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Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) 6.5

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Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review

Introduction


Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review
The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016 edition, aka A7 6) launches early in 2016 to set the tone for mid-range phones: those that are not as expensive as the finest Galaxy S series and iPhones, but also a level above the Moto Gs of this world.

The Galaxy A7 (2016) is a 5.5-inch smartphone – it's large, but probably not as big as it's screen diagonal would suggest.

The first thing to know about the Galaxy A7 (2016) is that it looks and feels stunningly good, stylish. While carrying the phone for a week or so while reviewing it, people noticed it and asked about it, often complimenting it.

You know there are supposed to be some compromises with mid-range phones, but the one area where Samsung did not compromise was looks.

The rest is TouchWiz running on top of Android 5.1 Lollipop on a Snapdragon 615 system chip with 3GB of RAM, a fingerprint scanner with support for Samsung Pay, a 13-megapixel camera with OIS and a fairly large, 3,300mAh battery. At the moment of this writing, the phone is on sale in only a few European markets. It is expected to become more widespread in February, while plans for US availability of the phone are unclear. One version with AT&T 4G LTE bands has passed FCC certification, though, so there is a chance that it might come to the States in the future. Now, let’s see how it all plays out in real life.

In the box:

  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
  • 2A - 5V wall charger
  • microUSB Cable
  • User manual
  • SIM ejector tool

Design

Super stylish, eye-catchy design, very solid feel in the hand. Built to near perfection.

The Galaxy A7 (2016) looks a lot like Samsung’s current flagship, the Galaxy S6.

The frame is made out of metal, the physical buttons are also made of metal, while the front and back are Gorilla Glass 4 with a slight curve towards the edges. The A7 (2016) feels monolithic in the hand, reassuringly solid.

We’ve already touched on this in the intro, but let’s make it abundantly clear: this phone looks every bit as stylish and well made as the top phones out there and it’s impossible to tell just by the looks that we’re dealing with a mid-range phone. In the hand, it has some nice heft to it, but it’s not too heavy and does not tip over when you hold it. Despite rocking a glass on the back and front, it does not catch a lot of fingerprint marks and looks fairly clean, so you don’t have to frantically wipe it every few hours.

In terms of color, it comes in a choice of gold, white, black and pink gold, and we have the gold version up for review.

It’s also fairly compact for a 5.5” phone: its width is just 2.92” (74.1mm), while the popular iPhone 6s Plus that also has a 5.5” display has a width of 3.07” (77.9mm). The A7 (2016) is also not as tall at 5.96” vs 6.23” on the 6s Plus. Both phones are equally thin at 7.3mm, so big props to Samsung for making a 5.5” phone fit in such compact dimensions.

The buttons are in the typical for Samsung layout: a large, physical home key (with a fingerprint scanner in it) below the display, a back button on the right and a multitasking key on the left (both are capacitive keys with a backlight that appears for a short while when you touch them). The lock key is on the right, while the two separate volume buttons are on the left, and all are made of metal and feel very clicky and quality-made. On the bottom, there is a microUSB port for charging, a 3.5mm headset jack and a speaker grill as well as a microphone. Up top, there is only a secondary mic.

It’s worth noting that the phone does not have an LED notification light, so there is no way to know if you have a missed call or notification without actually turning the screen on. We can’t say we miss the notification light all that much: with the notification avalanche on modern phones, a notification light is also a big distraction, always urging you to pick up your phone. Sometimes it can be useful, though, so for many the lack of it would be a downside.

This is a dual SIM phone: it features a hybrid SIM card tray on the right - you can either use this phone with two SIM cards, or use just one SIM card and use the second slot for a microSD card to expand storage.


Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
5.96 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches
151.5 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm
6.07 oz (172 g)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
5.7 x 2.8 x 0.29 inches
144.8 x 71 x 7.3 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)
6.06 x 3 x 0.44 inches
153.9 x 76.2 x 11.06 mm
6.31 oz (179 g)

Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)

honor 5X
5.96 x 3 x 0.32 inches
151.3 x 76.3 x 8.15 mm
5.57 oz (158 g)

honor 5X


To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review

Display

One good looking display with pleasing colors.

The Galaxy A7 (2016) features a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels.

This makes for a sharp-looking display: at this resolution, it is nearly impossible to notice pixelization or any jagged edges to images on the screen.

What about the colors, though? Samsung’s AMOLED displays come with the nice function that allows users to choose how the screen looks. The default ‘Adaptive’ display mode features unrealistically oversaturated colors and bluish whites, which come together for a very punchy, but wildly unrealistic, cartoony look to everything.

