Review: Samsung Galaxy A5 smartphone (2017 model)
4.5Overall Score

Price (RRP): $649
Manufacturer: Samsung

It’s just as well that Samsung has launched the Samsung Galaxy S8, because with the release of the 2017 model of the Samsung Galaxy A4, there was very little reason to buy the Samsung Galaxy S7.

The Samsung Galaxy A5 is the smaller of Samsung’s two mid-range phones (the A7 has a bigger screen). It is not that there are any problems with the S7, but that the Samsung Galaxy A5 offers almost all the features of the S7, but at a considerable saving to the purchaser.

Features

This was emphasised by the visual similarity between the A5 and S7.

The phone is available in colours that Samsung calls “Black Sky” and “Gold Sand”. The review unit was “Gold Sand”. Someone’s going to have to have particularly sharp eyes to see that it isn’t actually a Galaxy S7. The colour is the same as the golden S7 version. It’s a couple of millimetres wider and several millimetres taller, although they are close enough to the same thickness. The A5 has a very slightly larger screen: 5.2 inches rather than 5.1 inches. Some of the holes are slightly different and there’s no camera bump, but I for one before taking delivery would have assumed on seeing it that it was an S7.

The screen, although nearly the same size isn’t really the same. The A5’s screen is full HD, 1080 by 1920 pixels. So it’s lower resolution, although seeing the difference between the two in sharpness is going to be even more challenging. Especially as with the Android Nougat update, the S7 defaults also to 1080 by 1920 pixel resolution. What’s the same is the Super AMOLED screen technology for deep blacks, rich colours, and an always-on screen to show a clock or a calendar and notifications.

The specifications page at Samsung Australia doesn’t indicate the processor in use (although it indicates that its speed is 1.9GHz), and Samsung does tend to use different processors in different parts of the world within the same model of phone, so I ran the CPU-Z app. It simply said that it was an ARM Cortex-A53 processor, and reports that there were eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.87GHz. Make of that what you will. It also noted that the processor has 2812MB (close enough to 3GB) of working RAM and 23.58GB of user storage.

 

However the phone supports the addition of a microSD card of up to 256GB in capacity. Rather than a single tray for both Nano SIM and microSD card, the phone has two separate trays in different parts of its body. The control keys on the A5 are in the same places as the S7, and the home button incorporates a fingerprint sensor.

I figured the phone wouldn’t have the water resistance of the S7. Wrong, it is also IP68 rated, which means it can be submerged in more than a metre of water (not more than a metre and a half, says Samsung) for half an hour.

Speaking of similar features, the phone supports NFC – Near Field Communications – and Samsung Pay. It will communicate with 4G LTE networks, including the 700MHz band. It has GPS and all the usual sensors. The WiFi includes dual band 802.11ac. A regular headphone connection is included. The charge and communications port is USB Type-C. A fast charger is included so it can be filled up very quickly. The battery is rated at 3000mAh.

 

But there is no wireless charging. So, yes, you don’t get quite everything in the S7.