Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017), analysis: here is a rival for Chinese super smartphones

You could confuse the new Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) with the naked eye for a Galaxy S7, but it is not the Samsung franchise. However, the new Galaxy A5 (2017) has enough packaging on the outside and level components inside to occupy an important place in the catalog of the Korean company this 2017. If we group those ingredients with their price of 420 euros, the result in a new average super range that will give a lot to talk about.

A "Super Average Range" of Book

First, it was entry-level smartphones that raised their level in an astonishing way, ceasing to be very limited equipment and features far from reality. For less than two years, the mid-range also started a race so that, among a certain group of users, they came to face the reference models at least in the pools when choosing a new smartphone. Not everyone wants to make a large outlay when buying a new smartphone, and in many cases the investment in user experience is not recovered.

After some hesitant beginnings, this year we can finally consider the Galaxy A5 as true average super-range terminals, capable on paper of raising doubts to those who do not want to spend more than 400 euros on a smartphone but at the same time have a current terminal and not from previous generations.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017), technical characteristics Physical dimensions 146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9 mm (159 grams) Finish and resistance Glass back, metal frame and IP68 water resistance screen SuperAMOLED 5.2 inches Resolution 1920x1080 (424 dpi) Processor Exynos 7880 (8x1.9 GHz) RAM 3GB LPDDR4 Memory 32GB (microSD up to 256GB) Software version Android 6.0 - TouchWiz Connectivity BT 4.2, NFC, Ant +, USB 2.0 (not MHL), FM Radio Cameras 16 MP main (f1.9) without optical stabilization. 16 MP (f1.9) front camera without autofocus Battery 3000 mAh with fast charge Price 419 euros

As I am going to describe below in this analysis of the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017), the design, finish and technical specifications of this terminal undoubtedly place it above the mid-range that we all have in mind. The RAM is 3 GB, and as a processor we find an Exynos 7 with eight cores at 1.9 Ghz with which the majority of users will have a most fluid experience of use.

The Samsung Galaxy A5 offers us a good internal memory capacity (32 GB, which is the only one) to which we do not have to limit ourselves because there is a slot to expand up to 256 GB via microSD, which curiously does not share with the nanoSIM, which has another placement and own tray under the terminal.

We are facing a terminal with a diagonal screen almost perfect today at least for me (5.2 inches), with a SuperAMOLED panel and a 1080p resolution that has to be more than enough for day-to-day with the equipment. If we think of maximum density for use as a virtual reality viewer, it is when we could say that it falls short. Other printing data on paper is provided by the camera, with a 16 MP and f1.9 sensor, and the 3,000 mAh battery with fast charge.

It is not officially a high-end but due to its finish, connectivity, water resistance, level of the screen and the camera or the fingerprint reader, we will miss little on paper in this Galaxy A5 (2017)

Samsung has also spared no connectivity and there is Bluetooth 4.2, NFC for mobile payments, WiFi ac and Ant + for your sports accessories. Of course, the port is USB 2.0 and without MHL, in case it is something you were looking for despite the fact that its use I think is quite a minority with current wireless alternatives.

And the colors in which it is available? The gold, pink, blue or black could not be missing (I would stay with the latter on a personal level), but perhaps Samsung has lost the opportunity to be more daring and not get carried away by what we have already seen or have in its high-end. Matte, other colors, something that would give it a boost in differentiation and an extra reason to buy.

Authentic high-end design and finish

Metal and glass, good dimensions, fingerprint reader on the start button and even water resistance. The real one (IP68) that allows you to immerse and dirty it without fear. With this start in the description of the Galaxy A5 (2017) we could think perfectly about the beginning of the analysis of a high-end. But it's not like that.

Samsung has not cut anything when it comes to making this Galaxy A5 a smartphone that conquers you just looking at it. It is undoubtedly a design by the Koreans, with so much similarity to last year's franchise without curves (I am talking about the Samsung Galaxy S7, despite the media abandonment in which the manufacturer has plunged it in favor of the Edge version) that it is not difficult to confuse at first glance if we look at it head on.

At the design, finish and packaging level, with water resistance included, this Galaxy A5 (2017) is the best we can find on the market

If I have to reduce the enthusiasm with the design of this Galaxy A5 (2017) a little, it would be for the weight and thickness. The almost 8 mm and 160 grams of weight place it in the discreet average for the diagonal it offers. But that does not mean at all that the new Samsung phone is uncomfortable to handle, much less unpleasant in hand. Both for noble materials and finish, curves and balance in the design, the Galaxy A5 will want to have it in hand.

