Can you hear me now? Metal Galaxy A3 and A5 post much weaker signal strength than the S5


Samsung's brand new A-series of metal-clad warriors got introduced recently with the unveiling of the Galaxy A5 and A3 handsets. The phones sport an entirely metal unibody that radiates beauty, as they are also one of the thinnest and lightest phones Samsung currently has on offer.

With great design come grand problems, though, and Samsung is not exactly experienced with all-metal casings. We learned yesterday that there aren't enough tooling machines from Samsung or its suppliers to craft the beautiful chassis of the A5 and A3, that's why they will be released first in Asia, and in seemingly limited batches at that, until Samsung figures out how to ramp up production. This doesn't really bode well for the all-metal concept of the Galaxy S6 we showed you earlier, since if Samsung can't procure enough metal casings for experimental lines like the A-series, what will happen with the Galaxy S flagship line that usually sells in the tens of millions.

Adding insult to injury, a recent review of the Galaxy A5 and A3 noticed that the two metal handsets fare much worse than, say, the plastic Galaxy S5 when it comes to signal strength. Apple had similar problems when it first introduced an iPhone 4 with premium metal-and-glass chassis - it did take the antennas outside, as per the engineering book, but didn't calculate that people will be holding them with bare hands, connect the separated circuits, and diminish the signal strength. Something similar can be observed with the A3 and A5 from the get-go, as you can see in the pictures above. 

Bear in mind that а -82 dBm signal strength, as shown on the S5, is perfectly adequate, while the -92 dBm and -93 dBm of the two unibody handsets show a borderline weak signal. If it dropped another 10 dBm, data connection would be constantly dropping while a tenner more would lose you the cellular network connection altogether in the vast majority of cases. The signal strength test was done with one SIM card in the same location, so the difference in reception could only stem from the choice of premium materials for the A5 and A3. Of course, these readings don't mean you will have bad signal strength experience with those two, just that it will be different, when compared to the Galaxy S5. We'll test those dimisnhed reception claims when we get the retail versions of Samsung's new A-series for review.

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40 Comments

1. jm1226

Posts: 16; Member since: Aug 07, 2014

Am I the only one that doesn't mind the Galaxy s5 being made of plastic? I find the new metal phones to be a bit gimmicky.

2. android_hitman unregistered

actually you're not, but bare in mind that apple phones are beautiful because they're made out of premium materials and these days quality+brand sells. Now Sammy's plastic phones are not bad at all but you can never compare them with an iPhone on the build quality.

4. jm1226

Posts: 16; Member since: Aug 07, 2014

To me a iPhone 6 feels nice but also feels too delicate for daily use. I put any device I have in a case so neither would really bother me

10. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Lol lets not mention Apple and premium/quality/beautiful in the same sentence as if the last month didn't happen. The metal phones will always have bad signal reception/propagation because that is just a property of it. You can even add ugly bands on the back but that still won't make it much better. Also, at this point every Samsung phone has better build quality than the new iPhones.

14. willytbk

Posts: 252; Member since: Aug 15, 2012

U got to be kdding me, lol

37. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

People purposely bending their phones for YouTube hits, equals bad build quality, and an ugly phone somehow.

36. Arte.8800

Posts: 48; Member since: Nov 10, 2014

Wrong, why the h£ll did they not use 8 antenna, instead of 4…? Problem solved. To stingy, not to spend revenue on its products, then these problem arises.

12. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Premium is what we are told it is. People keep echoing "premium". I'm sorry but basic tin/aluminum/glass are not "premium". They are every day materials you can find in your kitchen. Go look around for polycarbonate, kevlar, and materials samsung/moto/ and others use. They are much harder to find and they last longer as well as are more durable. They are truly premium. Everything else is just a byproduct of the Apple spin machine.

15. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

You have a lot of 6000-series anodized aluminum, titanium, and Gorilla Glass 3 around your kitchen? You're so full of crap that your breath stinks of it. As for the "premium polycarbonate" Samsung uses? You can find that ANYWHERE, and it is in no way expensive or premium. Hell, the butter/margarine tub in your refrigerator is made of the same plastic that Samsung uses. The fact that you would equate painted/dyed plastic to a 600-series aluminum with titanium inserts just demonstrates the lack of mental faculties imposed on you by your blind fanboyism.

30. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

The iPhones are rumored to use 6063 Which has 0.1% titanium It has ~1% magnesium, which its main precipitates (not inserts)

41. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

So aluminum is premium? Seriously? You do know, no matter how many times you say something it doesn't make it truth or fact. Right? Aluminum is the 3rd most abundant substance found on this planet. Only water and air more abundant. Aluminum is cheap at only $1.30USD per LB. Premium metals like Platinum and Titanium cost far more. In fact the same 1lb block of Titanium which is much more rare to find costs more than $50.00. Can Aluminum be made to feel and look premium? Sure. It is a simple machining concept that give the soft porous metal a shiny look and premium feel. But it isn't a premium material. Being made to look and feel premium, doesn't make it premium. IMO metal phones are dumb. They will have problems that plastic phones simply don't. They damage to easy. Example, I just bought a Galaxy Note . I did buy a case, While putting on the case, the plastic case scratch the bottom chamfered edge of the phone. Why? Because its soft and its cheap. I don't care how good it is claimed to look for feel. It doesn't even matter when you're gonna slap a plastic case on it. With my Note 3 I never needed a case. Even after a year it has very little damage on the sliver rim. Reception problems as we saw with the iPhone 4 and now this device are a much more serious issue. Metal phones actually drain faster because when you make calls, or use WiFi, the chips have to work harder to keep the signal gong because it has to do it through a denser material. Metal is just for look and feel. It has no beneficial purpose beyond that whatsoever. That is not an opinion it is fact. Then you actually create a bigger problem. Bending phones like the iPhone require you to use a more rigid case, which would need to be a harder plastic or metal. Sticking a metal case on a metal phone, will only cause more reception problems or require the phone to have a somewhat ugly design. Like the iPhone white the antenna is there is that ugly plastic junk filled in where the gaps are. Won't pick on the iPhone, the HTC One the original and present are ugly with that too. LG and Sony have found ways to make plastic phones look and feel more premium without using metal. Samsung could have done this too. The trick is simple. Once the case has been made, you simply use a machine to add a texture to the back and the plastic also has to be harder vs software which Samsung uses to make modular phones. Modular phones use less material because they need to be flexible and thin to allow multiple layers, which si why Samsung phones feel flimsy vs Lumias which use more material because of a unibody design.

3. Anshulonweb

Posts: 468; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

title shoul say *signal reception instead of only reception..,.. first i thought they were talkin about sales reception...

5. XaErO

Posts: 353; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

I just want Samsung to improve upon Touchwiz .. I really don't mind handset being designed with metal or high quality plastic .. If Samsung introduces a lighter, faster touchwiz next year with S6 .. only then I'm in .. or else .. a big NO for Samsung .. need to look for Z4 ..

7. jm1226

Posts: 16; Member since: Aug 07, 2014

To me all they need to do is lighten touchwiz but I'm with you about build quality. I like the feel of the dimpled back of the s5

6. Fellwalker

Posts: 541; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

PA should always test signal reception whenever they test a new phone. It is a key part of what makes a phone fit for purpose but none of the usual sites test for it.

8. sar44

Posts: 278; Member since: Apr 14, 2014

zero feedback "Metal Body (antennas should be behind the plastic, glass or other material, but not metal, so did HTC, Apple and Sony, otherwise the connection will be very bad)." 10th May 2014http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2746925 I wrote it also to samsung support, samsung feedback, samsung facebook, samsung twitter

9. Supraman21

Posts: 467; Member since: Jun 09, 2010

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7984/discussion-on-material-choices-in-mobile Metal phones when built correctly have better reception. Samsung is obviously not very experienced with building phones with premium materials.

13. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Guess not only Samsung is having difficulties than. I'm not sure about the 6 series, but the 4 to 5s series of iPhone, were in the top 4 list of major providers in my country that had connectivity issues, like signal loss or poor reception.

19. Supraman21

Posts: 467; Member since: Jun 09, 2010

I really dont know about the iPhones signal troubles. My old HTC One had better signal than my Galaxy S, Galaxy Nexus, and my Galaxy S3 and they were all made out of plastic.

27. maccess

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 16, 2013

My m7 definetily has worse signal reception than my note 2.. So stop the crap..

28. Supraman21

Posts: 467; Member since: Jun 09, 2010

OK well you only had one phone to compare compared to my 3 others. No need to get defensive.

16. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

This. The blind just want to parrot stuff they have heard from the other rabid members of their tribe.

20. Supraman21

Posts: 467; Member since: Jun 09, 2010

There is no tribe more rabid than the Samsung tribe.

22. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Lol I wouldn't talk. You are the most blatant fanboy I ever met. Not a very intelligent to boot.

23. amats69

Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

look whos talking..LMAO

31. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Oh look, it's another blatant fanboy. Lol

24. Supraman21

Posts: 467; Member since: Jun 09, 2010

Explain? I really don't see how I'm a fanboy.

25. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

I know you weren't responding to me. That would be akin to Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel critiquing the intelligence of Lawrence Krauss. You should definitely use more "LOL" in your writing. Your "arguments" rarely consist of anything beyond the knuckle-dragging speech of an ignorant fanboy who has only ever used one OS. You should definitely be seen, not heard, and I pity anyone who solicits you for phone advice. I am a fanboy, though. I'm a smartphone fanboy. I'm lucky enough to have the luxury to buy different ones to use, and right now I have been back on the Nexus 5 using Android 5.0 while I wait on my BB Passport (BB U.S. Store had them in stock for $599 yesterday) and my Nexus 6 to come in to use. That's the difference between you and me. You are a sightless fanboy who eats propaganda like it is filet mignon and believes your choice is all that could possibly be good as if you were in a cult, while I actually use them all and get to see the good and the bad of every mobile OS.

33. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Please. Anyone that can say that they wanted Apple to use the iPhone 6 display on the iPad air 2 is a complete joke and a moron that laps up Apple speel. You a smart Fanboy? Rofl

38. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

You're not "(R)olling (O)n (F)loor (L)aughing

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