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Samsung Galaxy A80 review: You spin me right round

By Luke Tan - 1 Sep 2019
Prices:

Software & Performance

Software

In the low-end and midrange, One UI is Samsung's ace in the hole, giving the Korean company a significant advantage over the often visually jarring, unpolished software interfaces of Chinese competitors. The A80 has it atop an Android 9.0 base.

OneUI’s visual language looks friendly without being cheesy and is consistent throughout all parts of the software.

OneUI is approaching the level of customisation previously only seen in Chinese phones. For example, the placement of the brightness slider (above or below the toggles) can be adjusted in the notification shade.

However, there are still incongruous design choices, such as headers taking up nearly half the screen for no logical reason. But I'm being nitpicky here.

My sole nitpick would be that One UI seems rather resource-heavy. Performance — which we'll talk about in detail next— was certainly adequate, but I've seen faster phones that cost less.

 

Performance, benchmarks, and battery life

It didn't seem like so long ago that the phrase "mid-range Android smartphone processor" meant putting up with eight merely adequate Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz (think Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 on everything from (Mi) A1 to Zenfone.) Day by day, though, phones in this segment are closing the gap with flagship devices.

You could throw a stone into a phone shop and easily hit something like this - something such as the Samsung Galaxy A80. It runs the game-optimised Snapdragon 730G, and its two Kryo 470 cores, running at 2.2GHz, are derived from ARM's fastest architecture at the moment, the Cortex-A76. That's similar to what's on the Snapdragon 855! These are helped out by six more A55-derived Kryo cores clocked at 1.8GHz.

Test phones compared
  Samsung Galaxy A80 Vivo V15 Pro Google Pixel 3a XL (64GB) OnePlus 7 Pro (12GB/256GB) Honor View 20 (8GB/256GB)
  Samsung Galaxy A80 Vivo V15 Pro Google Pixel 3a XL (64GB) OnePlus 7 Pro (12GB/256GB) Honor View 20 (8GB/256GB)
Launch SRP
  • From S$898
  • From S$699
  • From S$779
  • From S$1278
  • From S$829
Latest Price
  • From S$620
  • From S$655
  • From S$870
  • From S$680
Operating system
  • One UI based on Android 9
  • Funtouch OS based on Android 9.0
  • Android 9.0 Pie
  • Android 9.0 with Oxygen OS
  • Android 9.0 with Magic UI 2
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 730
  • Octa-core (2 x 2.2 GHz + 6 x 1.8GHz)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 675, octa-core (2x Kryo 360 Gold + 6x Kryo 360 Silver), 2.0+1.7GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
  • Octa core (2 x 2GHz 360 Gold, 6 x 1.7GHz Kryo 360 Silver)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Octa-core (1x2.84 GHz Kryo 485 & 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 485 & 4x1.78 GHz Kryo 485) with Adreno 640 GPU
  • Hisilicon Kirin 980 octa-core (2 x 2.6GHz Cortex-A76 & 2 x 1.92GHz Cortex-A76 & 4 x 1.8GHz Cortex-A55)
Built-in Memory
  • 8GB RAM
  • 8GB RAM (Singapore variant)
  • 4GB RAM
  • 12GB RAM
  • 8GB RAM
Display
  • 6.7-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED (393ppi)
  • 6.39-inch, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, notchless
  • Super AMOLED
  • 2,340 x 1,080 pixels
  • 6-inch OLED touchscreen
  • 2,160 x 1,080 pixels resolution
  • 6.67-inch / 3120 x 1440 pixels (516ppi) / 19.5:9 ratio / Fluid AMOLED
  • 6.4-inches 2,310 x 1,080 pixels (398 ppi) IPS LCD 19.5:9 ratio
  • Always-On Display
Camera
  • 48MP main camera F2.0
  • 8MP ultra-wiode camera F2.2
  • 3D dept camera F1.2
  • Rear:
  • Main: 48-megapixel, 0.8μm pixel size, f/1.8 aperture, PDAF
  • Ultra wide-angle (13mm): 8-megapixel, f/2.2 aperture
  • Depth sensor: 5-megapixel, f/2.4 aperture
  • Front:
  • 32-megapixel, f/2.0 aperture, pop-up motorized
  • Main camera: 12.2MP, F1.8, 28mm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS
  • Front camera: 8MP, F2.0, 24mm
  • Rear:48 MP, f/1.6, (wide), 1/2", 0.8µm, PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
  • 8 MP, f/2.4, 78mm (telephoto), 3x zoom, PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
  • 16 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide)
  • Front:Motorized pop-up 16 MP, f/2.0, 25mm (wide), 1/3.0", 1.0µm
  • Rear: 48-megapixel, f/1.8, 1/2", 0.8µm, PDAF, Sony IMX586, + TOF 3D stereo camera
  • Front: 25-megapixel, f/2.0, 27mm
Connectivity
  • LTE Cat. 11
  • 802.11ac/b/g/n/a
  • Blueooth 5.0
  • USB-C
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac dual band
  • Bluetooth 5.0 LE/EDR/aptX support
  • GPS, AGPS and GLONASS positioning
  • IR blaster
  • micro-USB 2.0
  • 802.11ac/b/g/n/a
  • Bluetooth 5.0, aptX HD
  • USB Type-C
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot ,Bluetooth v5, NFC, 4G LTE Cat 18 (up to 1.2Gbps)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 4G+ LTE, dual-band, hotspot, DLNA, Bluetooth v5, A2DP, LE, GPS, GLONASS, USB 3.1 Type-C
Storage Type
  • 128GB internal
  • 128GB internal storage space (Singapore variant)
  • microSD support up to 256GB
  • 64GB internal
  • 256GB
  • 256GB internal storage
Battery
  • 3,700mAh
  • 3,700mAh
  • 3,700mAh
  • Fast battery charging 18W
  • 4,000mAh
  • Warp Charge 30 Fast Charging
  • 4,000mAh
  • 22.5W SuperCharge
Dimensions
  • 165.2 x 76.5 x 9.3mm
  • 157.3 x 74.7 x 8.2mm
  • 160.1 x 76.1 x 8.2mm
  • 162.6×75.9×8.8mm
  • 156.9 x 75.4 x 8.1 mm
Weight
  • 220g
  • 185g
  • 167g
  • 206g
  • 180g

