Introduction


The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016 edition, aka A7 6) launches early in 2016 to set the tone for mid-range phones: those that are not as expensive as the finest Galaxy S series and iPhones, but also a level above the Moto Gs of this world.

The Galaxy A7 (2016) is a 5.5-inch smartphone – it's large, but probably not as big as it's screen diagonal would suggest.

The first thing to know about the Galaxy A7 (2016) is that it looks and feels stunningly good, stylish. While carrying the phone for a week or so while reviewing it, people noticed it and asked about it, often complimenting it.

You know there are supposed to be some compromises with mid-range phones, but the one area where Samsung did not compromise was looks.

The rest is TouchWiz running on top of Android 5.1 Lollipop on a Snapdragon 615 system chip with 3GB of RAM, a fingerprint scanner with support for Samsung Pay, a 13-megapixel camera with OIS and a fairly large, 3,300mAh battery. At the moment of this writing, the phone is on sale in only a few European markets. It is expected to become more widespread in February, while plans for US availability of the phone are unclear. One version with AT&T 4G LTE bands has passed FCC certification, though, so there is a chance that it might come to the States in the future. Now, let’s see how it all plays out in real life.

In the box:

  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
  • 2A - 5V wall charger
  • microUSB Cable
  • User manual
  • SIM ejector tool

Design

Super stylish, eye-catchy design, very solid feel in the hand. Built to near perfection.

The Galaxy A7 (2016) looks a lot like Samsung’s current flagship, the Galaxy S6.

The frame is made out of metal, the physical buttons are also made of metal, while the front and back are Gorilla Glass 4 with a slight curve towards the edges. The A7 (2016) feels monolithic in the hand, reassuringly solid.

We’ve already touched on this in the intro, but let’s make it abundantly clear: this phone looks every bit as stylish and well made as the top phones out there and it’s impossible to tell just by the looks that we’re dealing with a mid-range phone. In the hand, it has some nice heft to it, but it’s not too heavy and does not tip over when you hold it. Despite rocking a glass on the back and front, it does not catch a lot of fingerprint marks and looks fairly clean, so you don’t have to frantically wipe it every few hours.

In terms of color, it comes in a choice of gold, white, black and pink gold, and we have the gold version up for review.

It’s also fairly compact for a 5.5” phone: its width is just 2.92” (74.1mm), while the popular iPhone 6s Plus that also has a 5.5” display has a width of 3.07” (77.9mm). The A7 (2016) is also not as tall at 5.96” vs 6.23” on the 6s Plus. Both phones are equally thin at 7.3mm, so big props to Samsung for making a 5.5” phone fit in such compact dimensions.

The buttons are in the typical for Samsung layout: a large, physical home key (with a fingerprint scanner in it) below the display, a back button on the right and a multitasking key on the left (both are capacitive keys with a backlight that appears for a short while when you touch them). The lock key is on the right, while the two separate volume buttons are on the left, and all are made of metal and feel very clicky and quality-made. On the bottom, there is a microUSB port for charging, a 3.5mm headset jack and a speaker grill as well as a microphone. Up top, there is only a secondary mic.

It’s worth noting that the phone does not have an LED notification light, so there is no way to know if you have a missed call or notification without actually turning the screen on. We can’t say we miss the notification light all that much: with the notification avalanche on modern phones, a notification light is also a big distraction, always urging you to pick up your phone. Sometimes it can be useful, though, so for many the lack of it would be a downside.

This is a dual SIM phone: it features a hybrid SIM card tray on the right - you can either use this phone with two SIM cards, or use just one SIM card and use the second slot for a microSD card to expand storage.


Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Dimensions

5.96 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches

151.5 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.96 oz (169 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)

Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)

Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)

Dimensions

6.06 x 3 x 0.44 inches

153.9 x 76.2 x 11.06 mm

Weight

6.31 oz (179 g)

Honor 5X

Honor 5X

Dimensions

5.96 x 3 x 0.32 inches

151.3 x 76.3 x 8.15 mm

Weight

5.57 oz (158 g)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Dimensions

5.96 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches

151.5 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.96 oz (169 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)

Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)

Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015)

Dimensions

6.06 x 3 x 0.44 inches

153.9 x 76.2 x 11.06 mm

Weight

6.31 oz (179 g)

Honor 5X

Honor 5X

Dimensions

5.96 x 3 x 0.32 inches

151.3 x 76.3 x 8.15 mm

Weight

5.57 oz (158 g)

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

Display

One good looking display with pleasing colors.

