Test Samsung Galaxy A5 2017: Top Design and Impressive Battery Life

samsung galaxy a5 2017 power button


Maj. February 4, 2020 at 11 h 51 min.

The Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 has the difficult task of succeeding the excellent 2016 model that we had been so impressed with during our test. Without revolutionizing the formula, Samsung has made it evolve. What is the Korean giant’s new mid-range product really worth? We see it all together in our complete test of the Galaxy A5 2017.

samsung galaxy a5 2017

Samsung Galaxy A5 : Complete Test

Contents

  • Technical data sheet
  • Design
  • Screen
  • Performance
  • Interface
  • Audio
  • Network and GPS
  • Camera
  • Autonomy
  • Prices and availability
  • Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 : Characteristics and data sheet

The new model has slightly better technical characteristics than the previous year. While its 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display remains Full HD, the Exynos 7880 processor replaces the 7580, all accompanied by 3 GB of RAM and the new Mali-T830 GPU.


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Add to that a 16 megapixel sensor in the back, 16 megapixel in the front and a 3000 mAh battery, and you’ve got a solid foundation to build on. The jig is slightly larger, but its new design improves the grip.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016

Screen

Super AMOLED 5.2-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 dpi, 71.5% ratio), Always-on display

Super AMOLED 5.2-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels (423 dpi, 73% ratio), Always-on display

Processor

8 64-bit cores Exynos 7880 at 1.9 Ghz

8 64-bit cores Exynos 7580 at 1.6 Ghz

Graphics chip (GPU)

Mali-T830 MP2

Mali-T720

Random Access Memory

3 GB

2 GB

Storage

32 GB

16 GB

MicroSD

yes, up to 256 GB

yes, up to 128 GB

Rear camera

16 MP, Openingf/1.9. Video [email protected] FPS, optical stabilizer

13 MP, Openingf/1.9. Video [email protected] FPS

Front camera

16 MP, Openingf/1.9. Video [email protected] FPS

5 MP, Openingf/1.9. Video [email protected] FPS

Network

4G+ Cat. 6 (up to 300 / 50 Mbps)

4G+ Cat. 6 (up to 300 / 50 Mbps)

Connectivity

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/g/b/n/ac (2.4 & 5 Ghz), WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, A-GPS, GLONASS, FM Radio

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

Connectics

nanoSIM, USB Type-C 1.0, fingerprint reader, 3.5 mm jack socket

nanoSIM, microUSB 2.0, fingerprint reader, 3.5 mm jack socket

Audio

Mono speaker on the right side

Single-sided speaker on the lower edge

Colours

Gold, Blue, Pink, Black

Gold, Black, White

Dimensions

146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9 mm

144.8 x 71 x 7.3 mm

Weight

157 grams

155 grams

OS

Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow + Samsung TouchWiz

Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow + Samsung TouchWiz

Battery

3000 mAh non-removable, Quick Charge

2900 mAh non-removable

Awards

429€

260€

DAS

Head: 0.522 W/kg, Body : 0.1390 W/kg

Head: 0.290 W/kg, Body : 0.470 W/kg

Waterproofing

yes, certified IP68 (1.5 meters for 30 minutes)

no

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 : Exemplary design

Samsung has made a habit of taking the basics of its top-of-the-line model and transposing them to the mid-range. So we’re not surprised to see lines that are not unlike those of the Galaxy S7, with a curved glass back and a screen that fits perfectly into the aluminum frame. More rounded lines than the 2016 Samsung Galaxy A5.

