Samsung Galaxy A5 hands-on


The Galaxy A5, a new mid-range device by Samsung, is on display at CES 2015, and we’re getting our first acquaintance with the handset on the showroom floor. It’s a 5” device with a 720p resolution, a quad-core Snadpragon 410 system chip, a 13-megapixel camera, and a 2300mAh battery.

The big highlight, however, is clearly the new design that Samsung is using on this and other new devices: a sleek profile with the main frame made out of aluminum, a stylish look similar to that of the Galaxy Alpha.

Design


The new Samsung style shown in the Galaxy A5 is alluring and makes the device stand out in the sea of plastic Android devices. The metal frame is definitely a welcome surprise in such an affordable handset, and so is the slim profile.

The Galaxy A5 measures 5.48 x 2.74 x 0.26 inches (X x Y x Z), and the thinness is particularly impressive. Apart from that, we have the typical large home key up front, lock key on the right and volume keys on the left side.

Display


The 5-inch display of the Galaxy A5 sports a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels which we find to be fine in terms of sharpness: you could spot pixelization if you look at the screen from up close, but the pixel density of 294ppi definitely provides a picture that is sharp enough to please most people. It’s a Super AMOLED panel that we’re looking at, with the traditional deep black, excellent contrast and great viewing angles.

Interface


The Galaxy A5 runs on Android 4.4 KitKat with Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface. All has been said about the TouchWiz skin - it’s a rich, sometimes overwhelmingly rich, custom skin with some likable options, but a bit of an excess of cartoony color and some sluggish parts. The more interesting question is when this phone will get updated to the newer Android 5.0 Lollipop, and while we do not have the answer to that, we hope that the answer is ‘soon’.

Processor and Memory


The quad-core Snapdragon 410 system chip aboard the Galaxy A5 places it straight into the mid-range, affordable category. With differences in sharpness being pretty minimal in their practical appearance, it is the system chip that has become the one element that sets devices apart the most.

Our impressions are that the phone runs fine for daily tasks and games. It might not be future proof, but having a 720p resolution (and not 1080p) plays to its benefit as games play with ease and nice framerates.

Camera


We’re looking at a 13-megapixel main camera and a 5-megapixel front shooter on the Galaxy A5. The resolution can’t tell the whole story, but 13-megapixel is enough to ensure more than sufficient level of detail. The Galaxy A5 also supports 1080p Full HD video recording. It lacks 4K video recording, though, and that is another shortcoming that sets it apart from higher-end phones. We ought to say that we appreciate Samsung adding a more capable, 5-megapixel front cam in here, as it’s clear that selfies have taken over the world by a smartphone, and there’s basically no going back.

Expectations


Overall, the Galaxy A5 is an important step forward in terms of design. With the performance of most devices being very similar for daily tasks, Samsung has found it hard to differentiate and convince users that its premium priced devices are worth the money. This new design is a convincing argument, one that we expect to relate to consumers better than a pure increase in specs would.


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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

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