What do you think of the new Galaxy A series phones unveiled earlier this week? Samsung’s mid-range series has its advantages (e.g. software support at flagship level), but is quite conservative in design. It’s strange to think that the series descended from the ambitious Galaxy Alpha.
The series has occasionally ventured on the wild side – in 2019, for example, with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy A80. Every now and then we hear rumors that there will be a sequel, but none of them have materialized. So let’s take a closer look at this phone that is unique in the Samsung lineup.
A while ago, phones with pop-up cameras became very popular, with folding cameras being a rare alternative. These disappeared almost as suddenly as they appeared, the world finally deciding the punch hole design isn’t that bad and it will suffice until under-display cameras become the norm.
The Galaxy A80 was advertised with an “Infinity Display”. Samsung uses Infinity-O branding for phones with pinhole cameras, Infinity-V and Infinity-U for notched designs. But the A80’s display was pure infinity, no holes or cutouts of any kind (well, unless you count the rounded corners).
This left the 6.7-inch Super AMOLED panel pristine while the bezels remained thin all around. For comparison: Under-display cameras were still in the prototype stage in 2019. Also interesting was the way the A80 flipped its cameras – part of the back was pushed up, then the camera module rotated on its axis. Here it is on video:
The flip-up camera design has another advantage it holds over flip-up camera phones – the high-quality rear cameras can be used for selfies. There have been some great selfie cameras over the years, but rarely ones this good.
The Samsung Galaxy A80 used the same cameras for selfies as for regular photos and videos
The Galaxy A80 featured a 48MP main camera with a 1/2.0-inch sensor. Not the biggest, but it had decently sized 0.8µm pixels (1.6µm with binning). And it fully supports autofocus with phase detection AF to boot.
Even better, there was an 8MP ultra-wide camera for group selfies, as well as a 3D TOF sensor used for some fun effects. Attempting to put all of that on the front would have resulted in a wide notch or pill-shaped hole.
Here are some selfies for you to enjoy:
Selfie examples, main camera, 12 MP, HDR Auto
Next, selfies in portrait mode (using the depth sensor):
Also some ultra wide camera selfies:
Selfie Samples, Ultra Wide Camera, HDR Auto
How about live focus video while walking? As you can probably see, the main camera doesn’t have OIS (nor do most selfie cameras).
Finally, some regular camera examples:
Daylight samples, main camera, 12 MP, HDR Auto
Daylight Samples, Ultra Wide Angle Camera, HDR Auto
The Galaxy A80 was one of the first Samsungs to use an under-display fingerprint reader, an optical one rather than ultrasonic like the Galaxy S10 5G and later S-series models. It wasn’t the fastest, but at least it was always on so you didn’t have to tap the power button before unlocking the phone.
Samsung could have used a rear or side-mounted fingerprint reader, but the A80 was designed to impress, even if it wasn’t practical. Or cheap (but more on price in a minute).
In case you’re wondering, no, there wasn’t a face unlock. The camera’s flip mechanism wasn’t particularly fast, so waiting for it every time you wanted to unlock the phone would have been a pain.
The Galaxy A80 was powered by the Snapdragon 730, a pretty powerful chipset for its time. It had two Kryo 470 Gold cores (2.2GHz, based on Cortex-A76) and six 470 Silver cores (1.8GHz, A55), as well as an Adreno 618 GPU and a 4G modem (X15, 800/ 150Mbps).
It couldn’t compete with flagships, but was faster than the typical mid-ranger. However, due to all the cutting-edge features like the display, camera and FP reader, this was an expensive phone – it had an introductory price of €650/$730, more than some flagships at the time.
And the phone had its limitations. 25W fast charging support was rare on a Samsung back then, but the 3,700mAh battery was on the small side. The Galaxy A70, a modern 6.7-inch phone, had a 4,500 mAh battery.
There was also only one storage configuration – 8GB RAM and 128GB storage – but no microSD slot for expansion (the A70 had one). No 3.5mm headphone jack either (again, the A70 had one).
We don’t know how many Galaxy A80s Samsung has been able to sell. But we know the profits weren’t enough to justify developing a sequel. Still, we miss out-of-the-box phones like the A80, most designs these days seem to boil down to “the camera hump being shaped like an X”.
https://www.gsmarena.com/flashback_galaxy_a80s_flipup_camera_is_still_unique_in_samsungs_lineup-news-53628.php Flashback: The Galaxy A80’s flip-up camera is still unique in Samsung’s line-up