On the front panel, the touch buttons and the home button are still there, but the home button gains a feature we’ve been waiting for at Samsung for a long time, the ability to use the fingerprint reader without having to press the button first, as is the case on the Galaxy S7 whose fingerprint reader was not at the level of the competition in our video comparison.

samsung galaxy a5 2017 home button

samsung galaxy a5 2017 front photo sensor

The Galaxy A5 2017 goes even further than the Galaxy S7 on some design points such as the sensor which is flat and almost doesn’t stick out of the hull. Also note the new speaker placement on the right side as well as two hatches, one on top for a possible microSD card, the other on the left side for the nanoSIM.

galaxy a5 2017

samsung galaxy a5 2017 flash led

A very sophisticated design that makes it easy to use the phone with one hand. Only the slightly slippery side of the glass back and the fingerprints very present on this colour tarnish an almost perfect copy in terms of design. A real success.
samsung galaxy a5 2017 volume key

samsung galaxy a5 2017 sim

samsung galaxy a5 2017 power button

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 : Full HD AMOLED Display

Samsung has long proven its expertise in screen quality, and the Galaxy A5 2017 is no exception. Its 5.2-inch Super AMOLED Full HD panel offers a fine display, infinite blacks and excellent sunlight readability thanks to a very high level of maximum brightness in manual mode, and even more important in automatic mode.

Colorimetry as well as color temperature is at the rendezvous. As always, we advise you to go to the phone’s screen settings to switch from “Adaptive Display” mode to “Basic” mode, which offers a less shimmering, but much more natural look.

A word about Always On Display mode, which uses the features of the AMOLED display to display essential information such as time, date, battery level, notifications or calendar on a permanent basis. This is very practical, we will come back to the impact that this function has on the autonomy lower down in this test.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 : Performance and Benchmarks

We have tested the performance of the 2017 version of the Samsung Galaxy A5 through various benchmarks and it is no surprise that it does better than its predecessor. The 1.9 GHz SoC Exynos 7880 is fast enough to execute everything you expect from a smartphone without a hitch.

The 3 GB of RAM is also more than sufficient for efficient multitasking. Everything seems very well optimized, we didn’t encounter any slowdown during our test week, even with a lot of applications open at the same time.

On the graphics side, the Mali-T830 GPU is not a lightning bolt of war, but provides the essentials. 3D games display a fairly high aliasing, and our tests on gamebench and Real Racing 3 run with an average of 29 FPS over a session of just over 20 minutes, with framerate drops to 21 FPS when a lot of elements are displayed on screen.

Not enough to be among the best smartphones for gamers, but enough to run all the games in Google Play, as long as you don’t have big demands on it. The Galaxy A5 2017 heats up very little and cools down quickly after use.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 : Touchwiz Interface

Touchwiz is coming to dress up Android Marshmallow. Samsung’s interface is maturing, with welcome applications and features that have the good taste of not overloading Android. For example, the Upday information application, which can be disabled, is always found on the left screen.

Wallpapers, themes and widgets can be accessed with a long press on the desktop, and added applications are neatly arranged in three folders : Google, Samsung and Microsoft. The manufacturer is not overdoing it by simply offering eight applications, including a file manager, S Health and secure folders.

This function replaces the Knox safe with a more intuitive use, to protect your sensitive data, with the possibility to lock it simply by using your fingerprint. Convenient if you don’t want a password on your phone, but only for access to certain applications.

No video application is installed by default, as it is included in the gallery. The support of formats is not total, but a turn on Google Play will allow you to remedy this quickly. Whether you like the look of this TouchWiz interface or not, its ease of use and the limited number of applications installed by default are undeniable assets.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 : Audio Quality

The mono loudspeaker on this Galaxy A5 2017 is no longer on the lower edge, but on the right. An investment that we find judicious insofar as it is less easy to obstruct than before when held in landscape mode. In portrait, it is far enough away from the hands, whether you are left-handed or right-handed, a good point.

On the audio side, the speakers offer a fairly powerful sound, with some distortion if the volume is too high. The headphone output has no particular defect. There is an equalizer and sound enhancement options once the headphones are plugged in, such as the UHQ converter to improve sound resolution, for example, or the Surround effect.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 : Network and GPS

The Galaxy A5 version 2017 offers, like its big brother, a 4G category 6 connectivity with theoretical maximum data rates of 300/50 Mb/s. The network hook is good, as is the GPS hook with a first fix in only 3 seconds and an accuracy of 4 meters.

