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?
Obviously, you’ll readily notice the main thing missing up front: The selfie camera. That’s because the main cameras also serve as the front snappers. 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 180 degrees. For some reason, Samsung decided not to include face-recognition tech in this rather sturdy phone. Here’s hoping that some OS upgrade will fix this.
At least there’s an in-screen fingerprint scanner to boot, though I think the location of the scanner is a bit too low. This isn’t the same ultrasonic thingy we’ve seen in the Galaxy S10 or Note10, and it, at times, requires a real good press or multiple presses before it recognises you.
It’s got a generous 6.7-inch screen, and the bezels are quite thin. 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 is 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.
The battery, meanwhile, is a very bright spot. Our standard one-hour YouTube-at-full-brightness test showed that only 10 per cent of juice was sapped – not bad at all.
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. Won’t be surprised if this becomes the norm – or at least some version of it – pretty soon in this segment.
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730
Platform: Android 9.0 Pie
Storage: 128GB, non-expandable
Display: 6.7″ FHD+ Super Amoled, 2400 x 1080, 86% screen/body
Camera: Main/front camera Triple-lens: 48MP wide (f/2.0) + 8MP ultra-wide (f/2.2.) + 3D depth (f/1.2)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, USB-C; dual nano SIM
Pros: Sturdy build, good battery, good camera
Cons: Inconsistent fingerprint scanner, no face unlock, non-expandable memory
Author’s rating: 4/5