Maj. November 12, 2018 at 9:33 pm

The Samsung Galaxy A5 version 2016 has arrived and intends to erase the defects of its predecessor while offering better value for money. This mid-range smartphone boasts a premium design and a well-balanced data sheet. Is it enough to be competitive in this segment? Our full test of the Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 tells you everything.

Test of the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Contents

  • Design
  • Screen
  • Performance
  • Interface
  • Audio and Multimedia
  • Network and GPS
  • Camera
  • Autonomy
  • The final word

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Data Sheet

Screen

Super AMOLED 5.2-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels (423 dpi), 73% aspect ratio, Gorilla Glass 4 Protection

Processor

8 cores Exynos 7580 clocked at 1.6 Ghz

Graphics chip (GPU)

Mali-T720

Random Access Memory

2 GB

Storage

16 GB (11 GB available)

MicroSD

yes, up to 128 GB

Rear camera

13 Megapixels, Aperturef/1.9, LED flash, video [email protected] FPS

Front camera

5 Megapixels, Aperturef/1.9

Network

4G+ Cat. 6 (up to 300 / 50 Mbits/s), compatible with all French 4G bands

Connectivity

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/g/b/n (2.4 and 5 Ghz), Bluetooth 4.1 LE, A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC, Wi-Fi Direct

Connectics

nanoSIM + microSD, 3.5 mm headphone jack, micro USB 2.0, fingerprint reader

Audio

Mono loudspeaker on the lower edge

Colours

Black, Gold, White

Dimensions

144.8 x 71.0 x 7.3 mm

Weight

155 grams

OS

Android 5.1.1 Lollipop + TouchWiz

Battery

2900 mAh non-removable

Prices and DAS

409 € – SAR: 0.290 W/kg

Design


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We’re not going to beat about the bush, the design of the new Galaxy A5 is simply stunning. Taking the curves of the Galaxy S6 while improving them on certain points. Samsung has done an excellent job, all the more remarkable on a mid-range smartphone.

Glass front and back with Gorilla Glass 4 protection and brushed aluminium frame all around. The 2.5D display fits snugly into the phone frame, making it easy to hold and pleasing to the eye.

The home button houses the highly efficient fingerprint reader which has the advantage that it can be used without knowing how to take the phone in hand. Of course, the backlit touch keys under the screen are always on hand at Samsung.

Review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

The glass back is also curved to blend in perfectly with the aluminium frame. The photo sensor stands out less than that of the Galaxy S6 and the overall finish is simply flawless. Fingerprints aren’t much to look at on this black version. On the other hand, watch out for falls, the glass surface slides very well if you place it on bad surfaces.

Review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

The telephone frame is also bevelled to complement the rounded shape of the front and back. The screen occupies 73% of the total surface area with very thin borders. These two elements make the Galaxy A5 2016 very comfortable to hold in one hand.

On the bottom edge are the 3.5 mm headphone jack, the USB 2.0 microphone jack, a microphone and the grille housing the mono speaker. The second microphone for noise reduction is located on the top edge.

Review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

The right and left wafers are slightly recessed to compensate for the protrusion of the buttons. The right side houses the ignition button which falls perfectly under the thumb (for right-handed people). Just underneath, the hatch houses a nanoSIM port and a microSD port, which is great for expanding internal storage memory up to 128GB.

Review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

On the left side, the volume control knobs are on the top, which requires a little hand gymnastics to reach them. That’s the only downside to the grip. For the rest, the design and quality of manufacture of this Samsung Galaxy A5 are simply excellent.

Review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Screen

With its 5.2-inch Super AMOLED panel and 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, the Galaxy A5 offers a comfortable 423 dpi resolution. In terms of slab quality, it has nothing to envy to that of the Galaxy S6. The display offers excellent brightness, little reflection in direct sunlight, and very deep blacks thanks to AMOLED technology.

The colorimetry is also very good, even you will have to go to the settings and activate the “basic” display mode which is not the default one. This is the mode that will give you a more natural rendering of colors that will be much less vivid than by default. The angles of vision are also flawless. Just a great screen, that’s all.

Performance

The Snapdragon 410 processor of the 2015 Galaxy A5 makes room for a Samsung Exynos 7580 home SoC. The gain in performance is quite clear despite the screen that goes from 720p to 1080p on this new version of Samsung’s mid-range smartphone. Coupled with the 2 GB of RAM, the Exynos 7580 processor is doing very well, but remains slightly below a competing SoC onboard the HTC One A9, the Snapdragon 617.

On the graphics side, the Mali-T720 GPU delivers the essentials without being a lightning bolt of war. It will be able to run all Android games, in correct conditions. Our benchmarks on GameBench with Real Racing 3 show an average of 26 FPS over a 23 minute session.

The graphics are far from being pushed to the max, but the SoC has the good taste of not heating up and offers stable performance that avoids framerate drops, even if we are below the symbolic 30 FPS.

Day-to-day performance is good and the interface does not suffer from any slowdown. We’re not at the speed level of a Nexus 6P, but it’s still very fluid.

Interface

The Galaxy A5 comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, which is a bit disappointing since we were entitled to expect Marshmallow as HTC did with One A9. For now, you’ll have to make do with this version of Android accompanied by the Samsung TouchWiz interface.

Flipboard is still present on a dedicated desktop and the TouchWiz interface remains the same as the one we presented on the Samsung Galaxy S6 test. There are not too many pre-installed applications. You can find Music, Video, Radio, S Health or Galaxy Apps that you cannot uninstall, but simply disable to avoid consuming resources unnecessarily.

