Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) ReviewSamsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 6.5
Samsung might be looking to change that in 2016. The company is releasing three mid-range devices that should, theoretically, address the aforementioned issues we've had with the category of late. The popular Galaxy A series is getting updated with the A3, A5, and A7 (2016), but if you're neither willing to compromise much with the specs, nor having the hands of a high-profile basketball player, chances are the new Galaxy A5 will be what's on your mind. It costs around $400 and is not expected to be sold officially in the US, but will be available pretty much everywhere else in the world. And then there's always third-party retails to import it in the US, so if there's a will, there's a way.
But has Samsung managed to produce the first true mid-range hero device of the century? Let's have a look!
In the box, you'll find:
- Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
- Fast charger (9V – 1.67A / 5V – 2A)
- microUSB cable
- Earphones (GH59-11720J)
- SIM ejector tool
- User manual
Exquisite, ambitious design with stylish colors – almost perfect
Last year's Galaxy A5 was impressively thin, but it lacked the sophistication of Samsung's higher-tier handsets. This year, though, things are much different. The Galaxy A5 (2016) sacrifices some of the lightness of its predecessor for a more substantial, ambitious feel. The looks and proportions of the new A5 are near perfect – it's very stylish and well put together, not to mention that the black on gold / rose gold color options look striking and different from what we've been treated to so far.
Even though this isn't a top-level phone, it has one of the most exquisite designs you can find in a phone these days. The finely polished glass surfaces are non-slippery in the hand, yet don't get too messy; the metal frame is thoughtfully shaped, so it doesn't create any discomfort for the user; and the physical keys have the perfect amount of click response. While the phone won't slide out of your hand easily, however, it does slide over most other surfaces (that are not skin or leather), so you should still be careful with how and where you place it.
In an increasingly larger and deeper ocean of generic-looking plastic and metal products, Samsung's Galaxy A5 (2016) stands out as familiar, yet distinctive model. It's both aesthetically pleasing and convenient to work with.
144.8 x 71 x 7.3 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)
145.75 x 70.8 x 7.26 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)
140 x 69 x 6.9 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)
142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)
Not the best display around, but definitely in the upper echelon
A sizable 5.2” AMOLED touchscreen graces the front of the Galaxy A5 (2016). Even before we powered it up, we already knew what to expect – the default Adaptive screen mode with extra-punchy colors, our inevitable desire to switch to Basic mode in order to make things look more natural, the deep blacks, the volatile viewing angles, and everything else.
The A5's display didn't surprise us in any way – it exhibits the exact same characteristics as those of other current Samsung models. Its 1080 x 1920 px resolution is more than enough to produce a fine, pleasantly clear image, but the screen does come off as slightly washed out. Worse is the color balance, which, even on Basic screen mode, exhibits an unpleasantly strong green. It's nothing you can't get used to, but we'd like to see Samsung get rid of this problem right away.
Leaving that aside, the flexibility of this screen brightness-wise is applaudable – outdoors, it can get bright enough to let you view it comfortably, while in the dark, brightness can get extremely low, so as not to hurt your eyes.
Display measurements and quality
|Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better||Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better||Contrast Higher is better||Color temperature (Kelvins)||Gamma||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)||479
|Motorola Moto G (2015)||449
|HTC One A9||345
The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.
|Maximum brightness Lower is better||Minimum brightness Lower is better||Contrast Lower is better||Color temperature Lower is better||Gamma Lower is better||Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better||Delta E grayscale Lower is better|
|HTC One A9||48.4%
|Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)||67.4%
|Motorola Moto G (2015)||86.6%
The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.
This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.
1. SkyfallWalker (Posts: 73; Member since: 28 Jan 2016)
Tragic score. I wonder what the flagship smartphones will be scoring.
