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Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) review

Call Quality


We had no major issues with call quality on the A7 (2016).

In calls, voices of our callers sound very natural and clear, with sufficient volume to be audible in even some noisier environments. The same is true on the other end of the line: voice through the mic is carried out in a fairly clean manner, with no major gripes.

Battery life

Great battery life, gets us through even the busiest of days without worrying about running out of juice.

The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) features a 3,300mAh battery that is not user removable.

But how long does that battery last? We ran the phone through our battery life test and the result is nothing short of stellar. With some 9 hours and a half of battery life, this is one of the longest lasting phones we’ve ever tested.

Then, we have real-life impressions. The Galaxy A7 (2016) easily lasts a full day, even when you put it through its paces, and on average we got around a day and a half of use. Your mileage may vary, but you should get somewhere around this as well.

Given that a 3,300mAh battery is rather large, it’s important to measure how much it takes to charge the phone back from zero to 100% with the stock wall charger. Luckily, Samsung provides a Fast Adaptive Charge wall plug which puts out 15 watts of power to juice up the battery faster. It takes one hour and forty minutes to fully recharge the phone, which should be fast enough for most.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) 9h 57 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 9h 55 min (Good)
Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015) 6h 29 min (Poor)
Honor 5X 6h 54 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) 100
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 96
Motorola Moto X Pure Edition (2015) 76
Honor 5X 170

Price, rivals and alternatives


The Galaxy A7 (2016) is expected to go on sale soon at prices north of $440 (400 euro). It will not be available in the United States, at least initially, but could arrive stateside at a later point.

At such a high price, it goes in direct competition against some extremely well performing phones.

First on this list is Samsung’s own Galaxy S6. The 5.1-incher is smaller, but if you don’t care all that much about the screen size difference, the S6 is better in every way: it has a much faster processor, runs much faster, has a vastly superior camera that supports 4K video, and will get updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow much faster. At just a slightly higher price than the A7 (2016), the latter is at a huge disadvantage when you compare the two.

Next on the list is the Nexus 5X. The 5.2-incher by Google is more affordable than the A7 (2016) in the United States, and a bit more expensive than it in Europe and the rest of the world. The Nexus lacks the design sophistication: it’s a plastic phone that feels a bit hollow and nowhere near as stylish, but it has a much faster performance, a vastly superior camera with 4K video support, the promise for super fast Android updates and USB Type C for charging. If you can live with its design, it also feels like a much better buy than the Galaxy A7.

Then, there is the Moto X Pure. The 5.7-incher is again more affordable than the A7 (2016). It does not look nearly as well made and is bulkier, but also has a very good looking display, much cleaner and faster performance and a camera that seems to be a bit better, which again puts it in a favorable position.

Then, we can look at other affordable devices. The newly launched honor 5X features the same Snapdragon 615 system chip that powers the A7, and it also has a very stylish and solidly constructed metal body. At the same time, it costs less than half the A7! True, it does come with a fairly disappointing custom skin, but with a price of just $200, this only illustrates the slightly exaggerated price premium that the A7 comes with.

Conclusion


There are two ways to look at the Galaxy A7 (2016). A subjective and irrational one that completely disregards its slightly exaggerated price, and a more objective one that considers all the facts.

Fact is that once you pick up the phone you will be tempted to judge it subjectively, it is in fact really that good looking and stylish, well built. It has a good looking display. Its battery lasts a long time.

However, the objective reality does tend to catch up with all subjective perceptions after time. And the objective reality is that this phone runs disappointingly inconsistently, often stutters, and features a slow chip that Samsung should use on more affordable phones than this one. Camera performance is decent, but not great. And then, you remember about the sad state of Android updates on everything but the top Samsung phones, and the case for the A7 (2016) becomes even less convincing.

If you do not play games on your phone, though, and value the style and looks of a device above all, the Galaxy A7 (2016) should definitely be on your list of considerations. Not so much for anybody else.

Software version of the review unit:
Android Version: 5.1.1
Build Number: LMY47X.A7100ZHU1APA2
Kernel Version: 3.10.49-6452901




Update: You can now read our Galaxy A7 (2017) review!

Pros

  • Very stylish, eye-catching design, solid build quality
  • Very solid battery life
  • Super AMOLED display has pleasing colors
  • Supports expandable storage via microSD cards

Cons

  • Performance is disappointing: inconsistent, phone often stutters and lags
  • A bit too pricey for what it offers
  • Poor for gaming, GPU performance is terrible
  • Ships with Android 5.1, unclear when and whether it’d get updated

PhoneArena Rating:

6.0

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