The Samsung Galaxy A8+ and the OnePlus 5T cost almost the same. They aspire to offer more or less the same deal as well. But while the OnePlus 5T is a beast, the Galaxy A8+ is a beauty to behold. Clearly, the Galaxy A8+ and the OnePlus 5T have been designed for two very different target audiences
The Samsung Galaxy A8+ and the OnePlus 5T cost almost the same. They aspire to offer more or less the same deal as well. But while the OnePlus 5T is a beast, the Galaxy A8+ is a beauty to behold. Clearly, the Galaxy A8+ and the OnePlus 5T have been designed for two very different target audiences even though they may share the same goal. While the Galaxy A8+ has been designed for those looking for good-looking phone, the OnePlus 5T is meant for those who prefer raw fire-power over gorgeous looks.
Here’s a point by point breakdown of both the phones, something that I hope will help you make an informed choice:
Design and build quality
The Galaxy A8+ looks a lot like the Galaxy Note 8 which means that it is premium to the T, both in terms of looks as well as in terms of feel. It’s carved out of glass — an unspecified version of Corning Gorilla Glass — and has a mid-frame that’s all-metal, just like the Galaxy Note 8. It’s near bezel-less too, the Galaxy A8+, which means that it’s also a long continuous sheet of glass — on the front — sans any physical buttons. It’s a 6-inch phone but because Samsung has shaved off much of the bezels, the Galaxy A8+ feels smaller in the hands. Also, it offers a screen-to-body ratio of close to 75 per cent.
The Galaxy A8+ isn’t as dangerously curvaceous as the Galaxy Note 8 though. It’s not as bezel-less even. This entails in a phone that’s better suited to take everyday wear and tear with ease than either of its flagship siblings. It’s IP68-certfied for water and dust resistance, as well, if you’re someone who takes paper specs way too seriously. Clearly, the Galaxy A8+ is a phone designed from ground up for the masses that’ll pick durability over aesthetics. That the Galaxy A8+ offers both in equal measure is just an icing on the cake.
Having said that, the Galaxy A8+, also has a couple of tricks up its sleeve that would make you want to pick it up over a Galaxy Note 8. A) The fingerprint scanner in the case of the Galaxy A8+ rests below the camera module making it far more convenient and accessible B) There is no dedicated Bixby button on-board the Galaxy A8+. The Galaxy A8+, in addition, has its speaker out on the right edge — and not at the bottom where it’s more likely to affect your gaming/movie experience — and it comes with dedicated slots for two SIM cards and one micro-SD.
Elsewhere, the Galaxy A8+ has its power button on the right while the volume rocker lies on the left. The phone uses USB Type-C port for charging and data syncing and includes a 3.5mm audio jack at the bottom.
The OnePlus 5T is also an edge-to-edge or bezel-less phone, which means much like the Samsung Galaxy A8+, OnePlus’ phone also has an unusually tall screen and an unusual aspect ratio of 18:9 and a screen-to-body ratio of over 80 per cent. The OnePlus 5T is a 6.01-inch phone, but because OnePlus has shaved off much of the top and bottom bezels as well as the bezels on the sides, the phone occupies a smaller footprint. It feels smaller in the hands.
If I was to compare it head-to-head for you, the OnePlus 5T occupies a much smaller footprint, as compared to the Samsung Galaxy A8+ even though it’s supposed to be bigger going by its paper specs. This is because, as opposed to the Galaxy A8+, the OnePlus 5T offers more screen-to-body ratio which means that, as opposed to the Galaxy A8+, the OnePlus 5T offers far less bezels. The OnePlus 5T is lighter too. Also, it is thinner, in comparison. The Samsung Galaxy A8+ can be big and unwieldy for some, especially for people with smaller hands. But then the OnePlus 5T is a stone-cold slab of metal that’s slippery to the touch, and needs some careful handling. So you win some, and you lose some.
Elsewhere, the OnePlus 5T comes with an Alert Slider (on the left) which is basically a quick notification toggle (all, priority, and none) to quickly sort your app notifications. It comes with a USB Type-C port for charging and data-syncing purposes, a bottom-facing speaker out, a 3.5mm audio jack and dual-SIM (nano SIM) support.
