Sam­sung Galaxy A6

Price: £259 inc VAT from fave.co/2v610Jt

Android Advisor - - Contents -

Sam­sung’s A range of more af­ford­able phones has been a big suc­cess for the firm. The lat­est to join the fam­ily is the Galaxy A6, bring­ing flag­shipesque fea­tures at an al­most bud­get level price.

De­sign

From the front, the A6 looks very sim­i­lar to its big­ger brother – the A8 (£449 from fave.co/2v1OKJV). That is to say it’s plain-look­ing. It doesn’t even have a Sam­sung logo, so it’s not in­stantly rec­og­niz­able as a Galaxy phone. Switch the dis­play on and this re­sem­blance is even more ap­par­ent, as are the

small bezels that run around the dis­play. They are sim­i­lar in size to the A8 and mean that the de­vice is com­fort­able to hold yet has a de­cent amount of real es­tate. The bezels are not like the S9, of course, but this is to be ex­pected at this price. A screen-to-body ra­tio of 75 per­cent is good and the 2.5D glass has very sub­tle curves at the edge.

The rear of the A6 is not like other Sam­sung phones as it doesn’t have a glass rear cover. In­stead, metal greets you with a matte fin­ish and clear an­tenna lines. This de­sign is nice, but seems dated to some with glass on so many cur­rent phones – it re­minds us of the HTC One A9 from 2015.

The cam­era lens sticks out marginally and has the fin­ger­print scan­ner be­low where it’s easy to reach, sim­i­lar to the Galaxy S9 af­ter Sam­sung mis­guid­edly put it to the side on the S8. If you’re look­ing for a thin and light­weight phone, then the A6 will suit – it’s just 7.7mm and 162g. Our re­view unit was the black model, but the A6 is also avail­able in gold and, if you’re feel­ing ad­ven­tur­ous, laven­der.

Dis­play

The Galaxy A6’s screen is one of the key fea­tures. Like the A8, it’s 5.6in on the di­ag­o­nal and uses Sam­sung’s pre­ferred Su­per AMOLED tech­nol­ogy. It also has a mod­ern 18.6:9 as­pect ra­tio but has a lower res­o­lu­tion of 1,480x720, so the pixel den­sity is 294ppi com­pared to the A8’s 441ppi. This is by no means ter­ri­ble to look at and is per­fectly fine. The AMOLED dis­play, as you would ex­pect, pro­vides good con­trast and colours that pop. You can, how­ever,

get 2,160x1,080 (424ppi) on the 5.7in Moto G6 (£219 from fave.co/2M8FTfY) if price is an is­sue.

Like the A8 there’s also a ‘+’ ver­sion of the A6. So if 5.6in isn’t big enough, you can get a model with a 6in dis­play in­stead. It has a higher res­o­lu­tion of 2,220x1,080, but is harder to find on sale in the UK.

Pro­ces­sor, mem­ory and stor­age

It’s un­der­stand­able that the A6 has a lower grade pro­ces­sor to the A8. It’s pow­ered by an Exynos 7870 chip, which is still octa-core but has lower clock speeds at 1.6GHz. It has a Mali-T830 MP1 GPU.

Our re­view unit came with 3GB of mem­ory and 32GB of stor­age, although if you’re lucky you might find a model with 4GB RAM and 64GB of stor­age. There’s a mi­croSD card slot should you need to

add more stor­age, which can han­dle up to 256GB. Per­for­mance is sim­i­lar to the Moto G6, which has a Qual­comm Snap­dragon 450. The vast ma­jor­ity of the time, the phone is re­spon­sive and slick to nav­i­gate around. Only oc­ca­sion­ally is there a bit of lag when open­ing an app or do­ing some­thing de­mand­ing.

Connectivity, au­dio and bio­met­rics

There are more down­grades when com­pared to the A8. The A6 has dual-band Wi-Fi, though it doesn’t in­clude 11ac. Blue­tooth is ver­sion 4.2 and there’s the older Mi­cro-USB port in­stead of the mod­ern re­versible USB-C. Sam­sung does at least of­fer a head­phone port and the A6 has NFC, too. Oddly, the sin­gle speaker is placed above the power key on the side like the

A8. The sound qual­ity is lack­ing, mainly in the bass depart­ment, but you can turn it up loud.

The fin­ger­print scan­ner works well and can also be used to open and close the no­ti­fi­ca­tion pane. Although you have to swipe up to open it and down to close, which is back­wards to us.

