Samsung Galaxy A70 Review

ByJordan Hobbs 2019-05-14 1625

The Galaxy A70 is the current top model from Samsung's middle class. With the combination of a gigantic 6.7 inch display and a powerful 4500mAh battery, it is aimed at users who use their mobile phone frequently and intensively. To justify the current retail price of 400€, there are also some premium features such as a fingerprint sensor in the display and a triple camera with wide-angle lens. Thus, the overall package sounds quite appealing on the data sheet. We'll clarify in the following test report whether the combat giant can also convince in practical use.

Design and workmanship

The Samsung Galaxy A70 is one thing above all else: Damn big! Measuring 164.3 x 76.7 x 7.9mm, the phone is definitely not for one-handed use. The Samsung A70 rewards buyers with a gigantic 6.7-inch display that covers almost the entire front due to the waterdrop notch and very small edges. There is only a 0.5cm wide chin on the underside. Thus, the design picks up the current trends and is quite respectable.


A criticism that we have already made of the Samsung A40 and Samsung A50 must unfortunately also be accepted by the Samsung Galaxy A70. The back and the frame of the smartphone are completely made of plastic. With a 400€ smartphone it should be glass or metal, especially as the plastic is so scratch-prone due to the smooth surface that the phone looks heavily used after only two days in the pocket. Samsung could at least have been fair enough to include a protective cover in the scope of delivery.


After all, the plastic has a lower risk of breakage and also provides the comparatively light weight of 183g. The optics of the reflective surface is also very good and provides a colorful play of light when the sun shines on the device.


A positive surprise is revealed in the SIM card slot. Two Nano-SIM cards and one Micro-SD for memory expansion can be inserted simultaneously into the Galaxy A70. In addition, there is a USB C slot and a headphone port.


For unlocking, the Samsung Galaxy A70 has a fingerprint sensor installed under the display. The unlocking is much more reliable than with the Galaxy 50, but there is still a much higher error rate compared to conventional sensors. In everyday life, the finger is successfully detected in about 7 out of 10 cases. As a supplement to the fingerprint scanner, one should definitely set up the face unlock. This offers a little less security, but in everyday life you are simply much more comfortable and faster on the road. Both Face-Unlock and the In-Display-Fingerprint are quite slow compared to the Xiaomi Mi 9.

Display

The name Samsung alone is actually a guarantee for good display quality. This also applies to the Samsung Galaxy A70, which is aimed at multimedia fans and gamers with its large 6.7 inch screen. The 6.7 inch diagonal corresponds to a proud 17cm with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels. The pixel density is easily sufficient for a crystal clear image and a 2K display will be missed at most on the data sheet.


Samsung Galaxy A70  display


The colour representation is typically very strong for AMOLED and the contrast is infinitely high, since black areas are not illuminated. The brightness is about 810 cd/m2, which makes the phone usable even in strong sunlight.


The Samsung Galaxy A70 does not have a notification LED. But the smartphone has the well-known Always-On function on board. After you have activated the function in the display settings, the display informs you in standby mode about the weather, incoming messages and the time. Samsung offers under the term Face-Widgets different layouts for the individual elements and even App-Shortcuts can be placed on the display. No other manufacturer does as good a job as Samsung.


As always, Always-ON also has a downside, namely increased energy consumption. In 24 hours, 20% of the battery for the standby display is lost. However, it is possible to deactivate the function automatically during the night.


On the software side, there is also a blue light filter that is easy on the eyes in the evening and a night mode. Behind the night mode there is an alternative design that displays white text on a black background in the system and the Samsung apps, similar to MIUI's dark mode. On the AMOLED panel, this feature looks pretty cool. As an alternative to the on-screen buttons, wipe gestures can also be used to free up additional space for content. Operation via the 10-point touchscreen is fast and reliable. Up to 10 touch points can be registered simultaneously. The A70 does not have Corning Gorilla glass, but the display glass (in contrast to the back) is scratch-resistant.


With the Galaxy A70, Samsung offers a real high-end panel that doesn't have to hide from the competition. The color display, brightness and adjustment options leave nothing to be desired.

