Samsung Galaxy A6+ Review: Captivating display, decent cameras, and an overlooked processor

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New Delhi | Updated: June 15, 2018 5:38:41 PM

Samsung Galaxy A6+ was recently launched to attract the buyers towards the bells and whistles including an Infinity Display, dual cameras, and Bixby Vision, but does it stand true to its pricing?

samsung, samsung galaxy a6+, samsung galaxy a6 plusSamsung Galaxy A6+ is available in the market at a price of Rs 25,990

Samsung has so far kept the top-of-the-line features exclusive to the Galaxy S line that includes the latest Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. One of these exclusive features is the Infinity Display, which is a proprietary name for the taller-than-usual displays for Samsung phones. The company is now bringing the Infinity Displays to the smartphones sitting at lower price spectrum, especially the Galaxy J and Galaxy A series. The recently launched Galaxy A6+ is the new entrant to the Galaxy A smartphone lineup that offers mid-range specifications in the mid-budget price point. The smartphone was launched alongside Galaxy A6, Galaxy J8, and Galaxy J6 smartphones – all having one thing in common – the Infinity Display.

The Samsung Galaxy A6+ comes with a price tag of Rs 25,990 in India, justifying the internals that includes an Exynos processor, an Infinity Display, and dual cameras. But more than this, the smartphone borrows the design language of the premium flagships. With this price tag, the smartphone aims to take on the Nokia 7 Plus and Honor 8 Pro. Does the Samsung Galaxy A6+ stand true to its price tag? We find out in our review:

Samsung Galaxy A6+ Design and Performance

The first glance at the Samsung Galaxy A6+ will make you feel the premium quality with which Samsung has carved out a single metal unibody for the handset. The front panel of the smartphone is black while the rear panel will bear one of the available body colours – Black, Blue, and Gold. The unit we received was the Black one, which looks premium. The rear side houses the cameras, LED flash, fingerprint sensor, and some inscribed text at the bottom about the designing and manufacturing of the phone (the Samsung Galaxy A6+ is made in India, as seen on the back panel). But, what else is conspicuously noticeable are the two antenna lines on either side of the phone (top and bottom) – giving the smartphone a distinct design pattern.

The handset is sturdy and feels solid in hands. We did not see any accidental slips or trouble in holding the phone, thanks to the rounded edges that contribute to the ergonomic build of the phone. However, one thing that drew our attention the moment we held the phone in hands was the bulkiness of the handset. The specs list of the phone mentions a weight of 191 grams. The phone is also not one of the thin phones that we have seen in the same price range. The Samsung logo is also embellished on the rear panel just below the cameras.

The left side of the smartphone has the volume rockers and two trays – one of which solely houses a nano-SIM card while the other can fit a nano-SIM card and a microSD card. You can use one 4G SIM card at a time while the other will automatically switch to the 3G network. The right side is filled with the power button and the grille speaker that can be muffled easily with a finger while holding the phone, making it inconvenient to watch videos on the phone while holding it, courtesy the unusual placement of the speaker.

Coming to the performance, the Samsung Galaxy A6+ is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor, which you’ll usually find in the entry-level and budget smartphones these days. However, Samsung told us that it focuses on maximising the experience for the users, which is unlikely to be hindered by what processor the phone packs inside. Anyway, we put the phone and the processor to test rigorously. But before that, it is worth noting that the Samsung Galaxy A6+ features 4GB of RAM and Adreno 506 graphics processor. Other specifications include an onboard storage of 64GB with expandability up to 256GB, standard connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and FM radio. However, the phone does not support NFC, which is okay considering we don’t have many NFC payment options available in India everywhere. You get a 3.5mm headphone jack and a standard Micro-USB charging port, the latter of which could have been, at least, upgraded to the Type-C version.