The Galaxy A7 (2016) features a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels.

This makes for a sharp-looking display: at this resolution, it is nearly impossible to notice pixelization or any jagged edges to images on the screen.

What about the colors, though? Samsung’s AMOLED displays come with the nice function that allows users to choose how the screen looks. The default ‘Adaptive’ display mode features unrealistically oversaturated colors and bluish whites, which come together for a very punchy, but wildly unrealistic, cartoony look to everything.

We switch all our Samsung AMOLED displays to the ‘Basic’ mode (you do this by going into Settings - Display - Screen Mode), as this is the mode that conforms to the sRGB color standard, the de facto standard for all images and video. Sticking with Basic Mode and the sRGB standard means that you see images the way those who captured those images intended you to see them. Every other screen mode and standard results in images that get some sort of artificial boost that ruins the way those who took pictures and made movies intended for them to be seen.

Great news is that in Basic Mode, the screen on the Galaxy A7 (2016) looks very good. Whites are just a tad on the green side, but for all else, this is a well balanced display.

Outdoors, this is not the brightest of screens (peak brightness reaches just 369 nits), but it blocks out reflections fairly well, so we found it not all that uncomfortable to use. At night, it can go all the way down to the minimum level of 1 nit, which makes it easy on the eyes, something that is great for those who can’t fall asleep without their phone. The light sensor also works very well, set the phone to automatic brightness and it will adjust the levels very adequately. Viewing angles are also solid, but there is a pronounced color shift towards blue when you view the display at an angle.



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41 Comments

41. prashant001

Posts: 1; Member since: May 05, 2016

A7 2106_pathetic phone-dont buy I bought Samsung’s A7 2016 mobile in April'16 for Rs 32,500. From day 1 it was hanging, shutting down & heating. As it was under 7 days replacement guarantee, i returned it & got a new handset. The new handset also had problems of hanging & shutting down (though it was not getting heated). I took-it to service centre. The fellow there told that it seemed to be software problem & reloaded the software. However, since the problem persisted, i again took-it to service centre. As it was over the 7 days replacement warranty, they refused to replace the handset. Instead, they kept the phone for checking & doing the needful. They replaced the motherboard & gave back the phone. However, the phone was still hanging & shutting down. I again took-it to service centre. They again kept the phone with them for about 4-5 days for checking & returned saying that the phone does not seem to have any hardware issue & that the problem could be because i was transferring apps from the old phone (also a samsung phone, galaxy grand, 3 years old but still works great). So I was instructed not to transfer any app from the old mobile but to download them afresh. Accordingly, i have not transferred apps from the old mobile. However, phone is still hanging & shutting down. I have taken pics of the moment when the phone hanged & when it shutdown & watsapped it to the person at service centre. Its almost a month since I bought this model & ever since have been running to the service centre. Fellows at service centre don’t seem to have any idea of the problem & are just doing trial & error. Meanwhile I am suffering. Suffering for believing in the Samsung brand & buying their phone with specs, which are easily available in other brands for much less cost. Rather than having just 7 days replacement guarantee, if Samsung is confident of the quality of its products, it should offer at least 1 month replacement guarantee. Else it should offer to replace the phone if the problem cannot be pinpointed & if the customer is dissatisfied.

34. Sovat_fc

Posts: 224; Member since: Aug 30, 2014

Everything on this phone is alright except its price tag.

28. FrankUnderwood2

Posts: 243; Member since: Oct 01, 2015

For the price of Galaxy A7-2016, one can easily get Moto X Pure Edition (which is everybit a better device sans fingerprint sensor), or you can get 2 Huawei Honor 5X phones and still save 50$. So, I think, this phone should get anything more than 6 final score, for that ridiculous price alone.

33. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

or just get Galaxy S5 if you really need phone with samsung logo :D

38. FrankUnderwood2

Posts: 243; Member since: Oct 01, 2015

+1 This.!