Is it slippery from the use of the glass at the back? I don't think so these days of heavy use with it. In the hand it is well held thanks to the fact that it does not have exorbitant dimensions and the slight curve union of the rear with the aluminum frame. What you can expect is a rear that gets dirty very easily. But with the same with which we can leave it untouched.

From the design section, two comments that are sure to interest many users: there is no notification LED (that task is partly occupied by the Always On system of its AMOLED screen) and the more than curious situation of the speaker. If you look at the images, that element has been transferred by Samsung to the side. The result does not alter almost anything the idea of ​​sound that we already had from previous manufacturer terminals: without stereo sound or many aspirations to take care of that section in a special way. Although he listens well and especially complies when we watch video with him.

The Galaxy A5 (2017) picks up the USB-C port with fast charge but the headphone jack is not left in the way. Good for Samsung

As for the other ports, no surprise to find a USB-C, or the headphone port. Common sense in both cases, something to be appreciated today.

A fingerprint sensor that is appreciated

It is not very common in known manufacturers to integrate a fingerprint identification solution that has nothing to envy a flasgship. In this Galaxy A5 (2017) we have found it.

The sensor is integrated in the start button, and in addition to allowing secure payments, it identifies us quickly when we have the terminal blocked. For me this element is one of the obligatory when I think of buying a terminal. Identifying yourself safely with our finger is so comfortable that once tested it is difficult to pass without this functionality in any terminal.

In the Samsung Galaxy A5 it has been implemented with a very high note. The identification is very fast (not so much the registration of the fingerprint, that it must be said), it has not failed us to worry and the best thing is that it is not necessary to press the button. From the locked screen we put the right finger and instantly we are identified in the Android system.

SuperAMOLED screen at the level we expect

5.2 inches strikes me as an ideal diagonal for today's heavy user. If you add that Samsung has been able to balance the dimensions quite a bit without the screen rate on the front being crazy, we started well in this section.

The rest is, for the positive as well as the negative, what is expected in a Samsung. We have a panel with SuperAMOLED technology with a Diamond Pentile matrix that is not ideal but gets along quite well with the 1080p resolution that Samsung has opted for. With over 400 dpi pixel density, you won't notice a lack of sharpness or a fantastic 1440p panel experience. Let us leave it in that it is the perfect balance for this model and the range in which it is included.

The quality of the panel that Samsung has placed to its Galaxy A5 (2017) is remarkable. Color rendering is eye-catching and not as faithful as a high-end IPS panel. If we leave the Adaptive mode that comes by default, the target is somewhat cold (we can manually touch it in the options), a feeling that increases very quickly when we vary the angle of view. The rest of the values ​​do remain more or less constant when you rotate the screen.

The Galaxy A5 offers a very striking screen, like the good AMOLEDs, and where the high brightness is the highlight. Color fidelity is the most resented

A solution could be to choose the screen mode called Basic (there are four in total), with a more natural and realistic color reproduction, but also warmer and less conspicuous. It really makes AMOLED technology lose points.

From the screen of the Galaxy A5 I would highlight the brightness, both at its lowest level and at the highest, which makes it sufficiently visible outdoors. In automatic mode is when we achieve a higher brightness level, above 500 nits. When it comes to the ambient light sensor, it's a bit lazy, especially to reduce glare when we enter a darker room. It can take more than five seconds quietly until we see the brightness decrease in automatic mode.

As extras of the SuperAMOLED screen we have the Always On mode, which we can manually deactivate or something very interesting, program for certain periods. The information and design of what we want to be displayed is also customizable as in other previous Galaxy.

Samsung also joins the fashion of the blue filter screen mode to make the screen very warm and thus avoid fatigue when we are using the screen at night, for example.

Performance and battery in balance

Samsung uses this Galaxy A5 (2017) to its own chips. In it we find specifically the new Exynos 7880, 14 nm model (part of the secret of good autonomy that we will see below) with Cortex-A53 cores at 1.9 Ghz (it is an octacore) and 3 GB of LPDDR4 RAM.

The performance for daily use is very adequate, fluent even with demanding tasks and most games, multi-tabbed browser or multitasking. At least in the coming months you will not encounter demands in which the Galaxy A5 is not comfortable or can not solve the situation.

If we go to more data static, the benchmarks, then we can already see that the rivals with different solutions exceed the performance achieved by the Galaxy A5 (2017) except when the value is in the number of cores, although right now in the user experience it is difficult to find significant variations. But for lovers of these comparisons, the results of the Galaxy A5 are below terminals for a similar price.

