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Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) Hands-on, First Impressions: A Refreshed Mid-ranger

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Here’s our first look at Samsung’s Galaxy A7!

Samsung’s A series of smartphones heralded the Korean company’s shift to making metal smartphones when they were released last year. Since then each member of the A family of smartphones has received a refresh, getting a better processor, new design and additional features. Today we’re taking a look at the newly refreshed, 2016 version of the Galaxy A7 smartphone, which is launching later in the country for Php 22,990. Let’s get to it:

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) specs

  • 1.6GHz octa-core processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED 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
  • 3300mAh battery

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Initial impressions: A brand new design language that’s derived from the Galaxy S6

The first ever Galaxy A7 smartphone was a showcase of what Samsung could do with metal – before the first A7, all of Samsung’s smartphones were made out of plastic. The Galaxy A7 continues that tradition, though instead of being a full metal smartphone, the 2016 version of the A7 now sports a metal frame and a glass body, much like the Galaxy S6 before it.

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The A7 feels solid in the hands, but since the back of the phone is completely flat it felt a little weird to hold the phone one handed. Certainly the slippery glass back didn’t help one bit – if you’re looking to buy this phone when it becomes available, we suggest getting a silicone case for it lest it suddenly slip out your hands.

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Overall the phone feels mighty premium, as it should, since it’ll be going up against a large number of equally premium (and full metal) smartphones once it goes on sale. The 5.5-inch display is of the full HD variety, and uses Samsung’s own Super AMOLED panels. You know what that means – rich, vibrant (if slightly oversaturated) colors, deep blacks and efficient power consumption. The bezels have been cut down somewhat compared to the previous iteration, which has increased the phone’s overall screen to body ratio.

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Samsung’s also thrown in a fingerprint scanner on the A7, which is a first for the series. The 13-megapixel rear camera has also gotten an upgrade, and now sports optical image stabilization to keep photos blur free when taking snaps. The fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate much like the ones in Samsung’s more expensive flagship phones.

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Inside the A7 2016 gets Samsung’s octa-core Exynos processor along with 3GB of RAM. That should give the A7 2016 enough power to run most of the apps and games that’s typically used by the casual consumer. A 3300mAh battery keeps the lights on. That’s plenty of juice to drive the smartphone for a day, and a little bit over that.

The 2016 iteration of the A7 feels fast, snappy and quick, and there’s zero lag during our time with the device, which probably the result of the higher RAM compared to the previous model. There’s also fast charging on board the phone, which brings the phone to full from zero at around 105 minutes. Samsung says that the latest A7 is getting a Marshmallow update, unfortunately they don’t have a specific time frame as of yet.

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In the Philippines, Samsung is pricing the A7 (2016) at Php 22,990. That’s a fair bit of change for a mid-range phone, especially since there’s a large number of other mid-range smartphones at lower price points but Samsung’s probably banking on their premium market position to help boost sales.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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3 Comments

  1. Unbox.Ph,

    Sana gawa kayo ng reviews about sa mga phones na may Gyroscope for VR games!
    Comparison lang po kung ano ang magandang phone 🙂

    Salamat po

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