8. ibend (Posts: 3214; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)
yeah, whatever 6.5/10 is obviously bad for average human..
according to this scoring system, no $200-$500 phone is worth to buy since august 2015, and if you want to buy phone, look for phone that get reviewed before that, like Z3 (8.5), Z3c (9), moto G (9), G Flex (8.5), M9 (8.3), Droid Turbo (9.2)..
all new phone get turd score compared to those older phone
38. phonegeek1212 (Posts: 36; Member since: 14 Aug 2015)
Never Ever Jugde a phone by PAs ratings..Its horrible!!
17. jellmoo (Posts: 1464; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)
You have to admit that within the last 6 months or so the score criteria for devices has shifted fairly dramatically without explanation. I have to go back to the Droid Turbo 2 to find a handset that scored an 8 or better. That's 21 phones ago.
PA reviews have had completely arbitrary scores attached to them. If I go back 25 phones (takes us to the reviews for the 2 Nexus devices) the average handset score is 6.9.
So tell us: What changed? Was there an editorial decision made to hand out lower scores? Why is it that devices that many other sites are giving high marks/phone of the year awards like the Nexus 6P and the LG V10 get comparatively lower marks on PA?
31. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10409; Member since: 14 May 2012)
I love how you guys tested the phone on your own website. Just in case all of you haven't noticed, your website honestly is the worst to use without a AdBlocker. You got slow performance because of your website. Test it on NYTimes or Yahoo and see a significant difference.
Fix your website or I'll continue to use AdBlocker.
33. Ordinary (Posts: 2149; Member since: 23 Apr 2015)
My PC lags on phonearena without adblocker lol
11. uggman (Posts: 56; Member since: 01 Feb 2013)
i wonder what score will they give to the 4 inch iphone 5E thats coming early on this year, given they are apple friendly im guessing 9.0, still pretty much an unfair score for this galaxy phone.
40. geoffphuket (Posts: 50; Member since: 08 Feb 2016)
Yes, but what a lousy specification. For less money you could buy a decent Chinese flagship phone. Why would you want to suffer with the abysmal AMOLED screen that this if fitted with?
28. FrankUnderwood2 (Posts: 209; Member since: 01 Oct 2015)
I think for this phone, even 6.5 is high. Especially for the processor that it has and internal storage, and the price it asks for those specs.
2. maherk (Posts: 3370; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
"TouchWiz is a shameful software experience"
I have watched and read few other reviews about the A5 and A7 and almost all of them compared the experience to that of the S6 and complemented Samsung for tweaking TW.
Now what I wish for is you sticking to this low ratings when the iPhone 7 gets released, because you always tend to give Apple a pass when iOS have issues when a new iPhone is launched, because Apple will eventually fix these issues. But it isn't the same case with Android phones.
3. maherk (Posts: 3370; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Build quality rivals Galaxy S6 (kinda heavy though)
The display is good quality despite the drop in resolution (the flicker may bug some, though)
Great battery life with 91 hour endurance rating (still great with two SIMs too).
Full software package with split-screen multitasking and first-party Samsung apps
Fast fingerprint reader (as fast as on the S6); Samsung Pay (in select regions)
The GPU isn't up to the task of 1080p gaming
Great multimedia app package with advanced music player, FM radio too
The loudspeaker is fairly quiet, even with a loud ringtone
Perfect audio quality if you have an external amp, but volume drops when you plug in headphones
Photo quality is comparable with the Galaxy S6 (though not quite as nice); Pro mode is more a name than a feature; bright aperture and OIS are appreciated though
1080p videos come out very good, but no 2160p and no 60fps mode are an issue
Here is what GSMarena said about this device.
Again, these reviews are the pathetic ones. They are deceiving and full of pure lies. You lost it when you called the Fingerprint reader a pathetic one when it's the same one used on the S6 lol
18. may_czos (Posts: 709; Member since: 22 Nov 2014)
Photo quality comparable to the S6? Nowhere close. A5 has much worse dynamic range, struggles with shadows, sky (it makes clouds blue) and details. Some crops from a local review, A5 first, S6 edge second:
There's no HDR Auto, Pro mode is also stripped from a few functions.
