Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017): unboxing and first look

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The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) has just arrived in our office and it's time to unbox it and take a quick first look at this attractive combination of glass and metal, a phone more affordable than a flagship, but looking exactly like one.

The Galaxy A5 (2017) will be the right phone for a lot of people: it features a 5.2-inch display, which is a very comfortable, golden mean size that is neither too small, nor too large. It's also more affordable than high-end iPhones and Pixels, an important advantage in a world where many people find that more affordable phones are good enough for them.

Yet, the Galaxy A5 (2017) makes a few compromises in the performance and camera departments, the two key areas of differentiation these days. A quick glance through the specs reveals the welcome presence of the Samsung Exynos 7 Octa 7880, a chip that might be less powerful than the top crop, but one built on a modern, 14nm manufacturing process, ensuring it has top-notch power efficiency and promising to help achieve great battery life on the new A5.

We will look explore the Galaxy A5 (2017) in more detail in our full review that is coming up soon, but right now let's focus on unboxing this sleek new handset and looking at what is in the box. The first thing you notice is that you get an unremarkable white box (nothing like the fancy black box of the S7 with its elegant magnetic closure). Let's peek inside:

What is in the box:

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) model SM-A520F
  • User Manual
  • Sim ejector tool
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • White Samsung earbuds with replaceable rubber tips
  • Adaptive Fast Charging wall charger (15 watts peak, 9V and 1.67V, or 5V and 2A)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

  • Display 5.2 inches 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP (Single camera) 16 MP front
  • Hardware Samsung Exynos 7 Octa 3GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh
  • OS Android 8.0 Oreo

This is quite the full package. We're happy to see that the A5 (2017) supports Samsung's Fast Adaptive Charging and ships with a quick charger in the box. It can push out as much as 15 watts of power, which will make recharging that 3,000 mAh battery cell in the phone faster. There is also a USB-A to USB-C cable, a white one of sufficient length; a SIM ejector tool is always a nice thing to have and the basic white Samsung earbuds come with different sized replaceable rubber tips.

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Our first impressions of the Galaxy A5 (2017) is that it feels very well put together. It is not lightweight, but it is not too heavy either. It has a nice, substantial feel in the hand, a heft that suits it. On the list of specs you can also find water protection. The phone is IP 68 certified, which is the highest level of protection and means that the phone is water resistant to a maximum depth of 5 feet (1.5m) for up to 30 minutes, and is also protected from dust, dirt and sand. This is achieved without any fiddly extra caps or covers and means you need to worry less about damaging it.

One of the most peculiar features about this handset is the loudspeaker that is positioned on the side, just above the power / lock key. A strange position, it looks surprisingly practical as you don't cover it with your fingers when you hold the phone in either portrait or landscape.

What about battery life, performance, benchmarks and a general conclusion over whether it's worth buying the Galaxy A5 (2017)? Stay tuned for our full review coming up soon for all of that.

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