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.

Related phones

Galaxy A5
  • Display 5.0 inches
    1280 x 720 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP (Single camera)
    5 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2300 mAh
  • OS Android 5.0 Lollipop
Galaxy S5
  • Display 5.1 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP (Single camera)
    2.1 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 2GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
    Samsung TouchWiz UI
Galaxy A3
  • Display 4.5 inches
    960 x 540 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    5 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, 1.5GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 1900 mAh
  • OS Android 5.0 Lollipop

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