Hands-on the new Samsung Galaxy A5 and A7 (2017)

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The mid-range smartphone market here in Malaysia is extremely competitive, with currently over 20 models being offered from different brands from different countries, and Samsung’s entry – the Galaxy A line-up smartphones has always been serious players in this market, namely the A3, A5 and A7, followed by the top of the range A9 Pro. For 2017, Samsung is back again with new versions of its lineup. First launched in CES 2017 in Las Vegas, the 2017 Galaxy A devices are still aimed at the same market and costs the same. Our team at MDROID were invited to the launch party here at our shores to experience the launch of the Samsung Galaxy A series here at our shores just a couple of days after the launch at CES event. Unlike the previous generations, we will only be getting 2 versions out of the 3 new phones – the mid-range Galaxy A5 and the top of the line Galaxy A7. We have no news on the smaller Galaxy A3 that’s available in other markets. We were able to get our hands-on both the phones and bring you our first impressions of the devices.

Design

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For 2017, the design of the Samsung Galaxy A5 and A7 basically follows the current Samsung smartphone design language, and definitely looks like their more expensive flagship – the Galaxy S7. While the previous generations look boxy and feels premium, both phones look more curved and is more pleasing to the eye and touch. There is not much difference between both of the phones except the increase in size for the larger Galaxy A7.

The front is basically where the external differences are. The standard Galaxy A5 has a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display, while the larger Galaxy A7 bumps it up to 5.7-inches. Both have Full HD resolutions and are using one of the best displays in the industry in terms of colour reproduction. Below the display sits Samsung’s usual row of Android navigation buttons, with a home button in the middle with fingerprint reader built-in, and recent apps and back button both sitting on either side.

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There is not much change in the placement of the ports and buttons on the sides either. You still get a metal band running across the sides of the phone, which adds to the premium touch. There’s a new USB-C port sitting at the bottom replacing the microUSB port for data transfer and fast charging, and the 3.5mm earphone jack sitting next to it. The power button is on the right, and the volume toggles are on the left. Both the Galaxy A5 and A7 comes with 2 trays. The one on the left is where the primary nano-SIM lives, and the top lives a secondary nano-SIM card and a dedicated slot for storage expansion which takes microSD cards up to 256GB. The only major change is the speaker placement which is now on the top right. Samsung says it aids in speaker quality and prevent accidental covering of the speaker. It definitely feels weird, and its not that loud either, lacking bass and clarity. However, both units that we got our hands-on are pre-production units. We can’t wait to try out the retail units.

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The rear is covered with 3D glass with curved edges. While that may feel good, the back is rather plain-looking, and is rather boring. The camera hole is now exactly the same size as the flash, and it does resemble some of Samsung’s older devices.

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Both the Galaxy A5 and A7 are equipped with the same camera setup – a 16-megapixel rear facing camera with f/1.9 aperture, and a almost similar 16-megapixel front facing camera with the same f/1.9 aperture. Both cameras record 1080p Full HD videos at 30 frames-per-second. The rear facing camera comes with the usual auto focus and LED flash.

Specs

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Underneath the body, both devices are almost identical as well. Both are powered by a 1.9GHz Octa-core processor, with 3GB of RAM. Both the Galaxy A5 and A7 receives a bump in internal storage as well, from the old 16GB to 32GB. Should you require more, both phones takes microSD cards up to 256GB. Both devices are now IP-68 rated for water and dust resistant, even with the ports exposed. Samsung claims that both phones can be submerged in water up to 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes. Both phones does feature fast charging as well, with the Galaxy A7 having a larger battery compared to the Galaxy A5, which is 3600mAh and 3000mAh respectively. NFC does comes standard in both phones, which works well for Samsung Pay, which is Samsung’s own payment system.

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The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) will be retailed at RM1699, while the latter Galaxy A7 (2017) will be priced RM200 more, at RM1899. Both devices are available for pre-order now online and in-store. There are also accessories for the Galaxy A5 and A7 which can be purchased separately.

We at MDROID can’t wait to get our hands on retail units of both devices and show you what we really think of it.