The Galaxy A6 is the first mid-class smartphone that Samsung releases this year. The 299-euro device is experiencing fierce competition from good devices from Motorola and Nokia. The question is, therefore: are you better off with the Galaxy A6?
- Dual sim and micro sd
- Excellent battery life
- (Am) OLED display
- Metal housing
- Only one update per quarter
- No notification led
- HD resolution display
- No fast charge functions
- No USB-c
Samsung Galaxy A6
- Price € 299, –
- Colors Black, purple and gold
- OS Android 8.0
- Screen 5.6-inch OLED (1480 x 720)
- Processor 1.6 GHz octa-core (Exynos 7 Octa 7870)
- RAM 3GB
- Storage 32GB (expandable with memory card)
- Battery 3000 mAh
- Camera 16 megapixel
- (behind), 16 megapixel (front)
- Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 4.2, wifi, GPS, NFC
- Format 14.9 x 7.1 x 0.77 cm
- Weight 188 grams
- Other Micro-USB
The Galaxy A6, just like most middle-class smartphones, has a metal housing that looks beautiful and feels solid. Although we do not recommend it, we expect the device to survive a crash without too many problems. Due to the rather narrow edges below and above the screen, the A6 looks modern, an impression that is reinforced by the elongated 18.5: 9 screen ratios. But do not be mistaken: the phone does not look as futuristic as the Galaxy S9, although it is clearly inspired by it. The display of the A6 is 5.6 inches tall and will for most people just fine to just with one hand to operate.
Cost-saving choices are wrong
A fingerprint scanner is located on the back of the phone, directly under the camera. Personally, I find him a little too high but after some habituation, he works well. On the bottom of the A6 is a familiar 3.5mm headphone jack with a micro-USB port. The latter is a pity and probably a cost-saving measure, but a bad one. Practically all middle-class smartphones that have been released in recent months do have a handy USB-c connection. On the A6 you can find more of this kind of defects that together give the feeling that you do not have a middle class but a budget gear. The on and off button and volume buttons produce a cheap click sound when you press them, a notification LED for messages is missing and the battery charges slowly because no quick charge function is installed. With cheaper smartphones, we have less trouble with this, but cheaply the A6 with 299 euros is not.
HD screen looks blurry
Another thing: while in 2018 almost all middle-class phones have a full HD display, the Galaxy A6 uses an HD screen. The lower resolution in combination with the relatively large screen area (5.6 inches) results in a screen that does not look so sharp. You notice this especially when reading texts and watching photos and videos. Why the A6 does not have a full-HD screen is a mystery to us. Selling the choice as a much-needed cost-saving measure is difficult because older, cheaper Samsung devices like the J7 (2017) and A5 (2017) do have a full-HD screen.
Regardless of the resolution, the screen of the Galaxy A6 is fine. The brightness is sufficient, the viewing angles are good and the OLED panel ensures excellent blackness and beautiful colors.
The battery lasts a long day
Thanks to the smooth Samsung Exynos processor and 3GB RAM, the A6 runs the most popular apps without any problems. Sometimes you have to wait, but slowly the phone is not. Unless you want to play games: that is more difficult. The storage memory is 32GB (25GB available) and you can put a micro SD card in the device. Nice is that you can also use two SIM cards in the A6 for dual-sim functionality. The 3000 mAh battery of the smartphone goes with a normal day without worries. If you do it more slowly, you can take one and a half to two days, but in principle charging every night is the most useful. The battery does not support fast charging, so charging takes a few hours. Just a quick refueling of power before you go out in the afternoon makes little sense.
Many megapixels, mediocre quality
The 16-megapixel cameras at the front and back of the Samsung Galaxy A6 make great photos. Nothing more and nothing less: the results are generally good enough and comparable to the snapshots of competing smartphones. In the dark, the A6 makes less good photos and backlighting is also a challenge, but we do not fall on a middle-class phone. Whoever shares his pictures and videos on social media or makes a photo book, is fine with the cameras of the A6.
Outdated software and disappointing update policy
The Galaxy A6 runs like other recent Samsung smartphones on Android 8.0 (Oreo) with version 9.0 of Samsung’s Experience software. This shell, the successor to Touchwiz, is visually more crowded than the standard Android version and contains more apps. In this case, more is not necessarily better because most pre-installed apps from Samsung and Microsoft (yes) do not add much and cannot all be removed.
With the Experience software, you can work fine, although we prefer the vanilla Android software that is used by Nokia and Motorola. One of the reasons is that phones can be updated faster and more frequently, something Samsung seems to care little about the A6. The phone is still running on the older Android 8.0 instead of 8.1 weeks after launch and has the April security release. Google releases an update every month, but Samsung says the A6 is updated once every three months. For example, mid-range phones from Nokia receive an update every month.
The Samsung Galaxy A6 is positioned as a middle-class smartphone but comes across as a budget phone. That is because there are cuts in parts (HD screen, micro-USB) or because they are even absent (quick charge support, notification LED). We also find the software support from Samsung disappointing and like to see updates made available more often and faster – after all, competing brands can also. Is the Galaxy A6 a bad smartphone? No, but for 299 euros you get Android phones with more complete hardware and a better update policy. We would, therefore, leave the A6 in the shops, at least until the sales price has dropped significantly.
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