There’s also the op­tion to use fa­cial un­lock, which isn’t as quick but doesn’t re­quire find­ing the sen­sor. You can also choose for it to work quicker, at the cost of the se­cu­rity level. Even at the faster set­ting we some­times found it a lit­tle slow.

Cam­eras

The cam­era tech­nol­ogy avail­able in mid-range and even bud­get phones has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally in the past year or so. Many more af­ford­able de­vices have dual rear cam­eras, with some even hav­ing two at the front as well. This isn’t the case here though, which just has your tra­di­tional two cam­eras. They are, how­ever, very good – qual­ity over quan­tity here.

On the back is a 16Mp cam­era with an im­pres­sive S8 match­ing f/1.7 aper­ture. It has auto fo­cus, but no op­ti­cal im­age sta­bi­liza­tion. The cam­era has the same set of spec­i­fi­ca­tions as the Galaxy A8, although that has dual front cam­eras.

When you con­sider the price, the re­sults are bet­ter than you might ex­pect. As you can see from our ex­am­ples over­leaf, pho­tos in de­cent light­ing con­di­tions are colour­ful and de­tailed, and the A6 copes pretty well in low light, too.

The phone also has an 16Mp at the front, although with an aper­ture of f/1.9 this time. In­ter­est­ingly there’s

an LED flash with three lev­els of bright­ness you can con­trol. We’d rather not have to use a flash, but over­all the front cam­era is de­cent for this price.

Bat­tery life

Like many other phones, the Galaxy A6 has a 3,000mAh bat­tery. With its com­par­a­tively low res­o­lu­tion dis­play and mod­est pro­ces­sor com­bi­na­tion, the phone lasted a de­cent eight hours, 22 min­utes. That’s al­most double the A8 and not far off the Moto G6. It should last the day. Bear in mind that the A6 has a older Mi­cro-USB port and doesn’t of­fer fast charg­ing, which the Moto G6 does. That phone can charge from zero charge to around half in 30 min­utes.

Soft­ware

It’s good to see the Galaxy A6 doesn’t ship with the older An­droid 7.1 Nougat soft­ware. In­stead, it has the more up to date 8.0 Oreo.

Sam­sung’s in­ter­face is put over the top and these days it’s one of our favourites, be­ing much more clean and sim­ple than it was be­fore. It looks slick and is easy top op­er­ate, yet there are plenty of fea­tures to ex­plore in the set­tings menu if you like.

You can make use of the Games Launcher, Multi Win­dow and var­i­ous other Sam­sung of­fer­ings. There are a num­ber of pre-in­stalled apps from Sam­sung, Google and Mi­crosoft. An in­ter­est­ing fea­ture called Dual Mes­sen­ger lets you use two ac­counts for apps such as Facebook and switch be­tween them. This is handy if you use the same ser­vice with ac­counts for you per­sonal life and work.

There’s no ded­i­cated phys­i­cal but­ton for Bixby, but you can sum­mon it with a sin­gle swipe from the main home screen. We still pre­fer the Google As­sis­tant, but it’s worth a try to see what you think.

Ver­dict

The Galaxy A6 is a very at­trac­tive mid-range phone of­fer­ing a sim­i­lar pack­age to the A8 but at a much lower price point. We like the de­sign and build qual­ity, with the main fea­tures be­ing the tall screen with small bezels and de­cent cam­eras. It won’t knock your socks off, but this is a de­cent phone for not much money. Just bear in mind that the Moto G6 is cheaper and of­fers a higher res­o­lu­tion screen, more mem­ory and greater stor­age. Chris Martin

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions

• 5.6in (1,480x720; 294ppi) Su­per AMOLED ca­pac­i­tive touch­screen

• An­droid 8.0 Oreo

• Exynos 7870 Octa pro­ces­sor

• Octa-core 1.6GHz Cor­tex-A53 CPU

• Mali-T830 MP1 GPU

• 3/4GB RAM

• 32/ 64GB stor­age (mi­croSD up to 256GB)

• Rear-fac­ing cam­era: 16Mp, f/1.7, 26mm, PDAF, LED flash, panorama, HDR

• Front cam­era: 16Mp, f/1.9, 26mm, LED flash • 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi

• Blue­tooth 4.2

• A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS

• NFC

• Fin­ger­print sen­sor (rear mounted)

• Head­phone jack

• Mi­cro-USB 2.0

• Non-re­mov­able 2,000mAh lithium-ion bat­tery

• 149.9x70.8x7.7mm

• 162g

Geek­bench 4

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