Mid-range phone gets a She’s All That makeover, và it mostly works.

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ByxAndrew Wiliams23 November 2017


Our Verdict

The new Samsung Galaxy A5 looks lượt thích a flagship, performs lượt thích a mid-ranger and is priced somewhere in-between. It"s a great phone, but a middling camera và CPU ensure it doesn"t fully rise above rivals.

The 2017 Galaxy A5 is the third phone Samsung has produced with exactly this name. It first appeared at the very kết thúc of năm trước, and Samsung has updated and tweaked the style for each new mã sản phẩm.

Each year the phone has classed-up its act a little, leading khổng lồ this 2017 version, which you could easily mistake for a top-kết thúc phone. Dig deep enough inlớn the hardware và you’ll find a few parts that would make the Samsung Galaxy A5 a swindle if it cost as much as the Galaxy S7, though.

But they’re not the sort of things most people will notice every day. If you’re not obsessed with having the lathử nghiệm and greathử nghiệm tech in your phone, you’ll probably love sầu the Samsung Galaxy A5. And saving a few hundred dollars or pounds in the bargain is an attractive sầu sweetener.

It’s also arguably a more successful phone than HTC’s attempt at the same idea, the pretty-but-flawed Smartphone HTC U Play.

The main group that might be put off is the bargain hunter crowd. The OnePlus 3T is a more powerful phone, và has a lot more storage too, but is only $40/£30 (around AU$50) extra.

Motorola’s Moto G4 Plus is also a much better deal in the “tech per dollar” stakes. As usual, Samsung charges what it can for the Galaxy A5, rather than trying khổng lồ squeeze in as much as possible.

Not everyone quibbles about every pound/dollar as much as we do, though, & for the most part the Samsung Galaxy A5 is a joy lớn use. The screen’s great, the battery life commendable, the form size of the little guy accessible, and while the power on tap isn’t all that impressive sầu, there’s enough to lớn stop the phone seeming underpowered.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 price & release date

Cheaper than a Galaxy S7, but not cheapSimilar price khổng lồ a OnePlus 3TAt the top-kết thúc of “mid-range”

The Samsung Galaxy A5 shows you quite how expensive sầu “mid-range” phones can be nowadays. It launched at $399 in the US, £369 in the UK và AU$649 in nước Australia.

That’s a chunk more expensive than the năm nhâm thìn version of the Galaxy A5, but the phone comes with a few important feature upgrades too, lượt thích water resistance.

However the good news is more recently it has witnessed a price drop, bringing the Galaxy A5 price down lớn around $3đôi mươi, £280 SIM không tính tiền.

The 2017 Galaxy A5 launched in January 2017, a year after the năm 2016 Galaxy A5 appeared. Much like the Galaxy S series, the mid-range A phones have sầu started lớn appear annually, và more reliably than the average train.

Meet in the mid-range

Megapixel-packed camerasOcta-core Samsung CPU32GB of storage with microSD expansion

Just look at the spec danh mục of the Samsung Galaxy A5 và it may seem to lớn have more features than last year’s Samsung flagship, the Galaxy S7.

It has more megapixels, with 16 squeezed into lớn both the front và rear cameras, and a new-style USB-C socket. It’s also a classic example of why it pays to lớn know a little more about the tech behind the figures, though.

For example, the Samsung Galaxy A5 has a distinctly mid-range chipmix, the Samsung Exynos 7880. It’s reasonably cthua in power khổng lồ the Snapdragon 617 used in phones lượt thích the Moto lớn G4 Plus, even though the A5 is twice the price.

Similarly, its rear camera is worse than that of the many 12MPhường models around today, and also worse than some of the very best 13MPhường ones. Much cheaper phones use similar-quality hardware.

Where the Galaxy A5 excels is in making this conventional hardware work well. For example, the camera is very quiông chồng, with the same almost lag-không tính tiền experience as seen in Samsung’s most expensive phones. And that performance is combined with a typically high-quality Full HD Super AMOLED display.

Tech obsessives can vì chưng better, but those who simply want a ‘nice’ phone that seems like a fairly high-kết thúc piece of hardware will appreciate the A5’s style.

The Galaxy A5 also has a comfortable 32GB of storage, và a microSD card slot to lớn let you add lớn it (with cards of up lớn 256GB).

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Design and display

Classy-but-plain metal and glass buildAMOLED screen but not as sharp as the S7’sWater-resistant

Like the 2016 version of the Samsung Galaxy A5, this phone is made of metal and glass. The front và bachồng are glass, the sides aluminum with a color-matched finish.