Winner: The Samsung Galaxy A8+ looks gorgeous, and is IP68 certified for water and dust resistance
The OnePlus 5T comes with a 6.01-inch full-HD+ optic AMOLED display with a 1080 x 2160 pixel resolution and 401 ppi. The optic AMOLED screen of the OnePlus 5T further support both sRGB and DCI-P3 wide colour gamut, as also something called as Sunlight display: a built-in software algorithm that adapts automatically to harsh light to facilitate a great viewing experience.
The screen resolution of the OnePlus 5T, may seem like lacking, but, it’s actually quite good. This is because OnePlus is using a Samsung-built optic AMOLED display on the OnePlus 5T – with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top – and gives you as many as four different colour modes, including DCI-P3, to tinker about. Only you don’t need to. The OnePlus 5T, at its default screen setting, pops out like the best in the industry and has viewing angles to match them, if not outright beat them. The reading mode on-board the OnePlus 5T when enabled, meanwhile, makes the phone mimic a Kindle e-reader which is fantastic for people who love to read a lot on their mobile devices.
The Samsung Galaxy A8+ comes with a 6-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED display with a 1080 x 2220 pixel resolution and 411 ppi. Samsung is using its proprietary Super AMOLED panel, which metes out rich and vibrant colours – not as pixel-popping as say the OnePlus 5T but more toned down, neutral and pleasing to the eyes – and viewing angles are also quite good. Brightness levels are quite good too.
The Galaxy A8+, although it doesn’t offer the flexibility to change screen resolution to conserve battery life like its high-profile siblings, it gives you as many as four screen modes to correct colour temperature, as well as a blue light filter for comfortable night-time reading. The Galaxy A8+ gets Samsung’s proprietary always-on display as well, so you can get customizable notifications directly on the screen – alongside a widget that shows date and time – without having you to power it up.
Winner: The Samsung Galaxy A8+ offers a more pleasing and true-to-life display, and its hallmark always-on display adds a third dimension to it.
Software, performance and battery life
The Galaxy A8+ is powered by a 2.2GHz octa-core Exynos 7885 processor clubbed with Mali-G71 GPU and 6GB of RAM. It comes with 64GB of internal storage which is expandable by up to 256GB via a dedicated micro-SD card slot. The Exynos 7885 is a brand new chipset, but, it’s a little strange that Samsung isn’t publicizing it the way it publicizes its other chipsets. There’s not even a dedicated page for it yet. Even though it has all the bells and whistles, of a good mid-tier chipset. All we know is that it packs in two performance-oriented Cortex-A73 cores and six efficiency-oriented Cortex-A53 cores, as opposed to its predecessor Exynos 7880 — that packed in eight Cortex-A53 cores – powering the Galaxy A7 2017.
Samsung’s Exynos 7885 processor when coupled with its Experience user interface – which is based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat — ensures the Galaxy A8+ has almost no trouble dealing with tasks, both basic as well as hard-grinding. It’s prone to the occasional lag or two, from time to time, but nothing like Samsung’s TouchWiz days. Clearly, Samsung has come a long way, as far as toning down and optimising the software is concerned, but whether or not the Galaxy A8+ is able to hold on to it after a period of say 6 months to a year is yet to be seen.
OnePlus 5T is a pocket rocket that breezes through every task you throw at it, both basic and hard grinding, and it does this running cool as a cucumber.
But then the OnePlus 5T is a beast, is what it is. It’s powered by a 2.45GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor clubbed with Adreno 540 GPU. It’s available in two RAM and storage options: 6GB RAM/64GB storage and 8GB RAM/128GB storage. That’s as high-end as high-end can be, even more so in its mid-tier segment. When coupled with OnePlus’ bloat-free OxygenOS — which is based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat – the OnePlus 5T is a beast, is what it is. It’s a pocket rocket that breezes through every task you throw at it, both basic and hard grinding, and it does this running cool as a cucumber. But if I was to compare it specifically with the Galaxy A8+, well, the OnePlus phone hits the Samsung phone straight out of the ball park in terms of all-round performance.
The 3,500mAh battery inside the Galaxy A8+ is nothing short of fantastic and also supports for fast charging which is always a nice addition to have. Most users with generalised usage will be able to squeeze one full day – sometimes even more – out of the Galaxy A8+. More importantly, you don’t have to worry about carrying a charger along every morning, if you’ve charged it to its full capacity overnight.
The 3300mAh battery inside the OnePlus 5T can get close, but, the Galaxy A8+ still manages to ace it by some. Having said that, the OnePlus 5T’s Dash-charging feature is a force to reckon with, something that charges the OnePlus 5T like a bullet. Which means, it really doesn’t matter if it can’t outpace the Galaxy A8+, in terms of longevity.
