Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) Review: Mid-range Comeback?

by John Nieves  October 31, 2018

We take Samsung’s triple-camera smartphone for a spin!

It’s no secret that Samsung isn’t the hottest name in town when it comes to mid-range phones. The Korean juggernaut is besieged in all sides by offerings of its Chinese rivals that offer excellent value for money at ridiculously low price points.

Because of intense competition, Samsung has developed a new strategy to help them get the upper hand. The company has publicly stated that they’ll be pushing new innovations to their mid-range line first before their flagships. The first product of that dramatic shift is the newly refreshed triple camera Galaxy A7 (2018) and the quadruple camera A9 (2018).

What is it?

The Galaxy A7 (2018) is the first phone borne from Samsung’s new strategy regarding mid-range phones. It’s a smartphone with a premium exterior, multiple rear cameras, and a mid-range price rage.

It looks pretty sleek.

It does. If there’s one thing Samsung knows how to do, it’s make pretty phones. The Galaxy A7 (2018) sports a glass rear that makes it look fly as hell, and while many people say the frame is made from metal, it doesn’t feel like metal to the touch and doesn’t get cold as metal does in an airconditioned room.

Overall build quality is pretty spot on because, well, it’s made by Samsung. The triple rear camera is arranged vertically and is tucked in the upper left side. There’s no fingerprint scanner on the rear or front of the phone since Samsung relocated that bit to the right side and integrated it into the power button. The volume rocker is located right above it, while the 3.5mm jack and micro USB port are located on the bottom.

Some people expressed disappointment with the side-mounted fingerprint scanner, but honestly, it’s not too bad. Yes, it requires a bit of getting used to, but once you get the hang of it pressing down on that button when you reach for your phone becomes second nature.

That display looks great, plus no notch!

Yup! Samsung’s one of the few companies nowadays that hasn’t completely succumbed to the whole notch bandwagon, and they’re not about to start with their new A-series of devices. The 6-inch, full HD+ Super AMOLED panel of the phone looks great, though there’s still some noticeable bezels on the top, sides, and bottom of the phone.

As for actual image quality, well, it’s a Super AMOLED panel. You can expect deep blacks and very vibrant colors, though at the expense of color accuracy and some form of oversaturation.

How’s the performance of the processor?

It’s good but it’s not great. The Galaxy A7 (2018) uses Samsung’s own Exynos 7885 octa-core processor, which has two dual-core 2.2GHz Cortex-A73s and a 1.6GHz hexa-core Cortex-A53. That’s paired with a Mali G71 MP2 GPU.

The phone feels OK but it never really feels really snappy, unlike a device that’s armed with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. You can play games on the Galaxy A7 (2018), but don’t expect them to run well with full graphics. The GPU really isn’t quite up to the task of heavy number crunching, and you’ll have to scale down graphical settings to get smooth frames.

As far as configurations go, you’re only getting 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, though the phone’s capacity can be

How’s the rest of the phone?

Well, the sound is good and there’s Dolby Atmos functionality in it, though it only works when you have a pair of headphones plugged in. Annoyingly enough the phone runs Android Oreo 8.0 still, at a time when Android Pie is slowly rolling out. Samsung’s Experience UI runs on top of that, but thankfully it’s not a bloatware ridden mess so it feels OK to navigate through.

Those triple cameras, do they deliver the goods?

They do. The three cameras are composed of a 24-megapixel primary camera with a f/1.7 aperture, a 5-megapixel depth sensor with a f/2.2 aperture, and an 8-megapixel sensor with an ultra-wide lens and f/2.4 aperture.

The wide-angle camera allows you to shoot wide open expanses without having to use the panoramic mode of the camera.

There are a few limitations though: because the wide-angle shooter has an f/2.2 aperture lens, it doesn’t do so well in places that doesn’t have a lot of light. You can’t adjust focus as well since it’s a fixed focus lens, and many of your shots will look like they came from a GoPro.

As far as image quality goes, the cameras do their job well. Images taken in bright environs are nice and crisp with plenty of detail. Image quality does take a hit during low-light, as the camera tries its best to keep the image usable by applying aggressive noise reduction.

The artificial bokeh function also looks pretty convincing as well.

How long does it last on a single charge?

The Galaxy A7 (2018) has a 3,300mAh battery which lasts quite a bit, surprisingly enough. PCMark’s battery benchmark put the battery endurance of the Galaxy A7 (2018) at 8 hours and 36 minutes, which translates to around a full day of use with a little bit of juice left over. Annoyingly the phone still uses a micro USB port for charging and doesn’t seem to have fast charging since it takes around 2 hours to charge from 0.

Should you buy it?

Samsung’s Galaxy A7 (2018) definitely has quite a few things going for it. The new triple camera setup works as advertised, giving it quite a bit of flexibility for a mid-range phone when it comes to taking photos.

Still, the less than an ideal processor, baffling use of a charging port that’s becoming a legacy connector plus a pricing premium makes the Galaxy A7 (2018) a step in the right direction for the company, but not a slam dunk that they were hoping for.

The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) is priced at Php 17,990, and is now available to buy in stores.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) specs

  • Exynos 7885 octa-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 6-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display
  • 64GB of expandable storage up to 512GB
  • Triple rear cameras: 24-megapixel f/1.7 main camera, 5-megapixel depth camera, 8-megapixel f/2.4 ultra-wide camera
  • 24-megapixel f/2.0 front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, side-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • 3,300mAh battery
  • Android Oreo

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