Its glass is Gorilla Glass 4 rather than Gorilla Glass 5. It’s very tough, but where version five sầu is designed to handle drops from shoulder height, version four is tested at 1 meter, or roughly waist height.

We’re using the blachồng version, but Samsung also makes the Galaxy A5 in gold, light xanh & pink. As the entire phone ends up one shade, there’s a certain plain simplithành phố to lớn the handphối that makes it less striking than the S7 family. However, it feels just as well-made. It’s also just as thin, at 7.9mm thick.

Samsung describes the thiết kế as “unikhung all round”, & that’s on the money. The rear glass curves inlớn the metal sides for a smoother feel too.

Like the iPhone 7 or Galaxy S7, the Samsung Galaxy A5 is of a kích cỡ just about anyone should be able to lớn get on with. It’s not a pocket-stretcher like most 5.5-inch phones, and the soft keys aren’t tricky lớn reach.

If you’re not switching from another Samsung phone, you may find the position of the soft keys takes some getting used lớn, though. The Samsung Galaxy A5 has separate light-up soft keys below the screen, but they’re flipped around: ‘back’ on the right, ‘recent apps’ on the left. This placement makes sense given that most people are right-handed & most use the baông chồng button more, but does take a day or two lớn feel right.

There are some other curiosities lớn the Samsung Galaxy A5 too. The SIM card & memory card slots are separate, one on the top, the other on the left side. You have sầu to lớn wonder whether Samsung could have crammed the two together, but does it matter? Not really.

The speaker placement is bizarre as well. There’s a main speaker at the top of the Samsung Galaxy A5’s right edge, when most phones have sầu either front-facing drivers or one at the bottom. We’ve sầu found you need khổng lồ be a bit more careful about blocking the speaker if you’re just carrying the thing around listening to lớn tunes or a podcast, but in other situations it actually works better than most.

It works for gaming because you won’t bloông chồng it when holding the phone portrait, or on its side for those more involved two-hander titles.

The Samsung Galaxy A5’s fingerprint scanner is more conventional, similar to the Galaxy S7’s, it’s part of a clicky button below the screen.

This isn’t the fastest finger scanner going. It’s not instant, there’s a semi-quaver beat before it unlocks the phone, but we’ve only noticed this because we’ve used most of the fingerprint scanners out there. It is reliable, and doesn’t actually make you press the Home button khổng lồ bring the Galaxy A5 out of standby.

The part that finishes off the Samsung Galaxy A5 hardware is water resistance. It’s certified lớn the IP68 standard, meaning you can submerge the phone in water of 1.5m depth for 30 minutes. Don’t get cocky & start dropping it in every body toàn thân of water you come across, but you don’t have sầu to lớn worry about torrential rain or watching a bit of Netflix in the bath.

Given the choice we’d take the larger Galaxy S7 Edge as a truyền thông player, but the Samsung Galaxy A5’s top-chất lượng screen is still a corker. It’s a 5.2-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, using Samsung’s own panel tech.

Like other OLEDs, its black màn chơi & contrast are unbeatable, but a great LCD screen will generally get you purer-looking whites và slightly better sharpness. Thanks lớn a PenTile px structure, there’s the tiniest bit of fuzziness to lớn the Samsung Galaxy A5’s display up-cthua thảm, but it’s otherwise not light years away from the Galaxy S7’s screen.

As with that phone, you can choose from a bunch of color profiles that radically alter the screen’s personality. The standard Adaptive Display lets the OLED panel rip, with truly punchy oversaturated colors và cooler-skewed whites. It’s the equivalent of the mode you’ll see TVs use in high street shops.

Its AMOLED Cinema và AMOLED Pholớn mode calm those colors down while keeping a punchy look, & Basic brings tones all the way down lớn the sRGB color standard.

This may look undersaturated to lớn many, or most, of you these days, but it’s lượt thích giving up on adding sugar to lớn your coffee.

The neakiểm tra part of the Samsung Galaxy A5’s screen is its always-on display. When the phone is in standby, it shows the time, battery màn chơi, date và some little icons letting you know what sort of notifications you’ve received.

Alternatively, it can show the calendar, or one of a few specially-chosen images. You can also turn the feature off if you find it annoying.

As the Samsung Galaxy A5 uses an OLED screen, this seems khổng lồ have very little impact on the battery. OLEDs have light-up pixels rather than a backlight, so displaying little bits of text doesn’t consume much power.