Samsung is back with the 2016 edition of the A5 after the 2015 model which was popular last year and found many takers. Let’s see if it does the same and lives up to its expectations this year.
Design, Display & Hardware
Must be honest off the blocks I’m tired of being unable to recognise one Samsung phone from the other due to their very identical design language. They have same color variants as well and from a distance you really can’t differentiate between many of their devices. The A5 box contains a fast charger, USB cable, same old white earphones and a SIM ejector tool. The phone is a beauty in Gold and 2D glass on both the front and back;very similar to the Galaxy S6.In the front we have the 5.2” full HD Super Gorilla Glass 4 AMOLED display (424ppi) which is great in sunlight amd also has different display modes like Adaptive , AMOLED , and Basic.On the front you also have the Home/Navigation button bottom centre which doubles up as a fingerprint sensor, meanwhile the top right has the 5MP front camera and surprisingly no Notification LED.On the right edge is the slot for the Primary SIM (4G) and SD card (upto 128GB) while the slot on the top edge has the Secondary SIM (4G) slot.The volume rockers are on the left edge while the 3.5mm jack, Micro USB charging port and speaker grill are at the bottom edge.
In terms of hardware under the hood, it’s powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 7580 SoC (Snapdragon 615 in the international version) , that has also been used on earlier low end Samsung phones and is not what you expect considering the price we’re paying here. There’s 2GB RAM and 16GB ROM (10.3GB usable) with the Adreno 405 GPU. The fingerprint scanner needs your complete thumb impression and is pretty fast & efficient.
You’re still sucking Lollipop on this one with Sammy’s Touch Wiz UI getting even better with age. of the most boring but most efficient UIs in the market right now. Samsung has added S Health, S Voice, Opera Max, Ultra Data Saving mode which are usually only on the S series of phones. Since it supports OTG , you can backup your data as well via the USB Backup app.
A feature which Samsung has released on their phones before Google got it on Android N was the Multi Window but all apps are not supported yet.The Briefing pane gives you all the latest news and can be customised ...Flipboard in disguise and can be turned off. Luckily, no bloatware on this device and My Galaxy let’s you download all of the usual apps if you’re interested.
The primary cam is a 13MP f/1.9 shooter with OIS. It’s got great colour reproduction but like in every other Samsung phone it’s always extra bright and images look photo worthy. HDR, Burst modes are not on screen and need to be selected from the modes unlike the S6. The front 5MP f/1.9 is one of the best front cams on any phone and is great , can be used for much more than selfies! Video from the primary camera can be shot at 1080p but not 60fps which is disappointing. My 3 yr old LG G2 had 60fps! Though the front cam can do 1080p videos as well. They are still better in quality than most phones in the market at this price point .
Gaming & Multimedia
It’s obviously a good phone for Multimedia thanks to it’s great looking screen. Playing games like Asphalt 8, Modern Combat didn’t have any performance issues. Gameplay was smooth but switching between them took a while and took a second or two to get back to normal speed. Maybe the 2GB RAM isn’t enough to handle 2 intense games and around 10 other apps in the background. Just as an eg. my Yutopia device works like butter even if I have more than 20 apps open!
AnTuTu confirms a lowly 40750 score but don’t let that bother you. Music and movies are great thanks to the loud and clear speaker grill and Sound Alive app in the Music player with a lot of Equaliser options . The phone doesn’t heat up even while playing movies or games which is great. FM Radio works fine and can record as well. Battery is only 2900 mAh and does run out in 10 hours if you’re a power user. Thanks to fast charging it went up to 45% in 30 mins flat.
At this ridiculous price point , selling a phone with 2015 specs Sammy has committed pricing hara-kiri. But knowing how their pricing team works, expect this device’s price to fall at least 20%. Maybe then you’d appreciate their premium looks since the hardware still would be outdated. For now, go for One Plus 2, Yutopia, or a little above this price and get the S6.
My rating is 2/5.
Samsung Galaxy A5 at CeX
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