Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review – Flagship Grade Experience In A Compact Body

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There are quite a few decent 5.5-inch (and bigger) display options available under 30,000 INR in India, but what if you were looking for something more compact? That’s where Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) comes in. This is a premium mid-range phone that integrates signature Samsung features like good quality AMOLED panel, Samsung Pay and more that were once exclusive to flagship S-series, features – all locked in a pleasantly compact body.

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Also Read: Samsung Galaxy S8+ Review 

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Specifications:

  • 5.2-inch Super AMOLED, 1,080 x 1,920 resolution (Full HD), 424 PPI, Gorilla Glass protection, Always-on display
  • 14nm Process based 1.9GHz Exynos 7880 octa-core, Mali-T830MP3
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB internal memory, dedicated MicroSD card slot
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, TouchWiz OS on top
  • 16 MP, f/1.9 aperture lens, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash, 1080p videos
  • 16MP front camera, F/1.9 aperture lens, 1080p video
  • 146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9 mm and 157 grams
  • IP68 dust and water resistant
  • Home button with fingerprint scanner
  • Samsung Pay
  • Dual SIM slots, LTE with VoLTE, 802.11 a/g/b/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, NFC
  • Gyroscope, Magnetometer, accelerometer, proximity, Ambient light
  • 3000mAh battery, fast charging
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) price in India is 28,499 INR at the time of writing

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Design and Build

As mentioned above, this phone is ultra manageable owing to a rather compact and thoughtful design. What you get is metal side frame sandwiched between 2.5D front glass and rear glass that also curves towards the edges facilitating a nice grip (same as in Galaxy S7 and Note 5). As an added bonus, it’s IP68 dust and water resistant certified too.

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Our review unit sported black color and looked fabulous. Out of a bunch of Samsung and non-Samsung phones lying on our table, we were especially drawn to the Galaxy A5 simply for the day-to-day usage convenience it offers. The form factor is also what helps it stand apart from the daunting competition in the range of 25,000 to 30,000 INR, that also includes the seemingly formidable OnePlus 3T.

Also Read: Best Design Phones Under 30,000 INR

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Display

Apart from the display size, the quality of AMOLED panel used is as good as you’d get on other Samsung A-series and C-series phones (which is to say very). No compromises have been made in this regards. And it’s shielded by Gorilla Glass 4 too.

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As always, you get to choose between a bunch of color presents: Basic, AMOLED cinema, AMOLED photo, Basic, and the default Adaptive Display. The display gets bright enough for comfortable outdoor usage, and dim enough for night time reading. For the later, the blue light filter helps too.

Performance and Software

The new Galaxy A5 is powered by the 14nm process based Exynos 7880 chipset with adequate 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. The dedicated microSD card slot ensures that you can add another 256GB of secondary storage without compromising on the dual SIM privilege.

The SoC won’t be topping benchmark charts, but it’s still quite reliable and fast enough for basic and moderate users. We didn’t notice frame drops in high-end games that we played either. The best part is its power efficiency. It’s extremely judicious with battery.

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Samsung isn’t skimping on the conventional sensors either. GPS navigation and calling worked fine. The fingerprint sensor is clubbed with the home button at the front and it’s the always-on type. You need not press the home button to use it but if you do, the unlocking is a lot faster.

The software is TouchWiz UI. It’s still based on Android Marshmallow but we do expect Nougat update to roll out sometime later. We like the software on the phone. Samsung has slowly and steadily improved its UI and compared to other Android skins available today, this one feels a lot more mature, neat, and stable. Of course, stock Android has its own merits, but if we had to go with a custom ROM, Samsung’s version is perhaps our current favorite.

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The software does come with a full set of pre-loaded apps though and that can be a bit irritating initially, but more often than not these don’t get in the way of how you use your phone.

A major advantage here is Support for Samsung Pay. You can store all your credit and debit cards securely on your phone which can be quite convenient for people who don’t like carrying all their cards in their wallet.

Also Read: Samsung Pay India FAQ – What You Should Know Before Using It

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) comes with a 16MP rear camera with f/1.9 aperture lens. There is no OIS, which is something we would have expected at this price range. And that reflects in the low light performance.

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Shots clicked outdoors show a great dynamic range and vivid colors. The metering is also pretty accurate. In some shots, we felt that camera wasn’t doing justice to the red tones. While the daylight performance is certainly up to the mark, the low light performance is nothing to be excited about. The camera, however, is still better than what we have experienced on the C-series phones (C7 Pro and C9 Pro).

Galaxy-A5-camera-sample

The selfie camera has the same on paper specs, but it certainly isn’t comparable in performance, understandably so. Selfies are still pretty good in adequate lighting.

If you are overly enthusiastic about photography, there are a few better options available in and around this price range. But if you just need to click photos every now and then it is perfectly adequate.

Camera samples coming soon 

Battery life, Audio, and Others

The 3000mAh battery easily stretches for more than a day of usage (moderate to heavy usage), standby times are excellent, and fast charging is also supported if you use the inbox charger.

Samsung Galaxy A5 In-depth Review ( Indian Unit ) (20)The audio quality is excellent but the loudness can be a tad underwhelming unless it’s set at maximum volume. And the speaker output gets blocked rather easily since the speaker is present on the side edge. Audio output via headphones and via Bluetooth speakers is very good.

We didn’t face any call connectivity issue in our area. The phone accepts two SIM cards. You can run 4G LTE/3G networks on either one of the two but the remaining one will then connect only to 2G network. Reliance Jio SIM card works fine on Samsung Galaxy A5 2017.

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Also Read: Samsung Galaxy C7 pro review

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) is one of the best compact phones you can buy for under 30,000 INR. There simply aren’t many small phones out there that provide flagship grade performance. Except for the camera, the experience you get out of it is arguably comparable to last generation flagship, Samsung Galaxy S7.

Unlike other popular Samsung and non-Samsung phones in this budget, this one pretty much stands in its own league. And if you are looking for something manageable we have no qualms about recommending it.

Pros

  • Excellent design
  • Good quality AMOLED display
  • Great battery backup
  • Dedicated MicroSD card slot

Cons

  • Second SIM supports 2G networks only
  • Low light camera performance could have been better
Deepak SinghDeepak Singh
Deepak has more than 8 years of experience in covering technology for several eminent publications in India. He currently leads an enthusiastic team of young writers at Smartprix and tries to uphold the highest quality standards.

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