Winner: OnePlus 5T
The OnePlus 5T has been designed to correct the camera shortcomings of the OnePlus 5. So it seems. It still has a dual camera system on the rear with the same 16-megapixel primary sensor and still no OIS. But the secondary 20-megapixel sensor has been swapped for a larger lens (f/1.7) with the same focal length (as the primary lens) meaning it’s not telephoto anymore. The second sensor jumps into play only in low-light scenarios and it does this automatically meaning you can’t control this, also you can’t know when the secondary sensor has done its job. But is it any good? Yes and no. On the one hand it is OnePlus’ best camera phone to date and on the other, it’s just about average in front of premier competition. OnePlus still has a lot of catching up to do.
The 16-megapixel rear camera on-board the Galaxy A8+ meanwhile has a lot going for itself, both in terms of specs and real-world usage. This lens has an aperture of f/1.7 which again makes it quite useful in low light scenarios. Also, it assists in some ridiculously good macros/close-up shots accompanied by shallow depth of field or bokeh: in all kinds of lighting scenarios. The rear sensor further comes with phase detection autofocus, LED flash and video digital image stabilisation (VDis) tech. Sadly videos are capped at 1080p.
The Galaxy A8+ really excels in portrait photography especially when you compare it with rival phones in and around its price category. It can hold on to colours quite well, and dynamic range – which is the distinction of light and dark areas – is mostly spot-on in the photos that I’ve clicked with it. The phone’s auto HDR also has a lot to do with it. The same is mostly true about wider shots as well and Samsung’s penchant for over sharpening the highlights means photos that pop, even more so on the phone’s AMOLED screen. Low light photos tend to have noise – with loss of detail – but then that’s understandable for a phone in this price range.
The Galaxy A8+ is the first Samsung phone to ship with dual front cameras. It comes with two cameras on the front, 16-megapixel + 8-megapixel, where the former has a 76-degree field of view while the latter offers a wider 85-degree field of view. Both the lenses have an aperture of f/1.9 which makes them quite useful in low light scenarios.
The Galaxy A8+ really excels in portrait photography especially when you compare it with rival phones in and around its price category.
The dual camera system, by default, shoots 16-megapixel close-up shots. The quality is quite good too, especially in ideal lighting scenarios. The 8-megapixel sensor, meanwhile, jumps into action via a toggle in the camera app, and assists in shooting better – read brighter – low-light selfies. It produces selfies that have a warmer undertone, and also the quality isn’t that good: which means you can chose to ignore it’s nice to have added functionality.
What really makes a lot of difference though, is Samsung’s Live Focus feature. The feature made its debut with the Galaxy Note 8, and helps assist in shooting fancy portrait shots (selfies), in real time. The feature, when enabled, allows you to manually control the level of bokeh in a shot, both while taking it and also after you’ve actually taken it. Live Focus in the Galaxy A8+ isn’t perfect but because it’s largely dependent on underlying software, Samsung can make it better over time through updates. Hopefully, it would get better, with time.
The dual front camera system, in addition, also brings facial recognition to the Galaxy A8+. It’s not that fast (I am comparing it with the OnePlus 5T here), it doesn’t really work in the dark, and Samsung reminds you it’s not as secure (as a fingerprint scanner) and can be easily fooled with a photo of you, so that’s that.
The OnePlus 5T also ships with a 16-megapixel camera on the front but has an f/2.0 aperture. The quality is quite good in good light but low light photos can be a hit or miss.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy A8+ but if you’re looking to shoot 4K videos, the OnePlus 5T is your only option.
So which one should you buy?
The title of this piece says it all, doesn’t it? If you’re looking for a beauty, the Samsung Galaxy A8+ fits the bill, but if you’re looking for a beast, the OnePlus 5T is the phone to buy.
But also consider this: the Galaxy A8+ offers a better all-round design with water and dust resistance, a better screen and better cameras. The OnePlus 5T, meanwhile, offers better performance and also Dash charging. Note that the OnePlus 5T isn’t far behind in design, display and cameras, but, the Galaxy A8+ just offers a little more bang for your buck at a similar price.
This essentially means you can buy either of the two phones and you wouldn’t be disappointed. But then there will be people who’ll be looking for specific things as well, so based on the comparison, you can now make an informed choice.