Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review

Introduction


Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Upper mid-range smartphones are exciting. Traditionally, sub-flagship smartphones haven't been getting as much love as they deserve; there haven't been that many 'hero' devices to come out from the more affordable ranks. Last year, we saw a good deal of spec-heavy handsets that were built to attack the more affordable segments of the market. Most of the time, though, those products were exactly that: heavy on specs, but light on character – with generic features and boring aesthetics.

Samsung might be looking to change that in 2016. The company is releasing three mid-range devices that should, theoretically, address the aforementioned issues we've had with the category of late. The popular Galaxy A series is getting updated with the A3, A5, and A7 (2016), but if you're neither willing to compromise much with the specs, nor having the hands of a high-profile basketball player, chances are the new Galaxy A5 will be what's on your mind. It costs around $400 and is not expected to be sold officially in the US, but will be available pretty much everywhere else in the world. And then there's always third-party retails to import it in the US, so if there's a will, there's a way.

But has Samsung managed to produce the first true mid-range hero device of the century? Let's have a look!

In the box, you'll find:

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
  • Fast charger (9V – 1.67A / 5V – 2A)
  • microUSB cable
  • Earphones (GH59-11720J)
  • SIM ejector tool
  • User manual

Design

Exquisite, ambitious design with stylish colors – almost perfect

Last year's Galaxy A5 was impressively thin, but it lacked the sophistication of Samsung's higher-tier handsets. This year, though, things are much different. The Galaxy A5 (2016) sacrifices some of the lightness of its predecessor for a more substantial, ambitious feel. The looks and proportions of the new A5 are near perfect – it's very stylish and well put together, not to mention that the black on gold / rose gold color options look striking and different from what we've been treated to so far.

Even though this isn't a top-level phone, it has one of the most exquisite designs you can find in a phone these days. The finely polished glass surfaces are non-slippery in the hand, yet don't get too messy; the metal frame is thoughtfully shaped, so it doesn't create any discomfort for the user; and the physical keys have the perfect amount of click response. While the phone won't slide out of your hand easily, however, it does slide over most other surfaces (that are not skin or leather), so you should still be careful with how and where you place it.

In an increasingly larger and deeper ocean of generic-looking plastic and metal products, Samsung's Galaxy A5 (2016) stands out as familiar, yet distinctive model. It's both aesthetically pleasing and convenient to work with.


Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Dimensions

5.7 x 2.8 x 0.29 inches

144.8 x 71 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

HTC One A9

HTC One A9

Dimensions

5.74 x 2.79 x 0.29 inches

145.75 x 70.8 x 7.26 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

OnePlus X

OnePlus X

Dimensions

5.51 x 2.72 x 0.27 inches

140 x 69 x 6.9 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

Motorola Moto G (2015)

Motorola Moto G (2015)

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.48 inches

142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Dimensions

5.7 x 2.8 x 0.29 inches

144.8 x 71 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

HTC One A9

HTC One A9

Dimensions

5.74 x 2.79 x 0.29 inches

145.75 x 70.8 x 7.26 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

OnePlus X

OnePlus X

Dimensions

5.51 x 2.72 x 0.27 inches

140 x 69 x 6.9 mm

Weight

4.87 oz (138 g)

Motorola Moto G (2015)

Motorola Moto G (2015)

Dimensions

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.48 inches

142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm

Weight

5.47 oz (155 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review

Display

Not the best display around, but definitely in the upper echelon

A sizable 5.2” AMOLED touchscreen graces the front of the Galaxy A5 (2016). Even before we powered it up, we already knew what to expect – the default Adaptive screen mode with extra-punchy colors, our inevitable desire to switch to Basic mode in order to make things look more natural, the deep blacks, the volatile viewing angles, and everything else.

The A5's display didn't surprise us in any way – it exhibits the exact same characteristics as those of other current Samsung models. Its 1080 x 1920 px resolution is more than enough to produce a fine, pleasantly clear image, but the screen does come off as slightly washed out. Worse is the color balance, which, even on Basic screen mode, exhibits an unpleasantly strong green. It's nothing you can't get used to, but we'd like to see Samsung get rid of this problem right away.

