Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

That expectations are high for the Galaxy A5 2017. After a highly acclaimed 2016 model, and certainly among the best mid-range phones of last year. Samsung has the difficult task of repeating the feat in 2017, otherwise its potential customers will turn to the competition, or even last year’s model, which has significantly lowered its prices.

The firm must find the right balance between adding new features and preserving the three pillars that have made the success of the 2016 generation: autonomy, screen and design. Does the firm handle this pas de deux well enough to justify paying 429 euros for this new cuvée? Answer in this test.

S7 outside

The 2016 Galaxy A5 was based on the aesthetic codes of the Galaxy S6, so it’s only natural that the 2017 Galaxy A5 is based on those of the S7. This format is therefore more rounded in the corners, with a slight curvature on the sides of the glass back. The front isn’t, at least not as much as an Edge model; we’re in front of a very slight curvature that some brands call a 2.5D screen, but that doesn’t really make sense.


The aluminium rim is still made of aluminium and follows the line of the S7, but the A5’s rim is visibly thicker than the S7’s. The aluminium rim is still made of aluminium and follows the line of the S7, but the A5’s rim is visibly thicker than the S7’s. The aluminium rim is still made of aluminium and follows the line of the S7. The telephones, on the other hand, are the same thickness of 7.9 mm. That’s more than the A5 2016, which measured 7.3 mm. The 2017 model displays 159 grams on the scale, a few grams more or less the same as the other two.

 By maintaining these aesthetic traits, the A5 2017 therefore deserves just as much praise as we gave to its predecessor and the S7, even if next year it will be time to change, otherwise there will be a certain monotony, and even a certain timidity in the design. The Galaxy S8 will give the way ahead and the rumours are enticing. Last good aesthetic point for this A5 2017: the photo sensor does not protrude any more from the rear side, a fact that has become rare enough to be noticed. 

On the other hand, the somewhat milky colours (notably blue and pink) offered by Samsung are less appreciated. We recommend black, assuming that tastes and colours are not in dispute.


AMOLED one hair less good

Like last year, Samsung has added a 5.2-inch screen to its A5. Here again, it is also this diagonal that is found on the S7. Contrary to the flagship, we have a Full HD definition here, but always with an AMOLED panel and all the advantages that this brings, especially in terms of contrast.

These are therefore, as always, virtually infinite, and Samsung’s colour mastery is always felt. Having said that, and as we already noted when we first got to grips with the car, it looks slightly worse than last year’s S7 and A5. We also note that the adaptive mode gains a possibility of manual adjustment to set it as we feel, the basic profile remains however the best in our eyes.

The Galaxy A5 2017 also features a blue light filter mode similar to Apple’s Night Shift, which displays a more yellow appearance when activated. It can be set to activate only at the end of the day. Supposed to promote falling asleep.


Processor just decent

It’s on performance that things will start to go wrong. Samsung has opted for an Exynos 7880 which consists of 8 ARM Cortex A53 cores that will be able to reach 1.9 GHz at best. Graphic calculations are provided by a Mali T830 and the whole is supported by 3 GB of RAM.

The set gives frankly mid-range results, which could be found on mobiles at 300 euros or less, and that’s a bit of a shame. Of course, you can’t demand performance equivalent to that of the S series, but the benchmarks here give figures similar to those of an Honor 6X… sold for 249 euros. We would have liked to have seen a little more.

This being said, the point must be tempered by saying that slowness is non-existent in everyday use. It’s only when it’s at stake that some concessions will have to be made. In addition, the frugality of the chip allows the A5 2017 to maintain an excellent autonomy. We’ll see him later.


The good news is also that Samsung now offers 32GB of storage by default, compared to 16 previously. Storage that can always be enlarged by inserting a Micro SD Card. However, we regret that the device is sold under Android 6.

Autonomy always on top

Samsung’s choice on the processor, although questionable, is nevertheless consistent. The manufacturer wanted to preserve the major argument of last year’s model: autonomy. Once again, the Galaxy A5 2017 is one of the most autonomous smartphones on the market if we set aside terminals that we would describe as exotic, with excessively large batteries.

The 3000 mAh embarked in the A5 allows it to last two days in modest current use, and the day will be reached without great difficulty, even if you are a bit greedy. However, long periods of 3D gaming should be avoided if this lifespan is to be guaranteed. We also appreciate the quick recharge which allowed us to fill the batteries in 1h30.


The fingerprint sensor is always present on the front of the physical button. We appreciate the placement and the responsiveness, but we regret that we can only register three prints. The other special feature is therefore water resistance. An IP68 certification that allows it to be immersed at 1m for 30 minutes without suffering any damage. This is a guarantee of additional lifespan which partly justifies the high price of the smartphone and is a significant advantage over the competition. As always, it is important to remember that this is not an underwater smartphone. The idea is simply to avoid accidents.

Farewell OIS

This year, Samsung has favoured Mpx from 13 to 16, with an aperture that remains at f/1.9. Paradoxically, the addition of these megapixels does not necessarily play in favour of the images. When there is light, no problem, the A5 behaves very well. Today it is the minimum union requirement.

In low light, it’s a little more complex. In some cases, it does relatively well, in other cases the removal of optical stabilization will force the phone to favor sensitivity over the exposure time to prevent blurring from moving too much. To compensate for this, the image processing forces a little on the smoothing, which results in a loss of detail.


This is especially noticeable when you look at the images in full size. The overall rendering is sufficient to enjoy your images on a daily basis. It’s surprising, though, that after a Galaxy S7 that performs so well in photos, the company didn’t try a similar approach with larger photosites, especially since that’s the current trend. Perhaps it was necessary to better differentiate the ranges?

The 16-pixel front sensor with an f/1.9 aperture does its job correctly, with a gain in detail compared to other smartphones. Sometimes, some imperfections of the face may appear… that you can hide at the time of capture.

Competition is not far away in the rear-view mirror

All in all, the 2017 edition of the Galaxy A5 is an undeniable success. However, it must be acknowledged that on this terminal more than anywhere else, the devil is in the details. Like its predecessor, the smartphone retains the main advantages: design and autonomy and gains waterproofness. This trio is a serious argument.

On the other hand, small errors on the screen, performance or picture prevent it from being the undisputed master in the price segment. The duel with Honor and his 8 is likely to be a little tougher this year, not least because it is cheaper. Nevertheless, the Galaxy A5 2017 remains among the best in its class. You can buy with your eyes closed.

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