Samsung India on Monday announced the launch of its new Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017) smartphones. The new mid-range Galaxy A-series models will be replacing the 2016 editions of the Galaxy A-series. The South Korean company is once again trying to promote the metal-and-glass design which made last year's models popular.
With the 2017 editions of the Samsung Galaxy A5 and Samsung Galaxy A7, the company brings a lot of features from the flagship Galaxy S7 to the mid-range segment. Samsung claims that the new phones' water- and dust-resistant bodies, as well as their always-on displays are firsts for this price band. Both, the Galaxy A5 and Samsung Galaxy A7, also improve upon their predecessors by supporting microSD cards of up to 256GB for storage expansion and fast charging. Both also have improved battery capacities.
At first glance, the new Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017) look very similar to the flagship Galaxy S7 (Review), especially because of their rounded corners. Only the screen sizes are noticeably different. Of the two new models, the Galaxy A5 with its smaller 5.2-inch screen is easier to hold, and will be preferred for those who are more comfortable using their phone with one hand. The Galaxy A7, on the other hand, has a 5.7-inch screen. As expected, the Galaxy A5 is lighter at 159 grams while Galaxy A7 definitely feels heavy for its size at 186 grams.
The front faces of both handsets maintain the signature Galaxy look with a physical home button sitting just below the screen. The capacitive navigation buttons sit on either side. During our limited time with both phones, we noticed that the capacitive navigation buttons are backlit but only light up for very short times, something we had pointed out about the 2016 edition of the Galaxy A series as well. Overall, the metal frames and glass rear panels are the highlights of these handsets. Manu Sharma, VP, Samsung Mobiles, stressed that the glass back panels draw on Samsung's "premium design heritage". However, these phones are both fingerprint magnets, and we would recommend using both the Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017) with cases.
Sharma also confirmed to Gadgets 360 that the new Galaxy A-series smartphones will support Samsung Pay (with both NFC and MST compatibility). The company's mobile payments solution is now live in India.
At the back, the primary cameras are flush to the bodies; a welcome change from the protruding cameras seen at the back of many other phones in this segment including the OnePlus 3T, Asus ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL), and Moto Z. We also liked the placement of the speaker grilles on the right of both phones, though they were not very loud in our brief hands-on experience. On the bottoms of both phones, there are 3.5mm audio jacks and USB Type-C ports. The power buttons are placed on the right panels, while the volume rockers are on the left. We liked the tactile feel of the physical buttons on the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7.
Samsung is also heavily promoting the fact that the new Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 smartphones have dedicated slots for two SIM cards and a microSD card. The Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017) support 4G with VoLTE which means they are compatible with Reliance Jio's mobile network.
In terms of specifications, the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) features a 5.2-inch display, while the Galaxy A7 (2017) features a 5.7-inch display. Both are full-HD and both use Super Amoled panels. The new Galaxy A-series models are both powered by the company's in-house octa-core Exynos 7870 SoC clocked at 1.9GHz, coupled with 3GB of RAM. Both also have with 32GB of storage. Samsung will be offering 15GB of cloud storage through its own Samsung Cloud app. The two new phones have a set of preset camera filters including a Food mode which adds warm colours to images to make food look more appetising. Samsung provides nine effects which can be accessed by swiping the main camera interface. Overall, the camera app looks less cluttered than before, and is easy to use.
The Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 both sport a 16-megapixel rear cameras with LED flashes and f/1.9 apertures, plus 16-megapixel front cameras also with f/1.9 apertures. The new Galaxy A5 measures 146.1x71.4x7.9mm and packs a 3000mAh battery, while the Galaxy A7 (2017) measures 156.8x77.6x7.9mm and has enough room for a 3600mAh battery.
In terms of software, we didn't notice any major new tweaks on the new Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7. The company's UI feels light, and doesn't have much bloatware. As with other Samsung Galaxy phones, Google and Microsoft's suites of apps can be found in separate folders. In the limited time we were able to spend with the new Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7, we found that they handled multitasking and Internet browsing pretty easily without any lags. We will however reserve our verdict on Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017) performance and camera until we get a chance to put them through paces for a detailed review.
The new Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017) have been priced at Rs. 28,990 and Rs. 33,490 respectively. Both phones will be available in India from March 15, via offline and online retail channels.
At these prices, the new Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 will be going head-to-head with the popular Honor 8, Asus ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL), and OnePlus 3T among others.