While you wait for the Galaxy Note 10 to come out, you might want to check out Samsung’s latest phone. On Monday, the South Korean giant launched a device that features three cameras on the back, and three on the front, but not at the same time. The triple-lens camera on the Galaxy A80 faces backward for standard photos. But when you need selfies, the camera module slides up and rotates to the front. It’s an incredibly odd solution.
Selfie cameras have become an interesting design challenge for smartphone vendors in recent years for two main reasons. One: You can’t have a phone without a selfie camera. Two: Selfie cameras ruin all-screen designs. Whether it’s notches or hole-punch displays, the selfie camera cuts into the screen.
The alternative is to create phones with pop-up cameras, sliding rear sides, dual-screen phones, or phones with just one camera module that can rotate forwards for selfies. That’s because the perfect smartphone design is only in the concept stages right now: Placing the selfie camera under the screen.
To get back to the Galaxy A80’s sliding-and-rotating camera, you have two potential issues from the get-go. Not only is there a part of the phone that slides up and down, but in the middle of it, there’s a relatively large component that rotates between the front and back of the device.
So many things can go wrong with either mechanism, which could ruin the functionality of the phone. Not to mention that you may have a hard time protecting the phone’s integrity with a case when taking the slide-up camera into account. You also run the risk of collecting debris inside the camera’s slider.
The upside of the Galaxy A80 is that you get a great, large-screen display that features only a tiny bezel on the bottom. That’s a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED “New Infinity” display with Full HD resolution and a built-in fingerprint sensor. When it comes to specs, this mid-range phone packs quite a punch: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 octa-core chip, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, 3,700 mAh battery with 25W fast charging, and Android 9.0.
As for that rotating camera, Samsung has included a 48-megapixel primary camera (f2.0), 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera (f2.2), and 3D Depth sensor — no, 3D face unlock isn’t part of the deal.
Built for what Samsung calls the “Era of Live,” the Galaxy A80 will be available in stores this month in select markets, starting at €649 ($736), which is quite a hefty price tag for a mid-range handset. Samsung is rumored to launch a variation of the A80 soon (the A90 that will deliver Galaxy Note 10-grade specs), which will feature a flagship CPU, 5G support, and 45W battery charging.