With so many mid-range smartphones on the market with similar features, it’s never easy to pick the right one.
Thankfully, Samsung may have a game changer with the Galaxy A5 (2017), as the South Korean electronics giant has given the mid-range model some really cool flagship features.
For instance, it’s water and dust resistant, which is a first for the Galaxy A range.
If you have lost a phone due to accidental exposure to water, you’ll really appreciate this feature, especially since it has been raining quite often lately.
Even the build quality has been raised a notch – the back is made of glass while the sides are metal. And it’s curvy enough to be held comfortably.
If you are into selfies – and who isn’t – then you’ll love the A5 as it has a 16-megapixel front-facing camera.
Also, shooting selfies has never been easier, as the A5 has a floating camera button which can move around so you can easily frame your shots.
The selfies turned out sharp with good exposure and proper white balance. We dare say it’s easily one of the best cameras for shooting selfies.
The rear camera, which is also 16 megapixels, was equally good. The pictures turned out sharp and detailed.
The only thing it lacks is OIS (optical image stabilisation) so you’ll need to be steady when shooting images.
Low light performance was also good and better than most cameras although it wasn’t as good as the S7/S7 Edge which have dual-pixel cameras.
The A5 has a 5.2in Super Amoled display that’s sharp and vivid which made watching videos a joy.
If you use your phone as an eBook reader then you will like the Blue Light Filter mode. It claims to reduce eyestrain by reducing blue light emission.
The A5 runs on Samsung’s latest UI – Grace UX – which gives it a lot of cool features and faster access to key functions.
For instance, it has a Secure Folder that allows you to store not only your private photos and videos but also your apps.
Apps stored in the folder will exist separately – in other words, you can have two separate Facebook accounts if you so wish.
The A5 also comes with Samsung Cloud which allows you to back up the phone settings (like your WiFi password and wallpaper), location of your apps on the home screen, calendar and more, which is handy when you switch phones.
We tried it by backing up our Galaxy S7 Edge and then restoring our settings on the A5 and it worked smoothly.
It also supports Samsung Pay, a digital wallet for your credit and debit cards, which lets you make purchases with your phone.
This service is still in beta and is expected to go live soon.
The A5 may not be a flagship device but it doesn’t compromise on performance.
It’s more than capable of handling most games – we ran This War Of Mine, Lara Croft Go, Alto’s Adventure and Banner Saga without any issues.
Samsung has moved the speaker to the side – you may or may not like this but it’s great for gaming and watching videos as you won’t be blocking the speaker when holding the phone sideways.
Samsung’s A5 is a great phone to get if you don’t wish to splurge too much but still want a feature-packed phone.
It has an excellent 16-megapixel selfie camera, nice screen, long battery life and user-friendly interface.
Pros: Supports Samsung Pay; good build quality; 16-megapixle cameras for front and back; nice display; long battery life.
Cons: Fingerprint magnet; speaker is on the side.
Galaxy A5 (2017)
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
DISPLAY: 5.2in full HD (1,080 x 1,920 pixels)
CAMERA: 16 megapixels for front and back cameras
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
PROCESSOR: Exynos 7880 octa-core (1.9GHz Cortex-A53)
MEMORY: 32GB internal storage (expandable up to 256GB with microSD); 3GB RAM
BATTERY: 3,000mAh lithium ion
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 71.4 x 7.9 x 146.1mm
OTHER FEATURES: Samsung Pay, always-on display, water and dust resistant (IP68)
PRICE: RM1,699 (inclusive of GST)
RATING: Four stars
Review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia Electronics, 1-800-88-9999