- Video review
- Connectors and Controls
- Samsung Galaxy A5’s specs
- Performance Testing
- Update firmware
The mass series Galaxy A has undergone significant changes in 2016. Samsung has approximated its appearance to the premium series of Galaxy S, and has provided features that were previously available only to the buyers of expensive smartphones, which corresponds to the long-term strategy of the company.
The Galaxy A and other cheaper phones will receive fingerprint scanners to support the Samsung Pay payment system, which is supported in Russia now.
There are no significant changes in the Samsung Galaxy A5 model (2017). The company has improved the phone's specifications to meet the latest requirements of the time. But still it has some noticeable changes - a waterproof case and a USB Type-C connector. Are there any cons in Galaxy A5 (2017)? Let's take a look.
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) video review
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) apparently does not differ from the previous year model, however, the metal smartphone, with both sides filled in glass is so pleasing to the eye, that we can see a video overview one more time.
The design of the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) has not undergone fundamental changes. It is still the same metal smartphone with the same rounded corners. At the same time, it is very similar to the Galaxy S7.
The front and back panels of the smartphone are completely filled in glass. It looks very impressive and far more expensive than we are used to see in the Galaxy A price range.
Unlike the Galaxy A5 (2016) the metal sides, not covered with glass, now have the same color as the front panel. It means that the smartphone has become completely black - we had the Galaxy A5 (2017) black. The pink Galaxy A5 (2017), gold Galaxy A5 (2017) and light blue Galaxy A5 (2017) are also available.
The back cover of the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
There are no extra ports in the smartphone. Like the older model, it is also waterproof in IP68 standard.
The phone's materials are of high quality. It is not very heavy and pleasant to hold in your hand. The glass surface looks nice and pleasant to the touch, but potentially, it can be scratched, and the fingerprints are left. Overall, the device turned out to be quite slippery, so we would definitely recommend to buy some cover for the Galaxy A5 (2017).
Connectors and Controls
The front panel of the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) does not have any fundamental changes.
It is entirely filled with the glass, which is cut out to make place for the speaker at the top of the device and the Home button at the bottom. At the top right there is a front camera.
The hard button is saved, although, according to preliminary information, Samsung plans to get rid of it in the Galaxy S8.
To the right and left you can see two standard sensors Android (Back and Application Manager), but it is difficult to see them without lighting. Touching them is not fixed, so they are very easy to be pushed by chance.
The fingerprint scanner is adjusted in the Settings section "Lock screen and protection." To add a fingerprint, you need to touch the sensor several times; the display will show the progress of scanning.
If the fingerprint is not recognized after a few touches, it is proposed to protect the screen with a gesture or a PIN code. After a large number of mismatches, the phone may prohibit to touch the scanner for 30 seconds.
The fingerprint is also used for confirmation of payments in Samsung Pay and as an access to "secure folder". To see the scanner’s work, you can also watch our video:
On the back side, there are no changes. The camera is located in the upper middle part of the body, the flash is to the right of it.
On the right side, we can find the power button. Here is also a stereo grille. Previously, it was at the bottom.
On the left side end there are two volume control buttons, as well as in the A5 (2016). The slot for SIM-1 is also here.
The nanoSIM is available. It is opened with a special key, which should be included.
At the top end, there is a SIM-2/microSD combo slot.
Unlike other smartphones with combined slots, this one can use microSD and nanoSIM at the same time. You can see the video of installation of SIM-cards into the Galaxy A5 (2017):
At the bottom, there is a USB Type-C connector, MIC hole and a headset jack. The USB Type-C works at full speed - it is not USB 2.0 with a new type of connector.
As you can see, the body of the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) cannot be dismantled. We have been used to it for a long time, so the battery has to be changed in the service center.
It is difficult to buy a carrying case or a cover for the Galaxy A5 (2017) in early 2017, but the situation will change over time. Judging by the size, the version 2017 will be different from the version 2016 by just a couple of a millimeter’s tenths. So we can expect that almost any case for the Galaxy A5 (2016) will fit for the Galaxy A5 (2017), but still we recommend to try it before purchase, especially if it is a hard case. The rubber, silicone or soft plastic bumpers are likely to fit. The Galaxy A5 (2017) is thicker by 0.2 mm than its predecessor.