27. maherk (Posts: 3370; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
They said, comparable, not identical.
Then followed it by, though not as nice.
29. may_czos (Posts: 709; Member since: 22 Nov 2014)
I wouldn't even say they're comparable. A5's camera is significantly worse which is surprising because it's pretty expensive, has OIS and bright optics (f1,7).
4. SharpMonkey (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 Feb 2016)
I've read the entire review as a joke, nothing more.
42. davidvicky (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 Mar 2016)
Anyway from 13% to 77% in 40 minutes. Quick charge top
6. nebula (Posts: 476; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)
Thanks PA for being blatantly honest. I am hobestly sick of most if not every tech website being one or another way consistantly biased. I am sure there will be Samsung insiders and large fan camp on the other side of the river because its they job but you guys are my favourite!
7. nebula (Posts: 476; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)
Just want to add that any decent if not brilliant hardawre can be spoiled by bad softwre and price tag. Samsung did a great job here.
9. maherk (Posts: 3370; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
In case you missed it, these ratings only apply to almost every Android that has been released in the past 4/5 months.
I never owned a ZTE phone, yet I was one of the 1st to criticize PA for their unfair review and score of the Nubia Z9, especially after checking other reviews about the same handset.
Anything that isn't Apple will be a target for such reviews.
13. nebula (Posts: 476; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)
No I didn't. What PA and I realised OEM can't just chuck in latest hardware and claim flagship device price. At completion of review PA said that price was $600 and as high as $770. They haven't established them self yet they simply can't not dictate that price tag like Samsung LG or Sony that have proven record in business and infrastructure built in all levels.
I think if they have priced that device at around $400 it would have scored maybe 7.
26. maherk (Posts: 3370; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Then why did they give the Honor 5x a 6/10 score? The phone is priced at $200 and considered by almost every single tech reviewer out there, as the best phone for that price.
They feel like every Android phone should perform and have the features and specs of a $800 flagship. Yet they always find a way to defend Apple no matter what.
32. nebula (Posts: 476; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)
I haven't red review of honor 5x . Maybe you have the point.
Again look at Z5 7! Moto G 3 gen got very generous score of 9 maybe a little high but this phone is a charm to own. I have 2GB RAM version it's worth every penny.
I think market is flooded with pretentious smartphones from Aisia and they got fair critique. Samsung also deserves that score for the reason this company overprices it's midrange and lower end phones.
You know what sets Apple apart? They have range of two phones and they phones are virtually free of fault if you run in any kind of problem they have superb post purchase service and it works it just works. Hassle free investment. I am Androist but owned Iphone 6 trust me it's worth to pay extra if you ready to make some compromises.
10. zac89 (Posts: 2; Member since: 18 Jan 2016)
And you marked Huawei Mate 8 only 7 points... Comparing to this phone it can't get 6.5
12. Ordinary (Posts: 2149; Member since: 23 Apr 2015)
PA pls do fingerprint scanner speed test. I really want to see how it takes you 5 tries.
23. Ray.S (Posts: 310; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)
There you go:
25. maherk (Posts: 3370; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
You are deliberately clicking the Fingerprint scanner with the side of your thumb. I just tried that on my Note 5 and my counsin did so on his 5s and both of our phones had a little bit trouble in recognizing our fingerprints.
And regarding the pathetic TW, why didn't you show us other areas than the Briefing where the phone would take a little longer to load? Because throughout the whole video, there wasn't one place where the phone lagged. And you kept talking about some touch issues, yet you typed a full sentence with no issues what so ever.
Your bias cannot be hidden anymore, especially when Pro Apple pages like CNet and The Verge aren't complaining Samsung and Android phones as much as you guys are doing.
Just the other day, you gave a low end priced phone in the Honor 5x a score 6/10, when every review I bumped into was praising the phone for selling a premium built mid ranger for $200 a price of a low end phone.
