Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) review
|Review: February 2017|
In a nutshell: The Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 is a beautiful phone that's been over-priced. On monthly contracts, it will cost around the same as the Galaxy S7, but this is not a flagship phone. Wait for the price to fall to around £20/month, and you'll get a stunning phone with a sharp screen, fast processor, and plenty of memory.
An A series phone for 2017
Samsung's A series phones are supposed to be the company's mid-range products, but it seems to have forgotten that, judging from the pricing of the 2017 versions of the Galaxy A3 and A5. The A5 in particular is priced at the same level as the flagship Galaxy S7, which is simply wrong. The A5 is not a flagship phone.
This is a shame, because if the phone had a sensible price - close to £20/month - we'd easily award it 5 stars. As it is, we can't really recommend it.
The A5 is the large-screen version of the Galaxy A3, 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 P9 or Sony Xperia M5. 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.
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.
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.
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, but over-priced
We're cross about this phone. It's a beautiful device, with high-end looks and very solid mid-to-higher-end performance, but it's been priced as if it were a substitute for the Galaxy S7, which it certainly isn't.
We'd like to see this phone priced at £20 - £25 per month, and then it would compare very favourably with the competition. That means phones like the Huawei P9 or the 2016 version of the Galaxy A5. 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.
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) features include:
- Operating System: Android Marshmallow
- 16 megapixel camera with LED flash, autofocus, digital zoom, 1080p HD video recording
- 16 megapixel front camera with 1080p HD video recording
- Display: Super AMOLED, 5.2 inches, 1920 x 1080 pixels
- GPS, Glonass, Beidou positioning
- Processor: Octa-core 1.9GHz
- Memory: 32GB plus microSD card (up to 256GB), 3GB RAM
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n/ac 2.4+5GHz), Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.2, USB Type-C, 3.5mm audio jack, NFC, ANT+
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor
- Networks: 4G LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 17, 20, 28), 3G HSPA+ (850/900/1900/2100 MHz), Quadband EDGE / GPRS
- Size: 146 x 71 x 7.9 mm
- Weight: 159g
- Battery: 3000mAh battery
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