Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) Review: Software And Performance

By 06:49 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments


Software

The Galaxy A8 (2018) runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat - no Oreo just yet, but it will come eventually. There's a healthy dose of Samsung Experience on top, version 8.5, so everyone who's seen an S8, Note8, or even a recent J7, should be correct at home.


The Galaxy A8 (2018) has every software trick the S8 duo had - Always-on display, super-quick and always-on fingerprint scanner, Android Smart Lock, and powerful interface.

Nothing has really changed on the lockscreen, homescreen, or the notification shade. The task switcher is the place where you can initiate multi-window or pop-up apps.







The lockclassy screen • homeclassy screen • notification shade • task switcher • app drawer

Just like other Galaxies, the A8 has a rich theme support via Samsung's own Theme Store. You should definitely check it out.

The Game Launcher has been Samsung's way of improving mobile gaming since the S7. It groups all your games in one place, so they don't acquire lost in the busy app drawer.







Theme Store • a theme • a theme • Game Launcher • Settings

The in-play Game tools portion allows you to turn off notifications during a game and disable the home and navigation buttons. You can grab screenshots, and record gameplay too. Once again there is no resolution control. The A8 only has a FullHD panel, to start with, but given the hard time the Mali-G71MP2 might be having with the native pixel count, we do wish there was the option to hold some of the load off and run games at 720p instead.

The Nougat Operating System (OS) with the latest Samsung Experience is a treat, sure - easy to use, fast, and straightforward. But if you like to customize and tweak a variety of settings, you'll find the interface quite powerful, too.

Performance

The Galaxy A8 (2018) is powered by Samsung's own Exynos 7885 chipset. At least that's what benchmarking apps report - Samsung hasn't gone official with such an SoC, and it's not listed in the spec sheets either.


The recent chip has a Central Processing Units (CPU) configuration, which we haven't seen before. The processor consists of two powerful A73 cores clocked at up to 2.2GHz, and six A53s ticking at up to 1.6GHz. Odd it may be, but we are grateful for the A73 powerful cores as they would create a real incompatibility in regular Android operation.

And now - it's benchimprint time. GeekBench is what we ran first, and the recent processor did fine. A single A73 core is a powerful tool capable of handling anything you throw at it. We are not sure what cores are used for the multi-core calculations but here the A8 shows unimpressive improvement over the Galaxy J7 Pro's A53-based Exynos processor.

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    1991

  • OnePlus 5T

    1960

  • Oppo R11s

    1614

  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)

    1532

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro

    735

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 5T

    6701

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    6656

  • Oppo R11s

    5907

  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)

    4418

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro

    3768

According to AIDA64, the Galaxy A8 (2018) has a dual-core Mali-G71 (MP2) GPU. The previous Exynos 7880 had a dual-core Mali-T830 GPU, which means the Exynos 7885 inside the A8 employs a better GPU core. In fact, the G71 is found inside Kirin 960 (Huawei P10) and Exynos 8895 (Galaxy S8), but instead of two, there are 8 and 20 computing cores respectively.

Anyway, the G71 is more powerful than the T830 (offclassy screen test), but when we factor the increased resolution (onclassy screen test), it turns out the A8 performs similarly, or slightly lesser, than the Galaxy A7 (2017).

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 5T

    41

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    36

  • Huawei P10

    22

  • Oppo R11s

    15

  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)

    9.9

  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)

    9.1

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro

    3.3

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 5T

    35

  • Huawei P10

    30

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    23

  • Oppo R11s

    15

  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)

    9

  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)

    8.7

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro

    3.3

Finally, we ran the all-round AnTuTu test and the A8 (2018) scored above average for the class, taking a comfortable position between the flagships and the preceding mid-rangers.

AnTuTu 6

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 5T

    179790

  • Samsung Galaxy S8

    174435

  • Huawei P10

    126629

  • Oppo R11s

    121638

  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)

    85389

  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)

    60767

  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro

    47920

The recent Exynos 7885 is a small improvement over the 7880, as the name suggests. The Central Processing Units (CPU) is the most notable upgrade and the daily Android operations handled by the recent A73 cores should see a potential boost if you are coming from a J7 or A7. Sure, there are minor almost unnoticeable hiccups here and there, but we came to accept those as fine for anything that's not a flagship Android.

The GPU may have been refreshed, too, but the pixel count bump ate the extra power, so you will acquire the same gaming experience as on the A7. And it's not poor at all, even with two GPU cores the A8 is perfectly capable of handling all popular titles we've tried.

And finally, the chip is built using 14nm process and thus is rather cool. We haven't noticed any major heat dispersion, but if you do, you can always utilize the game launcher to tweak some settings.

Is the Exynos 7885 the best mid-range chip out there? No, the Snapdragon 660 does much better. But it's powerful enough and in the meantime - power-efficient, which makes it up for the job.


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