Looks like Samsung’s serious to get back into the budget segment. Very serious.
Currently our sub ₹30K segment is patrolled by a nostalgia hero - the Nokia 7 Plus but the Samsung Galaxy A6+ comes close, really close.
If you’re a fan of all things Samsung then the A6+ can be your ticket to a closer Samsung flagship experience, if not exactly that.
Design and build: Brick of metal
This 6incher is quite a package to hold. The seamless metal unibody is curved neatly around the edges and sits comfortably on the hand. It’s a little slippery but nothing that you should worry about. That sturdy body is brick hard.
Samsung says the sAMOLED screen is an infinity display but it's not as simple as calling it the same thing as its sibling, the Galaxy S9+. If it means the ratio, then yes, the A6+ has the same 18:5:9 aspect ratio but when talking about the edges, it's not curved like its top end flagships. It leans more towards the Pixel 2 XL-esque side edges.
The front is missing the 2018 norm of slapping a notch and we’re absolutely okay with it. Personally, I am indifferent to notches and if it comes with a chin then I don’t see the point of it. But then again, if it's without a chin (like the iPhone X) then you can argue that it's asymmetrical. The debate is endless, so we’ll hop over to the screen bit.
Given the plus size, the cinematic experience of the Full HD+ display is really amazing. Commuting and Netflix is the way to go about your busy schedule.
Camera: Snap happy
The rear dual cameras are placed in the obvious S9+ fashion. These 16MP + 5MP bokeh capable lenses are pretty good. The edge detection does a solid job, especially in perfect light conditions. We did notice a few goof ups but that's forgivable ‘cos it still does a better job than others in this price bracket. The colour accuracy and temperature are great too, albeit a wee bit on the cooler side.
It does stumble with exposure at times but tap to focus on the subject and it gets it right. There’s quite a lot of grain in night shots and low light pictures. However, the Pro mode left me disappointed since there was no way to adjust shutter speed. Although you can adjust ISO, white balance and exposure, I was primarily looking for shutter speed to get the most out of the camera.
The front 24MP camera keeps the Snapchat selfie game strictly awesome. The front-facing flash is super bright and one of my selfies in bed was shot in absolute darkness. And one can barely tell so, given how powerful the front camera flash is. You can adjust the level of intensity of the flash depending upon how much you want to punish your eyes.
The Nokia 7 Plus records in 4K at 30fps, so we wished the Samsung did the same but you only get 1080p recording on front and back cameras.
Performance and OS: Very Samsung
The Android Oreo is cherry topped with ‘Samsung Experience Version 9.0’. We’re not air quoting, that’s what it’s called in the settings. Like the name suggests, it’s a very Samsung experience indeed. Being identical to the Samsung flagship OS experience, you get a lot of Samsung’s own apps which I gleefully dumped into a folder and forgot all about. Happy days.
If you dread sharing your precious 64GB of storage with undeletable Samsung apps, then you can plonk in a micro SD card while keeping two SIM cards running simultaneously as well.
The Samsung skin might be what I usually complain about but there’s no denying its optimization with battery life. The 3500mAh battery is juice aplenty. We even tried the ‘Oh I forgot my charger at work’ expert test. Safe to say, we came back to the office the next day without hurrying to the charger. This involved three hours of combined Netflix binging, regular Insta scrolling and debating Ramos’ judo slam in Champions League Final over WhatsApp. However, there’s no fast charge here and no USB Type-C either.
The Snapdragon 450 and 4GB of RAM keep things nice and smooth but not as smooth as the Snapdragon 660 sitting inside the Nokia 7 Plus. There were a few hiccups with its performance here and there but nothing too alarming.
Verdict: Size matters
A closer OS experience to its bigger flagship relatives, the A6+ looks good with great battery life and a Samsung quality screen. Even the fingerprint sensor is placed right below the camera like the S9. It's fast and reliable but trying to reach it can accidentally smudge your camera lens many times. Also, don’t bother relying on face unlock, it doesn’t work. In my experience, it worked once or twice.
Although the processor could’ve been better, the overall performance is still acceptable but not a bargain.
Keep in mind, it’s a mighty big phone. The 6inch size is not for puny hands and for smaller mitts there’s a perfectly sized A6 dropping from ₹21,990.