon closer inspection: first and foremost, the phone lacks the elegant curves of Samsung's flagships and feels bigger and bulkier. It’s still not a giant phone considering that you have a 6-inch display, but it is not quite as elegant as a Galaxy S9 or S8.
The glass back of the phone gets messy with fingerprint smudges extremely easily, so this is one argument in favor of using this phone in a case. It’s also glass, and glass tends to break when your drop it, so that’s one more argument.
On the left side, you have the volume keys, but the Bixby button is missing. You do have Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant on board, just not the dedicated physical button for it. This is not a huge loss for us, as we still don’t find Bixby quite as useful as the Google Assistant, but still worth noting.
On the bottom, you have a USB-C port for charging and a headphone jack.
The A8+ also has an IP68 water resistance rating, meaning that it will survive a short dive in water and those summer days by the pool. It’s officially rated to withstand up to 30 minutes of immersion in fresh water as deep as 5 feet.
Fingerprint scanner position
The fingerprint scanner is located on the back of the phone, below the camera, so it is easy to reach. It’s still a bit too close to the camera, and you might accidentally smudge the lens with your finger, so make sure to wipe the camera clean before using it.
As for the fingerprint scanner, it is a rounded rectangle that is a bit small and not quite as fast as we’ve seen on other phones, but still, this would be nit-picking rather than an actual complaint.
You also have face identification that you can use alongside fingerprint recognition, and it does a decent job during the day, but we would still rely on the fingerprint scanner most of the time.
A bright and vivid display, but the bigger bezels ruin a lot of its appeal.
The A8+ features a 6-inch Super AMOLED display that looks gorgeous, with lush colors and deep blacks. Samsung calls this an “Infinity Display”, the marketing name for its taller and narrower displays with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio and edge-to-edge, almost bezel-less designs. This particular screen, however, is not curved like the one on the S9/S8, and with a flat design, the bezels actually look much, much bigger than on the flagships. It definitely ruins a lot of that “bezel-less” look and feel.
Samsung Galaxy A8+ (2018) Review
For all else, this screen is really the focal point and the biggest advantage the A8+ has over its rivals. It’s bright, so you can see it relatively easily outdoors, and it has rich colors.
Color balance is not quite as refined as on the flagship Samsung phones, as you have slightly colder whites and colors overall are not perfectly balanced, but they are not too far off either. As with all Samsung AMOLED displays, you have the choice of different color modes in Settings > Display. The default Adaptive mode produces lively, lush, oversaturated colors, but if you don’t like this look you can tone it down to other modes. The basic mode is the one that gets closest to the sRGB standard that you might want to use if you want standard-accurate colors.
You also have the Always-on Display feature on the A8+. It takes some additional battery power, so it’s up to you whether you want to use it or not. If you do, a good tip would be to go into settings and set it up to not work at night, as you probably don’t need it then.
Interface and Functionality
Samsung Experience on top of an old Android version.
Every year with Samsung phones, we look at the Samsung Experience user interface and say the same thing: it looks good, but does not perform good enough! The TouchWiz curse carries on generation after generation, and Samsung phones always seem to work well in general, but with a tiny bit of stutter: not so much as to ruin the experience, but definitely noticeable when you compare it to a Google Pixel or a OnePlus. Well, things are getting better every year, but the A8+ is still not that perfectly smooth performer.
Another disappointment comes when you see that Galaxy A8+ 2018 runs on the dated Android 7 Nougat out of the box, which is a shame. An update to Android 8 Oreo is in the plans, but it’s almost time for Google to unveil Android 9 soon, so it’s definitely very, very late.
For all else, Samsung Experience is a familiar user interface that has a lot of good options and a streamlined look. The unmistakable colorful squircle icons, the swipe-up app drawer, the well segmented settings menu, the themes selection and customization options are all here.
Power-user features like split-screen multitasking, KNOX security and Secure Folder are also on board.
We like the universal search in Samsung’s interface that pulls detailed results from all over the system. It is actually very useful, and you can search for settings right there.
First-party apps have a polish to them that is among the best from a company aside from Google.
Processor, Performance and Memory
A mid-range chip and only 32GB of on-board storage.
The Galaxy A8+ 2018 is powered by the Samsung Exynos 7885 chip. This is an upper mid-range chip that is a far cry from the Snapdragon 835 in terms of performance, but it’s also better than your typical mid-range chip like the Snapdragon 625.
The Exynos 7885 is built on the modern 14nm LPP FinFET manufacturing process, which ensures it does not consume too much power. It consists of 2x powerful Cortex A73 CPU cores running at up to 2.2GHz and 6x efficient Cortex A53 cores running at up to 1.6GHz.
We have already mentioned the good performance you get with everyday tasks, but this chip does not break any benchmarking records. In fact, it scores lower than most of its rivals in both CPU and GPU tasks, so this is not a phone for die-hard gamers and those who push the limits of a phone's performance.