With the Galaxy A80, Samsung presents a smartphone that serves as a true flagship for its mid-range family. Like its siblings it has a special feature to offer. This time it's a rotating pop-up camera paired with a full-size display. We have already tried the device and can give you our first impressions.
It won't be exactly cheap
At the presentation of the Galaxy A80, Samsung did not yet quote a price for the flagship of its mid-range series. However, this will probably be over 500 dollars. The smartphone is expected to be launched in April this year and is available in black, gold and silver.
A full display thanks to special tricks
As with the Galaxy S10, Samsung has an almost completely front-filling Super AMOLED display in 20:9 format in the Galaxy A80. That's a full 6.7 inches in size with FHD+ resolution and shines like a typical AMOLED with rich colors and deep blacks. The brightness also appeared to be sufficiently high in the first test.
Speaking of holding: At 9.3 millimeters, the Galaxy A80 is considerably thicker than its siblings. Although it is a bit bulbous, it fits well in the hand thanks to the rounded back to the long sides. It doesn' t feel as bulky as it seems at first glance. Nevertheless, you have to be aware that you can't get a slim phone here.
But how does Samsung do it with the large Infinity Display? By placing the manufacturer's proximity and brightness sensor under the display. And instead of squeezing the earcup into the narrow frame above the display like on the Galaxy S10+, the South Koreans rely on the same technology as Huawei on the P30 Pro. When calling, the sound is transmitted by display vibration. The fingerprint sensor is also integrated into the display and scans optically.
Three cameras for both sides
But then what about the selfie camera? A notch or a hole in the display? The Galaxy A80 lacks any trace of this. Instead, Samsung has come up with a special trick for the camera. The manufacturer copies the slider mechanism of the Oppo Find X and combines it with the rotating camera of the Oppo N1 .
The result is a retractable camera module that can also rotate. If you activate the camera app, the module moves out like the slider of the Find X and the oval, elongated camera module rotates 180 degrees on the horizontal axis. Thus the main camera also serves as a selfie camera.
And here users have three sensors at their disposal:
- 48 megapixels, wide angle, f/2.0 aperture
- 8 megapixels, ultra-wide angle, 123 degrees, f/2.2 f-stop
- Time of Flight (ToF)
This opens up numerous possibilities for photographing, no matter in which direction. Wide-angle shots are just as possible as group selffies and portraits work excellently thanks to the ToF camera (Time of Flight). The camera also helps with depth detection in augmented reality apps. A bit of AI also plays a part in the camera app and offers scene recognition, for example, as in the current high-end models.
Unfortunately we can't provide you with any test pictures or further information about the camera app yet. This is not the final software yet, so we will have to do this later with our review device. Also moving pictures from the camera module we are not allowed to show you yet.
The camera concept also has its disadvantages
As interesting and unusual as the camera design is, the disadvantages were already apparent during the first test. The processing of the Galaxy A80 is excellent to a large extent, but some concerns remain about the mechanical approach. Once the camera has been extended, there is even more potential for dust, dirt or water.
The turning mechanism didn't always do what we wanted. Sometimes, for example, the camera did not turn completely to the selfie position. It also remains questionable how long the mechanism will last if it is really used in everyday life. Already in the first test we noticed, for example, that the module immediately retracts when viewing a selfie, only to return to the shooting position when returning to the camera app. This should be at the expense of longevity, but it can be fixed on the software side - and hopefully it will be.
Current software, of course
As on all other new Galaxy-A smartphones, the software uses the current Android version 9.0 Pie . Samsung puts his new One Ui 1.1 over it and that's a good thing. Without the specially improved surface for large displays, the large Galaxy A80 could almost exclusively be operated with only two hands. So you can at least do small tasks with one hand. Find out more about OneUI in this article:
Snapdragon instead of Exynos
There is a little surprise under the hood of the Galaxy A80. It is not one of Samsung's Exynos chipsets that is used here, but the Snapdragon 7150 with a maximum of 2.2 GHz from Qualcomm, which is supported by 8 GB RAM and 128 GB expandable read-only memory (microSD).
The reason? For what the Korean manufacturer wants to offer with the model, the Qualcomm chip was best suited. As the flagship of the mid-range series, the Galaxy smartphone should also deliver superior performance. As they tell us on request, they don't currently have the right Exynos for it and have therefore chosen Qualcomm.
When we first tried it out, we couldn't detect any jolts or long periods of reflection when opening apps. Whether the Galaxy A80 can also handle complex 3D games and how it performs in everyday life, our final test will have to show.
It could reach two days of running time
Samsung uses a 3,700 mAh battery in the Galaxy A80 as an energy source, which can be recharged quickly with 25 watts via the "Super Fast Charging" power supply. Of course we could not put the battery life to the test in our hands-on. The combination of an economical processor, FHD resolution and said capacity, however, gives hope for two days running time with really economical use.
We'll see if this works in the final test. Of course, an intelligent battery management system is also used here, which analyzes habits and app usage patterns in order to optimize power consumption. It is charged via the USB-C port on the underside next to the jack port, as can be seen in the picture above.
Innovation or borrowing?
The Samsung Galaxy A80 with its rotating camera is a really special smartphone and shows that Samsung still has it. Yes, the Galaxy S10 also has an interesting novelty to offer with the hole in the display, but even that can't sustain the wow effect on this device forever. Unfortunately, the new Galaxy smartphone also looks a bit like it was somehow built around the camera gimmick.
This doesn't mean that the Galaxy A80 is purely show. On paper and even during our hands-on session, the smartphone makes a good first impression, even though the battery could have been a bit bigger in size and thickness. But the big feature, the camera, still leaves a bland aftertaste, because it doesn't seem like it will be very durable.
Of course this is difficult to check, but we will take a closer look at it for our final test when the final software is available and we can take a closer look at the technology behind the retractable camera. Until then I'm skeptical, but I'm happy that Samsung is trying a new technique.