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Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) Review: Get a Grip

Samsung-A701

Samsung filled the gap between the entry level market and the consumers looking for the latest and greatest smartphones with their mid-ranged offering in the A series. The A series was meant to look the part of a flagship with a spec bump down to make it more affordable and this year’s A7 certainly looks the part, but how does it perform? Hopefully, we help you decide if it’s worth spending your hard earned money on the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016).

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) Specifications

  • 1.6GHz Exynos 7850 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

Looks so sleek, but slips and slides like it was on an oil slick.

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As far as looks go, Samsung definitely incorporated all the elements that would make a phone look like it belonged among recent flagship releases. A metal build with a glass back makes the A7 fit the bill; no doubt about that. It’s got less curves like its brothers/sisters in the S series and lies pretty much flush when set down on a table, but its slender 6.3mm thickness makes it easy to pocket and hold in the hand.

The right of the phone houses the power button and SIM tray that you will need an ejector to access. You can choose between using 2 SIM cards or further expand its storage capabilities if you feel like stocking up on media to consume on the device.

Samsung-A705

On the left is the volume rocker, and other bottom you’ll find the 3.5mm headphone jack, micro USB port, and speaker grills. The top of the phone is bare except for the antenna lines and on the back, you’ll find its main shooter — which we’ll discuss more a little later.

Samsung-A703

As we said in our hands-on article, you definitely need to purchase a case along with the device. It has slid off slightly uneven tables, car seats, and off couches because of how slippery the A7 is… Even after a thorough wipe down. Good news is that our review unit is in once piece and shows very little wear despite being dropped a couple of times. A testament to the A7’s build quality, but still… Sorry, Samsung.

Super AMOLED Goodness

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The 5.5-inch A7 is equipped with Samsung’s famous Super AMOLED display with a screen to body ratio of  74.3%. We should all know by now that Samsung has delivered some of the best displays for smartphones for quite some time and it certainly is no different with the A7. The display is vibrant with rich colors and deep blacks that make watching YouTube videos or browsing through social media feeds a delight. There are a few instances, YouTube’s UI in particular, where colors were over saturated but we’re willing to look the other way; the good definitely outweighs  the bad in this department.

Definitely a Mid-Ranger

At the heart of the A7 is an Exynos 7850 SoC, paired with 3GB of RAM, and a Mali-T20 GPU. It does day-to-day tasks very well with hardly any hiccups to speak of when browsing through the UI and running multiple apps in the background. This was the phone we primarily used during our trip to Taiwan for COMPUTEX and the A7 handled everything we threw at it like a champ. The numbers generated by the A7 in benchmark tests won’t blow you away, it averages at around 37.5k mark on AnTuTu; evidence that it does belong in the mid-ranged category. As far as gaming is concerned, we used Asphalt 8 to see what the GPU brought to the table and while there were noticeable frame rate drops, it is still playable — but maybe stay away from heavier games.

Camera

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The 13MP rear shooter of the A7 does a remarkable job when subjects are lit properly. You get really sharp images with good color reproduction, but things start to fall apart once you take low light photos. The camera has trouble finding its focus and you get a lot more noise than usual. The UI is simple with all the usual suspects when it comes to creative ways to take your snaps, as well as a wide selfie mode for the front camera. Speaking of which, the 5MP front camera does pretty well, but the lack of an LED flash means that you have to an adequate light source for those duck-faced selfies.

A7Batt

Power to Get you Through the Day

The benchmark for the A7’s battery life is pretty solid and comes in at over 10 hours. It won’t last you days, but it does have enough juice to last you until you get back home; even if you’re out past dinner. We used the A7 during our coverage of COMPUTEX and had mobile data on to be able to push stories to you guys as soon as we could, roam around the city with ease, and “talk” to the locals when things were getting lost in translation. Other phones, we’re not saying which ones, we brought didn’t last as long, so the A7’s battery is definitely a plus.

The Verdict

Here’s where get things get a little tricky. While we did enjoy our experience with the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016), it’s kinda hard to give it a glowing recommendation because of its price tag. At Php 22699, it may not cost as much as a flagship device but it’s at the ceiling of what we usually expect mid-ranged phones to cost. If it wasn’t for the steep price, we would definitely give the Galaxy A7 an A for the Korean brands efforts.

Jamie Inocian

A self-confessed geek. Jamie started out helping out on the Unbox Podcast and became the Digital Sales Manager when he joined the team full time. He has since then transitioned into one of our Senior Editors and Head Video Producer.

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6 Comments

  1. Lagi naman mataas kung mag presyo ang samsung. With 22.7k, I will just buy a phone with almost same specs and with lower price tag na branded din like lenovo, asus, etc.

    1. Hindi naman nagtatagal ang mga mumurahing brands. Ang Galaxy Note 3 ko halos 3 years old na ok pa rin. LG G2 ng Kuya ko halos 3 years old din OK pa rin. Pero Zenfone 2 ng kaibigan ko na 1 taon pa lang(!) maraming defect pinapalitan nalang!!!

      Mahal nga Samsung, pero QUALITY. Nagtatagal.

      1. Well, considering their price, they better last that long. Isa sa mga advantages ng buying cheaper phones is kahit masira ito or mawala, you will still lose sleep siguro but for only a few days. Imagine losing an almost 50k phone compared to a sub 10k one and you will feel the difference. On a sidenote, my Sony Xperia died after only 7 months.

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