While it only features mid-range specs, Samsung’s new Galaxy A8s is a noteworthy handset because not only could it give us a preview of what we’ll get on the Galaxy S10, it might also be setting the stage for one of 2019's biggest smartphones trends.
Announced today with availability limited to Asia (so far), the Galaxy A8s is Samsung’s first phone to feature the company’s Infinity-O display, which avoids the traditional smartphone notch by punching out a hole for the phone’s front-facing camera in the top-left corner of its screen.
It’s an interesting choice because depending on your preferences, having a camera cutout surrounded on all sides by the phone’s display could be either more or less annoying than a simple notch up top. However, since rumors currently suggest that Samsung’s under-screen sensor— which completely hides a selfie camera beneath its display—won’t be ready until 2020, the Infinity-O might be Samsung’s best stopgap until then.
If leaks about the Galaxy S10 hold true—which seems likely after Samsung president DJ Koh told CNBC that it was planning on debuting new tech first on mid-range devices—the A8s’ Infinity-O display should be very similar to what Samsung puts on the Galaxy S10. And considering the almost identical looking camera setup used on Huawei’s recently announced Honor View 20, it seems like we’re going to be seeing a lot of phones with hole-punch cameras next year.
Other specs for the A8s include a 6.4-inch LCD (not OLED) screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and three rear cameras with 24-MP, 5-MP, and 10-MP resolutions. The A8s also sports a rear fingerprint sensor instead of an in-screen sensor like what’s been rumored to appear on the Galaxy S10.
In addition to the cutout, another particularly interesting thing about the A8s is a feature it doesn’t have: a headphone jack.
By axing the 3.5mm port, the A8s is one of Samsung’s first phones not equipped with a headphone jack, which has become a real point of contention after so many phone makers followed Apple’s lead when it ditched the long-lived feature on the iPhone 7.
Thankfully, noted Samsung leaker Ice Universe claims that while the A8s might not have a headphone jack, the presence of a 3.5mm-sized cutout on alleged Galaxy S10 cases indicates that Samsung isn’t quite ready to make the same move on major flagships just yet.