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Samsung Galaxy A5 review

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Samsung Galaxy A5 review
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Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Pros

  • Classy design

  • Fast charging

  • Impressive screen


Cons

  • Old, ugly software

  • Camera is only ‘ok’

  • Variety of software bugs

Key Features

  • Full metal unibody design
  • Snapdragon 615 CPU
  • 13-megapixel main camera
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • 16GB internal memory 2GB RAM
  • 4G
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £349.00

What is the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)?

Samsung has mastered the high-end with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, but it has always struggled a with affordable devices. This is because Samsung kept skimping on important features to save money.

That changed with 2015’s Galaxy A5, and even more so with the updated 2016 version. The Galaxy A5 (2016) ticks all the right boxes; good screen, fast camera and sleek design. But it’s still not perfect, and some of Samsung’s older issues come back to haunt it.

Video: Find out how the Galaxy A5 compares to the Galaxy A3

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) – Design

Remember Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha from 2014? A lot of people don’t, but this minor release was vitally important. It was a turning point where Samsung shifted its design focus and began creating handsets capable of standing beside the iPhone visually. The A5 (2016), like last year’s version, is the spiritual successor to the Alpha.

It’s all metal and glass, with rounded corners and a flat back. It lacks the curved sides that make the Galaxy S7 such a pleasure to hold, but it’s still comfortable in hand.

Metal phones in this price-range are far from rare, Honor and OnePlus have been doing it for a while, but none feel quite as good as this. The volume buttons and lock switch have a satisfying click, while the microUSB port and speaker grilles on the bottom are finely cut and precise. The headphone jack sits on the bottom too, a design choice I’m always on board with.

The Galaxy A5 is slightly taller than both the Galaxy S7 and S6, but ever so slightly lighter. camerasamplea5 5

As is typical with just about every Samsung phone, there’s a home button sitting below the screen. Tucked inside is a fingerprint scanner that’s about as fast as the one on the S7, but it seems much less accurate. It can’t compete with the Honor phones for unlocking speed, but it’s absolutely fine.

There’s a strong hint of the Galaxy S6 here, and it’s still a fingerprint magnet. Use the phone for 5-minutes and it will be covered in marks and smudges. There are a couple of improvements in design though; the ugly blue colour scheme has gone for a much nicer black and there’s almost no camera hump.

The Galaxy A5 is easily one of the sleekest looking phones at this price-range. It feels much sturdier than the OnePlus X (£199) and it’s much nicer than the plastic Nexus 5X.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) – Display

Samsung’s displays have long been regarded as the pinnacle of mobile screens, with the Galaxy S7 currently the best out there.

While the A5 isn’t going to match its classier brothers for visual fidelity, it’s still a great display for the price.

It’s 5.2-inches, with a 1080p resolution and uses Super AMOLED tech which is the killer feature.

It’s bright, vivid and oh so colourful just as you’d expect from AMOLED. If you prefer something a little more true to life, there are a number of screen modes to choose from. I like the default one myself, but it’s all down to personal preference.

Whites can sometimes look a little muddy, but blacks are deep and bright colours have multiple levels of vibrancy. Outdoor visibility isn’t great though, unless you jack the brightness up (or keep the rather uneven auto-brightness on) all the way. Thanks to the dense resolution, pixels are universally hard to spot unless you get really really close.

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toboev

January 9, 2015, 10:18 am

"The manufacturer has been repeatedly criticised in the past for its shoddy build quality..."
Really? You seem to confuse the materials of construction with the quality of construction. Many 'commentators' have banged on about Samsung's use of polycarbonate, but I don't think anyone has seriously accused Samsung of screwing its phones together shoddily.

Much as you say, the use of metal is about the "the look and feel of the device", a subjective dimension, and nothing to do with build quality.

Simon

March 3, 2015, 10:16 am

So - this phone has worse specs than a Nexus 5 or LG G2 but yet costs the same or more (at least where I live). Who would pay more for less?

John

March 25, 2015, 6:23 pm

Reminds me of my S2.

Dave

March 26, 2015, 9:57 am

You've given a phone 8/10 that costs more than the LG G3 yet has far inferior specs? Huh?

Deon Pretorius

May 28, 2015, 12:15 pm

Design gets 10/10 but Calls & Sound gets 7/10. a Phone should be a phone first and then all the other stuff. Fail.

fonix232

July 21, 2015, 9:38 am

Samsungs use of polycarbonate was sloppy at best. All my friends S3-S5s are squeaky, bend easily, and don't give off a quality feeling (not to mention they scratch incredibly easily).

The A5 shows quality build from the first moment, and then when you actually use it, you can feel how much difference there is, even compared to e.g. a Grand Prime (which has mostly the same specs).

Nitin

August 17, 2015, 4:28 am

This phone is oveall good. specially for look display and Camera.
but bad FM radio connectivity. and can not use 2 sim and SD card simultaneously.

MichelePrincigalli

September 2, 2015, 5:05 am

Avoid the G2, it's a technical nightmare, starting from a GPS that never works.

Sanchita Banik

October 16, 2015, 10:16 am

Sumsung Galaxy A5, most worst phone. I purchased it on
26/10/15 for Rs: 21,900/-. Just used for 7 days and Display light had gone
suddenly, without touching anything. Then i went to a Sumsung service center at
Jayanagar 3rd block, Bangalore. They informed me, it's Display has been
damaged. So it will not come under warranty services and i have to pay Rs:
9000/- to repair it.

Samsung simply running their mobile repairing shop with the
name of service center. They are providing low quality technology with high
price by the using their previous Brand Value. But this Brand you can compare
with a local Chinese mobile now. Govt
and courts should insist on stringent penalty if quality compromises are
evidenced. Samsung is known for quality but don't know what is happening these
days.

Mobile Price

February 9, 2016, 8:29 am

+ Its best in look, rounded shape, slip piece and just a beautiful look, having no problems to use, it can use easily and have a great processor,It has a good operating system.

..

-The main negative point is its battery life is not good, its not good in response time, take more times when rebooting.

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