The War for Throne Continues . . .
With Galaxy A8+, Samsung aims to reclaim the throne in the mid-price segment, which is currently ruled by China’s OnePlus 5T.
The flagship smartphones fall in two categories – first, above ₹ 60,000, of which Apple is still the undisputed leader, and second, between ₹ 30,000 and ₹ 40,000. It’s in the second category that Chinese players such as OnePlus have grown strongly in the recent past. Once a popular brand in all price bands, Samsung is now facing a fierce competition from such brands, especially OnePlus.
With a series of successful devices in wide price segments, Huawei’s e-brand Honor is another brand that has fast leapfrogged into the affordable flagship space. But, irrespective of the strong competition, Samsung is one company that continues to delight consumers with its innovative, value-packed smartphones.
Here, we will take a closer look at Samsung Galaxy A8+ (priced at ₹ 32,990), Honor View 10 (priced at ₹ 29,999) and OnePlus 5T (priced at ₹ 37,999).
The Samsung Galaxy A8+ carries forward the legacy of Samsung’s A series smartphones and houses dual front camera and a large Infinity display – all packed into an ergonomic design. With Galaxy A8+, Samsung aims to reclaim the throne in the mid-price segment, which is currently occupied by China’s OnePlus 5T.
While an ergonomic design has become a buzz word, to me it still feels more of a marketing strategy. With thick bezels, the Galaxy A8+ doesn’t look that attractive – at least not to me. Samsung has borrowed the design language of Note 8 – the A8+’s rear glass pane features a soft curve on either side, which intersects the aluminium mid-frame, but it’s not as clean as the Note 8.
On the other hand, the Honor View 10 and OnePlus 5T look very identical in design aesthetics – both feature rugged construction with all metal bodies, smooth finishes and rounded corners. What differentiates the two is that the Honor View 10 sports a flat back, while the OnePlus 5T has a more rectangular look. When it comes to one hand usage, OnePlus 5T feels more comfortable as compared to Honor View 10 and Galaxy A8+.
The Galaxy A8+ comes with IP68 certification, making it water and dust resistance. It’s also the first in the A series to support Samsung’s Gear VR. The smartphone also supports Samsung Pay, allowing users to transact virtually anywhere with a tap or a swipe of their card.
The Samsung Galaxy A8+ is the first smartphone in the A-series to have the Infinity Display found in Samsung’s premium offerings such as Note 8, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. The 6-inch full-HD screen is Super AMOLED and offers 18.5:9 display ratio. The Always-On Display continues to be an appealing feature in the A8+. The Honor View 10 and the OnePlus 5T – both come with bezel-less design with 18:9 aspect ratio. Measuring 6.01-inches, the OnePlus 5T’s screen is slightly bigger than the View 10’s screen, which is 5.99-inches.
While Galaxy A8+ uses Super AMOLED display, View 10 uses an IPS LCD panel and the OnePlus an AMOLED display. For an everyday user, it’ll be difficult to differentiate between the display qualities of the three devices. However, the colours produced while watching videos and playing games by the Galaxy A8+ and Honor View 10 are better than OnePlus 5T. The superb levels of black, a feature mainly found in expensive TVs, make the OnePlus 5T an impressive device.
While all three devices run on Android operating system, the user experience offered by them varies. Even though Google’s latest Android Oreo operating system has begun its run on devices, the Galaxy A8+, though launched in January of 2018, still runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box – a bit disappointing, I’d say. And users might have to wait long (probably till next quarter) before Samsung rolls out Oreo update for the A8+.
The Honor View 10 ships with EMUI 8.0 on top of Android Oreo 8.0. Borrowing Apple’s iOS like UI, the EMUI is very colourful and easy to navigate. By default, there is no app drawer, but it can be enabled through the Settings menu. EMUI features, such as quick access shortcuts, a theme engine and the ability to configure fingerprint sensor to navigate via swipe gestures instead of on-screen navigation keys, make the handling of View 10 much easier.
The OnePlus 5T delivers a stock Android-like experience with OxygenOS. Among all three, the OxygenOS by far offers the cleanest experience. Users can also customise the entire UI with different accent colours, fonts and gestures.
While many consumers will compare the specifications of A8+ with Honor View 10, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 and OnePlus 5T, it should be kept in mind that these devices have different positionings. While Honor, Xiaomi and OnePlus aim to copy design and features of premium devices for their fans, Samsung Galaxy A8+ is targeted at users who want to experience of the feel of devices like Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8/S8+ in half the price.
As regards power, the Galaxy A8+ is armed with Samsung's Exynos 7885 octa chipset comprising two Cortex A73 cores clocked at 2.2GHz and six Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.6GHz. With that strength, you will find that it’s hard to slow down this phone – believe us, we tried. However, there was a slight stutter when navigating through the phone, which might be because of Samsung’s UI.
The Honor View 10 packs Huawei’s proprietary Kirin 970 chipset accompanied with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. On the other hand, the OnePlus 5T is fuelled by powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and comes in 6GB and 8GB RAM variants, depending on storage. Our OnePlus 5T review unit came with 8GB of RAM.
Overall, all three devices offer a smooth experience for everyday usage. However, OnePlus 5T was a tad bit quicker while opening apps. For storage, the Galaxy A8+ offers 64GB internal memory that can be expanded up to 256 GB. But, what makes the View 10 more appealing is its Neural Processing Unit (NPU) that offers faster image processing and recognition and improved performance with AI-related apps than Galaxy A8+ and OnePlus 5T.
Galaxy A8+ sports 16MP+8MP f1.9 dual front camera that allows consumers to take any types of selfie they want – from close-ups with the background blurred to portrait shots with a clear and crisp background. The front camera also comes with advanced Live Focus feature, allowing you to adjust the bokeh effect before or after taking the picture to create high-quality images.
Galaxy A8+ Camera Images
The 16MP f1.7 rear camera snaps bright, clear pictures and also allows customers to customise their photos with fun options – from adding stickers to their selfie to highlighting a culinary extravaganza with Food Mode. With the virtual assistant Bixby, the Galaxy A8+ seamlessly integrates into your lifestyle.
The Honor View 10 sports 16MP RGB primary camera along with a secondary monochrome 20MP sensor to capture depth. Both lenses have f/1.8 aperture, but there’s no OIS.
Honor View 10 Sample Images
The OnePlus 5T also has a 16MP primary camera and a 20MP secondary sensor. The only difference between the two phones is that in OnePlus 5T, both lenses are RGB and come with a large f/1.7 aperture to improve low-light photography. But Honor’s signature wide aperture mode still appeals for its bokeh effect adjustment.
When it comes to portrait mode, the OnePlus 5T’s camera is definitely a step up from Galaxy A8+ and Honor View 10, and we really liked the way it captures images, focusing on the subject and blurring everything in the background.
Portrait Mode in OnePlus 5T
The Galaxy A8+ houses a 3,500mAh battery, OnePlus 5T is fuelled by a 3,300mAh battery and the Honor View 10 has, the biggest of all, a 3,750mAh battery. All three devices can easily last a day under moderate usage, including web browsing, watching videos and using social networking sites.
For a price of ₹ 32,990, the Galaxy A8+ is simply the best A-series smartphone. And while it has its ups and down, the Live Focus dual front camera and the support of Samsung Pay makes it a lucrative buy. On paper, it’s very difficult to differentiate between the View 10 and the 5T, hardware wise. They both have beautiful 18:9 displays and great dual cameras. The OnePlus 5T, however, is more of a factotum with superb specs and performance.