Samsung Galaxy A8 review: A-game

A-game

Orlin Milinov, 26 August, 2015.

Phonebook and telephony

The Samsung Galaxy A8 has a strong reception and good in-call audio. If you have the A8 Duos version you can dial with any active SIM from the dialer and switch the default SIM from the notification area.

The default SIM is the one used when you do a swipe gesture to call or text, for example. The SIM card manager lets you disable dual-SIM mode to save battery.

The call log is visible behind the keypad (you can hide that to view the full list) and it shows which SIM was used to place/take the call. The other two tabs show your favorite contacts and all you contacts.

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Dialer • call log • favorites

The Phonebook is a list of contacts with a search field and an alphabet index. The contact info card has been cleaned up and shows the contact image (you can swipe down to view it fully), below that are the phones and emails with quick buttons to call/send message.

Here you'll also find the latest messages and calls with that contact. The View more toggle displays all the additional info. You can swipe left to call a contact straight from the list, right to send them a message.

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The phonebook reminds you the last chat you had with a contact

The built-in call rejection feature lets you block calls from certain numbers or all numbers not in your phonebook. Do not disturb mode can be scheduled on select days and during certain periods of the day. You can set it to make an exception for certain notifications, including allowing only calls from your favorite contacts.

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Blocking spam calls • Do not disturb mode

Samsung is sticking to a single loudspeaker for its smartphones. This one is a bit better than what the Galaxy A7 got, but not nearly as good as the speaker on a Galaxy Note. Still, with the right ringtone you won't have trouble hearing the Samsung Galaxy A8, but using the phone in hands-free mode is not the best in a loud environment.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 67.3 65.7 66.5 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy A7 64.8 66.3 73.5 Average
Samsung Galaxy A8 66.7 66.6 75.7 Good
Microsoft Lumia 640 XL 72 67.7 73.5 Good
LG G4 66.9 71.8 74.7 Good
BlackBerry Passport 76.6 71.9 76 Very Good
Xiaomi Mi Note 75.9 68.9 83.3 Excellent
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 74.7 73.5 81.6 Excellent

Messaging

The default messaging app is Samsung's own Messages. It has a clean looking UI and lets you can customize font size, backgrounds and speech bubble style. The app shows a row of priority contacts, below that is the list of all conversation threads. You can use pinch zoom to change the font size in a conversation thread.

Receiving a new message displays a popup that lets you view or quickly reply to a message, a handy functionality that Hangouts lacks.

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The Messages app handles multimedia attachments per thread

A built-in spam filter weeds out messages from select numbers or containing certain phrases. You can also schedule messages to be automatically sent later (so you don't forget).

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Customizing the look • fighting spam

The Samsung-modified Email app looks almost identical. The top row is a shortcut to show emails only from just priority contacts or you can view a combined inbox if you have multiple accounts added.

The Gmail app also handles multiple accounts - even ones not on Gmail - and adheres more strictly to Material design principles. Add push notifications and we end up using it more often than the Email app.

The Samsung keyboard features a dedicated numbers row. You can assign preset phrases to them so simple messages like "on my way" can be typed in a second. You can add text shortcuts (so 'brb' gets replaced with 'be right back') and there's predictive text.

You can tweak the size of the keyboard slightly, making it taller or shorter and if you are okay with a tiny keyboard, you can use the small floating one.

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Setting up text shortcuts • teaching predictive text • resizing the keyboard

It can update its database with popular words weekly and learn from your messages and contacts. Swiping can be set to move the text cursor or as an input method.

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The Samsung keyboard

Reader comments

  • Mice

Is my Samsung galaxy A8 Duos a smart phone please

  • Oden

This is the older version, I think what you meant is samsung galaxy a8 2018

  • Bb

Sumsung A8 Still available in market???