The Galaxy A8 has been one of the most talked about Samsung smartphones since the Galaxy S6, and it's now been officially launched in China.
The device seems to move Samsung's design thinking forward, much like the Galaxy Alpha did last year when it gave us a glimpse of how future devices such as the Galaxy S6, A3, A5 and A7 would look.
The Galaxy A8 is also Samsung's thinnest smartphone yet, with a thickness of only 5.9 mm. This aggressive manufacturing process can only mean that Samsung is going to try to make future flagships even thinner than they are today.
The device is quite large, though, with a 5.7" Full HD Super AMOLED display, although it only weighs 151g (which is 25g less than the Galaxy Note 5, for instance).
The processor is certainly not a high-end one, but it should offer sufficient performance for a modern smartphone. It comes with a Snapdragon 615 SoC, which has a quad-core 1.0 GHz Cortex-A53 cluster for lighter tasks and a quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 cluster for when more performance is required. It's not clear yet whether such a set-up brings significant power savings over a single-cluster quad-core 1.5 GHz chip, or whether the gains are negligible and this eight-core configuration is used more for marketing rather than technical purposes.
The Galaxy A8 has 2 GB of RAM, which is the least we can expect in 2015 from an upper mid-range device, and it has 16 GB or 32 GB storage options, as well as a microSD slot. The presence of the microSD actually represents a trend reversal for Samsung that started with the Galaxy S6 which shipped without one. The return of the microSD slot is that much more surprising considering how thin the device is. Also despite its thinness, the A8 packs a rather large 3,050 mAh battery.
The Galaxy A8 comes with a 16 MP rear camera with 1.0 µm pixels, as well as Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and a fast f/1.9 lens. The front camera has a 5MP resolution and also comes with a wide-angle lens for taking better selfies.
In terms of connectivity options, the device has LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi (no 802.11ac support), Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou and NFC. The device is not lacking a fingerprint reader either, and it should feature the same high-quality sensor found in the Galaxy S6.
The Galaxy A8 will run Android 5.1.1 with Samsung's own software customizations on top. It's now available in China in white, black and gold.