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Samsung Galaxy A71 4G and 5G versions - mid-market masterpieces
4.6Overall Score
Name: Samsung Galaxy A71 4G and A71 5G
Price (RRP): $749/849
Manufacturer: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy A71 is part of the new 2020 A-series that last year saw it regain lost ground in the mass/mid-market with the 2019 A-series.

Why? All A-series are good value, well made and have features above their price. The Samsung Galaxy A71 comes in 4G and 5G versions – identical apart from the underlying processor/model and cost.

We unreservedly state that it’s a great phone and worthy of consideration. Still, an awful lot is happening in the same market space, and Samsung’s dominance may be a little harder to defend against higher specified latecomers.

Samsung knows its market and these two devices tick all the boxes

  • Big, beautiful Super AMOLED Screen Plus
  • Great battery
  • Good camera
  • Lots of power
  • And Samsung’s build quality and Australian support

Australian Review: Samsung Galaxy A71 Dual Sim 4G SM-A715FZ (KDXSA) 5G SM-A716BZ (KEXSA)

  • Website 4G here
  • Website 5G here
  • Price: $749/899
  • Colours: Black or Silver
  • Warranty: 2-years ACL
  • Country of Manufacture: South Korea
  • Samsung is a South Korean multinational conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It is the world’s largest smartphone maker.

Warning about grey market and parallel importers

We have named and shamed the major grey market and parallel importers here. Do not buy from them as you will not get Samsung Australia warranty; Australian over-the-air OS and firmware updates; and you cannot make a 000 call without a sim. In fact, as these generally do not support LTE Band 28 used by Telstra and Optus, so most of the time all you will get is 3G.

Specifically, do not buy if it has any other number other than those ending in FZ or BZ.

First impression

You can’t miss the gorgeous 6.7” 2400×1800, flat, centre O-hole, Super AMOLED Plus screen. It is bright and colourful and a delight in direct sunlight. As for the rest – it is a glass slab with a glossy ‘Glasstic’ back. It is elegant and quite thin.

Last year the Samsung Galaxy A70 impressed the hell out of us scoring 4.9/5. It led the price/feature spiral that saw almost all flagship features in a sub$700 phone. We are pleased that it has kept the good bits and made them better.

Where the 5G version is different, we will show it as 4G or 5G or the latter in ( ) brackets.

Samsung Galaxy A71 side

Screen –  EXCEED

  • 6.7”, 2400×1800, 393ppi, 88% STBR, 60Hz, Super AMOLED Plus with Gorilla Glass 3
  • Brightness average/typical/max 400/550/665nits – excellent
  • Contrast: Infinity – excellent
  • Daylight readability – it is AMOLED  and better than most
  • Modes: Natural 100% sRGB, Vivid DCI-P3 and white balance
  • HDR, HDR10, HLG
  • Widevine L1
  • AOD – customisable
  • 20:9 means easy to use one-handed
  • Good gaming performance 4.4ms G-T-G
  • Brighten screen option for face recognition

It is a bright and beautiful screen that offers a choice of vivid saturated or more natural colours.

Processor – EXCEED

  • 4G: Qualcomm SD730, 8 nm, 2×2.2GHz and 6×1.8GHz, Adreno 618 GPU
  • 5G: Samsung Exynos 980, 8nm, 2×2.2GHz and 6×1.8GHz, Mali-G76 MP5 (not tested)

RAM and Storage – EXCEED

  • 4G: 6GB LPDDRX4/128GB UFS 2.1, 102GB free/microSD to 512GB
  • 5G” 8GB LPDDRX4/128GB UFS 2.1/microSD to 1TB
  • Storage has Sequential read/write speed of 558/182Mbps – good

CPU Throttling – PASS++

157,550GIPS, Average 142,425GIPS (84%), Minimum 125,094GIPS (5G not tested)

It starts strongly for the first six minutes then the 2×2.2GHz cores momentarily throttle. The 6×1.8 are rock steady. The maximum temperature was 71° and 30° on the back. All in all, quite good and the GIPS (billion instructions per second) are 30% faster than most phones in this bracket.