Leaving that aside, the flexibility of this screen brightness-wise is applaudable – outdoors, it can get bright enough to let you view it comfortably, while in the dark, brightness can get extremely low, so as not to hurt your eyes.



FEATURED VIDEO

48 Comments

1. SkyfallWalker

Posts: 73; Member since: Jan 28, 2016

Tragic score. I wonder what the flagship smartphones will be scoring.

5. Ray.S

Posts: 436; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

6.5 is actually above average.

8. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yeah, whatever 6.5/10 is obviously bad for average human.. according to this scoring system, no $200-$500 phone is worth to buy since august 2015, and if you want to buy phone, look for phone that get reviewed before that, like Z3 (8.5), Z3c (9), moto G (9), G Flex (8.5), M9 (8.3), Droid Turbo (9.2).. all new phone get turd score compared to those older phone

38. phonegeek1212

Posts: 58; Member since: Aug 14, 2015

Never Ever Jugde a phone by PAs ratings..Its horrible!!

17. jellmoo

Posts: 2524; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

You have to admit that within the last 6 months or so the score criteria for devices has shifted fairly dramatically without explanation. I have to go back to the Droid Turbo 2 to find a handset that scored an 8 or better. That's 21 phones ago. PA reviews have had completely arbitrary scores attached to them. If I go back 25 phones (takes us to the reviews for the 2 Nexus devices) the average handset score is 6.9. So tell us: What changed? Was there an editorial decision made to hand out lower scores? Why is it that devices that many other sites are giving high marks/phone of the year awards like the Nexus 6P and the LG V10 get comparatively lower marks on PA?

31. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I love how you guys tested the phone on your own website. Just in case all of you haven't noticed, your website honestly is the worst to use without a AdBlocker. You got slow performance because of your website. Test it on NYTimes or Yahoo and see a significant difference. Fix your website or I'll continue to use AdBlocker.

33. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

My PC lags on phonearena without adblocker lol

11. uggman

Posts: 58; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

i wonder what score will they give to the 4 inch iphone 5E thats coming early on this year, given they are apple friendly im guessing 9.0, still pretty much an unfair score for this galaxy phone.

21. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

I wouldn't mind to have this phone tbh.

40. geoffphuket

Posts: 50; Member since: Feb 08, 2016

Yes, but what a lousy specification. For less money you could buy a decent Chinese flagship phone. Why would you want to suffer with the abysmal AMOLED screen that this if fitted with?

28. FrankUnderwood2

Posts: 243; Member since: Oct 01, 2015

I think for this phone, even 6.5 is high. Especially for the processor that it has and internal storage, and the price it asks for those specs.

2. maherk

Posts: 6620; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

"TouchWiz is a shameful software experience" I have watched and read few other reviews about the A5 and A7 and almost all of them compared the experience to that of the S6 and complemented Samsung for tweaking TW. Now what I wish for is you sticking to this low ratings when the iPhone 7 gets released, because you always tend to give Apple a pass when iOS have issues when a new iPhone is launched, because Apple will eventually fix these issues. But it isn't the same case with Android phones.

3. maherk

Posts: 6620; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Build quality rivals Galaxy S6 (kinda heavy though) The display is good quality despite the drop in resolution (the flicker may bug some, though) Great battery life with 91 hour endurance rating (still great with two SIMs too). Full software package with split-screen multitasking and first-party Samsung apps Fast fingerprint reader (as fast as on the S6); Samsung Pay (in select regions) The GPU isn't up to the task of 1080p gaming Great multimedia app package with advanced music player, FM radio too The loudspeaker is fairly quiet, even with a loud ringtone Perfect audio quality if you have an external amp, but volume drops when you plug in headphones Photo quality is comparable with the Galaxy S6 (though not quite as nice); Pro mode is more a name than a feature; bright aperture and OIS are appreciated though 1080p videos come out very good, but no 2160p and no 60fps mode are an issue Here is what GSMarena said about this device. Again, these reviews are the pathetic ones. They are deceiving and full of pure lies. You lost it when you called the Fingerprint reader a pathetic one when it's the same one used on the S6 lol

27. maherk

Posts: 6620; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

They said, comparable, not identical. Then followed it by, though not as nice.