We switch all our Samsung AMOLED displays to the ‘Basic’ mode (you do this by going into Settings - Display - Screen Mode), as this is the mode that conforms to the sRGB color standard, the de facto standard for all images and video. Sticking with Basic Mode and the sRGB standard means that you see images the way those who captured those images intended you to see them. Every other screen mode and standard results in images that get some sort of artificial boost that ruins the way those who took pictures and made movies intended for them to be seen.

Great news is that in Basic Mode, the screen on the Galaxy A7 (2016) looks very good. Whites are just a tad on the green side, but for all else, this is a well balanced display.

Outdoors, this is not the brightest of screens (peak brightness reaches just 369 nits), but it blocks out reflections fairly well, so we found it not all that uncomfortable to use. At night, it can go all the way down to the minimum level of 1 nit, which makes it easy on the eyes, something that is great for those who can’t fall asleep without their phone. The light sensor also works very well, set the phone to automatic brightness and it will adjust the levels very adequately. Viewing angles are also solid, but there is a pronounced color shift towards blue when you view the display at an angle.

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 A7 (2016) 369
(Average)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6731
(Excellent)
2.12
2.26
(Good)
3.69
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 479
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6610
(Excellent)
2.04
2.52
(Good)
5.26
(Average)
Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015) 715
(Excellent)
1
(Excellent)
1:1072
(Good)
6748
(Excellent)
2.19
1.22
(Excellent)
1.81
(Excellent)
honor 5X 585
(Excellent)
7
(Good)
1:1251
(Excellent)
8021
(Poor)
2.19
2.9
(Good)
6.77
(Average)
View all


42 Comments
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posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:32 4

1. GreenMan (Posts: 1439; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)


6.5?! Oh my sweet Lord...

Angry Mob (a REALLY angry one) in 3... 2... 1...

Now, where did I put those darn corns... Ah, forget pop-corns, I'm ordering a PIZZA!!!

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:48 17

8. another1 (Posts: 157; Member since: 25 Dec 2015)


Samsung needs to deal with it's #1 problem: LAG

Stutter, pause, poor animations, or whatever you want to call it, continues to be a huge problem for Samsung. Hardcore Samsung fans (or just owners that need to justify their purchases) try to deny it and say Samsung phones are near lag free. They are not.

#HereComeTheSamsungApologists

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 11:06 7

16. Predator-X (banned) (Posts: 44; Member since: 07 Jan 2016)


No one phone is lag free that counts even for iphones

posted on 18 Jun 2016, 07:42

42. NunYaBiziness (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 Jun 2016)


But Samsung wins hands down on the lag war. Samsung has yet to master the ability to integrate software solutions that do not place a negative impact on hardware performance and I've got 4 generations of their phones to prove that. Samsung should leave software development to the professionals who know how to integrate softwarew and hardware effectively.

A benchmark program does not give any clear indicator that your phone will or will not be struggling with real world use and Samsung phones never compare unless you've managed to unlock their bootloaders and re-tune them correctly. They hacked Android and ruined it and then had the nerve to prevent people from hacking their hack. Sometimes leaving Android to function as it was intended is more reasonable than using fancy front end software that literally adds more weight to the phone.

Switching from wifi bluetooth and towers is drastically hindered on Samsung when their touchwiz is active. Removing all of the Samsung control from my Note 3 so I could run more of Android instead of Samsung actually made it possible to use my Note 3 for Internet calling. But it's not even just this. A major lag using my S3, S6, Note 3, Note 4 have all proven several issues with their lagging when compared to other phones and also running Samsung hardware without ANY Samsung software

The straw that broke the camels back was when I was able to use an LG Leon to breeze through app downloading, installations and when running video chat programs, I saw my Note 3 was smoother but I had occasional video freezing and when it recovered from this, the Samsung Note 3 missed a very large segment of the video. At least the LG Leon kept a smooth consistent data flow. Samsung software removed from the equation put me back on the map and that enables me to get smooth FPS with streams.

I resent Samsung, yet I continue to use their phones. Probably because I have so much money invested in them since the past 5 years have been plagued with carrier upgrade offers and contracts that locked me in. Not to mention Verizon being another eminent threat to those who prefer freedom and choice as they work closely with Samsung to ensure we cannot remove any of their so called crapware and locking the bootloaders and takes away from our ability to correct their screw-ups.

