2018 has just started, and it is likely to be the most fiercely competitive year-to-date when it comes to smartphone products and pricing as more and more rivals offer products of increasingly similar sizes, specs, and designs. It would follow, therefore, that a well-to-do OEM might want to use precision-level accuracy when it comes to setting a price point and target market segment. Much has already been said about the questionable consideration that is the Samsung Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8+, however in the past week or so, all logic has dropped out the window.
Samsung has, unfortunately, not taken a look at the calendar, or the competitive onslaught from China besieging the company’s sales potential and growth. Last year saw products from Oppo, OnePlus, Huawei, Xiaomi, Motorola (Lenovo) and others that rang in at reasonable price points while Korea’s top dawg opted for the most premium pricing possible (see the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and Galaxy Note 8 all at their time of release).
It was presumed that some degree of common sense would ring true and Samsung’s newly announced Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8+ would be set at a competitive price point. But at INR 32,990 ($500) tag in India, the Galaxy A8+ is positioned directly against the OnePlus 5T (same price), when there exists a gulf of a difference in the spec sheet of these two handsets, it’s officially a “semi-scandal”:
At the $500 price, it makes very little sense given that OnePlus has its OnePlus 5T on sale which comparatively features infinitely superior specs at the same price. And even if someone doesn’t want an OP5T there are loads of other phones out there from Huawei, LG, Xiaomi and even…Samsung! Yep, even Samsung — if you could find a sweet deal for the Galaxy S8, you can grab one at almost the same price as the Galaxy A8+.
To make it quick, let’s break the Galaxy A8’s purchase decision into two sections: why buy it, and why not.
Why to buy the Galaxy A8+ …
Despite the absurdly high pricing, there are at least a few seemingly legitimate reasons why someone might want the new Galaxy A8:
- It features a modern design. There are a lot of phones on the market today, but only a select few are making use of the industry’s new “no bezel” design language. While the Galaxy A8 doesn’t use a curved infinity display as per the company’s flagship line-up, it the screen that is used employs a SAMOLED panel, extra-long length, and even rounded corners. In a sense, it looks more like the LG G6 or V30, neither of which are anything to scoff at.
- It features two high-resolution front-facing cameras. As Samsung’s first phone with dual-facing front cameras, it stands to appeal to a younger crowd who live on the likes of Instagram and Snapchat. The bokeh effect produced by the pair of cameras in the front is pretty good, which is what matters on pics you wanna click for Instagram, but it lacked the greater detail and color production the OnePlus 5T camera shots.
- It’s Samsung. Their wide service network, retail stores, etc. make it a choice of OEM for many people.
And why not buy it.
Pretty much every single possible reason one might consider that has not been mentioned above stands as a testament to how bad a purchase the Galaxy A8 actually is at $500. The key is not that the phone is bad, nor is it a bad purchase in-and-of-itself. Rather, there is no logical reason to purchase it when a Galaxy S8 – or even Galaxy S8+ – can be had for less money under a deal.
As we noted in our review, the design isn’t good enough, weighs a lot, feels bulky, cameras aren’t the bets in range either. So, even though its fast — but may lag after months of usage as is the case with Samsung phones — it, overall, gives you a vibe of older devices, even though it features the newer bezel-less design at the front. In the comparison, OnePlus 5T is sleek, very fast, features better camera, processor, RAM and storage, and better color options too: Almost everything is better on the OnePlus 5T except for the water resistance — or lack thereof.
And then, you have the Galaxy S8. The thing is, carriers have been and will continue to, offer smashing deals on the S8 sets. BOGO sales for example. Or eBay or Swappa or any number of other sites where the device can be had on the cheap(er). Is the S8 bargain bin fodder? Not at all. But given the fact it is rapidly approaching a one-year anniversary milestone, the product simply can not be sold at the MRSP it once was.
Why in the universe would someone want the new Galaxy A8 Plus for roughly the same price as the S8? Especially given that the A8 has lower specs and most certainly is not a flagship. Does Samsung think stores aren’t selling the S8 anymore? Is this a strategy to sell the S8? The answer is totally up in the air, which makes sense given that the pricing has gone through the roof.
It is difficult to say what has allowed Samsung to arrive at the conclusion that roughly $500 is a fair price for the mid-range hardware. Maybe they there just exists a good bunch of their loyal customers who just want a modern bezel-less design in the top-budget segment.
There is nothing wrong with this, much like how this piece has repeated there is nothing wrong with the Galaxy A8. The problem is that the product doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and therefore faces competition not only from Samsung’s other products but also from every other company’s products, many of which offer far more for the money at this price point.