Samsung’s grip on the smartphone market is unquestionable. On the one hand, there’s the top-of-the line Galaxy S7 and on the other hand is the Galaxy J2, which is a budget Android phone. And somewhere in the middle is the Galaxy A5 (2017). It’s the latest edition to the Galaxy A series which is heavily influenced from the Galaxy S7, but at a much lower price point of Rs 28,990.
Samsung has some competition in this space, though. It has to compete with the Honor 8 and OnePlus 3T, which are both good devices. I had a chance to experience the Galaxy A5 (2017) twice; first at CES 2017 in Las Vegas and later at a closed pre-briefing in Delhi last week. Here’s what I think about Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017).
Design and display
I didn’t like the Galaxy A5 (2016) too much, as I felt it wasn’t distinctive from the rest of the crowd. However, I feel the Galaxy A5 (2017) is a notch above its predecessor. I held the Galaxy A5 and the first thing that stuck me was the phone’s glass back and sides are made out of solid piece of aluminum.
The curve on the 3D glass is a nice touch and the bezels are slim that makes holding onto the Galaxy A5 very comfortable. I have medium sized hands so a 5.2-inch phone works for me. The Galaxy A5 (2017) also comes with IP68 certification (dust and water resistant), just like the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge. This is a plus point, as not many smartphones in this price bracket are IP68 certified.
On the front, the Galaxy A5 has a 5.2-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080p) Super AMOLED display that was colorful during my hands-on. Below the screen is a physical home button that’s also a fingerprint reader. I would also like to mention about the Always On Display feature on the Galaxy A5. It displays things like a clock, a calendar and even notifications.
The Galaxy A5 sports a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, with f/1.9 aperture, and optical image stabilization. The front camera has been improved too, now with a 16-megapixel with f/1.9 aperture. I took a few shots from the phone’s rear camera, the resulting images were pretty impressive. It’s nice to see Samsung is serious about the mobile photography. But perhaps that intrigued me was a feature called as a floating shutter, which basically lets you drag the camera shutter button anywhere on the screen when reaching down to take a selfie.
Hardware, connectivity and software
But it’s what’s inside that also counts. Under the hood, the phone packs in an Exynos 7880 processor, 3GB RAM 32GB of internal memory and a microSD card slot. During my limited time with the device, I found the Galaxy A5 quite nippy. Swiping between apps and pages, for example, it performed relatively well. Though I sensed a few delays here and here, I believe that could be due to the fact our demo unit was not a final retail unit.
The new Galaxy A5 comes with a 3,000mAh battery with fast charging support; however, Samsung hasn’t mentioned how long the battery will last. We’ll just have to wait to get the phone in for a full review to test this. As for connectivity ports, the Galaxy A5 is charged via a USB Type-C port and features Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity.
The smartphone ships with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, but I assume Samsung will provide an update to Android 7.0 Nougat in the coming months.
Of course, the Galaxy A5 doesn’t come cheap. The key question is whether a Galaxy J7 users will be willing to shell Rs 28,990 for the Galaxy A5 (2017). But we’ll wait to see how well the Galaxy A5 performs when we get it into our labs.