Samsung A6 Plus review: Underpowered midrange device with premium features

Samsung Galaxy A6+
Samsung, a South Korean electronics manufacturer, puts its bet on the Galaxy A6+ to establish the company’s presence in the midrange segment, which is currently dominated by Chinese smartphone manufacturers. The smartphone takes inspiration from the Samsung premium line-up, and therefore boasts features like super AMOLED screen, Samsung Pay (Mini), Bixby, dual rear cameras and a metallic build.

However, being a midrange phone, the Galaxy A6 Plus offers limited functionality of certain premium features. For instance, Bixby personal assistant does not support voice commands, infinity screen is not curved at the edges, processor is entry level and the Samsung Pay Mini lack comprehensive digital wallet services.

Business Standard reviewed the Samsung Galaxy A6+ on several parameters to judge its overall performance. Here are the observations:

Galaxy A6+ design

The Galaxy A6+ sports metallic unibody with curved edges that seamlessly holds the glass front within the frame. The chassis is sturdy, plush and easy to hold unlike the slippery glass design that most of the current generation smartphones have. 

The front is dominated by a mammoth 6-inch screen covered with a 2.5D curved glass. While the screen is dazzling, there are perceptible bezels around it that do not justify company’s infinity screen moniker. On the back, the antenna lines are too prominent, especially in the gold colour variant. Thankfully, the dual camera set-up is accompanied by a fingerprint sensor, which sits right below the camera module, making it easier to access and operate.

On the left, there are volume rocker buttons and dedicated dual-SIM and microSD card slot. The power button is on the right, while the microUSB data transfer-cum-charging port and 3.5mm audio jack are mounted on the bottom.

Galaxy A6+ display

Samsung dubbed the screen iteration used in the Galaxy A6+ as the infinity screen, similar to the one found in the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S-series. However, the screen is neither curved at the edges, nor has limited bezels around it, which makes one question if only the 18.5:9 aspect ratio is enough to call a display - infinity?

However, in terms of colour reproductions, contrast ratio, brightness levels, the 6-inch super AMOLED fullHD+ 18.5:9 aspect ratio screen looks vivid and dazzling. It has deep blacks, just like any other AMOLED unit, and throws saturated colours by default – which can be adjusted from settings based on user preferences.

Just like the Galaxy A8+, which was launched last year, the Galaxy A6+ lacks a pressure-sensitive on-screen home button with tactical feedback that is there in premium Galaxy Note and Galaxy S-series. There is an on-screen home button but that unlocks the screen on double tap, which is as good as gesture-based or knock-based unlock mechanism that most Chinese manufacturers offer.

Galaxy A6+ performance

One thing that does not go well with the phone’s midrange stature is the entry-level Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 system-on-chip (SoC). The efficient processor is good for basic computing, including daily tasks like basic multitasking, calls, messaging, browsing, etc. However, it is just not made for gaming or other processor intensive applications like video and photo editing apps.

Paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, the phone handles background processes easily and has expandable microSD card slot for storage expansion. The phone boasts a customised Android Oreo-based operating system – Experience UI. The user interface features smooth transitions that do not show lag or stutter. However, scrolling long documents, video list and apps in the Play Store shows inconsistencies.

Galaxy A6+ camera

In terms of imaging, the phone sports a dual camera set-up on the back, featuring a 16-megapixel primary sensor of f/1.7 aperture, paired with a 5MP depth-sensing camera. There is a 24MP selfie camera on the front, and both the front camera and rear camera units have an LED flash.

For a midrange smartphone, the rear cameras do a satisfactory job in all lighting conditions. It locks the focus instantly, adjusts the settings according to light conditions and takes detailed shots without any lag. The depth-sensing camera comes in handy while taking shots in portrait mode. However, the pictures show artificial halos around the portraits that makes it less viable. The camera features pro mode, which is limited to tweaking ISO and white balance settings.

The 24MP front camera is loaded with features to lure selfie enthusiasts. It also doubles as a face recognition agent to unlock the phone that works fine in bright environments, but fails to do the job in under-lit areas. As for the output, the camera takes detailed shots. However, due to a fixed auto-focal length, it is limited to taking selfies only.

Galaxy A6+ battery

Powering the device is a 3,500 mAh battery, which easily lasts for more than a day. Charging times are also quick and the phone goes from zero to 100 per cent in less than two hours.

Galaxy A6+ review verdict

The Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus is a mixed bag of hits and misses. It has good battery life, bright and vivid display, premium build quality and satisfactory dual cameras on the back. However, the phone is not meant to run power intensive applications or games. Priced at Rs 25,990, the smartphone competes with the Nokia 7 Plus (review), Vivo V9 (review) and Oppo F7 (review) in the midrange segment.