Samsung has charted the course for its comeback in the mid-range segment with the rejuvenated Galaxy A-series, introducing a new lineup that has seen flagship features trickle down the price ladder. The Galaxy A70 is Samsung’s latest attempt at offering a premium experience at less than half the cost of a flagship phone, with features including an in-display fingerprint sensor, triple rear cameras, and a large Super AMOLED display, to name a few. There’s also support for Samsung Pay, making the Galaxy A70 one of the few Galaxy A-series phones to offer this feature.
The Galaxy A70’s position in Samsung’s smartphone lineup is a bit confusing as it shares key internal specifications with the recently launched Galaxy A60. Surprisingly, the Samsung Galaxy A70₹ 28,990 misses out on the hole-punch front camera, which is considered fashionable these days. Even more perplexing is the fact that the Galaxy A60 is priced at roughly two-thirds of the Galaxy A70’s asking price, in countries where the former is currently available.
Comparisons aside, the Samsung Galaxy A70 falls in a price bracket that is populated by previous-gen budget flagships as well as some appealing smartphones from the likes of Nokia, Vivo, and Oppo, which pose stiff competition. Can the Samsung Galaxy A70 hold its own in a fiercely competitive segment, and does it offer a smartphone experience worth its price? Read on to find the answer in our Galaxy A70 review.
Samsung Galaxy A70 design and display
Samsung Galaxy A70 looks strikingly similar to Galaxy A50 at first. But considering the fact that Samsung Galaxy A50’s design was really beautiful. we don’t really have any complaints. Samsung Galaxy A70 comes with the same curved edges and the rainbow-like gradient effect on its dark grey back panel. The colours change very beautifully when light reflects off the rear panel at different angles. We should mention that the handset is available in three colours – Black, White, and Blue. The one that we got for review is the black version, but (as said before) looked more like Dark Grey. The glossy finish on the back panel makes it look like it’s made of glass, but it actually has a plastic body.
Moving on, Samsung Galaxy A70 has a vertically stacked triple rear camera setup and the LED flash of the device is placed right below it. There is also Samsung branding that is placed right in the centre. The right edge of the smartphone houses the power and volume rocker buttons and the left has the SIM tray (which can also accommodate a microSD card). The USB Type-C port, the 3.5mm headphone jack and the speaker grille is placed on the bottom edge of the handset, while the secondary mic can be seen at the top.
One thing that we should mention is that some may find the smartphone too big to hold. We found using it with one hand a little too hard thanks to its dimensions – 164.3×76.7×7.9mm. But then, on the upside, bigger dimensions mean a bigger screen, which in turn can be a very big plus if you use your handset for entertainment purposes.
Speaking of the screen, Samsung Galaxy A70 comes with a 6.7-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity-U display that has an aspect ratio of 20:9. The display is one of the key highlights of the smartphone. The display colours are very rich and vibrant. At the same time, they remain accurate. The blacks are deep and the contrast is just right. The images appear crisp and sharp, which makes up for a very delightful experience.
The colours remain consistent at various viewing angles and we encountered no problem while using the handset under direct sunlight. There is an option of turning on the blue light filter mode so that long hours of watching movies or playing games doesn’t strain your eyes. you can also choose between Vivid and Natural modes.
To sum it up, we would say that Samsung could have experimented more with the design of Galaxy A70. It looked a lot like Samsung Galaxy A50 and the one-handed usage on it was slightly tough. But then only because the design is similar, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. We liked it on Galaxy A50 and certainly looks sharp on the A70. As for the display, as we said, it is a delightful experience.
Samsung Galaxy A70 specifications and software
The Galaxy A70 is equipped with a 6.7-inch full-HD+ (1080×2400 pixels) Super AMOLED Infinity-U display with 20:9 aspect ratio. This new Galaxy A-series entrant is powered by the Snapdragon 675 SoC which has two Kryo 460 performance cores clocked at 2GHz and six efficiency cores clocked lower at 1.7GHz.
