Samsung officially announced the Galaxy A8s in China on Monday. This special Samsung phone is seen as an attempt to gain back ground lost to the company’s Chinese rivals. Even though it is being positioned as a mid-range phone, it is Samsung’s first phone with an Infinity-O display. It also ditches the headphone jack, which the company has been mocking rival Apple for doing for years.
First Samsung phone with a hole-punch display
The Galaxy A8s is a good example of Samsung’s new strategy of debuting new features on its mid-range phones first. The Infinity-O display with its nearly edge-to-edge design is the handset’s unique feature. The Galaxy A8s also has a distinctive “hole-punch” design for its selfie camera, which is now located in the top-left corner of the display. The camera hole is 6.7 millimeters in size.
The notch was a major trend in the smartphone industry this year, and it appears next year will see more manufacturers ditching the notch for an in-display camera. Many say the A8s display is a good hint of what to expect from the Galaxy S10, which will likely be announced in the first quarter of 2019.
In addition to Samsung, two other smartphone brands have also confirmed plans to launch handsets with hole-punch displays. As of now, it is not clear which of the three handsets will be the first to hit store shelves.
No headphone jack
In addition to being the first Samsung phone to come with the Infinity-O display, the Galaxy A8s is also the first phone from the company to ditch the headphone jack. Apple initially removed the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 in 2016, and it has continued the trend since then.
However, Samsung has mocked Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack since the beginning. For instance, when unveiling the Note 7 in 2016, Samsung explicitly pointed out that the device had a headphone jack.
“Want to know what else it comes with?” Samsung executive said on stage during the big reveal. “An audio jack. I’m just saying.”
Earlier this year, Samsung again mocked the missing headphone jack in one of its ads promoting the Galaxy S9, but now the Korean company has joined the club by removing the jack in the Galaxy A8s. Users now will need a USB-C to 3.5 mm jack adapter to use their wired headphones.
Moreover, Samsung is expected to permanently do away with the headphone jack on all its future phones. The Korean website ETNews claimed in October that Samsung could remove the headphone jack from the Note 10 in 2019 and the Galaxy S11 in 2020. However, the upcoming Galaxy S10 is rumored to come with a headphone jack.
Like Samsung, Google also mocked Apple for its decision to remove the headphone jack during the launch of the original Pixel in 2016. However, the company launched the Pixel 2 without a headphone jack just a year later.
Galaxy A8s specifications
Except for the in-display selfie camera and 6.4-inch (2340 x 1080 pixel) Infinity-O display, the Galaxy A8s justifies its mid-range positioning. The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 710 chipset and comes in two variants with 6 GB and 8 GB of RAM. THe phone also has 128 GB of onboard storage, which can be expanded to 512 GB via a microSD card. As far as the display, the Korean firm gave no information on whether it will be a Super AMOLED panel. However, given the phone’s mid-range positioning, it can be assumed to be LCD IPS screen.
Samsung has fitted a triple-lens camera on the back of the A8s, while the in-display front camera has a 24-megapixel sensor. The three lenses on the back are a 10-megapixel sensor with a telephoto lens and 2x optical zoom, a 5-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture, and a 24-megapixel sensor with f/1.7 aperture for depth-of-field effects.
Samsung has fitted a 3,400 mAh battery in the A8s with support for fast charging. However, potential buyers may be disappointed to learn that the handset doesn’t come with Android 9.0 Pie out of the box. Instead, it comes with Android 8.1 Oreo with Samsung’s user interface on top. The handset will come in blue, gray and green gradient color options.
Moreover, the handset comes with a rear fingerprint scanner and is just 7.4 millimeters thick. The handset’s price has not been revealed yet. Chinese users will be able to preorder the phone starting on Dec. 21. There is no word on when or even if this phone will land in other countries.