We’ve pitted the A80 against other recent mid-rangers in these tests (be it price-point matched or target-segment matched devices), and also thrown in Huawei’s Honor View 20 which uses Huawei’s flagship chip, the Kirin 980. See, I told you mid-rangers were behaving like flagships now.

 

JetStream 2

Do note that those two Snapdragon 67x phones are already plenty fast for the mid-range. Since the Jetstream benchmark is new to us, we didn’t have an Honor View 20 and had to put in a OnePlus 7 Pro for comparison. The A80 is not far off.

In Jetstream 2.0, which tests browser JavaScript performance across a range of real-world situations, the A80 saw off the Snapdragon 67x-equipped Vivo V15 Pro and Pixel 3A XL - the former by quite a margin. The OnePlus 7 Pro, with its flagship-class Snapdragon 855 processor, was the runaway leader here.

 

Geekbench & Antutu

Antutu and Geekbench measure system performance over a variety of factors in real-world usage scenarios, such as CPU performance, RAM, and storage. And again, the performance of the A80 led the Snapdragon 67x-series devices but expectedly fell behind the Kirin 980 in the View 20.

 

3DMark

Now for graphics performance in 3DMark. Compared to the "vanilla" Snapdragon 730, the 730G actually has a faster-clocked Adreno 618 GPU (825MHz versus 700MHz in the 730) and faster "big" cores. Here, the A80 slotted in nicely above the 600-series devices but was still outperformed by the Honor View 20.

In Sling Shot Unlimited, the A80 slotted in nicely above the 600-series devices but still below the Honor View 20.

 

Battery life

On the power side of things, despite the huge 6.7-inch AMOLED display and moderately-sized 3,700mAh battery, the A80 was able to keep going for over 14 hours! It comfortably outlasted its rivals by at nearly 1.5 hours. This may be due to better driver and hardware optimisation or the newer Hexagon 688 DSP in the Snapdragon 730G chip.

My eminent colleagues and I know that benchmarks don't lie, but they don't tell the whole truth, either. I think the phone could feel more snappy in daily use. One UI is not to blame for this, and it seems to me that other factors like touch response latency appear to be at play.

7.5
  • Design 7.5
  • Features 7.5
  • User-Friendliness 7.5
  • Performance 7.5
  • Value 7
The Good
Gorgeous notchless AMOLED display
Solid build
Funky pop-up swiveling camera
Great battery life
Time-of-flight sensor gives great bokeh
Polished One UI software
USB-C port
The Bad
Heavy, slippery, and a little thick
Camera quality is a mixed bag
No water and dust resistance
No headphone jack
No wireless charging
No expandable storage
RRP is pricey
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