Price (RRP): $749/849
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.
- 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.
You can’t miss the gorgeous 6.7” 2400×1080, 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.
Screen – EXCEED
- 6.7”, 2400×1080, 393ppi, 88% STBR, 60Hz, Super AMOLED Plus with Gorilla Glass 3
- Brightness average/typical/max 400/550/665nits
- Contrast: Infinity – excellent
- Daylight readability – it is AMOLED and better than IPS
- 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
- 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
- -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
- 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
- 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.
It revealed weaknesses in slow Autofocus (+500ms to 1 second in low light), macro focus and the ultra-wide-angle lens. Now we have seen the 64MP primary sensor on the realme X3 and realme 6, and it’s a terrific sensor. So at least we have some benchmarks.
Update: Samsung has rolled out three firmware updates since DXOMARK tests. The latest is 31 May 2020 with April Security Patch. It is full of camera updates so take DXOMARK with a grain of salt.
- 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (70.5° FOV), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF
- Samsung ISOCELL Bright S5KGW1 Bins to 16M/1.6µm or shoot at 64MP. Also used in Galaxy A70, LG V60 ThinQ, and many realme and vivo smartphones
- Single LED flash, panorama, Auto HDR and flash
- 8X Digital zoom
- You can shoot at 64MP without HDR and Flash
- 12 MP, f/2.2, 12mm, 123° FOV, FF
- Hynix H11336 (not currently listed)
- 5 MP, f/2.4, 1.12um, FF
- Galaxy Core GC5035_macro_lsi (not currently listed – used in TCL 10 )
- 5 MP, f/2.2. 1.12um
- 32 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (58.8° FOV), 1/2.8″, 0.8µm
- Sony IMX616 Bins to 8MP/1.6µm but upscales to 12MP
- [email protected], [email protected] has Gyro EIS – Super Steady
- No flash, Auto HDR for 12MP
- Normal or wide mode – normal cropped from wide
- You can shoot at 32MP without HDR and Flash
GadgetGuy’s take The Samsung Galaxy A71 plays it safe
It is an update to the highly successful A70. But not so much that you need to rush out and buy it if you have one already. It is a nice, reliable, competent phone for the price but the excitement of the A70 breaking new ground last year is not there.
Whereas the A70 led the pack at 4.9/5 a lot has changed in 12-months. All the real action is around $499 or less (where the Galaxy A31 sits at $449), and there are excellent phones like the realme 6 ($469), OPPO Reno 2 Z ($549 with 3-series coming), OPPO A91, Samsung Galaxy A51 ($599), and the real standout realme X3 265GB ($799).
Here you would be hard-pressed to pass up the Galaxy A-51 at $599 – all you are really sacrificing is the 64MP (binned) camera.
The Samsung Galaxy A71 5G ($899) is competing with the OPPO Find X2 Lite ($749), and OPPO Find X2 Neo ($999). Still, this 5G market based on the Qualcomm SD765/768G 5G SoC is about to take off with the LG Velvet, OPPO Reno 4-series, Xiaomi, Motorola Edge, TCL 10, vivo X50, realme X50, Nokia and more.
That is not to suggest the Samsung is not good value – it is and it offers a non-Chinese manufactured phone.
Anyway, value is what people will pay and the Samsung Galaxy A71 in both versions scores well for features and price. It is going to sell heaps to happy Samsung customers.
This rates well on all counts. Because we know what is around the corner we have perhaps been conservative in the rating of specifications and price.