This is a quick review of the recently launched Samsung Galaxy On8.

I got it for ~Rs. 13,000 during the 2016 Flipkart BBD Sale. This was after applying all possible offers!

The need was:
[1] phone within 15,000
[2] good screen with decent sunlight legibility
[3] battery that would see off a day.
[4] decent camera
[5] decent build quality

Having tried Motorola, LG, Huawei, Nokia, Mi, thought of trying out Samsung.

The package contained just the basics - phone and a charger. Interestingly, the charger is rated at 1.55 A - like a turbocharger - though the turbocharging is not mentioned anywhere.

Coming back to the Samsung On8, this is a dual-SIM 4G VoLTE capable phone/radio. The RAM comes at 3GB. The phone has a dedicated external microSD card slot allowing for a cheap upgrade to the 16GB ROM. As on date, there is a running offer on the On8 that bundles a Samsung EVO 32GB microSD card free with the phone.

Build quality:
The build quality of the On8 was very good. It is quite thin and light for a 5.5 incher. It fits in the hand easily not as comfortable as a 5” but, better than larger options like the G4+. There was no flex/creaking anywhere.


The front is dominated by the screen with a physical home button. Top of the phone is clean.


The Power button is located on the right side.


The bottom face hosts the micro-USB port along with the 3.5mm headphone jack.


The left side gets the volume buttons……



The back cover fit was robust and took some effort to pry it open using the slot. The speaker is at the back of the phone adjacent to the camera.



The sides have a chiseled cut to make the grip easier.


An indicator of thoughtful design, two chrome strip run along the edges on front and the back. The front strip just raises the phone by 0.5mm just enough that the face does not come in touch with hard surfaces.

Setup:
The phone comes in with Marshmallow baked-in. Set-up was a breeze. Once you sign in to your Google account the standard option of downloading/installing all / some of your apps is presented. Have a cup of coffee while that happens. Once that is done you are good to go.

A small detour:
In case one is shifting from an older phone: there are few things that need to be taken care to make the transition a smooth affair. With Google taking care of contacts, main ones left out are the SMS & Chats. Once these are transferred to the new phone, it is as if there was no change as far as records go.

On your older phone:

  • SMS/Call records - install the SMS Backup & Restore app from the Google Play store. Upload your call records/SMS to your Google Drive / Dropbox.
  • WhatsApp - take a backup, normal backup happens during the night, so take a fresh backup just before you finally switch over to the new phone.
Once your regular apps are installed from the Google Play store, install the SMS Backup and Restore app. Restore your call records & SMS from the Google Drive.

Install WhatsApp and restore the backup after authenticating.

With this you are generally good to go - contacts, SMS and chats are all transferred to the new device. Also, keep in mind to backup & restore the screenshots, saved train tickets etc as these would go once you change your device. This is made simple if you add the folders containing these images to Google Photos backup. Or, follow the old fashioned & time-tested manner of hooking up your phone to the PC/laptop and copying all images & videos that matter to you.


Coming back to the On8, no with critical apps installed it is ready to get going!

Tidbit:
The build says J7xxx.The Bluetooth connection identifies this as a J7xxx. Other than the fingerprint scanner, this model offers superior value in all other ways. Rather than launching an upgraded J7 with a better screen but at a lower price, I think Samsung tried to pass this upgraded J7 badged as an On8.



Settings drop down in a row


which can be expanded into a tray:


The tray is clean and but for the small potential confusion between the different power saving modes, it is quite clear.

On8 includes NFC to support the much advertised S-Bike mode that pops up when one presses the power button.


Display:
One word - dazzling! Excellent full HD sAMOLED display. Great viewing angles with good direct sunlight legibility. In the settings, it offers user selectable modes like basic, adaptive, movie. Adaptive worked fine. Colors were decent not over saturated in the adaptive mode.

Call quality:
The very purpose of having a phone. Sometimes forgotten in the noise of numbers regarding the chipset, display and megapixels counts! Phone call clarity was good at both ends. No echo or resounding effects. Both parties were loud and clear. The speaker at the rear of the phone is quite loud for a handsfree call. The sound from the speaker is loud and clear without crackling etc.

Performance:
I won't go for extensive benchmark testing. Never believed in them to be a deciding factor. The On8's day to day performance was a breeze. No hiccups at all. The 3GB RAM chips in here handily. The screenshot is the phone just booted:



This is the status of the RAM after opening 10 tabs in Chrome, apps like WhatsApp, File Manager, Phone, SMS and one YouTube video playing.



There was no stutter at all! It was quite satisfying to see the phone handle everything thrown at it with aplomb.

Battery:
The 3300mAH battery is more than adequate for regular use. Easily sees through the day and then some. Including 4G data for 6 hours. I noticed that 4G seems to make smoothies out of batteries and slurping them up. For a user profile like WA 1 hour, Browsing 2 hr, YouTube 30min, 60min calls the phone easily lasts 2 days. Even heavy users can see the day through easily. This excellent battery performance along with the display is a highlight of the On8.

Games:
Light games like Tabletop racing, Neo Monsters, Table Tennis Touch went off smoothly. Do not play graphics intensive games. So, can’t comment on that. Light gaming did not overheat the phone.

Camera:
Samsung phones had generally sported decent cameras. On8 is no exception.
Oops! I realized that I don't have samples to show here. Will add them add later towards the end of the month.