Galaxy A5 2017

Xiaomi Mi5s

Honor 8

Galaxy S7 Edge

iPhone 7 Plus

OnePlus 3T

AnTuTu

61.108

129.649

97.228

136.695

172.644

164.678

GeekBench (Single / Multi)

769 / 4097

1.610 / 3.863

1.624 / 5.333

2.117 / 6.063

3.457 / 5.608

1.890 / 4.264

PCMark Work

4.892

6.338

6.007

5.707

n.a.

7.469

3DMark (Sling Shot / ES 3.1)

1.134

2.775

1.233

2.890

2.806

3.189

3000 mAh with fast charge

If I tell you that the experience of using the Galaxy A5 is fully satisfactory on a day-to-day basis and that I would not worry about that aspect, it is for something. The Samsung chip does not give the best in gross power but in how effective it is combined with the battery capacity.

The nothing exquisite thickness and weight of the Galaxy A5 (2017) has allowed Samsung not to skimp on performance when we talk about its battery. With a capacity of 3,000 mAh and the type of screen, things looked very good before the tests.

And effectively it has been like that. In the day to day we can endure using the Samsung Galaxy A7 enough beyond the day and a half without difficulty, with some very good figures of active screen. In our normal use we have even been able to keep the Galaxy A5 active both days of a weekend.

The 3000 mAh battery of the Galaxy A5 2017 allows us to completely worry about autonomy beyond the day and a half even with a high use of the screen: more than 12 hours on PC Mark we have obtained

The result seems to us superior to the majority of recent terminals in almost all ranges with similar specifications. An example is the score in the PCMark battery test, where it has left us 12 hours and 35 minutes with a brightness of 50%, about 250 nits. Usually when we leave this test active, at night, we get up with the terminal already at rest after finishing the test (about 7-8 hours), but with the Galaxy A5 we had to wait until well into the morning to record the result. A very pleasant surprise.

This good battery capacity and autonomy is very well accompanied by Samsung's own fast charging system, with which in our tests we have achieved charging times of just over 15 minutes to reach 25% from the fully discharged battery or about 35 minutes to reach 50%. The full charge is done after 102 minutes according to our tests.

Still with Android 6.0

You have to see what TouchWiz has managed to evolve (or better, stop doing it without any sense) in recent years. Currently one ends up staying with details that make your life easier, such as double clicking the start button to activate the camera, the search engine that appears all the time when you are in settings and that makes it easy to find that option. you do not remember exactly in which section it is, or the divided screen (there is an icon in multitasking associated with those apps that support it, which is very comfortable) that in diagonals of more than 5 inches one can get used to taking advantage of easily .

We also find Game Launcher and its good ideas to make playing with your smartphone both comfortable and practical.

Other features, such as the notification bar, are already more personal. But it works. And it does not detract from the experience with pure Android, which is always appreciated.

What we do not fully understand is that the first level and important Android from Samsung for this 2017 will still come to the market with Android 6.0. We will see the latest version of Android almost certainly, but that effort to already offer Nougat for a team like the Galaxy A5 (2017) would have given it an extra interest that perhaps could have offset the value for money compared to terminals from Chinese manufacturers they give more at the specification level for the same price.

See complete gallery »TouchWiz Galaxy A5 2017 (19 photos)

As interesting news of this version on Android 6.0 we have the possibility of accessing a contextual menu when we press and hold on an icon that is on the desktop, although it hardly lets us quickly uninstall or access the information of each application. Hopefully Android 7.0 will not take long to arrive. If it does and the price is reduced as it is already usual in Korean terminals, very attentive to this Galaxy A5 this year.

Samsung is doing something serious with its cameras

The technological base of the Galaxy A5 (2017) camera is made up of a 16 MP sensor with f1.9 aperture. Does it ring a bell? It is that of the Galaxy S6 although with nuances: there is neither an infrared sensor nor optical stabilization nor does it combine different focusing systems to improve its speed and precision.

In its quest to reduce noise, the Galaxy A5 2017 leaves certain scenes without detail or very artificial

Once those foundations are established, it's time to talk about how I have felt using the camera of this new Samsung Galaxy. It is certainly a very fast camera in operation, and there are details such as face tracking that I find spectacular for how fast and effective it is. We have only seen some slowness in focus when light is scarce, at which time it also does not allow us to make bursts. Also when we want to focus very closely, light is critical, but with some patience we can keep the focus where we wanted. We could say that the camera of the Galaxy A5 has no problems in focusing but it is not something that happens instantly like in the Galaxy S7, for example.

