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Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Review: Evolving The Mid-range

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We review Samsung’s Galaxy A5 2016!

While Samsung is better known for their flagship devices, the Korean company also makes all manner of mid-range devices for people who can’t justify dropping 30K plus on a new phone. The A-series of phones fills the company’s mid-range lineup, and the new 2016 A5 smartphone brings a couple of high-end features to a lower price segment. Does the A5 stand up to the numerous mid-range devices in the market today?

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 specs:

  • Exynos 7580 1.6GHz octa-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5.2-inch Super AMOLED full HD display, Corning Gorilla Glass 4, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 128GB
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, OIS, AF, LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Dual-SIM (optional)
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, fingerprint scanner
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 2900mAh battery

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Metal Frame, glass Back

Samsung has taken a slightly different design direction for the 2016 refresh of the A5. The previous iteration featured an all metal body, but this year Samsung has opted to go with a metal frame and a glass back. Eagle-eyed readers can probably see the close resemblance of the A5 2016 to the Galaxy S6, and that’s not a coincidence.

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Despite the familiar design of the phone, you’ve probably noticed the more squarish build of the A5. The power button is still located on the left while the volume buttons are placed on the right. The speaker grill, 3.5mm, and the micro USB port are located on the bottom of the phone. The phone uses a hybrid SIM setup, which means you’ll have to choose between an extra SIM or extra storage when you start using it.

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The Galaxy A5 now sports a fingerprint scanner embedded on the home button, with physical Android navigation keys flanking it on the side. Said sensor unlocks the phone quickly, though it isn’t as fast as the one found on the Galaxy S7. It is accurate though, and rarely fumbled during our review.

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Samsung’s slightly tweaked the display of the A5 2016 to 5.2-inches from the 5.1-inch panel on last year’s model. The display tech is still Super AMOLED, but they’ve bumped the resolution up to full HD from just HD in the previous iteration. As with most of Samsung’s Super AMOLED panels, you’re getting very sharp, vibrant if oversaturated colors that stand out even under direct sunlight.

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Exynos 7580 is better than Snapdragon 615

There are two variants of the Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 – one powered by a Snapdragon 615 processor and one powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 7580 processor. Just like on their flagship devices, PH customers will get the Exynos powered 7580 version.

That’s good, since Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615 processor isn’t quite as good or as fast as Samsung’s one Exynos solution. It isn’t the fastest processor around, but it can hold its own both in normal use and in gaming. NBA 2K16 is playable even with medium settings, and gaming with the processor on Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas felt smoother than on SD615. For benchmark freaks, the phone got 41652 points in AnTuTu.

We would have liked to have at least 3GB RAM in the phone as opposed to the 2GB onboard, plus a little more internal storage since you’re only getting around 11GB of usable storage after accounting for the OS. But on the bright side, the Exynos processor never showed any thermal irregularities, and while the phone does warm up, it’s not as hot as other phones that uses SD615 SoCs.

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Camera is just average

On paper the Galaxy A5 2016’s camera looks impressive: 13-megapixel sensor with a F/1.9 aperture and optical image stabilization. Unfortunately, the camera stumbles in some of our shots – many photos that we took look saturated, while some photos look overexposed.

On the upside, when the camera does cooperate, it’s capable of taking decent shots, even in low-light thanks to the OIS.

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Battery life is pretty good

One thing that the Galaxy A5 2016 has in abundance is battery life. At 2900mAh, it has 350mAh more than the Galaxy S6’s 2550mAh and is only 100mAh shy of the Galaxy S7’s 3000mAh. With normal use, we were averaging 13 hours of use out of the phone – more than enough for your average workday. In PCMark, we got a work battery life of 9 hours and 23 minutes.

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Verdict: A solid mid-range effort from Samsung

The mid-range market has never been as tough as it is now. The Galaxy A5 2016’s main appeal is to the peeps who want a phone that kind of looks like the S6 and roughly has the same features but has a lower sticker price. The A5 2016 fits the bill perfectly, and at Php 19,990 it barely squeaks under the Php 20K mark.

15 Comments

    1. But, but,… They’re built like TANKS, at least yung mga Samsung bago ang GS6. Ang Note 3 ko, magti-three years old na, matibay pa rin. Inakyat sa Baguio at Sagada, nabagsak mula sa kung saanman, nainitan at naulanan, gumagana pa rin like new!

      Nakabili kami ng Starmobile UP Max, wala pa atang 4 months yun sira ang autofocus ng camera! May mga kaibigan ako bumili ng Flare S3, nagsi-sira!

      TL;DR, “Expensive” nga ang Samsung, pero matitibay. Worth it.

      1. May mga tao kasi na nakatingin lang sa price tag at hindi sa quality. Pabayaan mo na, baka nasanay sa buy 1 take 1 angel’s burger.

      2. Agreed with CP and Archie 100%. I was hesitant to buy a Samsung phone until I fell in love with the GS7. So I bought it and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s hard to settle for anything less after that.

  1. A midrange phone for samsung is on 20k price range? yikes, good luck selling that here in PH.
    I’d rather go for a redmi note 3 pro or wait for the zenfone 3.

    1. And after 4-5months, 14k na lang ito sa widgetcity. I’m sure by that time e hindi pa sira ang current phone mo kaya di mo kailangang mag-alala kung bibili ka ng a5 (2016). Last year’s a5 ay nasa 10k na lang and still a good phone.

      1. tibay nman asus at kilala brand mostly for motherboard and pc components pero ayos din cp nila mag 1 year old na zenfone 2 ko waiting for zenfone 3 ng mapamana ko na to sa nanay ko ^_^

  2. You want quality android phones? Go for samsung, lg, huawei or oppo. You want headaches? Go for cherry mobile and myphone

    1. uy in fairness sa myphone, well at least in my experience. nakadalawa na ako, first was a888 and second was a919, both ok naman at hanggang palitan ko ng ibang models gumagana pa din. ang cherry ang walang tibay na maaasahan, meron ako apollo wala pa 3 months nagblack screen. yung starmobile up max, di umabot ng 6 months lagi reboot ng reboot. samsung medyo may kamahalan pero walang sakit ng ulo. again, speaking from experience.

    1. a5 2016 has a removable battery while s6 is non removable. pag humina battery ng s6 di mo na mapapalitan. yung a5 mapapalitan mo pa. good value na din

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