Technophile

Samsung Galaxy A70: A big-screen dazzler

Mala Bhargava | Updated on May 29, 2019 Published on May 29, 2019

A solid smartphone for those who plan on a lot of display time. Inexpensive for a pre-flagship from the Koreans but too costly given intense competition

The Samsung Galaxy A70 has several factors going for it. The most obvious is the display, seemingly even more vibrant and colour-rich than on other Samsung phones. The strong contrasts and vivid colours take me by surprise each time I turn the phone on and see a new wallpaper on the 6.7-inch Full HD AMOLED screen. It isn’t the ultimate in resolution at 1080x2400 ppi but it is nevertheless irresistible to look at. Those who don’t want unnaturally vivid colours can get into ‘Settings’ and choose the more natural tones but even then it’s a colour show like no other.

King sized

There’s a small U-shaped notch on the display and it’s strange, but the same intrusion seems to sit differently on different phones. On the A70 it’s quite acceptable — perhaps because it’s such a large phone and there’s plenty of screen anyway. In fact, that’s likely to turn off some people as much as it pleases others. It’s a large, not-very-narrow and somewhat heavy phone, owing to its big 4,500 mAh battery. If you’re keen on charge that lasts more than a day, this device will oblige.

The A70 looks like a bigger version of the A50 we reviewed here recently. It has the same rainbow effect on the back and looks very nice if you set aside the knowledge that it’s plastic. If you can keep it clean, it looks quite like glass, but it does show finger smudges more easily than most, so you can either be prepared to do a lot of wiping or just put on the case provided in the box.

Much is made of the fact that this phone is plastic and not glass. It’s interesting because to look at it, one won’t be able to tell the difference. As for the user, it’s best to have that lighter plastic rather than make the phone heavier and more solid with glass when it’s already large and not at all light. The only drawback it indicates is that there’s no wireless charging, but too much is made of that capability as well. Not everyone here cares about wireless charging the way they do in America.

What’s inside?

Under the hood, you have a Snapdragon 675 and that’s where there’s a big problem. While there’s nothing wrong with that chipset, it’s got competition from brands that give ever so much more for around the same price. Xiaomi’s year-old Poco F1 is a good ₹10,000 cheaper and has an 845 processor with other hefty specs. The outgoing OnePlus 6T is just a little more expensive but is again packed with powerful specs and has blazingly fast performance. The upcoming OnePlus 7 is also not too far out of reach at ₹32,999 and that comes with the very latest Snapdragon 855. One could even consider something from the Galaxy S9 series of phones if there’s a good deal and higher hardware specifications.

We can’t forget however that users in India trust Samsung and appreciate the company’s service network, and the sheer familiarity. The software this phone is based on has been streamlined and tweaked in the form of OneUI and works well though the device is not fast at everything. Navigation on the device is slick and so are many other tasks.The phone runs on Android 9 Pie with 6 or 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. We saw the 6 GB version for review.

An obvious use for this large a phone with its great display is for watching movies — and that’s something more and more people do on the phone now. It’s the perfect phone for media consumption. Browsing, reading, binging on movies works great on this phone. For anyone short-sighted, the screen can take on high contrasts and large text sizes and end up being very comfortable to use.

Point and shoot

And then of course there’s the camera. The primary lens is 32 MP, which gives nice colour-rich photos though they aren’t the sharpest seen from a Samsung camera. I also found things seemed to be a bit slowed down when using camera functions. But as ever, a wide angle lens is enjoyable and there’s an 8 MP one on this phone giving you a nice way to get a whole lot more into the frame. The quality drops visibly, but if you have enough light, it will still be nice to use. The third lens on this triple-camera array is a 5 MP depth-sensing one that does about as well as others with blurring out the background. Indoors and in low light, the main camera pulls in quite a bit of light so you don’t get murky depressing photos, but fairly bright ones. Softness can however be a frequent feature too. The front camera is a 32 MP as well since it’s been well established that what we like most is to take photos of ourselves. Video is pretty stable though there isn’t stabilisation offered with these cameras. You can even shoot video with the wide angle lens.

There are a few more extras to add to the A70’s attractiveness. Two SIM slots plus a memory slot, a 25 W super fast charger, an in-display fingerprint sensor, and very loud speakers. The A70 is overall a very nice smartphone that Samsung seems to be aiming at those who want a big device to take along when travelling. It’s true enough that if you add a small keyboard, you could even settle down to work with it for short sessions.

Currently, Samsung has the fact that it isn’t Chinese very much in its favour, given the controversy going on with smartphone and telecom giant Huawei and the uncertainty over the future of its Android phones as well as others from that part of the world. In the Indian market however, the Chinese are infusing millions of phones and some offer a better value-for-money proposition than the Galaxy A70 including more advanced hardware even from outgoing models.

Price: ₹28,990

Pros: Large bright colourful display for movies and other media, large battery, powerful fast charger, nice looking, camera mostly nice

Cons: Mid-level processor when others offer more even cheaper, too large and heavy for those expecting an ordinary phone, shows finger smudges easily

Published on May 29, 2019
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