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Samsung Galaxy A6+ review: Great dual cameras, Infinity Display and excellent battery life come at a price

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 25 July 2018, 18:37 IST
(Sahil Bhalla/Catch News)

Samsung launched four new smartphones – Galaxy J6, Galaxy J8, Galaxy A6 and Galaxy A6+ – all at once. The USP of all these smartphones is the Infinity Display that has finally made its way to the budget segment. The A6+ is the one I’ll be reviewing here and it costs Rs 23,990 meaning it competes squarely with the Moto X4, Vivo V9, Oppo F7, HMD Global’s Nokia 7 Plus and the upcoming Mi A2 from Xiaomi.

Let’s just say that unless the Galaxy A6+ really impresses, the competition is going to take it to the cleaners. Fortunately for Samsung, the Galaxy A6+ has a lot going for it.

As a result of being made almost entirely out of metal, the whole look and feel of the Galaxy A6+ is premium. It’s got a solid grip and despite falling a couple of times, the smartphone has come out unscathed. The Galaxy A6+ sports a 6-inch Super AMOLED with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2280x1080.

Despite the 6-inch Infinity Display, the Galaxy A6+ with its minimal bezels is quite easy to use one-handed. It’s light and is non-slippery. There is a dual-rear camera at the back (in a vertical alignment) and a fingerprint sensor (that works reasonably fast) right below it.

The design language on the A6+ represents a departure from the other smartphones recently launched by Samsung. The two antenna bands feature prominently on the backside of the phone, and the speaker grille doesn’t feature at the bottom or the top. Instead, it is on the right-hand-side of the phone, right above the power button. The volume buttons feature on the left-hand-side.

There is a dedicated microSD slot and a dual-SIM slot. The bottom of the smartphone houses the micro-USB charging port alongside the headphone jack.

What stands out

Last year’s Samsung C7 Pro stood out because it didn’t have much competition chasing after it. This year, there are a lot of smartphones gunning for a piece of the pie. Still, saying that, the Galaxy A6+ does stand out for a couple of reasons:

  • Infinity Display: Once again, just like in last year’s mid-range C7 Pro smartphone, the display is the hero of the product. Samsung’s Infinity Display has solid colour reproduction. Everything on the display, including the icons and text, seem razor sharp and watching Netflix or Amazon is a pleasure.
    To add to this, the OLED technology enables Samsung to have an Always On feature. One can view notifications on a blank & dark screen while not affecting the battery life at all. The only downside is the thick bezels.
  • Face Unlock: Unlike is the J-series of smartphones, the Face Unlock feature works pretty well in the A-series of smartphones from Samsung. Setup is a breeze and I didn’t have much trouble in unlocking the phone with my face.
  • Camera: This camera is more hit than miss. It isn’t a patch on HMD Global’s superb Nokia 7 Plus but it does hold a candle to all the other smartphones in this price range. Colour-reproduction is good, details are there and in good-light, the camera shines. In low-light also, the Galaxy A6+ does an admirable job.
    Where it falters is in ‘Portrait’ or Bokeh mode, which Samsung calls Live Focus. Figuring out the exact distance, angle and lighting needed for a Live Focus shot is a major pain. It takes more than a couple of minutes to get it right. When one does zero in on what is needed, the camera produces some beautiful Bokeh shots.
    The selfie camera performs above average in this segment. Again, it doesn’t hold a candle to either the Oppo F7 or the Vivo V9 (those are selfie-focus smartphones), but it doesn’t aspire to be the selfie champion. Nonetheless, the selfie camera is quite good. It captures shots with ample detail and doesn’t artificially enhance them. It also doesn’t have any of those fake beauty enhancement features.
    Once again the selfie camera falters in the ‘Live Focus’ mode.
  • 4. Battery Life: Last but not the least. The 3,500 mAh battery under the hood easily lasts a day, if not more. With a medium-to-heavy usage cycle, I only had to charge the smartphone once a day.

The Galaxy A6+ has some flaws

Yes, the Galaxy A6+ isn’t a perfect smartphone. What I’m going to mention might turn you away from considering the A6+ as your next purchase. Let’s me lay it out then:

  • Performance: For Rs 23,990, everyone expected more than a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450. Usual day-to-day tasks will perform just fine but push the phone even a little and the lags are very noticeable. While the Samsung Experience UI works perfectly well on high-end smartphones from the company, it is a pain to have with the budget phones. It’s heavy and makes the Galaxy A6+ feel very sluggish.
  • Loud speaker: Yes, the Galaxy A6+ has a loud speaker but one that isn’t clear at the loudest volumes. It’s good for casual YouTube videos, but if you’re watching a movie at length, then it’s best you put on some headphones as the phone comes with support for Dolby Atmos.
  • Price: The biggest flaw from Samsung is the pricing of the smartphone. The Galaxy A6+ does not justify its price. Instead of Rs 23,990, it should have been priced at Rs 19,999 at the most.  Both the Realme 1 (Rs 13,990) and Redmi Note 5 Pro (Rs 14,990) are fitted with Snapdragon 636 processors.

Verdict

The Galaxy A6+ has a super display, good cameras and some pretty awesome battery life. It’s performance takes a knock and its pricing is unjustifiable. If you’re a Samsung loyalist, this or the A8+ is the smartphone to buy. If you aren’t, there are many other options abound.

First published: 25 July 2018, 18:37 IST
 
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.

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