Update: The throttling behaviour is intentional and relates to the two high-speed cores ‘dipping’ for one cycle to help manage power. It affects the CPU Test showing an 84% Average when it is more like a 92% average.

Geekbench 5 – EXCEED

Single/multi/compute 421/1566/1143 put it on a par with the 2018 Samsung Galaxy S9 series. It is about 10% faster than the A70 it replaces. Note that these tests are on battery – if using the charger, they are higher.

Games – EXCEED

It should play most common games at over 30fps

Comms – EXCEED

  • Wi-Fi 5 AC, dual-band, 1×1 MIMO, -48dBm, 433Mbps – single stream maximum bandwidth
  • BT 5.0 LE
  • GPS – single band suitable for <5m accuracy and turn-by-turn navigation
  • NFC
  • UBS-C 2.0 OTG – no DeX support or Alt DP output
  • Accelerometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor

4G LTE

  • -107dBm and -118dBm next nearest tower – these are OK but not overly high signal strengths
  • Dual sim and a dedicated micro-SD – excellent
  • Dual ringtones – excellent
  • Volte and VoWi-Fi
  • Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 20, 28, 38, 40, 41, 66
  • Cat 11 600/75Mbps DL/UL (maximum). In reality, expect up to 150/40Mbps

5G version

  • Bands 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 20, 28, 34, 2=38, 39, 30, 41
  • N41 and N78 (sub-6Ghz only)

Battery – EXCEED

  • Both have a 4500mAh battery. We expect the 5G version to deliver about 10% less life
  • USB-C PD 2.0 5V/2A or 9V/1.67A and 11V/2.25A 25W fast charger

Tests

  • Video loop, 50% screen, aeroplane mode – 21 hours
  • Audio MP3 from storage, aeroplane mode – 100 hours
  • Video loop over Wi-Fi – 17 hours
  • Scree- on, Wi-Fi and Web – 12 hours
  • T-Rex: 471.2 minutes, 3298 frames
  • 100% load – four hours
  • Idle discharge260mA – should last screen off for at least 15 days
  • 1.5-hour charge (can use higher capacity fast chargers)
  • Typical use – 24 hours plus

Sound – PASS for speaker and EXCEED for BT/Cable

  • Maximum volume 80dB (loud ringer) and 75dB voice
  • 3.5mm combo audio
  • Earpiece and Dual Mics – good handsfree
  • Down-firing bottom speaker – we don’t measure frequency response for mono speakers but suffice to say it has no bass, no lower mids, good 3-10kHz for clear voice and no treble.
  • Qualcomm aptX Adaptive, SBC, AAC and LDAC
  • EQ for headphones
  • Adaptive sound profiles for different ages
  • Dolby Atmos DAC: 32-bit/348kHz for great BT and cable headphone quality.

Android 10 – EXCEED

  • Security Patch 1 April 2020. The A-series should receive quarterly updates.
  • A full suite of Google Apps
  • Samsung One UI 2.0 includes dark mode, gestures and edge features
  • A suite of Samsung Galaxy alternatives like Bixby plus Facebook, Spotify, Netflix, Microsoft
  • One UI is a light overlay over Android and offers different interface modes

Build – EXCEED

  • Gorilla Glass 3 on the front, plastic (aluminium) frame and Glasstic (polycarbonate/glass) back.
  • 4G: 163.6 x 76 x 7.7 mm x 179g
  • 5G: 162.5 x 75.5 x 8.1 mm x 185g
  • Under glass optical fingerprint sensor – fast but failed 2 out of 10 tests
  • 2D face recognition – patchy failing 6 out of 10 tests
  • Missing: No IP rating
  • Comes with combo earphone/mic
  • Quite light and grippy

Samsung Galaxy A71 Camera – PASS++

DXOMARK has spoken rather harshly, and it has 84 points – 89 Photo, 74 video and 83 selfie mark. (10 April assessment) While I am not going to argue the point that is way less than my test results show. DXOMARK puts it on a par with the likes of Motorola One Zoom, Apple iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy S7 Edge ad LG G7 ThinQ – OK I can live with that image quality.