The Samsung Galaxy A8 has a strong reception and good in-call audio. If you have the A8 Duos version you can dial with any active SIM from the dialer and switch the default SIM from the notification area.
The default SIM is the one used when you do a swipe gesture to call or text, for example. The SIM card manager lets you disable dual-SIM mode to save battery.
The call log is visible behind the keypad (you can hide that to view the full list) and it shows which SIM was used to place/take the call. The other two tabs show your favorite contacts and all you contacts.
The Phonebook is a list of contacts with a search field and an alphabet index. The contact info card has been cleaned up and shows the contact image (you can swipe down to view it fully), below that are the phones and emails with quick buttons to call/send message.
Here you'll also find the latest messages and calls with that contact. The View more toggle displays all the additional info. You can swipe left to call a contact straight from the list, right to send them a message.
The built-in call rejection feature lets you block calls from certain numbers or all numbers not in your phonebook. Do not disturb mode can be scheduled on select days and during certain periods of the day. You can set it to make an exception for certain notifications, including allowing only calls from your favorite contacts.
Samsung is sticking to a single loudspeaker for its smartphones. This one is a bit better than what the Galaxy A7 got, but not nearly as good as the speaker on a Galaxy Note. Still, with the right ringtone you won't have trouble hearing the Samsung Galaxy A8, but using the phone in hands-free mode is not the best in a loud environment.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
The default messaging app is Samsung's own Messages. It has a clean looking UI and lets you can customize font size, backgrounds and speech bubble style. The app shows a row of priority contacts, below that is the list of all conversation threads. You can use pinch zoom to change the font size in a conversation thread.
Receiving a new message displays a popup that lets you view or quickly reply to a message, a handy functionality that Hangouts lacks.
A built-in spam filter weeds out messages from select numbers or containing certain phrases. You can also schedule messages to be automatically sent later (so you don't forget).
The Samsung-modified Email app looks almost identical. The top row is a shortcut to show emails only from just priority contacts or you can view a combined inbox if you have multiple accounts added.
The Gmail app also handles multiple accounts - even ones not on Gmail - and adheres more strictly to Material design principles. Add push notifications and we end up using it more often than the Email app.
The Samsung keyboard features a dedicated numbers row. You can assign preset phrases to them so simple messages like "on my way" can be typed in a second. You can add text shortcuts (so 'brb' gets replaced with 'be right back') and there's predictive text.
You can tweak the size of the keyboard slightly, making it taller or shorter and if you are okay with a tiny keyboard, you can use the small floating one.
It can update its database with popular words weekly and learn from your messages and contacts. Swiping can be set to move the text cursor or as an input method.