We even recall fixing this flaw with one of our “how to fix the flaws” article, written for at least two generations of Samsung’s flagship phones (but not this year’s, which actually does something to mend this situation).

Need to upgrade memory? You'll find a microSD slot next to the SIM slot.

Need to upgrade memory? You’ll find a microSD slot next to the SIM slot.

Strangely, beyond the camera, the performance is actually pretty good, with quick swiping, relatively speedy menu and app loads, and a general feeling that the phone itself is pulling its weight quite well.

Benchmarks aren’t the strongest in the world, coming in at not far off from where the Galaxy S4 sits, but this should be acceptable for most users, provided they’re not loading the latest games that take advantage of lots of new graphical technologies.

samsung-galaxy-a5-review-2015-screenshot-benchmark

Synthetic benchmarks are good like that, with little real world value for mobiles, and more an indicate of what the processor can do. In the case of these benchmarks, it’s showing how strong the processor is, and while it’s not Galaxy S5 or S6 level performance, it still handles itself for regular activities, such as making phone calls, messaging, emails, and lots of other activities that don’t lean too hard on high-end performance.

But it’s the camera that throws a bit of a question mark, and particularly that gallery app, because when you touch the app, it almost feels like the whole thing has stalled, which is odd for something that appears to be otherwise well engineered.

It’s a shame, too, as for the most part, the inclusion of 2GB RAM really helped this phone pull its weight, providing more of a backbone than so many other phones.

Unfortunately, that lag was frustrating to deal with, producing a wait that happened every single time you opened the gallery from the camera that was totally out of your control.

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Conclusion

Samsung sure manages to surprise us every so often, and while we’ve loved seeing what its engineers can do in regards to a flagship product, it’s this year’s mid-range marvel that is impressing us greatly, taking technology from the past year, a design that meshes two of Samsung’s products, and making something that could possibly be Samsung’s best value phone altogether.

And with up to two days of battery life, fairly solid all-round performance, and a great design mixing metal and plastic, that seems to be what we have: a solid phone for a solid price.

Recommended.

Mid-range marvel: Samsung's Galaxy A5 reviewed
Price (RRP): $599 Manufacturer: Samsung
Feels great in the hands; Features metal in its design, and even supports upgradeable memory; Mostly decent performance all round; Takes nanoSIM; Excellent battery life; Decent assortment of cameras for a mid-range phone;
Battery isn’t removable; Slowdowns can be seen, particularly when you’re trying to see a photo you’ve taken; Arrives with Android 4.4 “KitKat”, not the latest “Lollipop”;
Overall
Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of Use
Design
4.3Overall Score
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