Bottom line is, Samsung needs to go. Verizon should follow them. To those who eventually end up with the understanding about things regarding locked boot-loaders, the native UI plastered on each phone by manufacturers I say, it's good to be in control of your devices. There will soon come a day these devices will be doing more than serving the purposes we bought them for. And it isn't going to feel good when you know your entire life is being controlled and not managed by technology. So, you should be fighting for the right to control your devices instead of letting them control you

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 15:31 1

27. marorun (Posts: 3912; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)


A7 with 3 gb ram and SD615 lag much more than my moto x play with same soc and 2 gb ram.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 18:14

30. hung2900 (Posts: 956; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)


But the Exynos version is VERY snappy. I played the A7 for few days and I cannot believe the phone scored 6.5.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 19:45

32. iushnt (Posts: 1785; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)


That's why you should get exynos model.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 01:00

37. Tommikke (Posts: 33; Member since: 21 Nov 2015)


Yeah, Exynos -variant is MUCH faster

posted on 10 Feb 2016, 15:36

40. AstronautJones (Posts: 303; Member since: 01 Aug 2012)


Shouldn't Samsung owners be the one to comment about supposed TouchWiz lag? Sounds like even you are admitting the ones complaining don't even have the phone.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:32 18

2. AkoSiKuting (banned) (Posts: 88; Member since: 09 Dec 2015)


poor gaming, shutter lag, pricey, not surprice :)

Samsung!

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 16:13 1

29. kevkyle (Posts: 104; Member since: 21 Oct 2012)


not surprised:)......tamang spelling with a "d" past tense kasi....

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 19:29 2

31. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1959; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)


Ignorant post and 12 ignorant likers LOL

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 11:03

39. srgonu (Posts: 256; Member since: 13 Feb 2012)


Disable stupid flip board from home screen settings and stutter will be gone. I see how much it affects on my note edge.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:35 1

3. sebstin (Posts: 127; Member since: 03 Dec 2015)


Just 6.5? Blu Vivo XL was given 7.5 rating.. Vow,, whats happening?

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:48 9

9. another1 (Posts: 157; Member since: 25 Dec 2015)


Samsung Lag. That's what's happening. No one wants a laggy smartphone in 2016.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:57

13. GreenMan (Posts: 1439; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)


@ another1 Well, judging by the comments; seems like many still fancy a laggy smartphone... Perhaps they love that 5 Year old NOSTALGIA of Android Eclair and/or Gingerbread...???

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:51 2

10. GreenMan (Posts: 1439; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)


@sebstin Vivo XL scored a 7.5??? So basically, because this phone's front panel reads "Samsung", it ought to score an 8+ no matter what???

Nothing is happening, mate... It's called: UNBIASED CRITIQUE...

Hats off to P.A...

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 13:02 2

23. Planterz (Posts: 2103; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)


Blu Vivo XL costs $150USD ($100 at release). The A7 costs 400 Euros (~$440). Need more explanation?

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 00:32 2

36. nodes (Posts: 748; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)


and surprise surprise, $150 phone performs better.
$450 Android phone that runs on SD615 and doesn't have Notification LED, seriously Samsung?

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:37

4. Wiencon (Posts: 1922; Member since: 06 Aug 2014)


If only the whole A series was 0.5 inch smaller :(
Why couldn't they make A5 4.5", A7 5.0" and A9 5.5"

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:39 8

5. quintessential (Posts: 76; Member since: 11 Mar 2015)


WOW for once, PA isnt giving Samsung a 9 /10 for a review ... which is a miracle !

Samsung must have stopped paying I guess. LMAO

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:41 12

6. TyrionLannister (unregistered)


Enough Internet for today.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:52

11. GreenMan (Posts: 1439; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)


@quintessential Yeah, either that... Or maybe they've stopped manufacturing good stuff... Have you thought of that?

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:45 2

7. GreenMan (Posts: 1439; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)


Tell you what, lads...

I'm an Android Purist so I may sound a bit biased but The Nexus 5X is a ZILLION times better than this huge, big behemoth of a Smartphone that's 'infested' with a TON of bloat. It doesn't worth it, period...

If you're a "Phablet Jockey", then simply grab The 6P... Its more expensive but worth each and every single extra penny...

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 09:54 3

12. SamsungPhanboy (banned) (Posts: 765; Member since: 31 Mar 2015)


Touchwiz must die, or be revamped.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 10:19

14. jellmoo (Posts: 1700; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)


Wow... There goes my theory about Samsung getting automatic high scores. Sadly, this just further reinforces the nonsensical rating system that PA uses.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 21:17

35. medtxa (Posts: 1133; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)


and maybe PA only use 8 above rating for flagship.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 10:45

15. max1c (Posts: 66; Member since: 11 Oct 2014)


Way overpriced and no Android 6.0. Waste of money. Should have been $250-300 max.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 12:02 1

17. Youraveragejoe (Posts: 129; Member since: 31 Oct 2014)


Anything except the S series and Note series from Samsung is s**t. Period.

posted on 04 Feb 2016, 14:20 4

25. johanbiff (Posts: 405; Member since: 31 Mar 2015)


nah.. the Alpha is great!

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Display5.5 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (401 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera13 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, Octa-core, 1600 MHz, ARM Cortex-A53 processor
3 GB RAM
Size5.96 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches
(151.5 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm)
6.07 oz  (172 g)

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