It was also reported that Samsung is going to release a line of translucent covers Clear Cover for the Galaxy A models, which are now available for the Galaxy S. The picture shows just such a case.
Display Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
The screen of the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017), as well as of its predecessor, is made by the technology Super AMOLED, which promises us a good color, acceptable brightness and true black. All this was in the Galaxy A5 (2016), and it's all here in the model of 2017.
The screen resolution of 1920x1080 pixels has not increased for the year. It gives the density of pixels 424ppi, which in general is quite good.
Also, Samsung has added the mode Always On. When the display is off, it continues to show the current time, date and battery level. The battery consumption is minimum, since the AMOLED technology makes it possible to use only a few tens of pixels required for the operation.
The screen has good vivid colors and excellent viewing angles, which is not always good: all people around will see what you are doing in your smartphone.
The subjective impressions are confirmed by the objective data. The screen brightness (white) amounted to 357.49 cd/m2, the brightness of black, as it should be in OLED - 0. Accordingly, the contrast ratio is apparently higher than that of any LCD display.
In the display settings, there are two main modes: basic and adaptive. In the former one the color coverage is approximately equal to the area of sRGB, even a little more. In the adaptive mode, the color coverage is much wider than that of the area, which is considered a standard.
When measuring the color temperature of the screen, the difference between the settings modes is not so noticeable. They are quite close to the natural temperature 6500K, but still above it. The main mode is a little below 7000K, the adaptive - above 7000K, but also not too much. In other words, in the second case the picture looks a little colder.
The gamma-curve of the main mode is almost identical to the reference one. The adaptive mode is a little higher in the middle, and it causes darkening of light colors in the image. However, much can be corrected by the display settings, which the Galaxy A5 (2017) has more than other smartphones.
Now the Galaxy A5 (2017) has a trendy "blue filter", which reduces the level of blue and has a positive effect on fatigue - it reduces. However, we would not use it, because the display acquires a yellowish shade. But, perhaps, it will be useful for long reading in the dark.
In addition to the main and adaptive display modes, there are also image and video modes, which adjust the screen automatically, so that the pictures and movie look in the best way. For each mode, the user can adjust the balance of RGB - red, green and blue colors. Besides, in the display settings there is a possibility of switching on and off the function of Always On. Also, it allows to order to the smartphone not to switch on the display if it is in the dark, that is in your pocket or a bag. It is important for devices of a large size.
The display recognizes 5 touches, as well as it was in the Galaxy A5 (2016), which once again confirms our conclusion about the software nature of the limits. Still the Galaxy A line should give in in something to the Galaxy S.
Cameras Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
The camera has been significantly improved in the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017). Previously, the device possessed a photo module with the 13 megapixels resolution for the main camera and 5-megapixel for the front-facing one. Now two of the smartphone cameras are 16-megapixel. The trend reflects the selfie passion. In addition, according to the image quality, the front 16 megapixels are more "honest" than of most smartphones with the declared selfie camera. Both cameras can also shoot Full HD video.
The camera interface remains the same. On the first screen, we see buttons for shooting photos and video recording, as well as a window to display the gallery and preview image. In the other part of the display, we see virtual buttons for changing the cameras, flash control and calling setup. The face in the corner of the viewfinder calls the option of adjusting the complexion. By changing the white balance, you can achieve the best color.
The settings for both cameras are common. It is interesting that they are shown not in the camera’s interface, but in other phone settings. You can directly select resolution, set the timer, turn on video stabilization, geotagging, start recording by voice, gesture or the volume button.
Besides, there are two more tabs on the main camera screen. By swiping to the right, you can open a tab with the filters that are applied in real time to the image preview.
The left tab contains the recording modes, both for video and photos.
In addition to the automatic mode, the mode Pro is available. It makes possible to adjust ISO, white balance, exposure and other settings.
There are also other modes: panorama, slow motion, HDR, night and meal. The most interesting are slow motion and the food, which adds blur to the background. Besides, it is possible to change the white balance so that the images look better.
