The Samsung Galaxy A80 takes home a lot of “world’s first”. The reason why is best described by Samsung’s ability to literally over-engineer the smartphone – particularly the camera mechanism.
That new camera mechanism introduces a lot of new elements into the world of smartphones – which we are obviously going to talk about it here in this review.
Let’s quickly summarize and go through the points that we have for the Samsung Galaxy A80.
There’s really nothing much to be seen here. Samsung opted for a simple white box here.
At the back of the box is where the list of hardware and specs is found.
In terms of accessories, you get pretty much the essentials. Since the Galaxy A80 does not have an audio jack, Samsung included a USB-C earphone in it instead. However, I would’ve like to see a USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack dongle included too. Maybe you should get the one from UGREEN.
Oh by the way, Samsung’s new 25W charger uses a USB-C to USB-C cable.
It’s a really sleek design here. Professional-looking with a shiny reflective back while incorporating that new camera mechanism seamlessly. I honestly love that design, though it is a fingerprint magnet after all.
The Galaxy A80 is available in Phantom Black, Ghost White, or Angel Gold. The one we have here is obviously in Phantom Black, but it actually looks more like grey. Also, that bronze rim around the camera is a really nice touch. 👌
One thing I have to say here is how top-heavy the phone really is. The phone feels like it’s about to topple over because of the weight distribution. Its weight is concentrated on the top side.
Connectivity & Ports
Here’s the one thing that needs a lot of explanation. The first thing you need to know is that the entire top part of the phone protrudes out when the camera mechanism activates. That means you can’t have any ports there.
With that said, everything will need to be placed at the bottom. That is where the newly-designed dual nano SIM card slot is found alongside the USB-C port, microphone port, and loudspeaker. There is no 3.5mm audio jack here simply due to the limitation.
See, Samsung’s lack of an audio jack here is justified due to the lack of physical space. They can put the audio jack at the sides, but that will obstruct even more parts of the phone internally. With the growth of USB-C audio recently, it’s better to go this route instead.
Other than that, the Samsung Galaxy A80 comes with top-notch connectivity too. AC WiFi with Bluetooth 5.0 and whatnot. However, there is no microSD card slot here so be mindful of that.
Since Samsung rethought the camera, they are able to put in a massive 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display with no cutouts or notches. It’s 6.7-inch of pure magnificent of a display with rich and vibrant colors and an unbeatable contrast ratio. Watching movies on this display is blissful. Moreover, the phone also supports HDR.
Also, it has a supremely long 20:9 aspect ratio with 2400×1080 pixels in resolution. The display really feels like it’s something different as it gives a really immersive user experience because of its massive notchless display.
I truly enjoyed my time watching YouTube and Netflix on this phone here. If you can find any HDR videos, then the colors will pop out even more. Once again, for a phone that is top-heavy, I find it quite irritating to beat the rotational force constantly.
Alright – here comes the biggest part of them all. The Samsung Galaxy A80 comes with a total of 3 cameras, and only 2 of them are usable. The 3rd camera here is a 3D TOF camera that is similar to the OPPO R17 Pro (review) and the HONOR View20 (review) but used in a completely different manner.
The 3D TOF camera on the Galaxy A80 is only used for the new feature called “Live Focus Video” which is exactly what it says it is – creating real-time bokeh for video recording. At the point of filming and publishing this review, that is the one and only function of the 3D TOF camera. It is not even used as an autofocusing assistant. I really hope Samsung will utilize the 3D TOF camera more in the next firmware update.
Back to the 2 usable cameras, we have:
- Main: 48MP f/2.0
- Ultrawide angle: 8MP f/2.2 fixed focus
The camera UI is also tweaked a little to incorporate the option to take 48MP pics instead of 12MP too. Yet this is the fastest phone in the market that takes 48MP pics. From the moment you press the shutter button, it takes around 2 seconds to appear in the gallery. We tried the Xiaomi Mi 9T too since it has the same list of specs and a 48MP camera – but the 9T took about 4 seconds to take a 48MP picture.
Moreover, the Galaxy A80 is also the one and the only smartphone in the world right now that can take a 48MP autofocusing selfie or go for an ultrawide angle selfie with 123° angle view. That is just impressive, honestly.
In terms of image quality, the Samsung Galaxy A80 manages to take great pics as usual. One thing I still commend Samsung for is the color consistency between its different cameras. This is something that their competitors have a hard time achieving for more than a year yet Samsung got it right the first time with the S10 series.