The Snapdragon 675 ticks alongside 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, which can be expanded by up to 512GB using a microSD card. Samsung has also announced a variant of the Galaxy A70 with 8GB of RAM, but it appears that only the 6GB RAM version has made its way to India so far. There’s a 4,500mAh battery with support for 25W fast charging, using the ‘Super Fast Charging’ adapter that comes in the box.
In the imaging department, Samsung has equipped the Galaxy A70 with three rear cameras. There’s a 32-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.7 aperture, assisted by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera with an f/2.2 aperture and 123-degrees field of view, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor with an f/2.2 aperture. At the front is another 32-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture.
As far as photography goes, there are a lot of features to play with. The Samsung Galaxy A70 offers Live Focus, AR emojis, and Super-Slo-Mo video recording, to name a few of its modes. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated mode for low-light photography, or any form of stabilisation to cancel out shaking when recording videos.
The Galaxy A70 runs Samsung’s One UI based on Android Pie, with our review unit running the March security patch. From the get-go, One UI has a more minimalist and modern feel to it compared to the older Samsung Experience UI, which for some reason, is still found on the Galaxy M-series of smartphones.
A few aspects we particularly like about One UI are that the aesthetics are significantly better, and there are usability improvements specifically designed for large screens, such as being able to pull controls at the top of the screen downwards to where they’re within reach.
The icons are a bit large and there is a lot of spacing between them, but thankfully, you can adjust the grid layout to squeeze in more apps and also tweak font parameters like styling, contrast, and text size with relative ease. Moreover, OneUI lets you choose between a dedicated button and an upward swipe to pull up the app drawer.The Galaxy A70 packs triple rear cameras, but misses out on a dedicated Night Mode
You can choose between navigation buttons and gestures, but unlike the swipeable navigation pill on stock Android, One UI simply substitutes the navigation buttons with three horizontal bars that can be swiped upwards. Although it works well and also allows users to switch the order of the buttons, we still prefer the navigation gestures on Google’s Pixel phones.
Swiping right on the first home screen opens the Bixby Home page which is populated by customisable cards for the calendar, weather, and email, among others. This also acts as a content discovery page by pulling transient content from apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and UC News, and also shows information such as usage statistics. The design of the Bixby home screen is clean and we particularly liked the look when Night mode is enabled.
There are a host of useful features such as an always-on display mode, ‘Face Widgets’ which show controls for music playback and reminders on the lock screen, Google’s Digital Wellbeing to keep a track of phone usage statistics. There is also a feature called ‘Separate app sound’ which plays sounds from one app on the phone’s speaker, and those from another app through a connected device such as a Bluetooth speaker.
Unlike the Galaxy A50, which only offers Samsung Pay Mini, the Galaxy A70 supports Samsung Pay, which can take advantage of both NFC and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) technologies to let users make contactless offline payments. It is basically equivalent to carrying a debit or credit card.
The Samsung Galaxy A70 comes with a host of preinstalled third-party apps such as Netflix, Dailyhunt, Amazon Shopping, Prime Video, Microsoft Office, OneDrive, and LinkedIn, in addition to Samsung’s own apps. Now here is the bad part — the in-house apps are ad machines and send a tonne of spammy notifications as well. The MyGalaxy app in particular dishes out ads left and right, with some of them being rather annoying. Thankfully, one can stop these spammy notifications and ads by disabling the offers and transaction toggle on a per-app basis.
Read Full Specifications Here: Samsung Galaxy A7
Samsung Galaxy A70 performance and cameras
Samsung Galaxy A70 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 SoC and comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of RAM. It can hold a microSD card of up to 512GB. The handset houses a 4,500mAh battery that has support for 25W fast charging. For imaging duties, Samsung Galaxy A70 comes with a triple rear camera setup that comprises of a 32MP primary camera with an f/1.7 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor with an f/2.2 aperture and a 5MP depth sensor with an f/2.2 aperture. There is a 32MP selfie camera on the front panel.
