Gears & Gadgets

Samsung over-complicates phone design with a motorized, pop-up, swivel camera

Don’t ever let anyone tell you smartphone design is boring. We’ve seen companies come up with various solutions to hide the front-facing camera “notch,” from a motorized pop-up section to a fully old-school slider phone, but the latest implementation from Samsung is probably the most complicated. The company made a device with a motorized, pop-up, swivel camera.

The mid-range Galaxy A80 is an all-screen phone with an Oppo FInd X style motorized pop-up section. Samsung is one-upping its Chinese rival with a camera that swivels around when it rises, so the back camera can double as the front camera. There is a lot going on with this swivel camera section, too: there’s a 48MP main sensor, an 8MP wide-angle lens, and 3D depth-sensing equipment.

Despite the trick camera setup, this device is positioned firmly behind Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S10. The display is a huge 6.7-inches, but the resolution is only 2400×1080. That gives it a DPI of 393, which pales in comparison to the 526 DPI of the Galaxy S10. Samsung is using the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 chipset, an eight-core chip built on an 8nm process. Since it only launched yesterday, we don’t have serious benchmarks for comparison, but the 730 and 730G (that’s a gaming-focused variant) slot in after the 845 as Qualcomm’s second-fastest mobile SoC.

There’s 8GB of memory, 128GB of storage, an ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint reader, a glass back, Android 9 Pie, and a 3700mAh battery. The charging hits 25W over the USB-C port, which is a new high for Samsung. The lack of an SD slot and headphone jack could make the A80 a tough sell in the mid-range market. I also don’t see any mention of NFC, and it’s obviously not waterproof with all of these moving parts.

Samsung’s “Galaxy A” line is an admission by the company that mid-range phones can’t be trashy shovelware anymore. Thanks to competition from Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo, Huawei, and other companies, Samsung is putting actual design and effort behind the A series and creating something unique. Usually these devices are destined for India and China; there’s currently no word on availability or price.

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Tech – Ars Technica

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