The Galaxy A5's camera is at a high level, making a difference to direct rivals especially in low light. But there are details where it cannot match the best in photography, such as working with highly contrasting scenes or that the HDR mode is not automatic.

The results in scenes with light are quite level. White balance, faithful color reproduction and a lot of detail are a guarantee on a day-to-day basis, also allowing close-ups with a very good background blur thanks to that f1.9 aperture.

This shows that Samsung is doing tremendously well in this section, not only on its franchise phones, but, with some less logical detail (it cannot always control scenes with a lot of contrast), it transports it to more affordable terminals to make them the most outstanding in its range. In this Galaxy A5 (2017) it manages it in a good part of the situations.

The worst results have been obtained when the dynamic range was complex, such as on cloudy days with the sky occupying much of the scene. There Samsung had demonstrated a great mastery solving the situation with a spectacular HDR mode, but that is not present in this Galaxy A5. At least automatically. We can take photos with HDR but you have to always go to that specific mode, which takes away almost all the usefulness of the function. We also did not like that the Pro mode does not include all the manual controls of the best Samsung phones or that there is the option to store in RAW.

We miss on a day to day basis that HDR mode was not automatic. You get used to good soon

A pleasant surprise that I have found using the Galaxy A5 2017 camera has been is the results in low light. There it shows that the 16 MP / f1.9 sensor is a guarantee as we already saw in the S6. It is quite easy to have control of the scene and manage to keep noise levels very acceptable (it even seems better than the S6 in some situations, undoubtedly due to the improvement in processing by Samsung in these two years) or the points of light, facets where even more expensive terminals usually make mistakes. Of course, in some photos the processing seems excessive.

Logically it is not at the level of the Galaxy S7 or even the S6, but it is the best you can find on the market today for night photos in its range in many situations, not all.

See complete gallery »Samples Galaxy A5 2017 (24 photos)

If you tend to use video recording a lot, this Galaxy A5 falters in that section if you are looking for the best. You will miss that there is no 4K resolution and of course stabilization. Here there is no possible comparison with the best terminals on the market, but you will be satisfied with the general quality of 1080p video if you usually make recordings with little movement of your own.

Selfie camera: a missed opportunity

The 16 MP number and f1.9 aperture of the secondary camera put the interesting things in this Galaxy A5 for those who like to take a good amount of selfies. But it has left us more indifferent than we thought. The most negative thing is in the autofocus, absent in that Galaxy A5, which means that we do not always ensure that we have our face well focused. This has happened to us when we have taken the selfies at a considerable distance and with more elements in between. Up close there is not so much problem.

On the positive side, in addition to the resolution and aperture, we have to since taking photos with the front camera will not usually take place in situations that are neither ideal nor comfortable for the use of controls, details such as shooting using the open hand are appreciated or a floating button that we can place wherever we want.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017): Xataka's opinion and note

The mid-range and supermedia range still have a long way to go on the market. The leading role in recent times has been taken by brands that did not stand out with their franchises or models from Asian manufacturers that place authentic high-end specifications with a price almost impossible to match by the greats of the sector until now. But there are already outstanding reactions.

Looking at how it behaves, its design and features, the enemy of the Galaxy A5 is not so much outside as within the company itself: its flagships with a time in the market

The one proposed by Samsung with its Galaxy A5 2017 I really liked. By finish, screen, details such as water resistance or the fingerprint reader and especially by the main camera. In the least positive part, I would talk about the performance, not currently but in the long term, that an important team like this Galaxy A5 does not already come with Android 7.0 and the price. With 429 official euros and Huawei or OnePlus, not to mention Samsung's own franchise at certain specific times, very close in price, I'm afraid the best of the Galaxy A5 has not yet arrived. But give it a few months and a couple of price drops and we'll talk again.

8,3

Design: 9.5 Screen: 8.5 Yield: 8.5 Autonomy: 7 Software: 8 Camera: 8.5

In favor

  • The best in finish for its price
  • Super AMOLED level display
  • Camera according to the range in which it competes
  • Autonomy and fast charge

Against

  • Doesn't come out directly with Android 7.0
  • Price for now little competitive
  • Some camera details like not having automatic HDR

Samsung Galaxy A5 Smartphone Touchscreen, 32GB Memory, Android 6.0

Today in amazon for € 428

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) - Smartphone, 5.2 "Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16MP rear camera and 16MP front camera, 32GB memory, Android 6.0, black

Today in amazon for € 389.99

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