Looking to spend some money on your next smart device, but aren’t looking to splash flagship-levels of cash? Samsung’s got your back with the release of the new Samsung Galaxy A6 phone, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5. Both devices are firmly in the midrange section of the market, and are designed to complement the high-end Galaxy S9 and Note 9 range, and the Galaxy Tab S4, offering lower-cost options that still bring Samsung’s fine polish.
Samsung Galaxy A6
Samsung has launched a full-scale assault on the midrange market, with a change in strategy to take on companies like Huawei, Honor, and Xiaomi. Those Chinese manufacturers currently rule the market with a selection of high-spec, low-cost devices. However, don’t expect the Galaxy A6 to be the first soldier in that new midrange war, as the phone has still clearly been made with Samsung’s old strategy in mind.
The Galaxy A6 looks set to have some decent power with an octa-core 1.6Ghz Exynos 7884 processor and 3GB of RAM. There’s plenty of room for media and apps with 32GB of onboard storage — and there’s room for even more with support for MicroSD cards up to 400GB in size. There’s a 3,000mAh battery that should easily see out the day — but you’ll find a MicroUSB port at the bottom of the phone, which might be a disappointment for anyone hoping to see the more future-proof USB-C make an appearance.
At this price point, you’re not going to get Galaxy S-levels of style, but the Galaxy A6 still looks pretty good. There’s no curved glass on the front, and there’s a slight around the edges of the display and a sizeable forehead and chin. Flip the phone over and you’ll find a single camera lens with an underslung fingerprint sensor in the style of the Galaxy S9. The display only goes up to 720p HD, but it makes up for it by being a long Super AMOLED Infinity Display. Samsung’s displays have been some of the best in the business recently, and we expect the Galaxy A6 will show off some inky blacks and vibrant colors.
The aforementioned rear-facing camera is a 16-megapixel lens with an f/1.7 aperture and an LED flash. That large aperture should mean that the Galaxy A6 has good low-light performance, even if it’s unlikely to be the match of the best camera phones. The front-facing selfie cam is a monster though — it’s also a 16-megapixel lens, but with a slightly smaller f/1.9 aperture. It should take good selfies though, and it also comes with support for face unlocking.
The Galaxy A6 runs Android 8.0 Oreo with Samsung’s Samsung Experience UI laid over the top. There’s been no word on an Android 9.0 Pie update, but we expect it will arrive shortly after it does on the Samsung flagships. Bixby is also included, making this one of the cheapest ways to experience Samsung’s personal assistant, and set up for the Galaxy Home smart speaker.
The Samsung Galaxy A6 will be available in the U.S. on Samsung’s website beginning September 14, with carrier options arriving in the coming weeks. The phone will start at $360.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5
If you love the Galaxy Tab S4, but can’t justify dropping $650 on a tablet, then the Galaxy Tab A 10.5 might be more up your alley. However, this is very much a media-focused tablet, and doesn’t appear to have any of the productivity tools of the Tab S4, so it’s not worth checking out if you’re after a business or productivity device. If you need a larger-screened tablet for entertainment, though, it could be a good bet.
The key draw of the Tab A 10.5 is clearly the large 10.5-inch LCD display. It runs a 1900 x 1200 resolution in a 16:10 aspect ration, giving a cinema experience. That media-viewing clout is backed up by the same speaker system we saw on the Tab S4, with a speaker placed at each corner of the device, and enhanced by Dolby Atmos.
It’s powered by the Snapdragon 450, 3GB of RAM, and comes with 32GB of onboard storage that can be boosted by up to 400GB with a MicroSD card. There’s a 7,300mAh battery and a USB-C port. You’ll find an 8-megapixel camera on the back of the device, with a 5-megapixel lens at the front.
The Tab A 10.5 is powered by Android 8.1 Oreo, with Samsung’s usual custom UI on top. Samsung is pushing the tablet as a home for your Samsung SmartThings, and you’ll be able to use your Tab A 10.5 to control your SmartThings-enabled devices. If it’s a family tablet, there’s also the Samsung Kids service, which offers curated, high-quality, and fun books, games, and apps to help your child learn. It also comes with tools to limit your child’s screen time, and by purchasing the Tab A 10.5, you’ll get 30 days of free access.
The Galaxy Tab A 10.5 comes in both a Wi-Fi and LTE model. You’ll be able to find the Wi-Fi model at Amazon, Samsung, and Walmart from September 14, starting at $330. There’s no solid release date or price for the LTE model yet, but Samsung promises it will arrive this year, and will be available from Verizon and Sprint.