Galaxy S8
Samsung’s Galaxy A8 is taking cues from last year’s Galaxy S8 flagship phone. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

Samsung may not be launching its next flagship handset, the Galaxy S9, this week, but fans of the South Korea tech giant still have something to look forward to. Apple’s biggest rival is apparently launching its previously announced mid-ranger, the Galaxy A8, in its home country this Friday, with international release to follow suit.

On Tuesday, Korea Herald reported that Samsung is set to start selling the Galaxy A8 to consumers this Friday. South Korea’s no. 2 mobile carrier KT Corp. has even started accepting preorders for the device. The handset is valued at 599,500 won (US$561) in Samsung’s home turf, but this is still subject to change depending on the subscription plan of the user.

The thing that makes the Galaxy A8 interesting is that it takes cues from Samsung’s Galaxy S8 2017 flagship phone. In fact, the South Korean company leveraged on this when it announced the new Android handset last month. The firm’s mobile communications business vice president Park Jun-ho pointed out at the time that the A8 is debuting with “our customers’ favorite features from our flagship smartphones.”

Both the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy A8 sport Infinity Displays, albeit in different sizes. The former has a 5.8-inch 1440 x 2960 Super AMOLED screen, while the latter is launching with a 5.6-inch 1080 x 2220 display. The difference in their resolution is a given, since the latter is not a high-end offering. It’s important to note that both have 18:5:9 aspect ratio though.

The design language of the Galaxy A8 also strongly resembles that of the Galaxy S8’s. The mid-ranger may not have curved edges, but its side bezels are very minimal that it’s almost edge-to-edge in a way. The A8 also has slim top and bottom bezels, something that Samsung started with the Galaxy S8 flagship.

Other areas that make the Galaxy A8 feel like a high-end device include its support for Samsung’s mobile payment system called Samsung Pay. The service is previously exclusive to the company’s high-end phones only. Moreover, the A8 has the ability to connect to the Gear VR virtual reality headset.

In spite of taking cues from the Galaxy S8, the A8 has something that the flagship handset doesn’t. The more affordable phone features Samsung’s first ever dual front camera with live focus. This camera setup comprises a 16-megapixel lens and another 8-megapixel lens, so that users can take advantage of the bokeh effect when taking selfies.

Samsung is reportedly stepping up its efforts for its mid-range offerings due to the stronger demand for budget-friendly phones. Last September, the Galaxy Note 8 maker acknowledged that it saw its profits dip due to “the rising portion of budget phones.” Hence, it is luring more consumers to its more affordable Galaxy A series with the inclusion of premium features.

There’s no information on the Galaxy A8’s international launch available at present. However, the phone is expected to launch with black, blue and gold color options just like the version for the South Korean market. The A8 will run Android 7.1.1 out of the box and will be powered by a 3,000 mAh battery. In contrast, the S8 came with Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple Gold, Rose Pink and Burgundy Red color options. The latter also launched with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, but it is powered by the same 3,000 mAh battery.