Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 review
The Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 is a mid-range smartphone from a trio of new releases, which includes the Samsung Galaxy A3.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 should prove to be the most popular of these new phones, with a good balance between price and quality.
Design - Premium materials
The Samsung Galaxy A5 does a good job of blending premium materials together, along with the practicality needed for the modern mobile life of such products. In this case the premium-feel metal frame meets 2.5D Gorilla Glass on both front and back.
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2.5D glass simply curves at the edges, giving it a slightly floating above the surface look. This gives a better feel to the finger when swiping in from the side or when swiping out. The body measures 7.3mm thick and weighs in at 155 grams, with the Galaxy A5 is available in either gold, black or white colour schemes.
Display - Impressive resolution
The Samsung Galaxy A5 has a 5.2” FHD Super AMOLED display. Samsung is renowned for its bright and vivid displays and the one used here will not disappoint, no matter whether it is used indoors or out. The FHD resolution is superb and gives 1920 x 1080 pixels, typically only seen on flagship phones.
Phone Set Up
Getting started - Security and memory
This Samsung phone is one of the most secure, with a fingerprint unlocking the device. The clean design isn’t broken by a dedicated sensor area, like on other phones, and instead the fingerprint scanner is built into the home key.
The internal 16GB memory gives 10.8GB of free storage for the user and for those who wish to store masses of photos, videos and apps, then the microSD card slot allows the memory to be boosted by up to 128GB.
UI - TouchWiz
The TouchWiz user interface gives this phone a unique look along with several Samsung made apps, which add plenty to the experience:
- S-Voice - Take control of the phone will simply voice commands
- S Planner - Organise life with a calendar and set events and tasks
- S Health - Set fitness goals, monitor food intake, monitor activities and record body measurements
- SoundAlive - Take control of music playback by adjusting the bass and treble, voice balance over instruments and use a full graphic equaliser
In addition to these Samsung apps, the Galaxy A5 is compatible with several wearables, including the Samsung Gear and Gear Fit.
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OS - Android
The Android Lollipop operating system seriously boosts the app count with the Chrome browser, Gmail, Maps, Play Music, Play Movies & TV, Drive, YouTube, Photos, Hangouts and Voice Search.
The phone is fully connected too, with 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth.
Camera & Video
Photography - Definition vs memory
when using the 13MP camera for the first time it is essential to ponder the balance between definition and memory. Samsung has set the default resolution to around 9MP but users can up this to the full 13MP resolution.
Of course, doing this means that photos will take up more memory and if 13MP Full High Definition video is recorded (30 frames per second), then even more memory is used. Thankfully, the price of microSD cards has dropped significantly over recent years, so if you want to shoot at full resolution, then consider adding one of these to your shopping list.
Camera app - From low light to Wide Selfie
Both the main camera and the 5MP selfie camera have a f/1.9 aperture, capturing clear images in low-light. The camera app gives plenty of shooting modes, including Panorama and Continuous Shot, while new shooting modes can be downloaded from the Galaxy Apps store.
The selfie camera has face detection, gesture shot and voice control along with Wide Selfie. This shooting mode is basically like taking a panorama shot, with the user panning from side to side.
To ensure that spontaneous moments don’t catch you out, a double tap on the home key launches the camera in under a second.
Power - All day action
The 2,900mAh battery in the Samsung Galaxy A5 is one of the largest in the mid-range market and should give the majority of users enough power to go from dawn to dusk.
Samsung’s tests show that the battery should be able give up to 16 hours of continuous Wi-Fi browsing or up to 75 hours of music playback or 14 hours of video playback.
If the phone is likely to be away from its charger for a lengthy period of time, then Power Saving Mode or Ultra Power Saving Mode can be used, to drastically extend the battery life.
Final thoughts: The Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 is a top choice for those shopping in the mid-range pricing bracket and it is hard to deny the appeal of Samsung’s homemade apps, vivid screen and premium design.
Looking for a cheaper Samsung phone? Read the Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016) review.
Written by: Michael Brown