Then comes the autofocusing 48MP selfie picture. Honestly, I’m impressed. No other smartphone in the world can do this as of now.
With that said, I am quite disappointed that Samsung has made a clear cut that this Galaxy A80 is still in the Galaxy A series of smartphones, hence is a mid-ranger and subsequently cut down the camera features. The Galaxy A80 does not have a proper Pro mode and the only option available here is manual ISO – which is not “pro” at all.
Because of the phone’s top-heavy weight distribution, taking pictures in landscape mode feels like the phone is going to slip off your hands at any moment. I really do hope Samsung addresses this issue in the next iteration of the Galaxy A80.
I have to give Samsung a round of applause because the Galaxy A80 only has a single motor inside it, even though there are two moving parts. How? Click here to find out. Samsung really over-engineered it this time.
Software – Android 9.0 with Samsung One UI 1.1
It’s still the same Samsung One UI here and nothing has changed. One thing to note is that the A80 supports Samsung Pay.
From all of the features that I actually care about, the Galaxy A80 has it all except for the Edge Panel and all of those widgets. Other than that, it’s pretty close to a Galaxy S series smartphone in terms of software.
Performance & Gaming
One big highlight in terms of hardware is that the Galaxy A80 actually uses Snapdragon 730 chipsets – but for some reason, Samsung never mentions it in their marketing material. Whichever the case may be, you can check it on CPU-Z app.
The full list of core specs of the Galaxy A80 are:
- 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display with 2400×1080 pixels in resolution
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 730
- 8GB RAM
- 256GB internal storage (no microSD)
- 3,700mAh battery
- Android 9.0 Pie with Samsung One UI 1.1
Taking a look at the benchmarks below, we can see that the Snapdragon 730 is still not up to part or near the Snapdragon 845 in terms of performance. That is to be expected since the SD730 is meant to be a mid-range chipset after all.
As for gaming, Honkai Impact 3 runs mostly smoothly with the highest graphical settings, but there are noticeable frame rate drops when I’m using the infamous God Kiana character. Asphalt 9 runs smoothly, though.
Then comes PUBG Mobile. As of the time of this publication, PUBG Mobile has not been updated to fully support the Snapdragon 730 chipset yet so you can only get “high” graphical setting with 30fps only. Though, you can unlock the limit by using apps like GFX Tools, and the Galaxy A80 can run at HDR graphical settings in 60fps.
Battery & Charger
The Galaxy A80 comes packed with a 3,700mAh battery – not the biggest in the market right now, but considerably large enough to last throughout a day. In our test, it scores about 11 hours which is decent enough.
In terms of efficiency, I find the Snapdragon 730 chipset is not particularly optimized for power efficiency just yet. Perhaps in the upcoming software update, it will be even better. Also as a side note, Samsung had been hard at work and pushing new software updates every month for their smartphones.
Another major upgrade for the Galaxy A80 is in its charger. This is the first smartphone from Samsung that uses the new 25W charger. We took the extra time to try and compare with multiple different chargers too – with the older 15W charger from Samsung and a conventional 5V 2A charger.
To reiterate, this charger uses a Type-C to Type-C cable.
From here, we summarized the charging speeds into this simple little table.
Samsung’s new 25W charger
Conventional 5V 2A
We can see that the new 25W charger took about 88 minutes to charge completely whereas the 15W charger took about 90 minutes. I am able to deduce that Samsung is optimizing the 25W charger to reach around 75% mark faster and throttle the charging speed after that. This is to protect the battery from any sort of over-current.
Overall, I have to say – even though I’m not a fan of fast charging, this is nice to have – especially in emergencies.
Wrapping up the Samsung Galaxy A80 review
I think the best one-liner to describe the Galaxy A80 is this: an overengineered mid-range smartphone with ultrawide angle selfie and fastest autofocusing 48MP shooter. I put an emphasis on “overengineered” here since the camera mechanism can offload the work from the motor into another gear to rotate the camera.
Let’s not forget that the Galaxy A80 comes with Samsung’s beloved One UI although it lacks the Edge Panel found in the flagship Galaxy S and Note series of smartphones.
There are a few flaws as well – the phone as a whole is heavy – and the phone itself is top-heavy because of the mechanisms are found at the top. I do feel like the phone is constantly trying to rotate off my hand if I hold it at a certain risky way.
Then comes the price – for RM2,499, I still feel like the Samsung Galaxy A80 is a concept phone. There are a few flaws that Samsung can brush up for the next generation of such smartphone. It is certainly cool to be able to take selfies in 48MP with autofocus, though.