Photo by Saurabh Singh
Photo by Saurabh Singh

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Samsung Galaxy A70 First Look: Standing Tall

Written By Saurabh Singh | Mumbai | Published:

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  • The Galaxy A70 is primarily geared towards content consumption – which means it is a phone designed from ground up for binge watchers
  • In a first for Samsung, the Galaxy A70 comes with a 6.7-inch 1080p+ Super AMOLED display with an unusually tall 20:9 aspect ratio

Samsung is doing some interesting things with its 2019 Galaxy A-series phones – bringing interesting innovations that were previously thought to be preserved for its more premium and more expensive Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones. And it has confirmed that it wouldn’t be settling for just two or three or four of these new-age phones – instead it will bring a whole range of devices at varying price points. Days after launching the Galaxy A10, Galaxy A20, Galaxy A30 and Galaxy A50, Samsung has launched the Galaxy A70 in India. As is obvious with the naming convention, the Galaxy A70 is the most feature-rich of the lot – not to mention, the most expensive. 

Every new Galaxy A phone has some or the other key differentiating aspect. In the case of the Galaxy A70, it is the screen. The Galaxy A70 is primarily geared towards content consumption – which means it is a phone designed from ground up for binge watchers.  

Photo by Saurabh Singh

In a first for Samsung, the Galaxy A70 comes with a 6.7-inch 1080p+ Super AMOLED display with an unusually tall 20:9 aspect ratio and Infinity-U waterdrop-style notch – you can say that’s a hairline short of the 21:9 ultra-widescreen aspect ratio found in the Sony Xperia 1. While it’s not as ultra-widescreen as the Xperia 1, the Galaxy A70 is the closest that it can get at this point of time – also unlike Sony’s phone, Samsung’s new phone will not burn a hole in your pocket. Which means that it is the closest that it can get to showing content recorded in CinemaScope format the way that it is intended.  

Of course, content will be a constraint but both Netflix and Amazon Video now have 21:9 content, that purists will appreciate on the Galaxy A70’s 20:9 screen. For the layman it will mean, much smaller black bars at the top and bottom of the screen when viewing content in this format.  

Photo by Saurabh Singh

There are other advantages as well - a taller screen will, for one, allow you to browse more stuff at once and it can also be better for multi-tasking.    

As for quality, unsurprisingly, the Galaxy A70 easily has one of the best screens that you can get on a smartphone at its price point – it offers deep blacks, excellent viewing angles and best in-class outdoor legibility. 

That AMOLED panel also allows Samsung to outfit the Galaxy A70 with an optical in-display fingerprint scanner – like the Galaxy A50. While not as fancy as the ultrasonic solution found in its more expensive Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ phones, the optical in-display fingerprint sensor in the Galaxy A70 uses the gaps between pixels of the OLED panel for authentication. As is the case with all first-generation tech, Samsung’s in-display fingerprint scanner is far from perfect – there's room for improvement especially when it comes to accuracy but that’s nothing that a software update can’t fix. 

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In terms of core hardware, the Galaxy A70 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage which is also expandable. One can argue, Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 7 Pro packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 at a rock-bottom price of around Rs 14,000 – but I think, it won’t be fair to compare and judge the two phones solely on basis of the SoC inside. Much like Xiaomi’s phone, Samsung’s new phone has its own merits – a gorgeous Super AMOLED display being one of them. 

As for all-round performance, while I do reserve my final verdict for my full review, basis of a brief hands-on I can say this – the Galaxy A70 is generally a fast phone unless you’re playing a graphically intensive game like PUBG or Asphalt 9 on it. The Adreno 612 GPU inside the Galaxy A70 isn’t designed for high-end gaming especially at high settings – if you’re aware of this limitation, you’ll do just fine with the Galaxy A70. 

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The primary reason why the Galaxy A70 feels like a fast phone (in 9 out of 10 cases) is because Samsung has been able to well optimize the software inside it. Budget Samsung phones always had to make do with a stripped-down version of the company’s software – whether it was TouchWiz of yore, or Experience of now. But things are different with Samsung’s 2019 Galaxy A-series phones. Not only does the Galaxy A70 run Android 9 Pie, it also gets Samsung’s One UI on top of it (the Galaxy A70 is also the first Galaxy A phone to fully support Samsung Pay). With features like a system-wide dark mode and an emphasis on faster and seamless use on large-screen devices, One UI is without a doubt the best piece of software that Samsung has ever built. Needless to say, it works like a charm on the Galaxy A70. If only Samsung had cut down on some unwanted apps some of which show ads, the Galaxy A70 would have been just perfect. 

That the Galaxy A70 is designed for binge watching sessions is also accentuated by its mammoth battery - the Galaxy A70 packs a 4,500mAh battery. But what really sets it apart from any other Samsung phone, or any other phone at its price point for that matter, is that it supports 25W fast charging. Samsung is also bundling a 25W fast charger in the box.  

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Samsung is also touting the Galaxy A70 cameras – the Galaxy A70 comes with three rear cameras consisting of one 32MP sensor (Samsung GD1 sensor for effective 8MP photos) with f/1.7 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a 5MP sensor for depth sensing aka portrait photography. On the front, the Galaxy A70 comes with a 32MP camera with f/2.0 aperture. Cameras on-board the Galaxy A70 are surely a step-up from the Galaxy A50 - more on this in my full review. 

Almost everything about the Galaxy A70 feels new and refreshing - which is a big change from past Samsung Galaxy A phones. This is especially true about the specs. But there’s one thing that remains constant – the design. 

The Galaxy A70 looks exactly like the Galaxy A50 – it uses the same build materials as well. Which means it retains Samsung’s new glasstic design scheme.  

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The Galaxy A70 is an all-plastic phone but it doesn’t look or feel like one. In fact, its glossy and light-bending paintjob will give all-glass phones a run for their money – the Galaxy A70 will be available in black, blue and white and all of these can selectively trigger a rainbow-like effect depending on how light reflects off their surface. It’s clean and minimalistic, the Galaxy A70, but surely there are better looking and better feeling phones in and around its price point. 

Samsung also does not say if the Galaxy A70 has any protective coating up-top - it will ship a clear case in the box though which is nice. Also, it does not say if the phone can survive accidental splashes of water/rain. Regardless, the Galaxy A70 is built solid (although, it can be a little slippery), has ample weight to it, and does not feel cheap from any perceivable angle. It is susceptible to scratches every now and then, so that clear case does come in handy. Also, it’s not a small phone – it will always require the attention of both your hands.  

The Galaxy A70, like the Galaxy A50, is a breath of fresh air from Samsung and even though it is coming at a time when competition is at an all-time high – Samsung finally has a product that can go toe-to-toe with competition. But it isn’t meant for everybody. The Galaxy A50 already offers a well-rounded package at around Rs 20,000 and unless you’re specifically looking for a bigger screen and a bigger battery, spending close to Rs 30,000 (Rs 28,990 to be precise). on the Galaxy A70 doesn’t really make a lot of sense – but that’s just based on first impressions. Watch this space for my full review of the Samsung Galaxy A70 in the days to come. 

Also Read:  Samsung Galaxy A70 With 20:9 Infinity-U Display, 25W Fast Charging Launched In India: Specs, Price And Everything To Know

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