Coming to the software of Samsung Galaxy A70, the handset runs Android Pie skinned with the company’s own One UI. We have always maintained that One UI is far more simplified than Samsung’s Experience UI and have always found it to be better.
It is far easier to use and finding various settings are quite easy here. It also looks cleaner because of the spaces between icons. One of the best things about it is that you can customise some things about it. The handset comes with a number of pre-installed apps including Netflix, Amazon, Amazon Prime Video and DailyHunt among others, which can be removed if the users want. Samsung Pay has also been added to the device and we saw it in actions, it does work very well.
Speaking about the performance of Samsung Galaxy A70, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 SoC of the device carries the weight of most day to day tasks well. We did not encounter any lag while using multiple tabs of Chrome, launching various apps and switching between them. We surfed social media websites and listened to music and at times, we even used Samsung Galaxy A70 for gaming and navigation together. But it never heated up and the performance remained good throughout.
Now that we have mentioned gaming, we should tell you that the smartphone did a very good job when we played various games on it. We played some light ones like Alto’s Odyssey and some graphic-hungry ones like Asphalt 9: Legends. The handset handled it all very well. All the games ran very smoothly on it and we did not come across any heating issues.
We also watched several videos on Samsung Galaxy A70. We already discussed in the Display section of this review that the display image quality is great, and what made the experience better was the surround sound effect thanks to Dolby Atmos.
The in-display fingerprint scanner of the smartphone worked decently, though we have to admit that we found it to be a little inconsistent. Especially when our fingers were soggy, it could not recognise them. Nevertheless, the face unlock system does come to the rescue.
Coming to the cameras of the smartphone, our experience left us with mixed emotions. Most photos taken by Samsung Galaxy A70 turned out to be good. They had vibrant colours and rich details. Most macro shots also turned out very well. When we zoomed in to take close-up shots, the quality remained (mostly) intact. However, one thing that could have been better was shots in which the sun was too bright.
The images taken from the wide-angle lens were also good, but needless to say, they weren’t as great as the ones taken from the primary camera. We really liked the shots taken from the depth sensor, so no complaints there.
While photography was mostly good, the same cannot be said about recording videos. The camera found it hard to focus on the object and often the videos turned out darker than usual, in spite of optimal lights being there.
Coming to the 32MP selfie camera of Samsung Galaxy A70, most images taken from it turned out very well. You can click selfies with Bokeh mode and wide-angle front shots too.
The key highlight of the device is its 4,500mAh battery. We used the handset for social media apps, gaming, navigation, making calls, watching YouTube videos and it still lasted more than a day. At the end of the day, we usually had 30% battery, which we think is very impressive.
The call quality of the smartphone was consistent and good. We could even make and receive calls in areas like basements and elevators, which we think is always a plus.
Also Read: 5 Technology Trends to Watch in 2019
Samsung Galaxy A70 Review Verdict: Should you buy it?
The Samsung Galaxy A70 makes a good case for multimedia consumption and strikes the right balance of capable hardware and user-friendly software. It can handle demanding games, offers great battery life, has super fast charging, and the full version of Samsung Pay that lets you go card free.
On the downside, the camera is versatile but you will miss a dedicated night mode.
In this price segment, the Vivo V15 Pro (review), Oppo F11 Pro (review) are the only few viable options introduced this year, and in light of these the Samsung Galaxy A70 at Rs 28,990 does make sense.
The AMOLED expertise, refreshing One UI software, and neat design give the new 2019 Samsung an unprecedented advantage in the lower and middle order, and these are attributes that Chinese competition simply can’t one up.
But for consumers who put much faith in specs, the best of last year like Nokia 8.1, Asus Zenfone 5Z, and Poco F1 (review) are still viable challengers, and upcoming phones like Realme X and Poco F2 could also prove tough to beat.
- Good AMOLED display
- Excellent battery life
- One UI
- Samsung Pay
- Super fast charging
- Low light camera performance
- No OIS or EIS
- Loudspeaker isn’t loud enough
- Inconsistent fingerprint sensor