The front camera has the same interface and the same tabs. The adjustment of skin color is available too. On the right side, there are filters in real time. On the left, we can find only three modes: a self-portrait (auto), night and a wide self-portrait, which is a hybrid of selfie and panorama. It is not always possible to make selfie with a good background. Therefore, in this mode, we make selfie, move the phone to the right, to the left and get a picture with a wide field of view.
The main camera can shoot in different resolutions, as well as use a different aspect ratio. The maximum is reached at a ratio of 4:3.
As we can see, the pictures are of very good quality. Even with the use of zoom, the images are sharp enough, and this difference is not visible at all on the phone screen. In the dark, it is better to shoot with the flash, which works quite well.
With the help of the main camera of the Galaxy A5 (2016), you can shoot a video with the resolution up to Full HD. Ultra HD (4K) is kept for the flagships.
The camera records video well and, that is more important, makes a good sound. The video from the front seat of the car shows that the camera focuses quickly, adapts to the lighting etc.
The image resolution from the front camera and the choice of aspect ratio is the same as of the main one.
The image quality is much more interesting. It is easy to see how different the image sharpness on close-ups and photos with a general plan. We tried hard but failed to shoot a dull urban landscape from a loggia as sharply as the main camera. Apparently, the focus of the camera is fixed so as to guarantee the perfect selfie.
Similarly, the video, shot by the front camera, turned out to be blurry, not so sharp as made by the main one. The assumption about the shifted focus or its limited range to create a corresponding effect of the frame’s depth and blurring the background in selfie seems true. Usually, all cameras of this size are hyperfocal, that is, they achieve maximum depth of sharpness at a distance of 1-2 meters, so they do not have to focus when shooting landscapes. Here, it is obvious that there are settings to make the background blurred.
By the way, almost all of our observations are valid only when viewing images on a computer screen, whereas on AMOLED-display of the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017), all the pictures look very good, and some of them are just perfect.
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)’s specs
As usual, the line Galaxy A presents three models for 2017: the Galaxy A3 (2017), the Galaxy A5 (2017) and the Galaxy A7 (2017). The main difference between them is a screen size: 4.7 ", 5.2" and 5.7" accordingly. Although, the specifications differ too, though mostly in the Galaxy A3 - it has always been much weaker. As for the A5 (2017), it is almost the same as the A7 (2017) in the "iron" respect.
- The official site Samsung.
- Firmware for Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017).
- Manual for Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017).
We tested the smartphone Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) before its official release, so some of the characteristics in the table can be updated. As you can see, the changes are clearly visible, if compared to the Galaxy A5 (2016).
First of all, it concerns the processor, which is performed by the chip Octa Samsung Exynos 7880. It is a bit stronger than the chipset Exynos 7580 Octa, that was used for its predecessor, but is also made by the outdated 28-nm process technology. The new chip offers 8 cores Cortex-A53, working at a frequency of 1.88 GHz, and at the same time, it is able to work now with LPDDR3-1033 memory, whereas the previous version provided only 933 MHz for the memory.
Even in its time, Exynos 7580 surprised by its comparatively week graphics - Mali-T720 MP2, the accelerator of initial level. Exynos 7880 had more modern and faster GPU - Mali-T830 MP3, with three executive conveyors and worked at a frequency of 950 MHz. However, architecturally, it is also the initial-level solution, though, if compared to its predecessor, the frequency became higher (it was 668 MHz) and had more execution units - the speed increase will be visible to the eye.
In general, this hardware platform is sufficient for today's time and shows a good average level.
Support of Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi 802.11n also corresponds to the average level of the market. It would be interesting to see 802.11ac. As for LTE, there is compatibility with the sixth category, which gives up to 300 Mbit / s at the reception.
We should also note two 16-megapixel cameras, but for smartphones of that level from other manufacturer 4K video recording is already available, not only Full HD.
3 GB RAM is also perceived as the standard for the market, at least for normal and not cheap manufacturers. 24 of 32 GB of storage are available to the user, which is also good. In addition, the version with 64 GB of memory is expected.