26. LetThereBeLight

Posts: 117; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

When I bought my note edge the first two weeks was a nightmare. Random battery drains random lags very unreliable behaviors and then something happened and it turned to be ok. I guess they tested this device under that "weird two weeks". Anyway mine had 5.0 at the beginning and the 5.1 update made it much smoother some month later but yeah TW is a weird thing. One of the few not really understandable thing in this planet Earth... and when you pair it with mediocre hardware...

24. KingOfAndroid

Posts: 34; Member since: Dec 12, 2013

It is really hard to impress Phonearena lately.

22. SenorThrottles

Posts: 284; Member since: Dec 23, 2015

At least now people won't say phonearena is biased towards samsung

21. Gaurav008

Posts: 328; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

Great design. Pathetic choice of SoC and bad software optimization for a 2016 upper midrange phone. Average camera. Bad pricing, granted being a Samsung it will drop in the coming months. Add to that, Samsung software update schedule is sketchy to say the least. Voila! 6.5 is good enough.

20. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Fair score. Nexus 5x miles away and cheaper, moto x style is also a better option. Simply wrong pricing but sammy has itss own mind.

19. Lycan155

Posts: 254; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Samsung failed to deliver this time , weak cpu , no Marshmalow too bad this phone looked great

18. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

I also have a Samsung(S6) but 6.5 seems fair for what it is, bad choise puting the 615 in that phone IMO.

17. Youraveragejoe

Posts: 134; Member since: Oct 31, 2014

Anything except the S series and Note series from Samsung is s**t. Period.

25. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

nah.. the Alpha is great!

15. max1c

Posts: 105; Member since: Oct 11, 2014

Way overpriced and no Android 6.0. Waste of money. Should have been $250-300 max.

14. jellmoo

Posts: 2687; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Wow... There goes my theory about Samsung getting automatic high scores. Sadly, this just further reinforces the nonsensical rating system that PA uses.

35. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

and maybe PA only use 8 above rating for flagship.

12. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

Touchwiz must die, or be revamped.

7. GreenMan

Posts: 2704; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

Tell you what, lads... I'm an Android Purist so I may sound a bit biased but The Nexus 5X is a ZILLION times better than this huge, big behemoth of a Smartphone that's 'infested' with a TON of bloat. It doesn't worth it, period... If you're a "Phablet Jockey", then simply grab The 6P... Its more expensive but worth each and every single extra penny...

5. quintessential

Posts: 86; Member since: Mar 11, 2015

WOW for once, PA isnt giving Samsung a 9 /10 for a review ... which is a miracle ! Samsung must have stopped paying I guess. LMAO

6. TyrionLannister unregistered

Enough Internet for today.

11. GreenMan

Posts: 2704; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

@quintessential Yeah, either that... Or maybe they've stopped manufacturing good stuff... Have you thought of that?

4. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

If only the whole A series was 0.5 inch smaller :( Why couldn't they make A5 4.5", A7 5.0" and A9 5.5"

3. sebstin

Posts: 195; Member since: Dec 03, 2015

Just 6.5? Blu Vivo XL was given 7.5 rating.. Vow,, whats happening?

9. another1

Posts: 157; Member since: Dec 25, 2015

Samsung Lag. That's what's happening. No one wants a laggy smartphone in 2016.

13. GreenMan

Posts: 2704; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

@ another1 Well, judging by the comments; seems like many still fancy a laggy smartphone... Perhaps they love that 5 Year old NOSTALGIA of Android Eclair and/or Gingerbread...???

10. GreenMan

Posts: 2704; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

@sebstin Vivo XL scored a 7.5??? So basically, because this phone's front panel reads "Samsung", it ought to score an 8+ no matter what??? Nothing is happening, mate... It's called: UNBIASED CRITIQUE... Hats off to P.A...

23. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Blu Vivo XL costs $150USD ($100 at release). The A7 costs 400 Euros (~$440). Need more explanation?

36. nodes

Posts: 1165; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

and surprise surprise, $150 phone performs better. $450 Android phone that runs on SD615 and doesn't have Notification LED, seriously Samsung?

2. AkoSiKuting

Posts: 88; Member since: Dec 09, 2015

poor gaming, shutter lag, pricey, not surprice :) Samsung!
Galaxy A7 (2016)
  • Display 5.5 inches
    1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP (Single camera)
    5 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, 3GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3300 mAh
  • OS Android 5.1 Lollipop

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