Power

The Samsung Galaxy A series normally uses Samsung's own Exynos processors. However, for the Galaxy A70, the Korean manufacturer makes an exception and uses a Snapdragon 675 from American market leader Qualcomm. In particular, a Snapdragon 675 Octa-Core processor is installed. The chip is manufactured in a modern 11nm process and has 8 cores. Four Kyro 460 Gold cores with 2.0 GHz work in one power cluster and are supported by 4 Kyro 460 Silver cores with 1.7 GHz in the energy saving cluster. The graphics unit is an Adreno 612 GPU.


The Samsung Galaxy A series normally uses Samsung's own Exynos processors. However, for the Galaxy A70, the Korean manufacturer makes an exception and uses a Snapdragon 675 from American market leader Qualcomm. In particular, a Snapdragon 675 Octa-Core processor is installed. The chip is manufactured in a modern 11nm process and has 8 cores. Four Kyro 460 Gold cores with 2.0 GHz work in one power cluster and are supported by 4 Kyro 460 Silver cores with 1.7 GHz in the energy saving cluster. The graphics unit is an Adreno 612 GPU.


The processor is a relatively unusual choice for a 400€ smartphone, as it is actually designed for the middle class. Xiaomi is currently installing the Snapdragon 675 in the Redmi Note 7 Pro, which sells for 212 Euros in China and India. In comparison with the Chinese competition over 250€, the Samsung Galaxy A70 therefore looks quite old. Already a Pocophone F1 (260€) or a Xiaomi Mi 8 (320€) are mercilessly outperforming the A70 in all benchmarks and a comparison with the Xiaomi Mi 9 should not even be made. All in all, the Galaxy A70 is more on the level of the 200€ mobile phones Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 or Meizu X8.


The comparatively weak-chested processor is a strong criticism of the Galaxy A70 and will allow performance fans to avoid the mobile phone. Nevertheless, the system performance is quite acceptable. There are no annoying loading times or jerkers and even graphically demanding games like PUBG or Asphalt 8 can still be played. Compared to the competitors mentioned above, you simply have to be patient for a second more often. Also the processor can't be called future-proof.


After all, the Samsung Galaxy A70 doesn't disappoint in terms of memory. With 6GB RAM there is enough capacity for multitasking and the 128GB memory also uses high-quality UFS chips. The internal memory thus achieves a presentable 500MB/s in reading and 200MB/s in writing.

System

Samsung's user interface has come a long way with many name changes. From Touchwiz to Samsung Experience and currently ONE UI, a lot has happened in terms of features and especially looks. The system is based on Android 9 and One UI has the version number 1.1. Already in the Galaxy A50 test we praised that the surface looks much cleaner and the same is true for the Galaxy A70. The app icons now have a rounded design and there is still a button for the app overview. By default, there are a few third-party apps pre-installed that can't be uninstalled except for Netflix and the Microsoft apps. As a consolation, you get 100GB of free Onedrive storage for Microsoft's cloud service.


In the settings you can adjust the optics of the system to your own preferences. There are different designs for the launcher, the icons and of course different wallpapers. A one-hand mode and a gaming mode have also been integrated. The latter hides annoying notifications and displays only the installed games in a clear interface.


Samsung's One-UI is quite respectable and offers a similar range of functions as Xiaomis MIUI or Huaweis EMUI interface. Even demanding users will be happy here.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy A70 has a triple camera on the back. The main sensor has a proud 32 megapixels and a large f/1.7 aperture. It is supported by a depth sensor with 5 megapixels and an ultra wide angle lens with 8 megapixels. The two secondary cameras have an f/2.2 aperture. A selfie camera with 32 megapixels and f/2.0 aperture is used on the front.


Samsung Galaxy A70triple camera on the back


If the processor was the biggest weak point of the Galaxy A70 so far, then the camera lines up directly after it. The image quality is suitable for viewing on the mobile phone display, but is miles away from what you would expect from a 400 Euro mobile phone. Already with the standard daylight shots, there are problems: Either the pictures appear overexposed or too dark. The detail number is simply disappointing in view of the 32 megapixels. It gets even worse when there is less light available. The image quality already decreases so much in indoor shots that the images on a PC screen only look gruesome.


Unfortunately, the video recordings or the front camera don't come away much better. With the Selfie camera, the image quality is still fine, but only if you activate the wide-angle mode. In standard shots there is an inconsistent colour reproduction and the skin is much too yellowish. With videos we have the omnipresent focus problem with the Galaxy A series. It often takes up to three seconds to focus the image. On top of that, Samsung simply forgot to activate Electronic Image Stabilization for Full HD shots. Only the videos of the ultra wide angle camera are stabilized. While Xiaomi even allows stabilized 4K shots with the Mi 9, even the 1080p videos of the Galaxy A70 shake like a cow's tail.