The customization through the theme application is well thought out and allows you to radically change wallpapers, icons or typography. Intelligent movements and gestures also work very well. Turning the phone over to mute a ring tone or scanning the screen with the palm of your hand to take a screenshot is very intuitive.

The multi-window mode is always on board and works well. A simple mode for the visually impaired or elderly is also very practical. The Smart Manager is a handy application that provides an overview of essential battery, storage, RAM and security functions. These are actually shortcuts to settings.

Finally, the fingerprint reader which can be set up in a few seconds and is very reactive. In addition to being used to unlock your smartphone, it can also protect access to your web connection and your Samsung account, convenient for Samsung Pay (not yet available in France).

Audio and Multimedia

The sound experience on the Samsung Galaxy A5 is far from unforgettable. The mono loudspeaker on the bottom slice offers a powerful, but rapidly saturating sound that will not be able to provide spatialized sound. The headphone jack logically comes out better, but it doesn’t work miracles.

However, you can fine-tune the sound setup when headphones are connected using the Adapt Sound option to fine-tune the settings to your ears. The Music application is quite nice and supports all file formats without flinching.

The same cannot be said of the video application that sometimes has trouble with certain types of files compared to those you can download from Google Play such as VLC or MX Player. You can also reduce the video playing in a corner of the screen to do something else at the same time. We appreciate finding the FM radio.

Networks and GPS

The Galaxy A5 is compatible with the 4G+ Category 6 offering theoretical data rates up to 300 Mb/s maximum. The network connection is excellent (tested with Sosh in the Paris region), the quality of calls is excellent and the GPS fix is very fast.

Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and Glonass are also included. However, no infrared. The slot that holds the nanoSIM card also allows you to add a microSD card up to 128GB.

Camera

The photo application is complete, you can open it from the screen when it is turned off by quickly pressing the handy home button twice.

Automatic mode displays a shortcut bar that gives you access to essential options and settings. Different modes are available by default and others are downloadable. The Pro mode is interesting for those who know a little bit more about photography and want to set IOS, metering modes or white balance themselves.

The Galaxy A5’s camera benefits from an f/1.9 aperture (as on the S6), but this time with a 13-megapixel sensor. Pictures are quite good when you are in good lighting conditions.

The pictures are quite accurate, without reaching the sharpness you get with the Galaxy S6 sensor. The optical stabilization is doing its job well and the capture is fast. The HDR mode does its job well, but capturing a shot takes a little longer.

For macro photos, the focusing is sometimes capricious and it is not always easy to focus perfectly on the first shot (photo of the red flowers). The colours are well restored and natural.

Despite the f/1.9 aperture, the Galaxy A5’s sensor does not perform miracles in low light and noise appears quite quickly. The flash is efficient and allows for precise photography in difficult lighting conditions. We also regret the limitation of video capture to [email protected] FPS.

So we’re looking at a good photo sensor worthy of a mid-range smartphone, but not comparable with the best photophones, with the Galaxy S6 in the lead.

Autonomy

Look out, we’ve got a champion! A 2900 mAh battery on a 5.2-inch Full HD smartphone is not impressive on paper. Yet the Galaxy A5 2016 is surely the most autonomous mobile in its class! Samsung seems to have optimized the energy to the little onions. The AMOLED screen and the homemade SoC are certainly not strangers to this.

In practice, you will be able to last two days with a lot of phone calls. Only the greedy games will be able to put a strain on the battery, which will then only last a day and a half. On the other hand, you can really count on two full days of mixed usage with surfing, calling, instant messaging and social networking.

If playing is surely the most energy-intensive activity for the smartphone, GameBench still estimates the autonomy in game at 4.3 hours, which is a very honourable score. As you can see, the Galaxy A5 of 2016 has an all-round endurance that you can enjoy every day. The quick recharge is also part of the game, allowing it to be fully recharged in about 1h10.

Conclusion

  • To be read : Test of the Samsung Galaxy A5 version 2015

The Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 is one of the best mid-range smartphones of this early. Samsung was able to improve its formula and offer a very balanced product with enormous qualities. With a design that has nothing to envy to high-end products, a superb screen and a top-of-the-range battery life, it has what it takes to seduce those who don’t want to put 700€ in a mobile without sacrificing quality.

You can find the Galaxy A5 2016 for around €400, a high price that should drop rapidly in the coming weeks with the release of the Galaxy S7, and the logical price drop of the S6. Without competing with its high-end big brother, especially in terms of performance or photography, this new Galaxy A5 defends itself very well. It is in direct competition with the HTC One A9, OnePlus X and Honor 7, although the latter two are much more attractively priced.

Its weak points include just an average audio portion, low light photos that degrade quickly and the inability to capture 2K or 60 FPS video for slow motion. Small faults that do not weigh heavily against his qualities.

What we like

+ Very nice premium design

+ Excellent AMOLED display

+ Good fingerprint reader

+ microSD, FM Radio

+ TouchWiz full of features

+ Excellent battery life, fast recharge

+ A good multimedia terminal

+ Good performance, does not heat

+ Pictures in daytime

What we don’t like less

– Comes with Android Lollipop

– Mono speaker passable

– Low light photos

– No 2K video or 60 FPS

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Verdict

If you let yourself be convinced by this Galaxy A5, you won’t regret it. Samsung is finally back at a very good level in the mid-range. A well-balanced smartphone, a true success story. Once the price is lowered, you won’t have to hesitate anymore.

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