Samsung Electronics introduced the Galaxy A5 (2017), the third iteration of the range A5. It arrives with resistance to water and dust, a different design and much more. Enough to conquer users in the mid-range?
The last months have been convulsed for Samsung. Since the company introduced the Galaxy Note 7 in August 2016, positive news at the company’s headquarters has been slim. The financial results have suffered, the market share in countries like Spain has decreased and the brand image has been affected by the events related to the Galaxy Note 7.
But with the entry of the new year, Samsung seeks to move the flight with the launch of new products and the implementation of aggressive distribution and marketing strategies. The first step was the Galaxy A5 (2017) (presented during CES 2017), a phone with which Samsung seeks to attack the mid-market segment for at least the first half of the year.
The Galaxy A5 (2017) remains intact, and will it still weigh on you?
This new phone replaces the Galaxy A5 (2016), which generated very good sensations among the specialized press. It offers enhanced performance, IP68 certification against dust and water and a redesigned design inspired by the latest high-end handsets from the South Korean company. A pack that will be marketed for 429 euros – although it will plummet with the passage of the months.
At the technical level, the improvement is substantial. The Galaxy A5 (2017) incorporates a SoC Exynos 7880, with an eight-core A53 CPU at 1.9 GHz and 3 GB of RAM. In synthetic tests like Geekbench 4 the improvement over the previous model is remarkable: 769 points in the single-core mode and 4,028 points in the multi-core mode. The previous model reached 632 points in the single-core mode and 3,123 points in the multi-core mode.
In practice, the new set produces good results. Applications load fast, regular games run smoothly and FPS drops on the interface are virtually zero. The downside is that other manufacturers like Honor and OnePlus offer more powerful sets than Samsung for similar prices.
In the hand, the phone produces similar sensations to Galaxy S7 – the standard version. The rear area, slightly curved at the sides, is a success that contributes to comfort and ease of use. The metal frames, the glass construction and the stiffness of the buttons, also raise the status of this phone. It is, undoubtedly, one of the best built phones in its range.
But it is not only well built; Also attractive. The inspiration taken from the Galaxy S7 suits you and makes the A5 (2017) a very striking phone – especially within its range. The abuse of polycarbonate and the flexibility that characterized Samsung years ago is already non-existent even in its mid-range. And that’s wonderful news.
“The new A5 (2017) takes inspiration from the excellent Galaxy S7.The result is a well-built and attractive handset.”
The phone’s camera, despite the loss of optical stabilization compared to the previous model, produces colorful, clear images with relatively low noise levels. It does not reach the results of phones like the Galaxy S7, but it improves what its predecessor already was able to produce. And it does it with more resolution: 16 megapixels.
An automatic HDR mode is missing, which would be very useful to recover the illuminated areas in highly contrasted scenes. It would also have been interesting to have a complete professional mode instead of the limited version that the South Korean manufacturer has included in the phone.
As it did its predecessor, the Galaxy A5 (2017) has a fingerprint reader integrated in the main button. It is fast, efficient and well located. Unfortunately, it can not be used with Samsung Pay, the system of mobile payments developed by Samsung – not yet available to users of this phone despite having all the technologies necessary for it.
The A5 (2017) is resistant to dust and water, an improper feature on a phone in its range. The certification obtained is IP68, which ensures that the terminal can be submerged up to one meter deep for 30 minutes without any kind of incident.
The Galaxy A5 (2017) is IP68 certified. Few phones in its range can boast about it.
Inside the phone is a battery of 3,000 mAh capacity, capable of offering excellent autonomy. This is contributed by the energy efficiency of the ExCos 7880 SoC and the Super AMOLED screen that Samsung has assembled in the A5 (2017). In addition, it inherits the Adaptive Fast Charging system, which reduces the load times significantly.
It also inherits Super AMOLED technology for its screen, which comes in 5.2-inch format and Full HD resolution. Broadly, the image is sharp, the colors are vivid and the contrast is excellent. The only thing that Samsung has left in the foreground is the visibility outdoors, which, without being terrible, has a wide margin of improvement.
Samsung has done a very good job with the Galaxy A5 (2017). The company has gathered beauty, power and autonomy in the same product. The leap forward with respect to its predecessor is undoubted.
The problem with the A5 (2017) is the price. For quantities very close to the 429 euros that Samsung claims for this phone it is possible to find products like the OnePlus 3T or Honor 8, with some superior features. And for some more money is possible to acquire in some distributors the Galaxy S7, Samsung’s star phone during 2016.
Luckily for Samsung, none of the aforementioned options are marketed extensively on the telco channel (along with operators like Movistar, Orange or Vodafone), releasing pressure on their product. Likewise, the price of the telephone in the free market should decrease progressively during the next months, favoring its acquisition in free format.
- Excellent design and construction. Inspired by the Galaxy S7, the design of the A5 (2017) is incredible. Comfortable, nice and solid.
- Resistance to water and dust. Improper of its range and a great addition. Also with the maximum certification: IP68. An extra security.
- Superior autonomy. The 3,000 mAh together with energy efficient components make the autonomy excellent. Fantastic.
- Lower than average processor. Power efficient, but inferior in potential respect to phones like Honor 8 or 3T, of similar prices.
- Excessive price. For less than 400 euros, the A5 (2017) would be a round product. But it is on a strip occupied by OnePlus, Honor and the flagships of the previous year.
- And Nougat? It comes with Android 6.0 instead of the latest version. It will update, but difficult to justify launching a product with an old version.