The A7 is one of three phones the South Korean electronics giant launched this year, giving the Galaxy A range a makeover for a more premium look that’s in line with its new generation of phones.
Unlike the previous models which were mostly plastic, the three new phones sport glass back and metal for the sides for a more classy design.
What’s in, what’s out
As the A7 is a mid-range model, Samsung had to forego a couple of features, namely LED notification light, wireless charging and heart rate sensor.
It’s not all bad though as the company managed to include fast charging and fingerprint sensor. Plus, it has a MicroSD card reader, something that even its flagship phones lack, allowing you to add as much as 128GB more memory.
The smartphone has a 5.5in full HD screen that’s of the Super Amoled variety, so expect punchy and vibrant colours.
On the inside, it has a Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor and 3GB RAM which is impressive for a mid-range model. We have yet to encounter any instances of lag when using the phone for daily tasks.
It’s also great for gaming – the A7 never faltered when running most titles, including Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Hearthstone, Asphalt 8: Airborne and Lara Croft: Go.
The camera on the A7 is 13 megapixels with an aperture of f/1.9 and optical image stabilisation (OIS).
It’s great to have OIS on a mid-range model, as you don’t have to worry about getting blurry photos when you shoot in a hurry, as OIS can eliminate minor shakes.
The camera produced photos with a good amount of detail with accurate colours and white balance.
The front camera, which is 5 megapixels, was also good but it works a little differently. Unlike other camera, you can’t “touch to focus” because the camera snaps a pix as soon as you touch the screen.
It takes a little getting used to but it’s actually very handy for taking selfies faster.
One of things we like best about the A7 is its battery which is rated at 3,300mAh. The A7 easily lasted more than a day when mainly used for social media such as checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Under heavy usage, it survived for about 16 to 18 hours, which is rather amazing as most phones today barely make it past 10 hours.
Samsung has definitely taken its mid-range smartphones up a notch, fitting them with the latest features and giving them the premium treatment in the looks department.
Sure, some functions have been left out to save cost but the only one we really missed is the LED notification light, which is something that’s unique to Androids. Without the light, it’s rather hard to know when we have missed a call/ message or the battery is low without actually switching on the smartphone.
Other than that there is much to like the phone – it runs very smoothly, has a good camera and long battery life.
If you don’t mind spending a little more, you won’t be disappointed with the A7 as it’s one of the best mid-range phones on the market now.PROS: Excellent build quality; good battery life; supports fast charging; includes fingerprint sensor; features optical image stabilisation for rear camera; includes MicroSD slot for adding more memory.
CONS: No haptic feedback for capacitive buttons; no LED notification light
Galaxy A7 (2016)
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with TouchWiz
DISPLAY: 5.5in Super Amoled full HD (1,080 x 1,920 pixels)
CAMERA: 13-megapixel rear camera with OIS, 5-megapixel front camera
PROCESSOR: Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi
OTHER FEATURES: Fast charging; fingerprint sensor
MEMORY: 16GB internal storage; MicroSD (free 32GB card), 3GB RAM
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 74.1 x 151.5 x 7.3mm
PRICE: RM1,899 (inclusive of GST)
RATING: Four stars
Review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia Electronics, 1800-88-9999