29. may_czos

Posts: 954; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

I wouldn't even say they're comparable. A5's camera is significantly worse which is surprising because it's pretty expensive, has OIS and bright optics (f1,7).

4. SharpMonkey

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 05, 2016

I've read the entire review as a joke, nothing more.

42. davidvicky

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 21, 2016

Anyway from 13% to 77% in 40 minutes. Quick charge top 1tour.vn

6. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Thanks PA for being blatantly honest. I am hobestly sick of most if not every tech website being one or another way consistantly biased. I am sure there will be Samsung insiders and large fan camp on the other side of the river because its they job but you guys are my favourite!

7. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Just want to add that any decent if not brilliant hardawre can be spoiled by bad softwre and price tag. Samsung did a great job here.

9. maherk

Posts: 6620; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

In case you missed it, these ratings only apply to almost every Android that has been released in the past 4/5 months. I never owned a ZTE phone, yet I was one of the 1st to criticize PA for their unfair review and score of the Nubia Z9, especially after checking other reviews about the same handset. Anything that isn't Apple will be a target for such reviews.

13. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

No I didn't. What PA and I realised OEM can't just chuck in latest hardware and claim flagship device price. At completion of review PA said that price was $600 and as high as $770. They haven't established them self yet they simply can't not dictate that price tag like Samsung LG or Sony that have proven record in business and infrastructure built in all levels. I think if they have priced that device at around $400 it would have scored maybe 7.

26. maherk

Posts: 6620; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Then why did they give the Honor 5x a 6/10 score? The phone is priced at $200 and considered by almost every single tech reviewer out there, as the best phone for that price. They feel like every Android phone should perform and have the features and specs of a $800 flagship. Yet they always find a way to defend Apple no matter what.

32. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

I haven't red review of honor 5x . Maybe you have the point. Again look at Z5 7! Moto G 3 gen got very generous score of 9 maybe a little high but this phone is a charm to own. I have 2GB RAM version it's worth every penny. I think market is flooded with pretentious smartphones from Aisia and they got fair critique. Samsung also deserves that score for the reason this company overprices it's midrange and lower end phones. You know what sets Apple apart? They have range of two phones and they phones are virtually free of fault if you run in any kind of problem they have superb post purchase service and it works it just works. Hassle free investment. I am Androist but owned Iphone 6 trust me it's worth to pay extra if you ready to make some compromises.

10. zac89

Posts: 14; Member since: Jan 18, 2016

And you marked Huawei Mate 8 only 7 points... Comparing to this phone it can't get 6.5

12. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

PA pls do fingerprint scanner speed test. I really want to see how it takes you 5 tries.

23. Ray.S

Posts: 436; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

25. maherk

Posts: 6620; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

You are deliberately clicking the Fingerprint scanner with the side of your thumb. I just tried that on my Note 5 and my counsin did so on his 5s and both of our phones had a little bit trouble in recognizing our fingerprints. And regarding the pathetic TW, why didn't you show us other areas than the Briefing where the phone would take a little longer to load? Because throughout the whole video, there wasn't one place where the phone lagged. And you kept talking about some touch issues, yet you typed a full sentence with no issues what so ever. Your bias cannot be hidden anymore, especially when Pro Apple pages like CNet and The Verge aren't complaining Samsung and Android phones as much as you guys are doing. Just the other day, you gave a low end priced phone in the Honor 5x a score 6/10, when every review I bumped into was praising the phone for selling a premium built mid ranger for $200 a price of a low end phone.

34. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Now use the center of the thumb. I am yet to see a fingerprint scanner unlocking a phone by a side print...

35. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

With the nexus 5x you don't have to be so precise.
Galaxy A5 (2016)
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, Octa-core, 1600 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2900 mAh(16h 3G talk time)

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