It’s just unfortunate that the two separate hatches for the nanoSIM and microSD didn’t make Samsung want to offer a dual SIM configuration that would have been a nice addition. The call quality is excellent, the voices are clear, without any breath. We also appreciate the SAR level, which remains among the lowest in its category at 0.522 W/kg.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 : Camera

The photo application of the new Galaxy A5 is very easy to use. A slide of the finger to the right brings up the different modes: auto, pro, panorama, hyperlapse, HDR, night and food. The pro mode is always interesting, it gives you a hand on the white balance and ISOs, but unfortunately not on the depth of field. Artistic filters are of course always present.

But perhaps the best idea of the application is the floating key for the camera. Once activated in the settings, this button allows you to capture a photo anywhere on the screen, which is especially handy to avoid having to twist your hand to capture certain shots.

The rear sensor increases from 13 to 16 megapixels, still with f/1.9 aperture. The front sensor also changes from 5 to 16 megapixels. More details on the pictures, but a more aggressive post-treatment in some situations.

In good conditions with a beautiful light, the photos are of quality. This is spoiled in low light with a camera that captures the light well, but tends to over-smooth the images. While this avoids noise, it also loses a lot of detail.

The HDR mode is particularly effective, but it must be activated manually and does not take advantage of an automatic mode as on the Samsung Galaxy S7 for example. It is possible to shoot in 1080p at 30 frames per second with good quality, with optical stabilizer.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 : Autonomy and quick recharge

The battery capacity is 3000 mAh, or 100 mAh for the 2017 version of the Samsung Galaxy A5, to compensate for the extra power compared to the previous model. After several days of testing, we can assure you that the range’s reputation in terms of autonomy is far from tarnished.

By pushing him hard throughout the day under test conditions, he was able to go the distance. After using mostly 4G, 20 minutes of gameplay on Real Racing 3, 1 hour of YouTube video, a little social networking and a lot of web browsing, he was at 30% at 10pm, having started his day at 7:30am.

In a reasonable mixed use, you can therefore count on 2 days of autonomy, which is about the same endurance as the A5 2016. A solid travel companion with which you won’t be afraid of running out of battery at the end of the afternoon, which is really appreciable.

Always On Display is a handy feature, but it obviously consumes battery power. Count about 10% battery power within 12 hours. It’s still okay if you really have the use for it. It is of course possible to disable the feature. The 10-watt quick charge allows it to recharge by about 45% in 30 minutes. Allow 90 minutes for a full recharge.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 : Prices and Availability

Available since the beginning of February at €429 (€20 more than the 2016 version when it was released), the price of the Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 has already started to drop. A high price positioning for a mid-range product, no matter how qualitative it may be. The competition is now tough in this segment with the very good Honor 8, which is cheaper, and the excellent OnePlus 3T for a few dozen euros more.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 is the worthy successor to the excellent smartphone we tested last year. By going even further on the design while keeping the strengths that have made the reputation of the range such as the very good screen or the excellent autonomy, Samsung ensures the essentials.

However, this 2017 version of the Galaxy A5 is not perfect. Two flaws tarnish this idyllic picture. The first is the camera which can be disappointing in some situations, the second is the rate charged which remains high in the face of fierce competition. The lower the price of the phone, the more interesting it will be.


We recommend this new A5, which has little to envy with its undeniable qualities for a mid-range smartphone. But it remains for the moment less competitive in terms of value for money than an Honor 8 or a OnePlus 3T. Prices are expected to drop rapidly, making this Galaxy A5 2017 increasingly attractive as the weeks go by. High-end design and record-breaking autonomy. A sure thing.

We like

  • Highly sophisticated design and good grip
  • The Super AMOLED
  • TouchWiz interface at its best
  • Always a reference in autonomy
  • Fingerprint reader without pressing the home button
  • Waterproof, microSD, FM Radio
  • The floating button to capture photos
  • Intelligent speaker placement

We like less

  • Marks a lot of fingerprints
  • Weak graphics performance
  • Photos in low light
  • Maximum three fingerprints for the reader
  • High price at launch

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