Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)₹ 23,990 is one of the latest smartphones to be a part of Samsung’s Galaxy A-series. It also happens to be the first smartphone from the Korean giant to sport a triple camera setup at the back. We would expect a phone from the Galaxy S series or Note series to be the first to get new high-end features, so it’s quite surprising to see an A-series model getting such attention. That’s not all, Samsung also launched the Galaxy A9 (2018)recently, which is the first smartphone in the world to sport a quad-camera setup at the back. While this might slightly dampen the buzz around the Galaxy A7 (2018), are its three cameras versatile enough to give it an edge over the competition in its price segment? We put it to the test to find out.
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) design
Samsung seems to have taken a new approach with the A-series of late. When this series was first unveiled, it comprised of devices with metal unibodies and IP certifications. The Galaxy A7 (2018) and a lot of other recent models such as the Galaxy A9 (2018) and Galaxy A8+ (2018) (Review) sport glass panels at the back. Samsung told Gadgets 360 that millennials are the target market for the A-series, and they prefer glass over other materials. As a result, the Galaxy A7 (2018) has a mid-frame that is sandwiched between glass on the front and rear. The frame is well built, but feels like plastic to the touch and does not get cold in an air-conditioned room.
The 6-inch display on the Galaxy A7 (2018) has an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. Samsung also refers to it as an Infinity Display, but it does not curve around the edges of the device like it does on the Galaxy S9₹ 41,999 (Review) and Galaxy Note 9₹ 61,900 (Review). The bezels on the sides are slightly thicker than we would like, but the top and bottom bezels are symmetrical. The earpiece, selfie camera, flash, and an array of sensors are placed above the screen, while the space below it is blank.
Triple camera setup on the Galaxy A7 (2018)
You’ll find a Micro-USB port, 3.5mm headphone jack, and loudspeaker grille at the bottom of the phone, while the top only has a secondary microphone. Considering the price of this smartphone, we were expecting a USB Type-C port. The power button has an integrated fingerprint scanner and is positioned on the right, along with the volume buttons. We have seen a similar fingerprint scanner on the Samsung Galaxy J6+₹ 14,490 (Review). This is convenient when the phone is in your right hand, but you may have to shuffle it a little in your left hand to get a proper scan.
The phone weighs 168g which is about right for a phone of this size. At the back, it has a vertically stacked triple camera module along with an LED flash. The camera module juts out slightly and has a metal rim around it to keep it safe. We observed discolouration on this metal rim after using the smartphone for a few days. As we know, glass picks up smudges quickly, and the back of the Galaxy A7 (2018) isn’t an exception. You will have to wipe it frequently to keep it smudge free.
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) specifications and software
Samsung has used a 6-inch Super Amoled FHD+ panel on the Galaxy A7 (2018). It has punchy colours and good viewing angles, and is also has great visibility when outdoors. You also get options to tweak the colour output to suit your preference. We liked the display and enjoyed watching videos on it. The phone also has support for Dolby Atmos, but only when using headphones, not the loudspeaker. There is a noticeable difference when Dolby Atmos is switched on, and you do get the option to adjust the audio output.
The Galaxy A7 (2018) is powered by a Samsung Exynos 7885 octa-core processor. It has six ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.6GHz, and two ARM Cortex A72 cores clocked at 2.2GHz. The phone is available in two variants — one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and the other with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. We had the former for this review.
Both variants also have a non-removable 3300mAh battery, Bluetooth 5, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, GPS, Glonass, and Beidou. The Galaxy A7 (2018) misses out on NFC, and as a result, it only supports Samsung Pay Mini. It has other sensors such as an accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor. The Galaxy A7 (2018) is a dual-SIM smartphone with support for 4G and VoLTE on both SIMs.
Side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy A7 (2018)
Samsung ships the Galaxy A7 (2018) with Android 8.0 Oreo with its custom Experience UI and our device was running the September 2018 security patch. There are a few customisations and you get quite a few apps preinstalled. Samsung’s virtual assistant Bixby is also available on this smartphone. You don’t get a dedicated button for it as we have seen on the Galaxy A9 (2018), but you can swipe right from the home screen to access it. The Settings app is slightly different than what you’d see on stock Android. That said, we did not have trouble finding certain settings, and the search function within the app is helpful. The smartphone also makes the most of its Amoled display with an Always-On mode that displays the time and pending notifications on the phone screen when it’s idle.
Some of the preinstalled apps on the Galaxy A7 (2018) include Google and Microsoft Office apps, Amazon Shopping, Prime Video, Dailyhunt, Samsung Mall, Samsung Max (a data saving app), Samsung Pay Mini, and My Galaxy. We found the My Galaxy app a little spammy as it kept sending push notifications. Popular Samsung features such as S Bike Mode, S Power Planning, and S Secure are not preinstalled on the smartphone but you can download them from the Google Play Store.
Another addition called Game Tools helps you block incoming notifications, boost performance, and disable automatic brightness adjustment when a game is launched. Game Tools also has a nifty feature that lets you use other apps in picture-in-picture mode.
Dual Messenger is similar to the Dual Apps functionality on other smartphones, and lets you run two instances of the same app on the phone. Samsung’s Smart Stay feature, which keeps the display awake when you are looking at it, as well as the palm swipe gesture to capture a screenshot, are useful. Another feature called Chat Over Video, which was introduced with the Galaxy J-series and A-series earlier this year, lets you open SMS or WhatsApp conversations in a transparent layer over a running video. You can also swipe down on the fingerprint scanner to pull down the notification shade, which is easy to do when holding the phone in your right hand.