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Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 review

 Review: February 2017  
 

Last updated August 2017

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 is a beautiful phone with a sharp screen, fast processor, and plenty of memory. Now that the price has fallen to around 20/month, it's super value too.

Today's best buy: Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 from iD Mobile (£0.00)



 

An A series phone for 2017

We initially gave the 2017 version of the Galaxy A5 a 4-star rating because of its sky-high launch price. Now that the price has fallen to £20/month we've changed our rating to 5 stars.

The A5 is the large-screen version of the Galaxy A3 2017, with a 5.2 inch screen instead of 4.7 inches. That moves it out of the compact arena and into the mainstream. Like the A3, the A5 is a superslim phone that's been beautifully designed, with a seamless unibody made of metal and glass. Everything sits flush, including the camera, and the phone is dust-and water-resistant to the IP68 standard.

The screen is one of Samsung's excellent Super AMOLED displays, measuring a generous 5.2 inches, with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. That's significantly less than the Galaxy S7, but comparable with mid-range phones like the Huawei P10 Lite or Sony Xperia X. Compared with these phones, the Samsung's screen is vibrant and clear.

The A5 is available in a choice of colours - Black, Gold, Peach and Blue.

Octacore processor

The 2017 version of the A5 has an uprated processor compared with the A3. It runs at 1.9 GHz, instead of 1.6GHz, giving a welcome boost to performance. The RAM has also been increased to 3GB. This is still a mid-range configuration however - by comparison the Galaxy S7 runs at 2.6GHz and has 4GB of RAM.

The onboard storage is a decent 32GB, and this can be increased by a massive 256GB by adding a microSD card.

The phone runs Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow.)

16 megapixel camera

Both front and rear cameras have been upgraded to 16 megapixels, with autofocus, HDR mode, an LED flash, and a wide f/1.9 aperture for the main camera. This enables it to perform well both in daylight and in poorer lighting conditions. The front camera isn't such a high performer, but still captures good selfie shots.

Both cameras can record video at full HD resolution.

Connectivity

Like the 2017 version of the Galaxy A3, the USB has been upgraded to the new USB Type-C connection. The phone is 4G capable, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and ANT+ connectivity too. It also includes GPS, Glonass and Beidou location services.

Bigger battery

We complained about the battery life of the Galaxy A3, but the A5 fairs better with a much bigger battery - 3000mAh - which is nearly 30% larger. You should expect to get a full day's use between charges.

Note that because of the unibody design, the battery is not removable.

Conclusion - a beautiful phone, now sensibly-priced

The 2017 Galaxy A5 is a beautiful device, with high-end looks and very solid mid-to-higher-end performance. The price has fallen considerably since launch, and the phone now competes with phones like the Huawei P10 Lite and Sony Xperia X.

The A5 (2017 edition) compares very well with these phones. Like them, it's been beautifully crafted, and it performs well across the board, with a sharp screen, meaty processor, plenty of memory and decent battery life. The new A5 has the advantage of water-resistance and USB Type-C support.


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User questions

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Sar rating?

Asked by michelle from United Kingdom on 14th Aug 2017
Desperately looking for correct sar rating on a5 2017. samsung say 1.39 but everywhere else show less than 1! do you know? are samsung right? seems so high in comparison with their other phones and the a5 previous ratings. thanks

Reply by S21 from UK on 14th Aug 2017
Samsung's official figures show a SAR body rating of 1.390 W/Kg for the A5 2017 compared with 0.475 W/Kg for the A5 2016. However, the 2017 rating was measured at a distance of 0.5cm, while the 2016 figure was obtained at a separation distance of 1.5 cm. The two numbers are therefore not directly comparable. However in both cases the measurements comply with the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection recommendation of 2.0 W/kg.

>

Have you got the A3 and A5 confused?

Asked by Chris from Wales on 15th Jul 2017
You suggest people should wait for the A3 to fall to 25 and A5 20. Given the A5 is the larger model, isn't this the wrong way around?

Reply by S21 from UK on 15th Jul 2017
Hi Chris, we wanted the A3 2017 to fall to around 15/month (it's now around 18/month) and the A5 2017 to fall to 20/month (it's now about that). So it looks like now is a good time to buy either of these phones.

Reply by Chris from Wales on 12th Aug 2017
Thanks for confirming. There's a typing error in that case - 25 instead of 15 showing against the A3.

Reply by S21 from UK on 12th Aug 2017
Hi Chris, thanks for that. We'll update the review now that the price has fallen significantly.



Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 user reviews

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Reviewed by Phone guy from Uk on 21st Oct 2017
I don't quite change phones as much as I do my underwear, but it is close.

Having had an iPhone 7 for the past six months I was tired by the limiting OS that iOS is known for. If you've used both Android and iOS you'll know what I mean.

I decided to trade in at £320. Not bad considering it was a free upgrade. I was initially looking at the Huawei Nova as it was reduced to £200 and I've had one to try for a few days. On the day of trade in they were out of stock so I started looking at what else was available at the £200 mark. Not a lot. The Galaxy J5 2017 didn't impress on specs for cost over the Huawei Nova. Sony XA1 lacks in battery performance. The Moto G5 series have crept some way past the £200 and feel less well built than say the Moto G3 was (trying to hard to be a premium build but aren't). The Huawei P8 lite 2017 does look good on build but performance was a little disappointing compared to the Nova and P9 lite I had a few years ago.

This lead me into why I spent £300 on a phone, £100 more than I wanted. The nearest option in my opinion to the Nova was the Galaxy A5 2017. Spec for spec almost the same. I don't need lightning fast specs but don't want it to be painfully slow.

The build of the A5 2017 is perfect. Slip on a slim case to add some protection it feels good in the hand. Not heavy and not so light it feels that it could be cheap.

Screen size fits nicely in the category of 'I'm bigger than the iPhone 7 big no too big I have to use two hands all the time'. A 5.2" Full HD and AMOLED makes a very nice screen for quality and brightness. I've seen some reviews on YouTube claiming brightness isn't great in sunlight. I fully disagree, this screen is very bright and easily readable in full sun. Anyway if the sun is out its time to party, and not be on your phone. Text is sharp and photos are displayed in very good quality.

Battery life, well it's fantastic to be honest. Taken off charge at 06:00 and it's not 19:30 and I'm only down to 73%. I've used the phone with medium mixed usage. My iPhone would be showing 30% probably about now if not having a quick charge mid way through the day.

Speed of the phone for its specs is good. End of that topic really. I'd prefer a Snapdragon CPU over Exynos, personally preference.

Camera are good. Simple and effective at taking photos. It won't replace my DSLR.

The only let down is the fingerprint scanner. It is hit and miss sometimes.

For the price you get a very good phone. It'd be better if was £250 rather than the £300 I paid.

I'd buy Samsung again without hesitation if they keep producing phones this good for the cost.
Rating:


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