Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review: Standing tall

Standing tall

GSMArena team, 1 February, 2016.

Introduction

The A-Team is back and we start with the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016). It pairs a premium build with premium features, a true S6 lookalike.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review

The Galaxy A models for 2016 are Samsung's answer to the trend started by Chinese OEMs of making premium feeling midrange devices.

This makes the Galaxy A5 as much a OnePlus X/Xiaomi Mi 4c competitor as it is a Galaxy S6 alternative. Speaking of it, the S6 price hovers barely above that of the A5, so the young 'un has to prove it's just as good as the phone that started Samsung's mobile rebirth.

Key features

  • Available with a hybrid dual-SIM/microSD slot
  • Metal frame sandwiched between 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4
  • 5.2" Super AMOLED of 1,080 x 1,920px resolution, ~424ppi
  • Octa-core Cortex-A53 processor, 2GB of RAM, Adreno 405 GPU; Snapdragon 615 chipset (also available with Exynos 7580)
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop with TouchWiz, theme support
  • 13MP camera with f/1.9 aperture and OIS; 1080p video recording; 5MP front-facing camera, 1080p video
  • 16GB of built-in storage, 8GB user available
  • Fingerprint reader, Samsung Pay
  • LTE Cat.4 150 Mbps, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, GPS/GLONASS, Bluetooth 4.1, ANT+, NFC, FM radio
  • 2,900mAh battery

Main disadvantages

  • No 4K video or 1080p @ 60fps
  • Limited storage out of the box, no 32GB version
  • No MHL (but USB OTG is supported)

Compared to Galaxy S6

  • microSD and FM radio, welcome back
  • Lower resolution camera (13MP vs. 16MP, 1080p video vs. 2160p)
  • Bigger battery (2,900mAh vs. 2,550mAh), but no wireless charging
  • Screen resolution is 1080p, not QHD (not a huge deal)
  • Slower chipset with less RAM (2GB vs. 3GB)
  • No heart rate/blood-oxygen sensor

Who would believe that an A-series phone will have features that are missing from an S-series flagship? And yet the microSD card slot is one of the major complaints about the S6. The boost in battery capacity is welcome, even though the battery itself is not removable.

The one major stumbling block may be the camera. Sure, the wide f/1.9 aperture and OIS sound great, but no 4K video feels like a big drawback. We're less worried about the drop in screen resolution, even if it seems major.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) official images - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) official images - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) official images - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) official images - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) official images - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) official images

The original 2014 incarnation of the Galaxy A5 was ambitiously priced for the relatively limited feature set it offered. The 2016 model is a whole different story - it brings a much-needed boost to the screen and chipset, along with great camera specs and Samsung Pay.

This makes the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) a clear upgrade path for those still holding on to an S5 or even S4 and it puts feature pressure onto the premium mid-range market.

Reader comments

what do you mean? dont understand what your situation

  • raghavendra

stylishesh in the A series. i am so happy to use this samsung A5 model mob

  • Paulinho

Absolutely right s6 battery is shut compared to a5