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Samsung Galaxy A70 hands-on: The A-series grows up

Samsung Galaxy A70 back showing gradient finish

Introduced earlier this year, Samsung’s all-new A-series of phones has seen a lot of success. The company claims to have shipped over two million units across the series and revenues have already crossed $500 million. All this is to say that Samsung’s strategy to double down on the A-series is definitely paying off.

The Galaxy A70 is the latest addition in the series and, alongside the Galaxy A80, it reaches for the premium end of the segment. We’ve spent some time with the phone and here is what we think.

Design

The Samsung Galaxy A70 doesn’t stray far from the general design language of Samsung’s A-series of devices. Indeed, it could be said that the A70 looks like a larger Galaxy A50 which in turn looks like a larger Galaxy A30. You get the idea.

Samsung Galaxy A70 front display with web browser android authority

The front of the phone is dominated by an absolutely enormous 6.7-inch Full HD+ display, but this time around the aspect ratio has been switch to a narrower 20:9. I didn’t expect a phone this large to be particularly comfortable but my initial impressions are rather positive. If you spend a lot of time watching content on your phone, the Super AMOLED panel combined with the sheer size on offer should make it a fantastic device for you. Yes, the phone supports Widevine L1 for high-definition streaming. The Galaxy A70’s 6.7-inch display is extremely vibrant, but look closely and you’ll see just a bit of blurriness around text and icons. It is, however, easy to look past once you start using the phone.

Samsung Galaxy A70 compared to Galaxy A50 front

Left to right: Samsung Galaxy A50, Samsung Galaxy A70

The design of the A70 is a replica of the Galaxy A50 down to a tee. We’re not really complaining though, because the design works quite well and there are subtle tweaks here that add on to the experience. In addition to the narrower aspect ratio, Samsung has also reduced the size of the chin a fair deal which helps in the aesthetics department and generally makes the phone feel nicer to use.

Samsung Galaxy A70 showing USB C with 25 watt charging support

Beyond that, the button layout remains the same with the volume buttons and power key on the right. Along the bottom edge is the USB Type-C port as well as a headphone jack. The phone has a dedicated microSD card slot as well as dual nano SIM slots.

The back of the Galaxy A70, like the A50, has an attractive gradient that unfortunately picks up a lot of scuffs. Samsung is using high quality plastics all around the A-series of devices and it definitely helps keep the weight down, but we’re not very confident about how well it will fare a few months down the line.

Hardware

The phone features an optical in-display fingerprint sensor on the front. In my experience so far, it seems to be on par in speed with most similar implementations. Unlocking the display takes about a second. Samsung’s face unlock implementation works well, but it is early days and we’ll have to see how well it copes up with less than perfect light.

Support for MST and Samsung Pay on the A70 is incredibly handy.

If there’s one hardware feature on the Galaxy A70 that I am particularly excited about, it has to be Samsung Pay. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy A70 is the first A-series phone with full-fledged support for Samsung Pay. What this means is that you can use the phone to pay for offline credit or debit card transactions. Across India, most point-of-sale terminals do not support NFC and rely on swiping the magnetic stripe of the card. Samsung Pay on the Galaxy A70 can emulate the magnetic stripe on the card to enable tap-to-pay from your phone.

Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 675 chipset. The Galaxy A70 will ship in a single SKU in India with 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. The processor is the same that we’ve seen on the Redmi Note 7 Pro as well as the Vivo V15 Pro, giving us a baseline idea of the kind of performance we should expect. We’ll have more on this in the review about a week from now, but initial impressions are quite positive. A lot of that has to do with the work that Samsung has done to reduce bloat and generally lighten up One UI. Based on Android Pie, One UI on the latest generation of Samsung phones is a joy to use and that continues to be the case here. If i had one gripe with the interface, it would be the rather excessive use of animations all around. Samsung has thoughtfully included an option to reduce these in the settings app.

The Galaxy A70 is the fastest charging Samsung device ever.

The Samsung Galaxy A70 ships with an up-sized 4,500mAh battery. Even more interesting is the fact that the phone ships with 25-watt fast charging capabilities and an accompanying charger in the box. This makes it the fastest charging Samsung device to-date.

Samsung Galaxy A70 close up of camera module

The primary camera on the Galaxy A70 gets an upgrade over the one on the A50. The phone has a 32-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.7 aperture lens compared to the 25MP sensor on the A50. Meanwhile, the 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens and 5MP depth sensor remain the same. The front of the phone too has a whopping 32MP camera to up your selfie game.

Samsung Galaxy A70 Outdoor WideSamsung Galaxy A70 Outdoor Samsung Galaxy A70 Outdoor Wide

Samsung Galaxy A70 Outdoor

Initial impressions of camera quality on the Galaxy A70 are rather good. The phone doesn’t seem to be overzealous with digital noise reduction and there seem to be a decent amount of low-level details. It appears Samsung is still tuning the phones to overexpose just a bit and that shows in the burnt highlights. The wide-angle camera, in comparison, is the same as on previously reviewed hardware and serves as an excellent tool to capture unique angles.

Live-focus mode on the Galaxy A70 is rather good and the phone not only nailed a sharp, detailed image but was also able to do a decent job at defining the boundaries for objects to be blurred. It isn’t perfect. You can see some areas were missed, but it’s not bad at all since the subject of our photograph was a spinning pinwheel.

Indoors, in less than perfect light, the camera does an okay job at capturing the subject. While we’ve got a sharp image here, a lot of the low level textures have been reduced to a smear signaling aggressive noise management.

Specifications

  Samsung Galaxy A70
Display 6.7-inch Super AMOLED
Infinity-U
2,400 x 1,080 resolution
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 675
RAM 6/8GB
Storage 128GB
MicroSD Yes (up to 512GB)
Battery 4,500mAh
25W fast charging
Cameras Rear:
32MP sensor, f/1.7 aperture
8MP ultra wide sensor, f/2.2 aperture
5MP depth sensor, f/2.2 aperture

Front:
32MP sensor, f/2.0 aperture

IP rating No
Headphone jack Yes
Security In-display fingerprint sensor, facial recognition
Software Android 9 Pie
Dimensions and weight 164.3 x 76.7 x 7.9mm
183g
Colors black, white, blue, coral

Price and availability

Samsung Galaxy A70 in hand with app drawer

The Samsung Galaxy A70 is priced at 28,990 rupees (~$420) in India. This makes it the most expensive Galaxy A-series device right now. Yes, the Redmi Note 7 Pro packs the same processor but prima facie, the A70 offers a much more comprehensive package. Between the huge display, well optimized software build, massive battery, fast charging capabilities, and support for Samsung Pay, this is shaping up to be a very interesting device at a pretty good price point.

Next: Where to buy phones in India: All available options and best deals

We’ll have more on the Samsung Galaxy A70 in our review, but we’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Is Samsung headed in the right direction with their focus on experience instead of chasing specs?

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