- Excellent display
- Long-lasting battery life
- Good performance
- Refined and snappy software
- Bountiful number of ports and slots
- Mediocre camera
- Horrible in-display fingerprint scanner
- Plastic build
- Expensive price point
The Samsung Galaxy A70 is part of a new generation of A series smartphones, completely redesigned from its predecessors. All this done in a bid to compete with Chinese manufacturers, with better specs and lower prices. The series consists of the Galaxy A30, A50, and also the A70 which is the most premium of the three. So how does it fair against its competitors as well as its smaller siblings? Well, keep reading to discover what this phone is capable of.
Design & Build Quality
The Samsung Galaxy A70 happens to be one of the largest phones produced by Samsung this year. With a rather large 6.7-inch SuperAMOLED display with a U-shaped cutout, it is definitely designed for content viewing. Design wise, it looks like its siblings, with a shiny plastic back, and also a vertical camera setup on its rear. The entire frame is mainly made out of plastic, which does give it sort of a cheap feel, though it feels solid. While it’s glossy plastic, I’m glad to report that it isn’t slippery, and you can be sure to have a firm grip on it.
On the front, accompanying the huge screen are rather thin bezels, and the edges are flat, which is a nice change. Moving to the bottom of the screen, you’ll find an in-display fingerprint scanner, which is an optical one, so don’t expect it to be blazing fast. When it comes to buttons and slots, the Galaxy A70 has it all. There’s a tri-card slot on the left, while the power and volume rockers sit on the right side. Meanwhile, the headphone jack alongside the speaker can be found at the bottom.
The Samsung Galaxy A70 fronts a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display, and being from Samsung, you can expect to have an immersive experience with it. Being an “Infinity-U” display, it sports a U-shaped cutout up top to hold the front-facing camera. However, during my time with it, I didn’t find it as a distraction when viewing content.
There’s not much to say about the display other than that it is probably one of the best displays you can get out there on a mid-range phone at least. Colours are accurate, and the blacks are deep, which makes content consumption a pleasure on this device. If the default display mode isn’t to your liking, you have the option to switch to Vivid option to manually control red, blue, and green hues.
Specification & Performance
When it comes to specs, the Samsung Galaxy A70 sports pretty solid internals including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor coupled with an Adreno 612 GPU. Memory wise, it comes in two options: 6GB RAM + 128GB storage, and 8GB RAM + 128GB storage.
Performance wise, the Samsung Galaxy A70 is able to pull through everything thrown at it with ease. I didn’t experience any stutters or lags. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675, it is able to handle day-to-day usage like a champ. If light gaming is your thing, this will also do fine. Apps which I frequented on this device ranged from social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, to games such as PUBG: Mobile. Temperature wasn’t an issue either, and long periods of gaming didn’t generate enough heat to make it uncomfortable.
Battery Life & Charging
Packing a large 4,500mAh battery, one can expect the Samsung Galaxy A70 to pull through an entire day of usage, and you’d be right to expect so. On average, I would be able to pull up 4 to 5 hours of screen-on-time from the battery and would be left with about 20% of juice. What’s great about this cell is that it supports Super Fast Charging from Samsung, which delivers 25W of charge with USB Power Delivery. From 0%, 30 minutes of charging yielded 42% of battery, which is pretty fast for such a large capacity battery.
On the back of the Samsung Galaxy A70, there is a tri-camera setup consisting of a 32 MP f/1.7 main camera, an 8 MP f/2.2, 12mm ultrawide lens, and a 5 MP f/2.2 depth sensor. Image quality isn’t very impressive compared to other mid-rangers at this price point. While they are definitely good, but I’d expect more for the price it’s sold at. Images are sharp, and have lots of details, with accurate colours and good contrast. Dynamic range is also pretty good. However, the amount of details in the images could be improved. Low-light performance leaves a lot to be desired. Pixel binning is involved when images are captured in 12 MP, and this is recommended when shooting low-light pictures. Colour saturation is good, but highlights are blown out. Details are also lacking, and a Night mode would be much appreciated.
Ultra-wide images are okay at most, with lots of distortion, and details lacking. But this is a wide-angle camera which does the job of fitting as much of the scene in the image. Under low-light, wide-angle images are basically useless, with barely any details, and not much can be seen.
Handling selfies is a 32 MP shooter, and it does a good job at capturing self-vanity. Images come out crisp with plenty of details, that is if you get the right distance between yourself and the camera. It shoots 12 MP by default, and this is the mode I prefer to maintain details and colour accuracy. There is also a normal and close mode, which works by cropping of a 12 MP image to 8 MP. The close mode basically crops the image so you’ll look closer to the camera.
Quality of selfies under low-light is respectable, and are still usable for social media.
Speaker & Security
At the bottom of the Samsung Galaxy A70, there exists a single speaker, which looks rather small, but does pack a punch. Sound quality is great, and it can get very loud. Even at loud volumes, there isn’t much distortion. However, it isn’t flagship quality, but it definitely has an edge against the other mid-range devices.
When it comes to security, it comes with the usual inclusions such as password, PIN, pattern, face unlock, and fingerprint scanning. However, it’s set apart thanks to its fingerprint scanner which is an in-display one. Unfortunately for the Galaxy A70, it is a rather horrible fingerprint scanner. Most times, it failed to detect my finger, no matter how many angles I try or how much pressure I apply. Out of every 10 times I try using it, it probably works 2 times, which is rather disappointing. Compared to the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S10, it seems as if the Galaxy A70 is in the early stages of in-display fingerprint technology. In the end, I gave up and used the face unlock method as my preferred way into the device, though it may not be as secure. I would’ve preferred a rear fingerprint scanner which would’ve cost less and be more reliable.
UI & OS
Out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy A70 runs on One UI 1.1 on top of Android 9.0 Pie. It runs on the same software as Samsung’s current lineup of flagships, with very similar features. Some may like One UI, while others may not due to the slight cartoon-ish design. However, I feel that what Samsung has done with its software is great, making it simple and intuitive to use.
Unlike many other brands, there isn’t much bloatware about, though there are a few pre-loaded apps such as Microsoft’s office apps. The app drawer is still available, and the software itself is not buggy in any way. The notification drop down is also great for one-handed usage though it doesn’t help much in this case as the screen is extremely large.
The Samsung Galaxy A70 is a pretty solid device, with good build, an excellent display, and excellent battery life. However, at this price point, it is a letdown when it comes to camera performance, and also the fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint reader is near useless, and a waste of time. However, if you don’t mind the couple of hiccups in this device, then it’s a solid smartphone. At RM 1,999, there are many other devices out there worth taking a look at. Some of these include the Xiaomi Mi 9 at RM 1,699 which comes with flagship specs. There’s also the Honor View 20 which also comes with flagship specs and retails at RM 1,999. There’s even the option of buying the Samsung Galaxy S9 which can be found for as low as RM 2,100 and it comes with solid hardware though it is over a year old.