The buzzwords in the smartphone industry these days seem to the camera and display, so we are seeing companies experimenting with the two features. The selfie camera, in particular, has seen a lot of innovation as companies try and go for a bigger, no-bezel display without a notch.
The latest to join this fray is Samsung, which has introduced the first pop-up rotating camera phone called the Galaxy A80. With the Galaxy A80, Samsung is introducing a triple camera setup, which can be used for clicking both selfies and rear photos, thanks to the rotating mechanism. This by itself is a unique proposition considering one can rely on the same camera for both functions, when traditionally smartphones have sought to keep these as separate tasks.
With the Galaxy A80, Samsung has gone for an impressive 48MP+8MP combination with a 3D sensor at the end. The primary camera has a f/2.0 aperture and a secondary camera comes with 123-degree ultra-wide angle support. The third Time of Flight sensor can measure light in real-time to more accurately click Portrait photos. We spent some time with the Galaxy A80 at the launch event and here are our first impressions.
Let us talk about the camera system first, since it is the highlight. So, the horizontal camera system works like a charm, popping up and rotating to the front every time I tried during my limited time with the device. I was impressed with how quickly and effectively it works.
However, it does not work when the phone is laid flat on a surface. Of course, it is an unlikely scenario to be taking selfies with the phone resting on a flat surface. But there are other concerns around this camera. One is that it makes the phone look awkwardly tall when the camera pops-up. I am also wondering what the phone cover will look like to support pop-up rotating cameras and whether one will have to stick to official Samsung accessories for this particular device.
The camera itself has several modes to play around with such as super slow mo, live focus for photos as well as videos and hyperlapse. For the front camera, you also get the AR Emojis feature.
Another unique feature is its near bezel-less display, which Samsung calls its ‘New Infinity’ display. The phone’s Super AMOLED display looks stunning as one would expect from a Samsung phone and it has Full HD+ resolution, which should work fine in most scenarios. The ‘New Infinity’ display be Samsung does not have a notch and the bezels are extremely thin, which makes for more viewing experience.
The 3D glass back design with metal frames looks premium. It is good to see that Samsung has not gone overboard with reflective back covers. So, the white, black and gold colour options have just the right hint of reflective design, which gives the phone a classy look. The phone is quite heavy, despite a battery of just 3,700mAh.
Samsung Galaxy A80 is powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 730G processor so performance should not be a problem. It gets 8GB RAM and 128GB ROM, though the storage is not expandable, which could be a concern for some. Another advantage, especially in countries like India, is that the phone supports dual SIM cards.
The 3,700mAh battery in Samsung Galaxy A80 comes with support for super fast charging technology, which a lot of users will appreciate. Unfortunately, the in-display fingerprint sensor was not available for testing but we expect it to work accurately given the Galaxy A80 is a premium device.
Overall, the Galaxy A80 feels like a mid-range premium phone that can easily give solid competition to OnePlus 6T if it is priced under Rs 40,000. The rotating camera setup is certainly unique and might find takers.
Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy A80 will be launched at around Rs 50,000 in India. However, a lot will depend on the actual price when the phone comes to India. The company says that the Galaxy A80 will be unveiled in the Indian market in the first half itself, before July.
The writer is in Bangkok on the invite of Samsung India.