The Galaxy A80 is A Rare Innovative Mid-Ranger That Doesn’t Just Piggy Back on Flagships
Instead of a notch or a hole-punch for the front-facing camera, Samsung opted to combine two existing methods – the motorized pop-up module and the reticulating rear-facing camera. Will it be the game-changing move that’ll define the standard for smartphone design in the future? That’s a probability. Samsung is a large enough company to influence the market in this big way. But as it stands currently, other companies are still trying their own methods and iterations of eliminating the need for bezels.
Build, Quality, and Aesthetics
The front is nothing short of stunning. It's a Super AMOLED panel that gets bright and vivid as only Samsung smartphones can get. Even if it’s just 1080p on a 6.7-inch screen, images remain crisp and clear because of the revolutionary Super AMOLED.
However, turning it over reveals a back that’s a bit on the asymmetrical side. There’s a three-camera set-up on the top centre underlined with a hardware cut-out for the retractable rotating shooters. Sure, that can be said of most smartphones these days but the prominence of the cameras and the line that demarcates where the module cuts off from the rest of the back when the motorized pop-up mechanism is activated just isn’t a pretty sight. Some users might find this aesthetically unattractive, but the trade-off should be compelling in more ways than one.
It seems to be the fashionable thing to do these days to use glass on both front and back sides and an aluminium frame on the device so that’s what the A80 comes wrapped in too. However, using glass on the back brings durability score down a bit because it doesn’t have wireless charging that requires glass-backed construction. The simple step of using metal instead of glass could have made it a bit more drop-proof.
The colour-offerings are a bit lacking. It only comes in Phantom Black, Angel Gold, and Phantom White. It’s not that those aren’t attractive colours, it’s just that we’ve seen it before in the Galaxy S10 series so they’re nothing to be excited about.
Now it’s obvious that the A80 isn’t Samsung’s flagship device but as a midrange smartphone, it’s pretty darn innovative.
Motorized Pop-Up Rotating Camera
It hits two birds with one stone. The front-facing cameras almost always suffered sub-par quality compared to the rear-facing cameras. Having the rear-cameras on the Galaxy A80 rotate solves that problem. It also makes what they call the Infinity Display possible. It’s their version of the almost bezel-less display.
The result is the ability to take selfies with the 8-megapixel ultrawide shooter or high-quality portrait shots with the TOF sensor-assisted 48-megapixel main shooter. So, whether you’re in the mood to take a group-selfie or a high-quality glamour shot, you’ll most likely have crisp images.
Because you’re always shooting with the main-cameras, you’ll also be able to shoot excellent live-focus videos. Although, it’s important to note that when in selfie-orientation, the live-focus video only works with 1080p. When it’s in the rear-facing orientation, it’s capable of 4K. As to why that is, hasn’t been discussed yet. Nevertheless, this should be a favourite feature for content creators as they’ll be more inclined to use the selfie-cameras when vlogging. Of course, it’s still no match for a DSLR but no smartphone camera, even the famed Google Pixel 3, can ever truly match up with those things.
It’s important to note that Samsung isn’t the first company to use the motorized pop-up or the rotating camera module. This implementation is a combination of the Oppo N1 with the first ever rotating rear-facing camera set-up and Oppo Find X with its motorized pop up front-facing camera. However, it’s difficult to call Samsung a copycat here because they’re still technically the first one to implement both features in one phone. What it shows is a willingness to be bold with the newly re-energized enthusiasm for the mid-range segment for the South Korean tech giant.
Performance & Other Notable Innovations
The A80 is the first Galaxy phone to sport the Infinity Display which is their fancy term for a bezel-less screen. This automatically makes it a great content consumption smartphone… at least in the visual sense. There are no distracting notches, or punch-holes to distract users from viewing photos or videos. However, it’s a little limited in the audio department. For one thing, it doesn’t have stereo speakers greatly decreasing the auditory experience without headphones. Speaking of headphones, you also won’t be able to use wired headphones with the Galaxy A80 as they’ve pulled the plug on that as well. So, it’s really a visually stunning phone with good enough audio experience at best. But, with the right wireless headphones, you can easily make this one of the best content consumption smartphones around.
It’s also the first ever Samsung Galaxy smartphone to come equipped with a 25W charging capacity which is a lot more than what the Galaxy S10 devices can do. Together with the large battery capacity, the relatively low 1080p screen, and the energy-sipping-yet-powerful Snapdragon 710 processor, this should be a battery endurance top-performer.
All in all, the Galaxy A80 is a rare kind of a mid-range phone. It doesn’t just pick out the best features of the current flagships and pairs it with a lesser processor. It’s an innovative piece of hardware that challenges the concept of the mid-range segment itself.
The camera implementation is a genius functional feature that has a lot of potential in revolutionizing the smartphone industry not just for the mid-rangers, but for the entire smartphone space. But, of course, it’s not perfect. Aesthetics and durability are in serious question here. But if you can look past that, you're in for a pleasant surprise in an exciting segment in the smartphone world.