Useful Extras:
  • Security setting has one excellent option of invoking the pattern lock before the boot itself. When restarting, the phone boots up only if the user enters the correct unlock pattern/PIN.
  • AppLock - native App locker is built-in like the MIUI. Very useful to have. Curiously the junior in the line-up On7 doesn't have this native app locker, neither does the similarly priced J5.
  • Ultra Power Saving mode which turns your phone into a Black & White phone with a BIG launcher - and only the critical features - calls, SMS etc accessible in 6 Windows Phone-like tiles.
  • Ultra Data Savings Mode - supposed to use Opera's tech.
  • Power Saving Mode - cuts down unnecessary apps in the background.
  • Themes - another MIUI like feature. Interestingly, many themes are paid ones.
Bottomline: Value for Money phone with dazzling display, marathon battery and, a great camera. You won't go wrong with this phone. Considering the brand equity and availability of service centers this model has the potential to be a runaway winner for Samsung if they get the regular pricing right as not many are willing to pay the Samsung premium which explains the success of Chinese manufacturers in India.

Add-ons:
Memory: As mentioned as on date Samsung is bundling a Samsung 32GB EVO microSD card free with this model.

Screenguard: I had bought a Chevron tempered glass screen protector for the phone. The fit is not exact. It is dual use - J7 & On8. Probably meant for J7 only. The glass leaves a small gap between the top of the phone and the edge of the glass. It is clear in the linked photo showing the top of the phone. I wouldn't recommend going in for this make.
However, keep in mind that there is no mention of scratch resistance for the display so, do get a screen protector.

I will close this with a list of possible competitors to this phone (all are native VoLTE capable):

Mi Redmi Note 3: best seller in the category
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB ROM
- better chipset
- great battery
- oh so OK camera
- great display
- fingerprint sensor

Moto G4+ : for to those who don’t want Chinese brands (Moto is now owned by Lenovo)
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB ROM
- decent specs
- great battery
- excellent camera
- great display
- fingerprint sensor

Moto G4: the poor cousin of the G4+,
- identical to G4+ except in losing the fingerprint sensor

Samsung J7: Samsung's own among the multitude of models they launched.
- fingerprint sensor
- HD sAMOLED screen

Lenovo Vibe K5 Note: never took off. Lenovo has serious acceptability issues in India.
- 4GB RAM
- 32GB ROM
- fingerprint sensor

CoolPad Note 5: Chinese competition
- 4GB RAM
- specs are similar to the Mi Redmi Note 3

Moto X Play: among last of the Moto's made by Motorola.
- excellent screen
- marathon battery
- decent 21 MP camera
- fantastic build quality

Redmi 3S Prime: the joker of the pack
- compact 5”
- fingerprint sensor
- massive battery
- HD display.

That's it, folks! Hope this was useful!
 

RakaKaKaka

Well-Known Member
Adept
how is the camera compared to like One plus 3, Moto G4+ , Mi5 ? Specially in lo light as in day very hard to find differences
 

Jambumali

Well-Known Member
Veteran
As mentioned, I will post some pics towards the end of the month. I don't have the device with me.

Reg., camera comparison - it is difficult to say unless one shoots the same situation under identical conditions with different cameras/phones.
 

RakaKaKaka

Well-Known Member
Adept
As mentioned, I will post some pics towards the end of the month. I don't have the device with me.

Reg., camera comparison - it is difficult to say unless one shoots the same situation under identical conditions with different cameras/phones.
you have other recent phone you can have a comparo with ?
 

6pack

Well-Known Member
ex-Mod
(Fyi, Lenovo is owned by a Chinese company.)

I wanted to know what are the default apps pre-loaded on the phone. Is there a lot of bloatware in this phone?
 

Jambumali

Well-Known Member
Veteran
@6pack : Didn't get what you meant by Lenovo is owned by a Chinese company. It has always been a Chinese company - originally known as Legend. Burst into public prominence after buying PC/laptop business of IBM.

Reg bloatware - was reading that Samsung had reduced bloat. I can confirm that now. Not much of bloatware. There is standard bloatware like S-Planner (calendar) a fitness/health app, a folder of few apps - like MyJio folder by Reliance, in case you have tried/seen a Jio SIM phone etc. They also have a Play-like-store called Galaxy Apps. Where one can well, buy(!) apps, themes. It also includes free stuff like BizCard scanner. MS Office apps come pre-installed.

As I mentioned, whatever is pre-installed, doesn't affect the performance. To get (literally) a better picture what I mean, pl. check the 2nd pic depicting the RAM usage with multiple apps running.

Overall the bloatware is not overwhelming. If you want the exact apps, I will try towards the last week when I get to see the device again :)
 
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6pack

Well-Known Member
ex-Mod
@Jambumali, I was thinking Lenovo is a US brand bought out by a Chinese group. (my bad).

Is Flipkart app installed in system space in this phone? Last time I bought a phone from Flipkart the phone company (Honor) had installed FK app in system space.
 

Jambumali

Well-Known Member
Veteran
I was thinking Lenovo is a US brand bought out by a Chinese group. (my bad).
No issues.
Do note that the Chinese are buying lots of western designer brands. Brands like Cerruti etc., which had legacy but went out of fashion are back suddenly and, you will the "new" owners are all based in Hong Kong or mainland China :D

No Flipkart app pre-installed in On8. It was in the previous Moto G2 that I had bought from them.
 

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