We threw daily tasks such as browsing Internet, making a decent number of calls, using WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, and the inbuilt SMS app at the Samsung Galaxy A6+. The handset faired multitasking easily without any hiccups – which is impressive considering the Snapdragon 450 processor. The test became meticulously elaborate for the handset when the usage of cameras was dripped in. The phone began to stutter when two or three apps including the camera app were switched speedily. The apps that we opened previously – and which were still manually unclosed – took time to load after we fired them up again.

Talking about gaming, the Samsung Galaxy A6+ manages to handle Asphalt Xtreme and same such games impressively well. You get a Game Launcher as a part of Samsung’s UI that isolates the phone and its resources to offer a better gaming experience. You can choose to play the game in High Performance mode that maxes out the processor cores to full utilisation – meanwhile snoozing the notifications from interrupting you while playing the game. Apart from this, don’t expect to try games such as PUBG on this phone, if you want a lag-free gameplay. The temperature of the handset seldom rises – only when you are using it during the scorching daytime.

The calls made via Samsung Galaxy A6+ were crystal clear on VoLTE network. We did not face any drops or distortion during the calls. We even tried VoIP calls using WhatsApp and they were fine too. The Internet speed on the device largely depends on your network. We were able to get the speed as high as 27Mbps on the cellular network in our area.

The Samsung Galaxy A6+ does come with a fingerprint sensor at the back that we found worked with a little delay. You also get facial recognition method as an option to unlock the phone. During our test, while the setup for face unlock is easy and less time-consuming, the functionality may tire you sometimes. The camera on the front properly recognises your face only if your face is aligned with it, otherwise, it’s a hit and miss situation. While good lighting weighs in as an important factor for facial recognition, the handset sometimes manages to recognise the registered in dim light.

The Samsung Galaxy A6+ comes preloaded with Android 8.0 Oreo with Samsung Experience 9.0 UI on top. The UI is same on all devices with the presence/ absence of apps, give or take a few. Samsung, in addition to Google’s suite of apps, comes preloaded with Microsoft apps such as Word, Powerpoint, Excel, OneDrive, and LinkedIn. However, the annoying part comes here when there is no option to get rid of these apps – classifying them as bloatware on the phone.

Everything else is pretty much standard that Samsung phones now offer. You get a phone optimiser app that also packs an antivirus software. The storage management app works as expected and there’s nothing outstanding about it. However, with the launch of Galaxy A6+, Samsung is addressing an annoying problem that bugs us while watching videos in a preoccupied manner. Samsung has introduced a feature called Chat over video, which opens an overlay of popular messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Messenger, and SMS app, to give you the ability to reply to the received messages without pausing or leaving the video screen or app.

Samsung says that this feature is the brainchild of the company’s R&D team in Noida, India that understands the problem of a typical Indian smartphone user. The Chat over video feature will bring a translucent window along with a similar keyboard to type the message to reply. For now, Samsung has managed to make this feature available for WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and the native SMS app on the default video player of the app. So, if you are a Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Hotstar user, this feature will apologetically be of no help yet.

You also get Samsung Pay Mini and Samsung Mall apps on the phone. While the Samsung Pay Mini app trims down the full functionalities of Samsung Pay, it does offer UPI-based payments to you. The Samsung Mall, which was introduced in January this year, works as expected by offering AI-based search of an item through a catalogue of various e-commerce websites. There is the S-Bike mode available, as well, for two-wheeler riders.

Samsung Galaxy A6+ Display, Camera, and Battery

The USP of this phone is its Infinity Display that has been handed down to the non-Galaxy S series phones. The Samsung Galaxy A6+ packs a 6-inch full-HD+ display with 1080×2220 pixel resolution. Samsung has used the Super AMOLED display for the handset, which means the colour reproduction is as nearly good as the flagship Galaxy S range. There is no notch on the phone, which is a respite to us before another brand (or maybe Samsung?) announces its notched display phone.

