Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is one of the most popular Android phones. In part, that's because of its very good performance and excellent camera. Another key factor is the stunning glass and metal design.
Well, when it comes to the design and looks, Samsung has just made a near carbon copy that is way more affordable: the new Galaxy A5 (2017). Really, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy A5 (2017) are strikingly similar. Both feature a curved glass back and a metal frame, both are of identical physical size, even both are water-resistant and run on the same Grace user interface.
So why even consider the Galaxy S7 then? Well, do not write off the flagship S7 just yet: we will be comparing the new S7 and A5 (2017) in areas that are not immediately obvious, such as the actual performance, camera quality, battery life and so on. So let’s see.
Look at the two from afar, and you won’t be able to tell the difference.
As we said already, the S7 and A5 (2017) are really similar. So much so that from afar, you could easily mistake one for the other. The giveaway is the camera. While the S7 has a large camera sensor with optical image stabilization that protrudes out of the phone’s back, the A5 (2017) has a tiny camera lens that almost looks disproportionately small.
The phones' physical size is comparable: the A5 is just a hair wider and taller, but the difference is almost invisible. Both are also equally thin: just 7.9mm, but the curved glass on the back makes it feel like they are even smaller. Having curved glass backs also adds to the comfort factor: it’s easier to pick them up from the table.
Both have a fingerprint scanner up front, embedded in the physical home button, and both have a 3.5mm headset jack.
The coolest feature that the two share, however, has to be water resistance: both can be submerged in water up to 5 feet deep for as long as 30 minutes without suffering any damage. They are not meant to live under water (and do not bring them close to salty sea / ocean water), but an occasional selfie in the swimming pool is fine, and you don’t need to worry when using them in the rain or dropping them in the toilet. It’s really nice that Samsung equips even a mid-range phone like the A5 (2017) with water-proofing at the high IP 68 rating, while even Apple’s flagship darling, the iPhone 7, has a lower IP 67 water protection (meaning it can be safely submerged in only 3-feet deep water).
The new A5 also has one advantage over the Galaxy S7: it uses the newer USB-C port for charging, while the S7 relies on the dated microUSB. USB-C is reversible, so you can plug in USB-C cables both ways, and it’s gradually becoming the universal standard for all sorts of electronics. It’s simply more future-proof.
Switching over to the display part, we have two AMOLED screens with gorgeous colors. The S7 features a 5.1” screen with a higher, 1440 x 2560 pixel (Quad HD) resolution, while the A5 (2017) has a 5.2” display with a 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution. Both are PenTile displays (meaning they get less sub-pixels per pixels than an LCD RGB screen), and while there is a slight difference in sharpness, when using the phones at a regular viewing distance they both looked sharp enough to us.
Both phones support various color modes, as is typical with Samsung screens, and we recommend using the Basic screen mode (go to Settings > Display > Screen Modes to switch). The default Adaptive mode looks equally punchy and oversaturated on both, but is not particularly accurate to calibration standards. You can check out our detailed color measurements right below and notice that the S7 has a slight advantage with its better color balance.
The other cool thing about the A5 (2017) is that it gets the Always-on Display mode that the flagship S7 has. It shows high-contrast white text on your lockscreen all the time and is useful to see the time, date and whether you have some missed notifications (the text of notifications, however, is not shown). This is a cool feature, but having it enabled will have an impact on battery life.