34. Ordinary (Posts: 2149; Member since: 23 Apr 2015)
Now use the center of the thumb. I am yet to see a fingerprint scanner unlocking a phone by a side print...
35. boosook (Posts: 1415; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)
With the nexus 5x you don't have to be so precise.
14. Ghost04 (Posts: 323; Member since: 03 May 2014)
9 'hrs of battery life in A5(2016) = More then decent .
9 hrs of Iphone Battery life = Out of the world battery .
This is how PA reviews .
39. pewpewlaserpewpew (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Feb 2016)
This is my first time on this site, but holy cow this guy is bias. I just noticed they wrote an entire article about the iphone battery praising it and it lasts less time and charges slower than this phone. This phone gets 3 paragraphs and it's more than decent. They'll argue it's about how efficient it is, but that matters zero in practice as you get less time and slower charging. But since it's apple he'll get on his knees and suck them off over it. (i have an iphone 6+ fyi).
15. WAusJackBauer (Posts: 186; Member since: 22 Mar 2015)
It'll get firmware updates to improve system performance, even if they come out 6 months after launch.
I have the Galaxy J5 and the performance wasn't very good, a firmware update significantly improved it.
16. Coconut00 (Posts: 443; Member since: 13 Jan 2015)
Shouldn't this have a slightly higher score since its the same as the A7 but cheaper?
20. may_czos (Posts: 709; Member since: 22 Nov 2014)
It has less RAM and worse multitasking than A7.
24. Coconut00 (Posts: 443; Member since: 13 Jan 2015)
Yes but that's it. Only 1 GB less of RAM and quite cheaper.
22. G4Mini (Posts: 5; Member since: 03 Jun 2013)
In Europe the Exynos version scores 42000 in Antutu. But the Mali GPU is less good...
36. boosook (Posts: 1415; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)
Kudos to PA that really reported the things as they are. Samsung fanboys won't agree, but that's probably they have never tried a nexus or a high end sony, motorola or htc.
37. maherk (Posts: 3370; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
High end Sony? You mean like the Z5 that got a score of 7/10?
This has nothing to do with Samsung, bit every other OEM that isn't Apple.
41. teloji (Posts: 31; Member since: 21 Feb 2016)
I wonder what the flagship smartphones will be scoring.
43. Johnny369 (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Apr 2016)
I just bought this phone for PKR -/ 38000 ..,,,,,,, it is much better than google nexus 5x and huawei ascend mate 8....................... I give it 9/10
44. geoffphuket (Posts: 50; Member since: 08 Feb 2016)
I've just ordered a Ulefone 'Vienna' from Banggood. It's got 32GB ROM 3GB Ram, Panasonic cameras, Sharp 1920X1080p screen, a Sony battery and a dedicated NXP DAC audio chip to produce real HiFi sound. Go beat that for $169, Samsung:http://www.banggood.com/Ulefon
45. skinnypix (Posts: 1; Member since: 15 May 2016)
Something is very inconsistent in your reviews.
For the A5 (2016) you say:
"TouchWiz UI, as Samsung calls its own take on the Android OS, acts like a bug-infested mess, with random events happening left and right, with disheartening stutter and sporadic slow-downs. Only it isn't bug-infested. For some reason, it's designed this way, which means a fix isn't coming."
For the S7 you say:
"TouchWiz remains a packed one that appeals to a broad set of users – including power users! Staple things like Multi Window, one-handed mode, quick launch camera, and many of its other smart features are all present once again with this iteration of TouchWiz." And you go on to say "No doubt, all of TouchWiz’s features won’t be used by everyone, but the beauty in it is that it’s not overly complex or convoluted. By default, many of its advanced features are turned off, but they can be enabled by traversing through the options."
Isn't TouchWiz the same on both phones?
46. Nestor1 (Posts: 1; Member since: 27 May 2016)
this a5 (6) I liked and TouchWiz is not ugly. :)