Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) reviewSamsung Galaxy A7 (2016) 6.5
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
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.
151.5 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm
6.07 oz (172 g)
144.8 x 71 x 7.3 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)
153.9 x 76.2 x 11.06 mm
6.31 oz (179 g)
151.3 x 76.3 x 8.15 mm
5.57 oz (158 g)
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|
|Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)||715
|Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)||479
|Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)||369
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|
|Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)||65.3%
|Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)||67.4%
|Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)||85.7%
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. GreenMan (limited) (Posts: 1016; 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!!!
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.
16. Predator-X (banned) (Posts: 44; Member since: 07 Jan 2016)
No one phone is lag free that counts even for iphones
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
27. marorun (Posts: 3384; 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.
30. hung2900 (Posts: 951; 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.
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.
2. AkoSiKuting (banned) (Posts: 88; Member since: 09 Dec 2015)
poor gaming, shutter lag, pricey, not surprice :)
29. kevkyle (Posts: 97; Member since: 21 Oct 2012)
not surprised:)......tamang spelling with a "d" past tense kasi....
31. NoToFanboys (Posts: 1203; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)
Ignorant post and 12 ignorant likers LOL
39. srgonu (Posts: 239; 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.
3. sebstin (Posts: 88; Member since: 03 Dec 2015)
Just 6.5? Blu Vivo XL was given 7.5 rating.. Vow,, whats happening?
9. another1 (Posts: 157; Member since: 25 Dec 2015)
Samsung Lag. That's what's happening. No one wants a laggy smartphone in 2016.
13. GreenMan (limited) (Posts: 1016; 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...???
10. GreenMan (limited) (Posts: 1016; 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...
23. Planterz (Posts: 2036; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
Blu Vivo XL costs $150USD ($100 at release). The A7 costs 400 Euros (~$440). Need more explanation?
36. nodes (Posts: 681; 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?
4. Wiencon (Posts: 1816; 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"
5. quintessential (Posts: 62; 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
6. TyrionLannister (unregistered)
Enough Internet for today.
11. GreenMan (limited) (Posts: 1016; Member since: 09 Nov 2015)
@quintessential Yeah, either that... Or maybe they've stopped manufacturing good stuff... Have you thought of that?
7. GreenMan (limited) (Posts: 1016; 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...
12. SamsungPhanboy (banned) (Posts: 765; Member since: 31 Mar 2015)
Touchwiz must die, or be revamped.
14. jellmoo (Posts: 1525; 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.
35. medtxa (Posts: 1126; Member since: 02 Jun 2014)
and maybe PA only use 8 above rating for flagship.
15. max1c (Posts: 56; Member since: 11 Oct 2014)
Way overpriced and no Android 6.0. Waste of money. Should have been $250-300 max.
17. Youraveragejoe (Posts: 119; Member since: 31 Oct 2014)
Anything except the S series and Note series from Samsung is s**t. Period.
18. johanbiff (Posts: 388; Member since: 31 Mar 2015)
I also have a Samsung(S6) but 6.5 seems fair for what it is, bad choise puting the 615 in that phone IMO.
19. Lycan155 (Posts: 249; Member since: 24 Nov 2013)
Samsung failed to deliver this time , weak cpu , no Marshmalow too bad this phone looked great
20. nebula (Posts: 541; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)
Fair score. Nexus 5x miles away and cheaper, moto x style is also a better option. Simply wrong pricing but sammy has itss own mind.
21. Gaurav008 (Posts: 328; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)
Great design. Pathetic choice of SoC and bad software optimization for a 2016 upper midrange phone. Average camera. Bad pricing, granted being a Samsung it will drop in the coming months. Add to that, Samsung software update schedule is sketchy to say the least. Voila! 6.5 is good enough.
22. SenorThrottles (Posts: 276; Member since: 23 Dec 2015)
At least now people won't say phonearena is biased towards samsung
24. KingOfAndroid (Posts: 23; Member since: 12 Dec 2013)
It is really hard to impress Phonearena lately.
26. LetThereBeLight (Posts: 80; Member since: 20 Nov 2014)
When I bought my note edge the first two weeks was a nightmare. Random battery drains random lags very unreliable behaviors and then something happened and it turned to be ok. I guess they tested this device under that "weird two weeks". Anyway mine had 5.0 at the beginning and the 5.1 update made it much smoother some month later but yeah TW is a weird thing. One of the few not really understandable thing in this planet Earth... and when you pair it with mediocre hardware...
28. FrankUnderwood2 (Posts: 213; Member since: 01 Oct 2015)
For the price of Galaxy A7-2016, one can easily get Moto X Pure Edition (which is everybit a better device sans fingerprint sensor), or you can get 2 Huawei Honor 5X phones and still save 50$. So, I think, this phone should get anything more than 6 final score, for that ridiculous price alone.
33. ibend (Posts: 3814; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)
or just get Galaxy S5 if you really need phone with samsung logo :D
34. Sovat_fc (Posts: 224; Member since: 30 Aug 2014)
Everything on this phone is alright except its price tag.
41. prashant001 (Posts: 1; Member since: 05 May 2016)
A7 2106_pathetic phone-dont buy
I bought Samsung’s A7 2016 mobile in April'16 for Rs 32,500. From day 1 it was hanging, shutting down & heating. As it was under 7 days replacement guarantee, i returned it & got a new handset.
The new handset also had problems of hanging & shutting down (though it was not getting heated). I took-it to service centre. The fellow there told that it seemed to be software problem & reloaded the software. However, since the problem persisted, i again took-it to service centre. As it was over the 7 days replacement warranty, they refused to replace the handset. Instead, they kept the phone for checking & doing the needful. They replaced the motherboard & gave back the phone.
However, the phone was still hanging & shutting down. I again took-it to service centre. They again kept the phone with them for about 4-5 days for checking & returned saying that the phone does not seem to have any hardware issue & that the problem could be because i was transferring apps from the old phone (also a samsung phone, galaxy grand, 3 years old but still works great). So I was instructed not to transfer any app from the old mobile but to download them afresh. Accordingly, i have not transferred apps from the old mobile. However, phone is still hanging & shutting down. I have taken pics of the moment when the phone hanged & when it shutdown & watsapped it to the person at service centre.
Its almost a month since I bought this model & ever since have been running to the service centre. Fellows at service centre don’t seem to have any idea of the problem & are just doing trial & error. Meanwhile I am suffering. Suffering for believing in the Samsung brand & buying their phone with specs, which are easily available in other brands for much less cost. Rather than having just 7 days replacement guarantee, if Samsung is confident of the quality of its products, it should offer at least 1 month replacement guarantee. Else it should offer to replace the phone if the problem cannot be pinpointed & if the customer is dissatisfied.