Samsung has announced the 2018 Galaxy A7, its first smartphone with a triple-lens rear camera, following in the footsteps of Huawei’s excellent P20 Pro. However, this is a Galaxy A series phone, not a Galaxy S, so it’s not going to challenge the Huawei phone in terms of outright speed and ability. Instead, it will be a slightly more-affordable route into the world of three-lens mobile photography.
We’re used to dual lenses on phones today. What’s the big deal about three? The primary lens has 24 megapixels and an F/1.7 aperture, and it’s matched to an 8-megapixel ultrawide lens, and a 5-megapixel depth lens. The camera takes separate photos with the main lens, where four pixels can also combine into one for improved low-light photos, and with the wide-angle 120-degree field of vision lens. Switching between the two lenses this way mimics LG’s approach to a regular and wide-angle lens setup. The depth lens enables Live Focus portrait shots, just like the Galaxy S9 Plus and the Galaxy Note 9.
The front camera has 24 megapixels and uses clever software to create a bokeh-style blurred background, plus some studio lighting effects too. All this is viewed on a 6-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 2220 x 1080 pixel resolution, and driven by a 2.2GHz octa-core processor which, although it’s not mentioned, we expect to be a Samsung-made Exynos chip in most places the phone is sold.
The design is simple by Samsung’s standards. The lenses are set inside a rectangle on the left-hand side of the rear panel, which is made of glass. There are bezels above and below the screen on the front. The one aspect that does make the phone stand out is the fingerprint sensor, which appears to be mounted inside the sleep/wake key on the side of the phone.
Android 8.0 is the operating system — not Android 9.0 Pie, sadly — and there is a choice of 64GB or 128GB of internal storage space with 4GB of RAM, or a special 6GB/128GB model too. The Galaxy A has a MicroSD card slot, Dolby Atmos sound, a 3,300mAh battery, and a choice of blue, black, gold, or pink color schemes. If you’re hoping to use Android Pay, Samsung says NFC will only be included on some versions. Samsung Pay will work normally though.
The 2018 Galaxy A7 will be sold in Europe and Asia, but the price and release date have not been confirmed. It’s also not the only new Galaxy A series phone we’re expecting from Samsung either, as the company will hold a dedicated online event for a new A series on October 11. The teaser says it’ll be “4x the fun.” Does this mean it’ll have four lenses on the back, as arguably the A7 also has four lenses in total. We’ll see in the near future.