Connectivity

The Samsung A70 has a triple slot built in and can accommodate two SIM cards and a micro SD for memory expansion at the same time. We think it's great that Samsung is not stingy with memory expansion even on higher priced phones, which is rarely the case these days. The smartphone supports all network frequencies required in Germany:


LTE ribbons: B1 (2.100), B3 (1.800), B5 (850), B7 (2.600), B8 (900), B20 (800), B38 (2.600), B40 (2.300), B41 (2.500)


Compared to other high-end smartphones, however, the number of supported mesh frequencies is relatively low, which could be relevant for globetrotters.


The mains reception is very strong, probably not least because of the plastic housing, and the quality when telephoning can also be heard via the earpiece and the hands-free function. You can also activate VoWifi and VoLTE in the settings of the phone app to improve the call. Bluetooth 5.0 and Dual-Band Wifi with .ac standard are available for wireless connection. Here, too, the connection is strong and stable.


The location is determined via GPS, Glonass, Beidou and Galileo satellites, which is very fast and accurate up to 3 meters. For listening to music you can use the 3.5mm headphone port and the USB 2.0 C slot is available as an interface for data transfer. The integrated mono speaker is located on the underside. The sound is sufficiently differentiated and doesn't distort, but the phone sounds a bit tinny. However, the quality is sufficient for watching videos on the go. Widevine L1 for streaming HD content to Netflix and Amazon Prime goes without saying with Samsung. In addition to the standards, the smartphone also offers a gyroscope and an e-compass as sensors. NFC for contactless payment is also available and even an FM radio is included.

Battery

The battery of the Samsung Galaxy A70 measures a proud 4500mAh and thus offers a decent energy source even for the large 6.7 inch display. The battery life also benefits from the relatively weak processor and the economical AMOLED technology. In practice, the Samsung A70 proves to be a true endurance runner that is always sufficient for a full day even for power users. To name a few values: One hour of Youtube streaming at medium brightness consumes only 5% of the battery. One hour of gaming demanding titles like Asphalt 8 consumes 10%. Standard usage such as social media and surfing is reflected with 7-8%. Even with Always-ON, you can easily get 7 hours on-screen time throughout the day. If you don't have an alarmingly high mobile phone usage, the A70 easily suffices for two days running time.


The Samsung A70 is recharged in 2 hours with the integrated 25 watt fast-charging power supply. This isn't a peak value, but considering that the Galaxy A70 can be used for two days with a huge 4500 mAh battery at a time, it's quite bearable.

Conclusion and alternative

The Samsung Galaxy A70 showed clear strengths and weaknesses in our test. The Galaxy A70 achieves particularly good results in terms of display, battery life and connectivity. The nice 6.7 inch Full-HD AMOLED panel is one of the best you can get in a mobile phone at the moment. In terms of connectivity, Samsung also gives the user maximum flexibility. Headphone connection, memory expansion with simultaneous dual SIM use and NFC combine the optimum of mid-range and high-end features. The battery life is also definitely among the top class and is sufficient for two days.


As beautiful as the mentioned features of the Galaxy A70 are, so big are the deficits in other areas. The first thing to mention here is the plastic case, which scratches within a very short time without a cover. However, this can be overlooked, as many users use a protective cover anyway. Unfortunately the list goes on. To install a mid-range processor in a smartphone that costs almost 400€ is actually quite a fat number. Especially in view of the fact that the Xiaomi Mi 9 already has the fastest processor on the market for 450€. But this could still be overlooked if the rest of the package is coherent, as for example with the Motorola Moto G7 Plus. However, the camera is also at the level of a 200€ mobile phone and disappoints in almost every respect.


In summary, the Galaxy A70 can actually only be recommended to users who are looking for a great phone and for whom performance and photo quality are not important. In our opinion, this is too much of a cutback for a smartphone in this price range, so we advise against buying it.

 

 You may also want to read:
  Samsung Galaxy Note 10: release date, price and other rumors
 The new Samsung Galaxy A60 and Galaxy A70 details
 Galaxy Note 10 is rumored to be better than Galaxy S10

 

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