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An S ranking may be best, but a good, old-fashioned A is looking pretty darn sweet right now.

Samsung on Tuesday announced the Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus, two phones in its midrange A lineup. Despite being cheaper than their older, high-end siblings, the Galaxy S8 and Note 8, the new A phones have a bunch of premium touches.

For one, they're the first phones from Samsung to have dual cameras on the front. Samsung combines a 16-megapixel shooter with an 8-megapixel one, letting you shoot bokeh-style photos front-on. However, that does mean the 16MP camera on the back is running solo.

The phones also take the Infinity Display design from the S8 and Note 8 devices, meaning you get more screen and less bezel. The A8 rocks a 5.6-inch display, while the A8 Plus comes in at 6 inches. Both are 1080x2,220-pixel Super AMOLED displays -- not as crisp as the 2,960x1,440-pixel resolutions on the S8 and Note 8, but still full HD. 

It's not just good looks: The new A8 phones support NFC, which means Samsung Pay and Android Pay are compatible, and it's got an IP68 rating, making it dust- and water-resistant.  

Not everything is super premium. The phones run on Android 7.1.1. Nougat, not the Android 8.0 Oreo operating system of other new phones.

Key specs

  • 5.6-inch/6-inch, 1080x2,220-pixel displays
  • Octa-core Exynos processor (dual 2.2GHz + Hexa 1.6GHz)
  • 4G RAM, option for 6GB in A8 Plus
  • 32/64GB storage, expandable up to 256GB
  • 16MP rear camera, 16MP + 8MP front cameras
  • 3,000mAh battery 
  • USB-C
  • Android 7.1.1 
  • Four color options: gold, black, blue and orchid gray

Samsung said the phones will be available in early January, though it's not clear exactly where they'll be available or how much they'll cost. The A7 and A7 Plus, released earlier this year, aren't sold officially through Samsung in the US, but the A7 can be purchased on Amazon for around $350 (AU$510 on Kogan in Australia or £355 on Amazon UK). 

Originally published Dec. 19 at 6:21 p.m. AEST/Dec. 18 at 11:21 p.m. PT.
Update, Dec. 20 at 12:09 a.m. AEST/Dec. 19 at 5:09 a.m. PT: Adds that the processor is the Samsung Exynos.