Compared to the year 2016, we have a faster processor, a more powerful accelerator, and increased amount of RAM (by 1.5 times). The screen remains the same, and the cameras have become better. At the same time, the battery capacity is increased by only 100 mAh and compiles 3000 mAh. This may cause a negative effect on the battery life, the user can only rely on the optimization in the Android 6.
The rival of the Samsung Galaxy A5 Rival is the Huawei Nova - a mid-range device on the Qualcomm platform, which has similar characteristics, and is clearly to be a competitor of the Galaxy A5 (2017) on the market.
Smartbench 2012 shows the superiority of the Galaxy A5 (2017) over the opponent. This is not a victory, but a certain advantage.
The Chinese smartphone wins the browser test.
3DMark is also won by the Huawei Nova. It is likely that the processor in the Galaxy A5 (2017) is not so powerful, especially in its graphics, as it seemed after the first test.
In Basemark tests the Samsung was ahead, as well as in the first - old Smartbench 2012. It is noticeable, that in the tests the Huawei wins in graphics but is weaker in the overall performance.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) in Antutu
Now let's see how the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) showed itself in Antutu - a popular place.
Here the Huawei Nova is the fastest.
Autonomy Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
Autonomy, measured by our method showed better results in the Galaxy A5, although the difference is not so noticeable. It remained 82% of the battery of 3000 mAh. The Huawei lost a little more, despite the battery being by 20 mAh larger.
It is also possible to note some progress in comparison with the Galaxy A5 (2016). Despite the more modest chip, the previous version of the smaller battery left 73% after our test. The difference in 2-3 percentage points could be explained by the difference in battery capacity, but 9 percentage points clearly indicate that the new smartphone has much better energy efficiency.
The schedule of consumption looks typical: the biggest expenses for three-dimensional graphics. However, when compared to the Galaxy A5 (2016), the new model optimized all the components - from graphics to energy consumption at rest.
Samsung has always been good at built-in power control. In this model, it is also presented in the settings in the form of optimizing the processor’s and memory work.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) should provide a good level of autonomy.
Games on the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) has on board not the most powerful, yet modern accelerator. It can be expected that its performance together with the increased processor speed is enough to make all the games fly.
- Riptide GP2: excellent, everything flies;
- Asphalt 7: excellent, everything flies;
- Asphalt 8: excellent, everything flies;
- Modern Combat 5: excellent, everything flies;
- N.O.V.A. 3: excellent, everything flies;
- Dead Trigger: excellent, everything flies;
- Dead Trigger 2: excellent, everything flies;
- Real Racing 3: excellent, everything flies;
- Need For Speed: No Limits: excellent, everything flies;
- Shadowgun: Dead Zone: excellent, everything flies;
- Frontline Commando: Normandy: excellent, everything flies;
- Frontline Commando 2: excellent, everything flies;
- Eternity Warriors 2: excellent, everything flies;
- Eternity Warriors 4: excellent, everything flies;
- Trial Xtreme 3: excellent, everything flies;
- Trial Xtreme 4: excellent, everything flies;
- Dead Effect: excellent, everything flies;
- Dead Effect 2: excellent, everything flies;
- Plants vs Zombies 2: excellent, everything flies;
- Dead Target: excellent, everything flies;
- Injustice: excellent, everything flies.
Thus, the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) handled excellently with all our test games. Apparently, the games that will be able to slow down the smartphone are either not made yet or the phone’s display resolution allows the device to cope with the load.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) comes with Android 6.0.1 system, which looks not very modern for the beginning of 2017. Obviously, the device is going to receive the update to Android 7 in the near future. The next version of Touch Wiz is also available; however, it does not have changes if compared to those that we had already described on the example of the more advanced gadget.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) has three main screens by default: the main home screen with Google search, weather widget, major applications, including Samsung Pay and Google Apps folder. The second screen comes with the recommended Samsung applications, Yandex search, protected folder, and Microsoft applications folder. The third Screen is the Briefing app that pulls various news.
Another feature of the interface - Samsung Notes application brought out to the panel at the bottom of the screen. It allows you to take notes and store them in the Samsung cloud. Overall, Samsung, like Apple, is on the way of the service development, so most of the smartphone’s functions will not be available without account of the Korean company. Only Gmail is not enough.
