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Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018) First Impressions

Samsung has a new mid-range phone in the Philippines, Galaxy A6 (2018). On paper, its the possible successor of the highly popular Galaxy J7 Pro last year. It's also the baby brother of the Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018) with higher-end specs.
Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018) First Impressions
Samsung's new mid-range star!

The Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018) is now equipped with a modern 5.6-inch HD+ Infinity Display with narrower looking bezels and wider field of view, improved lowlight ready cameras on paper, face unlock technology for extra security, Dolby Atmos audio to "enhance" your headphone listening experience, and Bixby personal assistant.

By the looks of it, this handset could be Samsung's 2018 bet against the like of Huawei P20 lite, Vivo V9, and OPPO F7 mid-rangers.

Let's check it out!

Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018) Specs

Display: 5.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED 1480 x 720 resolution w/ Infinity Display, 2.5D curved glass and Gorilla Glass protection at 294 ppi
CPU: 1.6GHz 64-bit Exynos 7870 octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-T830 MP1
ROM: 32GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB (dedicated)
Back Camera: 16MP f/1.7 w/ PDAF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 16MP f/1.9 w/ LED flash
Battery: 3,000mAh
OS: Android 8.0 Oreo w/ Samsung Experience 9.0
Connectivity: WiFi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, OTG, FM Radio, GPS, A-GPS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: Fingerprint sensor, face unlock, Dolby Atmos, Bixby
Dimensions: 149.9 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm
Price: PHP 16,490 (PHP 13,490 sale price)

Disclaimer: This unit was borrowed from EON, the PR of Samsung Philippines for our honest take.

Note: Unfortunately, the unit we got doesn't have the official retail packaging yet. We will update this post once we know what's inside the box.

Build Quality / Design

Metal clad design
Metal clad design

Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018) is like a refined Galaxy J7 Pro. Build and design are identical except that this new phone has a taller screen aspect ratio and new fingerprint scanner placement at the back.

Again, solid build and design from Samsung!

The frame is still made out of a SOLID slab of metal aluminum with u-shaped antenna band design.On the top, it has a 2.5D curved glass with an unspecified type of Corning Gorilla Glass protection against scratches.
Visible antenna bands on top
Visible antenna bands on top
Bottom part showing the micro USB port, mic, and 3.5 mm headphone jack slot
Volume rocker at the upper left part
Volume rocker at the upper left part
Dedicated dual SIM and microSD card trays at the lower left portion of the phone
Dedicated dual SIM and microSD card trays at the lower left portion of the phone
Power button and speaker at right
Power button and speaker at right

Design-wise, this is a modern and premium looking handset. At the back, the u-shaped antenna band design looks sleek and its frame has generous curves for easier grip and better comfort. The camera hump at the back is almost nonexistent as well.

On the front, the screen has much smaller top and bottom bezels compared with the Galaxy J7 Pro and Galaxy J7 Plus. It also has a bigger 5.6-inch screen despite the the smaller body at 149.9 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm.

In comparison, the Galaxy J7 Pro and Galaxy J7 Plus with 5.5-inch screen measures at 151.5 x 74.9 x 7.9 mm and 152.4 x 78.6 x 7.6 mm respectively.

We also like that all its ports and buttons are easy to reach, the fingerprint scanner is now on a more convenient placement below the camera at the back, and it has dedicated dual SIM slots and microSD card slot.

Our minor gripes include the lack of water resistance (unlike other higher-end A-series phones), the a bit prone to fingerprint smudges paint finish, and the weird speaker placement on the right side of the phone.

Other than that, Samsung Galaxy A6 (2018) is a well machined handset.

Initial findings

The AnTuTu score of Galaxy A6 (2018)

1. Legit, Samsung has a refined design of the mid-range world. The Galaxy A6 (2018) has a modern taller screen aspect ratio. Build is still as solid as ever. It has no water and dust resistance unlike other A-series phones though.

2. Unfortunately, Samsung retained the ageing 1.6GHz 64-bit Exynos 7870 octa-core processor with Mali-T830 MP1 on the Galaxy A6 (2018). Yes, we know that it is still quite fast, but it will look old and slow compared to the likes of Snapdragon 626 and above from its competitors.

It has enough 3GB RAM, 32GB expandable storage, and 3,000mAh of battery. Some may say that 3,000mAh is too small, but it is enough for the HD+ screen resolution of this smartphone.

3. On the software part, it now boots with the new Android 8.0 Oreo OS with revamped Samsung Experience 9.0 skin. It looks smoother than ever and the icons are less cluttered too.

This handset also has Bixby assistant despite the lack of a dedicated Bixby button. Bixby is far from perfect, but it is still useful. It particular, it has Bixby Vision for text translation and find the information you need, Bixby Home to access your favorite apps and content easily, and Bixby Reminder to get intelligent alerts based on time, location, and situation.

Moreover, Samsung added Dolby Atmos audio software to help improve (headphone only) audio quality.

4. The Galaxy A6 (2018) now has a 16MP sensors at the back and in front. In particular, it goes with a 16MP f/1.7 lens at the back which should be great for lowlight mobile photography.

For selfies, it has a 16MP f/1.9 lens with an LED flash. Samsung also added a selfie focus mode for depth or background bokeh effect.

Both cameras has cool Instagram-like stickers.

We will fully test the cameras of this phone in the next few days. But so far, they are promising.

5. This device is complete with face unlock + fingerprint scanning tech, WiFi, 4G LTE, FM Radio, OTG, gyroscope sensor, and LED notification light.

Tip: If you have glasses, register the face unlock with your glasses on. Or else, face unlock won't work.

As of the moment

The Galaxy A6 (2018) could be the device for those in need of an stylish handset with AMOLED Infinity Display, lowlight capable camera, and Bixby software but can't afford to spend on a flagship Samsung smartphone.

We also like that this handset has face unlock tech and Dolby Atmos audio.

However, we are a bit disappointed that Samsung is still using their old 2018 mid-range chipset.

Let's also hope that its price is right.

I will keep you guys posted.

What do you think guys?
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