Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review: The Hits and Misses

Namrata Gogoi

It can be safely said that Samsung has been on a phone launching spree. And among many of the phones that have launched in the last couple of months, there’s the revised version of the Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 which stands up starkly. A dashing phone with premium aesthetics, this one just overhauled itself —  both in terms of looks and features. The device landed in our office a few weeks back and since then, it has been undergoing rigorous tests and reviews to prove that it’s worth its mettle.

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Launched in India with a price tag of INR. 28990, let’s have a look if the  Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) is really worth your money.

Design

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 very much looks like a member of the Galaxy family (especially the Galaxy S7) with its glass and metal body and curved corners. It’s the sleek glass and metal body which gives this mid-tier phone a premium and high-end look. It feels just about right in your hands with its 5.7-inch display screen with bezzle less body.

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The glass front blends smoothly with the color matched aluminum encasing while the rear glass curves gently to the sides giving it a smooth finish.

Unlike the latest in-house Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro, the antenna lines are placed at the top and bottom of the metal frame, thus giving an even finish.

What’s more, even the rear camera is flush fitted with no bumps.

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Speaking of the fittings, the power button is placed on the right, while the volume rockers are on the left. The SIM tray is at the top while the USB Type-C charging port and 3.5 mm headphone jack at the bottom.

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Apart from the mounted fingerprint sensor cum home button, the recents keys and back button are capacitive hardware buttons. Interestingly, the speaker grills are located to the right, above the power button.

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Overall, the design is impressive for a mid-tier phone and I bet, it’ll attract its share of compliments when you pull it out from the pocket. But then, the glass back is a magnet for fingerprint smudges and grease, so you might want to go for a skin or cover to shield it.

On second thoughts, a sturdy cover should be the more likely choice, given that the rear glass of the Galaxy A5 is prone to crack in the case of accidental drops.

Display

The 5.2-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display of the Galaxy A5 feels amazingly bright, crisp and blends in the colors perfectly. Well, that’s the one thing about Samsung, you can’t ever go wrong with the display. It’s also protected by Gorilla Glass 4. Plus, as the slim bezels make the one-handed operation really comfortable.

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Akin to the Galaxy S7, the A5 also sports the always-on-display, which can rarely be found on the mid-tier phones.

This is yet another factor that contributes to the sleek and premium looks of the A5. Along with the date and time, you’ll be able to keep an eye on any incoming messages or notification with the screen off.

The sunlight legibility of the display is great as well and whips up a decent performance even under harsh sunlight.

Performance and Hardware

The Samsung Galaxy A5 is powered by the in-house octacore Exynos 7880 that clocked at 1.9 GHz and 3GB of RAM. The phone comes with an internal storage 32 GB that is expandable up to 256 GB with an SD card. The AnTuTu benchmarking tool clocked a score around 60054 which is just an average for a device with this price tag. Especially when the last phone that you were using was the OnePlus 3.

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For a user who just shifted from being a regular user of the OnePlus 3, the response and turnaround time of the Galaxy A5 was a tad disappointing. However, that’s the case during heavy use. In a casual scenario, it behaves well with no noticeable lags.

On the temperature front, it tends to get a bit high during long gaming or video playing sessions, though it isn’t much of a dealbreaker.

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On the hardware front, the fingerprint sensor is decent and responds well to touch. However, if I were to compare to the OnePlus 3 (yeah, again), I would say that the A5’s sensor could have been better. At times, it’s slow to the touch and takes its own sweet time in opening the door to your device.

Software

Moving on, the Samsung Galaxy A5 still runs on the Android Marshmallow and is based on the in-house TouchWhiz. For a device which has the year 2017 in its name, I suppose a pre-installed version of Android Nougat would have been more than apt. Nonetheless, the Android security patches are the latest, so all is not lost yet.

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On the security front, the device is protected by the in-house Samsung Knox that provides chip-level encryption. It lets you create a secure folder within the device where documents, media items, etc can be placed and locked up.

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Another feature that gets a special mention in the Samsung Pay. The Galaxy A5 2017 has support for the Samsung Pay which let you make cashless transactions using both NFC and MST. In a country like India, which is moving towards cashless transactions and a maximum of the PoS machines are MST-enabled, surely it’s a good move to introduce it in a mid-tier phone.

Last but not the least, the A5 comes packed with a built-in blue light filter and scrollable screenshots, just another software enhancement you won’t need any 3rd party apps for.

Camera

The Galaxy A5 2017 overhauled its cameras from 5 megapixels to 16 megapixels in the 2017 edition. Along with f/1.7 apertures, the camera boasts of autofocus, touch focus, and a LED flash for the rear camera.

In well-lit conditions, the photos come out crisp, sharp and well focused. In low light conditions, the noise creeps into the pictures and the sharpness tends to get lost. The following pictures should very well hold true to my statement.

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The phone features a myriad of filters, camera settings and camera modes like the wide-angle selfie and night-mode (for selfies) and the ever-essential beauty mode. In a nutshell, for a mid-tier phone, I am quite happy with the camera.

Battery

Moving on, the device is powered by a 3000 mAh battery and promises a great battery life. And true to its promise, the battery easily lasts a day, even for a power user. On a typical day which involves phone calls, net-browsing, online streaming of videos and songs, it took roughly 24 hours to come down to 8%, with the screen-on percentage of 32%.

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On any not-so-typical (read experiment) day, the battery percentage came down to only 75% from 91% during a 1-hour span of continuous streaming of YouTube videos on cellular data, followed by gaming.

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And along with the impressive battery life, if you are looking for charging on the go, the Galaxy A5 comes with a fast-charge adapter. It takes around one and a half hour to fully charge the device from about 8%.

My Verdict

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy A5 is an apt device with an impressive design, great camera, and long battery life. The always on display certainly makes up for a wicked appearance and that goes especially for the black model. On the downside, you might have to bite the bullet when it comes to the performance of the processor. But that totally depends on how you plan to use the device.

Besides, with the onslaught of flagships in the smartphone market, the Samsung Galaxy A5 is no flagship but it certainly provides the flagship features at a comparatively affordable price.

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Namrata Gogoi

Written By

Namrata Gogoi

An engineer turned tech writer, Namrata used to write software codes before turning to a career in tech- writing. She is passionate about travelling, food and reading about cool new stuff. Apart from that, she holds a bachelors degree in I.T and hails from Guwahati.