The Galaxy A5 (2017) offers a secure data storage on the smartphone. Here the user can put data and applications. Having access to them can be got only by means of a fingerprint. The storage will be blocked, if someone tries to gain unauthorized access through the phone.
At present the smartfone supports two payment systems. The first is Russian Ubank, the second - Samsung Pay. The choice between them depends on the user’s bank card. However, we suppose that in the future Samsung will cover all the major banks, working with the population. The difference is that Ubank is mainly focused on payments, whereas Samsung Pay gives also a possibility for offline shopping.
There is also Yandex app on the smartphone, which offers search and news clips.
The Samsung Essentials widget offers to install additional apps for your smartphone, and the pre-installed ones are located in the folder menu. It is not put out to the main screen – it is such modesty. There are well-known S Health, S Voice, Audio, Browser, File Manager, the Samsung accounts management, the already mentioned protected folder and the Samsung products store application, where you can buy even a fridge.
We should note that Audio recording supports a dictation mode, i.e. it converts voice to the text.
From the Microsoft applications, we can find Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype. There is also Word, but it is located on the home screen.
In general, the set of applications is pleasant and helpful. The only disadvantage is necessity to make a Samsung account. It can bind users to a single brand of smartphones.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) is a good phone. The excellent marks should be left for the flagships of the Korean company and its competitors. Smartphone of this price level should be good: nice, comfortable, modern, moderately productive and accessible.
We have not found any serious flaws in the device. It has made a very good impression.
The only disadvantage is moving to USB Type-C, at least, this connector cannot be found in every other smartphone. The branded cables and chargers make feel sad not only because of their price, but also by the fact that they cannot be bought at any place.
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) ’s Price
At the time of preparation of this article, the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) was not available for selling. The average price of the previous model (2016) is about 350$, it is possible to find cheaper. Probably, the Galaxy A5 (2017) will cost not less - in the range of $ 350-400.
The Huawei Nova, which we tested in parallel, is in the same price range. It can be purchased for about 350$. However, we can get only IPS display for this money.
The Xiaomi Mi5 with 32 GB accumulator costs about 330$, and appears to be an interesting offer. The device is made on the Snapdragon processor 820, can shoot 4K video, but has only a 4-megapixel front camera and an IPS screen diagonal of 5.15 inches and resolution of Full HD.
ASUS ZenPhone 3
The 5.5-inch ASUS ZenPhone 3 costs about 410$. It has 4 GB of RAM, is built on the Snapdragon 625 base, and supports the fingerprint reader. However, the device can offer only an IPS-display and a front camera with the resolution of only 8 megapixels.
As you can see, there are variants; however, the Super AMOLED remains the strong point of Samsung.
- nice design;
- high-quality assembly;
- fingerprint scanner;
- good Super AMOLED-display;
- good autonomy;
- good cameras;
- protection against moisture and dust.
- USB Type-C, at least now;
- slippery and easy soiled body;
- molded case;
- Android 6 from the box.
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) firmware update
Samsung has updated the previous model to Android 6.0. It can be expected that the Galaxy A5 (2017) will receive a new firmware in the future, probably in the first half of 2017.
To replace the Galaxy A5 (2017) firmware, you should:
- download the firmware for the Galaxy A5 (2017);
- install the program Odin on your computer;
- charge the smartphone;
- enter the smartphone into Download Mode (by simultaneous hold of the "off" button + "volume down" + "button home"), then press the "Volume Up";
- connect the USB Type-C cable to the device;
- in the program Odin on the computer select files from the archive with the firmware:
- For the graph PIT - file with the extension * .pit;
- For PDA - file, which contains the word CODE in its name, if there is not, select the heaviest file in the archive;
- to CSC - file, in which the title has the word CSC;
- For Phone - file containing the name MODEM;
- Note. If the files for the graphs CSC, Phone and PIT are missing in the archive with the firmware, then sew exclusively by a single file, ie identifying the location of the firmware in the box PDA, leaving other lines blank
The firmware is updated for a few minutes (from 5 to 15). If all goes well, it will be offered to set up your smartphone. Then you can start working.
If suddenly something goes wrong, you can ask about it in the comments below the article.