Considering the Samsung Galaxy A6? A few years ago, Samsung introduced its A series, a group of phones designed to be a happy medium between the high-end S series and the budget J devices. The new A6 sits pretty squarely in the centre pricewise (around $400), but while it comes with some great features, there are perhaps a few elements lacking. Let’s take a look at the A6.
Here’s what you can expect from Samsung’s Galaxy A6 2018:
5.6” Super AMOLED display
1480×720 px resolution Infinity display, aspect ratio of 18.5:9
Samsung Exynos 7870 Processor
3 GB RAM
32 GB Internal Storage
Support for microSD memory cards up to 256 GB
16-megapixel rear camera with f/1.7 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and LED flash.
16-megapixel front camera with f/1.9 aperture, fixed focus, and LED flash.
Battery: 3000 mAh battery
Phone Body: Aluminium-backed, 149.9×70.8×7.7 mm
Bucking the trend of glass-backed devices, the A6 and it’s counterpart, the A6+, boast an aluminium back. While this metal build does not have the same elegance as a glass-built phone, the A6 still has a solid, fairly premium feel. It’s sleek and light, comparable size-wise to the iPhone 8. It will fit snugly within a pocket and can be used one-handed with ease. The aluminium back gives the phone an element of sturdiness and certainly makes it less prone to scratches and marks. The A6 comes in an array of colours: lavender, black, and gold.
Display-wise, the phone’s colours pop beautifully and contrast is dynamic, yet the resolution is not as promising. Despite solid numbers, many reviewers say that the display comes across a bit pixelated. Of course, this is in comparison with higher-end devices like the A8. For basic use, it should be more than fine.
As you utilise your phone, you’ll find that it is responsive and fairly fast. The AMOLED display reacts with ease to touch. Some lag may be experienced when attempting a more complicated task on the phone. Light-to-medium gaming is feasible with this device, but demanding games will lack the necessary stability. For some games, experts recommend turning down graphics settings for a smoother gaming experience.
How long can your phone go? There’s ample battery power in the A6’s 3000 mAh battery. Your charge should last reliably for a full day. One site ranked this device as “one of the most power-efficient phones” they have reviewed this year. For a longer-lasting battery life, enable one of the A6’s power-saving modes. The phone’s slower charge time is a downside of this device.
3GB of memory is standard for a device at this price point. If you need additional storage, use the microSD card slot which can handle as much as 256GB.
On the A6, the fingerprint scanner is placed on the back, below the rear camera. positioned within easy reach below the camera. The sensor shows a high degree of accuracy, with just a slight lag time between touching the scanner and a device unlock.
The fingerprint reader works very reliably and also supports gesture functionality (it can be used to pull down or dismiss the notification shade). Face recognition also works well. It can be used to unlock the smartphone or to sign into apps. Other features include: One-handed mode, Quick Launch (double-tap the power button to launch the camera) and Multi-Window Mode, which allows several apps to be displayed on the screen at the same time.
Alternately, you can use facial recognition as a security measure. This feature functions pretty well in daylight hours, but is less accurate in dim settings. It’s also not super fast.
The A6 can brag a bit about its camera specs. Its 16-megapixel rear shooter captures detailed, colour-rich images. This is primarily true in good lighting situations; in low-light environments there is a tendency to accumulate noise in the images. There is no optical image stabilisation, which can sometimes result in blurry images. Want to take photos at night? You can switch over to a night mode which is designed for dimmer conditions, but this requires a steady phone to capture the best possible shots. A mobile phone tripod could be helpful for such photography. There are also Pro and Sport modes, among many other options, offering further photographic diversity.
There’s not much about the A6 that is unique. Samsung tends to reserve its finest features for its flagship devices. However, the Samsung Galaxy A6 does have a Dolby Atmos sound enhancement feature, which is something it shares with its more sophisticated cousins, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+. With this feature, the overall sound quality is significantly augmented when using headphones.
What About the A6 Plus?
On many counts, the A6+ is similar to the basic A6, but with increased capacity. A slightly bigger display (6” compared to 5.6”) may be appealing, but even better is the higher resolution of 1080 x 2220. The A6+ comes with a slightly faster processor as well as a battery that has an extra 500 mAh. Still, these differences may not be significant enough to offset the expected increase in price.
Selfie-lovers will enjoy its 24MP front camera. There’s also a dual 16MP + 5MP camera at the back which can grab some well-detailed shots. These are the features that could make the A6+ jump just ahead of the A6.
This phone does not support some common features that smartphone users are growing used to, such as waterproofing and wireless charging. But for a lower price, this is not overly surprising. What is somewhat surprising is that Samsung opted not to include USB Type-C port, as it has on previous A-Series models.
Many of the reviews out there for the Galaxy A6 are somewhat lacklustre. As a Samsung device, it remains a solid option, but it isn’t a phone that will make headlines. Ultimately, this phone may be right for the person who likes the essential features of the Samsung A8, but wants to pay a lower price. While the A6 lacks the pizazz of higher-end phones and does not offer much in the way of speciality elements, it’s a fair device for the going rate.