The colour tone of the display is decent with impressive viewing angles. The colours don’t wash away under the sunlight – offering proper legibility of text, however, there is a slight alteration of colours. The videos look immersive on the phone, thanks to the 18.5:9 aspect ratio, covering a major part of the display. In addition to standard 1080p videos, we also tried some 1080p videos in 50fps and 60fps, the results were impressive, to say the least. You get a Blue light filter to filter out the blue saturation for the use during the nighttime to lessen the strain on eyes. There is an Always-On Display (AOD) on the phone that works as a nightstand showing you time, date, reminders, and notifications without lighting up the display.

The cameras on the Samsung Galaxy A6+ are dual shooters mounted on the rear side, accompanied by an LED flash. A 16-megapixel primary sensor with an aperture of f/1.7 and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor with f/1.9 aperture work in sync to bring the Portrait Mode to photographs. On the front, you get a 24-megapixel camera that comes with Beauty effects, as well as AR stickers – but you can use both the features for the rear cameras too. The camera is quick to focus on subjects, however, a shaky hand might make things difficult for autofocus.

Coming to the photographs produced by the rear cameras, the colours look accurate with details – however zooming in shows lack of details instantly. There is a decent dynamic range to the images taken in daylight. Things turn south the moment you open the camera app in dark conditions. The photographs taken in low-light conditions lack detail and are too grainy and murky to convince you. The photos that were taken using the flash show some improvement but not that much. The videos (1080p) taken from the rear cameras bear similar quality. You can shoot videos in the 18.5:9 aspect ratio as well. The lack of Optical Image Stabilisation is evident, but this can be excused considering the price.

The 24-megapixel selfie camera, on the other hand, clicks impressive selfies that you may want to post on social media. Top that with beauty effects and stickers to make them look better. However, this is the result we reserve only for the daylight selfies. The selfies clicked during nighttime were noisy with fluctuating colour spectrum dominated by blue hue mostly. But you do get a selfie flash to forgo these unwanted outcomes by some degrees.

Coming to the Portrait Mode, Samsung calls it Live Focus, which is essentially the Bokeh effect derived from the photography jargons of the DSLR world. The dual cameras can be used to bring the Bokeh effect where the background is defocused to bring the subject – necessarily a person – in focus. We found the Bokeh effect on the handset underwhelming, where the edges of the focused subject were smudged with the background. You also get the feature on the front camera, despite the absence of a secondary camera.

Here are the camera samples:

Samsung has also equipped the cameras with Bixby Vision – which is currently available on premium Samsung phones. While Bixby isn’t natively available as a standalone app on the phone, the camera app does offer to scan the images through Bixby Vision to scan any text, objects, food, or QR code.

Apart from this, there is nothing outstanding about the cameras. But for what it’s worth, you get fairly decent photographs with some playful features such as AR stickers.

The most crucial component of a device is its battery. The Samsung Galaxy A6+ packs a 3500mAh non-removable battery under the back panel. Our battery testing regime included opening and using chat apps, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat multiple times a day, along with 1-2 hours of calls, some photography, and 1 hour of extensive gaming. The battery ran the device for more than half a day before sending the critical battery alert. The HD video loop gave us around 13 hours of playback before the battery drained out – enough to shut down the phone. The bundled charger is the standard 5V unit that takes a long time, around 2.5 hours to be specific, to charge the battery to full.

Samsung Galaxy A6+ Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy A6+ is here to make a dent in the market amassed with the phones of similar specifications and offerings. While the on-paper specifications won’t make your jaw drop, its real-world performance might entice you to go for it. The photography is decent according to the price range, however, we have seen better photographs clicked by the Honor 8 Pro. The display is the selling point for the phone that offers immersive multimedia and gaming experience.

The Samsung Galaxy A6+, however, comes with a better availability via both online and offline markets, unlike the competitors that are sold online only. If you can excuse the weight, heavy performance, and low-light photography, the Samsung Galaxy A6+ can be an option for you.

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