Review: Samsung Galaxy A80

Review: Samsung Galaxy A80
Where is the front camera on the Samsung Galaxy A80? Your guess is (probably) as good as anyone's.

Dubai - Korean tech giant up to new tricks, but will it suit everyone?

By Alvin R. Cabral

Published: Tue 20 Aug 2019, 4:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 23 Aug 2019, 5:11 PM

Oh what innovation and some shrewd thinking can do. And - nope - not this one. Not yet. Give us a little more time.
With all those phones with pop-up and shark-fin cameras coming out, Samsung may have found it best to once again try and separate itself from the pack, coming up with its own spin on that pop-up fad (pun definitely intended).
The result? The Samsung Galaxy A80, a smartphone with a camera form that's really not-so-new. And why not-so-new? Well, anybody remember the Oppo N1 from way back in 2013? How about the Huawei Shot X/Honor 7i?
Let's dive:

This could be one of the more dizzying comparisons we've seen: Good ups on some ends, questionable downgrades on others. Go figure. But, to be fair, the A80 presents a whole new offering; maybe it just so happened it was the logical successor to the A70.
Anyway, let's take a quick peek first:

It's sturdy, really - but heavy
Obviously, you'll readily notice the one main thing missing up front: The selfie camera. That's because the main cameras also serve as the front snappers, which we'll directly dive into now:

That, of course, gives both camera modes the same quality - in effect making it the world's first smartphone with a triple-lens setup up front.
This system, however, eliminates the possibility of using apps that require or can use both back and front cameras simultaneously for whatever reason (goodbye, bothies). 
Fire up the camera app, hit the selfie button and watch the top portion of the A80 slide up then enjoy the way the camera swings around 180 degrees. Yes. It works that way. And the only way, as a matter of fact to see that piece of ingenuity in action.
We stressed 'only' up there because, well, for some reason, Samsung decided not to include face-recognition tech in this rather sturdy phone. It's really a head-scratcher, since there are devices of lesser value have it in them. Why, Samsung? Why? Here's to hoping that some OS upgrade will fix this up.
At least there's an in-screen fingerprint scanner to boot; give the screen a tap or just lift the device up and it'll light up - though I think the location of the scanner is a bit too low. Still, this could entirely be 'hand-dependent':

My natural hold seems to be too high for it
This isn't the same ultrasonic thingy we've seen in the Galaxy S10 or will see in the Note10, and I have a real beef with it. It, for some reason, at times requires a real good press or multiple times even before it recognises you. Doesn't make any sense (pun intended) on a series like this.
It's got a generous 6.7-inch screen, and the bezels are quite thin enough, though the chin could've used some more shaving to give it a more balanced look. To the right is the power button, on the left is the volume rocker and below are the USB-C port and dual-SIM tray. No 3.5mm audio jack or a provision for a microSD, two missing things that will be an issue for some especially the latter, since you only get 128GB of storage; at least there's 8GB of RAM for you to work with. 
There are no fancy stuff on the A80, and that appeals to me; it's a straight-up edge-to-edge device with a nice glossy finish at the back. As I always say, simpler is sometimes better. It is, however, quite heavy and a tad thick. As a matter of fact, its curvy build at the back reminds me of some of the greatest phones from HTC.
Anyway, the interface is powered by Android 9.0 Pie, so you do know what you're getting into. You can reveal the app tray by swiping up or down the home screen; doing so right, meanwhile, will take you to Bixby Home, who'll happily guide you through those routines and try and help you out throughout your day (you know the drill).
An ironic aspect here is the battery. While significantly down from the A80, our standard one-hour YouTube-at-full-brightness test showed that only 10 per cent of juice was sapped - not a bad result, and though we didn't get the chance to review the A70, it stacks up pretty well in its segment. It's also acceptable performance-wise, being able to hold up until the following morning before it needs some recharge.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for - the camera. Our initial salvo:

Clear as day
Works excellent in uber-lit-up scenes. That last shot is a 5x zoom shot of the image beside it; it retains most detail but, as with other devices, a steady hand is a must.
Time for dinner:

I didn't enjoy these because my hyperacidity acted up
The best thing I like about that set is the way the camera emphasised the shine of the fat-inducing oil food.
This next one uses the ultra-wide lens; note how far it was able to reach:

No chilis for me tonight
And one more:

Just came from a last-full-show movie
So, there, you have a pretty good idea for even wider scenes that require you to pack everyone in the frame.
Next up, a normal mode-versus-night mode shot at, well, night, when else?

Hello, moon
The difference in brightness is noticeable in the sky; some other parts, meanwhile, need a more attentive eye. Glare was also fixed up a bit on the right.
The next pair had poor lighting, but the A80 was able to light it up good:

Another wind-less night
Even inside a cinema house, it held up pretty well:

You may have an idea what I watched
The downside with the night mode is that the darker your scene, the smudgier shots will get. Plus that ol' steady hand is needed again - at least the A80 won't make you wait for several seconds before it finalises a shot.
And my foil is back; seriously, I don't even know why I'm testing a selfie when we all know that the A80's camera system is both either way:

There she goes, there she goes again...
Quite polarising to a certain extent, but the Samsung Galaxy A80 still presents an ideal veering-away from traditional design. Again - as with any device that has an additional mechanism - I am concerned about what may happen if you drop this phone and it messes up those extra gears to make the camera rise and work.
Its strengths are in its build, battery and camera system, save for some certain low-light situations on the latter. The lack of face-recognition tech and that iffy fingerprint scanner are a weird combination, especially when you consider its price. For the same amount or maybe even less, there are options that have both at your disposal.
Well, let's just consider this as something that'll serve as a stage-setter for Samsung's next great gizmo. See you again real soon. 
GOODIES - Sturdy build, good battery, good camera
GOOFIES - Inconsistent fingerprint scanner, no face-recognition tech, quite expensive, non-expandable memory

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