Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review: Standing tall

Standing tall

GSMArena team, 1 February, 2016.

Telephony and loudspeaker

Our Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) is the dual-SIM model, but single-SIM versions are available too. The SIM card manager allows you to pick a preferred SIM for voice, text and data.

This is a dual-standby phone - if you get a call on SIM1, SIM2 will be out of reach for anyone who tries to call you. However, you can optionally have the calls to the out-of-reach card forwarded to the active card.

Setting up SIM duties - calls, texting and data - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Setting up SIM duties - calls, texting and data - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Setting up SIM duties - calls, texting and data - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Setting up SIM duties - calls, texting and data - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
Setting up SIM duties - calls, texting and data

The Samsung dialer shows two dial keys (if you have two SIMs) so you can easily dial with either card. The call log can be filtered by SIM1 and SIM2, also by missed or rejected calls.

Dialer - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Filtering the call log - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Smart dial - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
Dialer Filtering the call log Smart dial

The Do Not Disturb mode can be put on an automated schedule. When it's on, only priority notifications can get through and you decide what's a priority - you can set anything from calls from select contacts to reminders from key apps.

Do Not Disturb mutes all but the most important notifications - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Do Not Disturb mutes all but the most important notifications - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
Do Not Disturb mutes all but the most important notifications

The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) and its singular loudspeaker scored a Below Average mark on our loudspeaker test. It has plenty of company down there - the iPhone and HTC One A9 to name a few. It performs evenly across the tests (speech, music, ringtones), but neither is particularly loud.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Samsung Galaxy A5 57.9 60.7 66.6 Below Average
Apple iPhone 6s 66.5 64.6 65.8 Below Average
HTC One A9 65.0 64.9 67.2 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 65.8 66.0 66.5 Below Average
OnePlus X 65.9 66.3 70.7 Average
Samsung Galaxy S6 68.1 66.3 73.7 Good
Xiaomi Mi 4c 73.2 66.6 77.5 Good
Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen 75.7 69.6 75.9 Very Good
Xiaomi Mi Note 75.9 68.9 83.3 Excellent

Text input

The Galaxy A5 (2016) uses an updated version of the Samsung Keyboard. It's quite feature-packed, with a dedicated numbers row, a row above that for word suggestions and additional characters on each key (accessible via long-press).

The updated Samsung keyboard - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review The updated Samsung keyboard - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review The updated Samsung keyboard - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
The updated Samsung keyboard

If that seems too tall, you can scale the keyboard down (or up, if you want bigger keys). We don't like that the Space key is quite short, though.

Sizing up the keyboard: smallest - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Sizing up the keyboard: default - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Sizing up the keyboard: biggest - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
Sizing up the keyboard: smallest default biggest

Additional typing tools include swipe input, My Hot Keys (predefined phrases that can be typed by long-pressing a number key) and voice dictation.

Other apps

Samsung continues to bundle the Microsoft app package, that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Skype. Note that these are just icons, you have to download each app from Galaxy Apps before you can use them (this way they don't take up storage if you don't want them).

Microsoft app package - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Microsoft app package - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Microsoft app package - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
Microsoft app package

Google's Drive is pre-installed, however, the actual document editors are not (they are a free download, though).

The Samsung-customized web browser features Web sign in - a feature that works as a password manager secured by your fingerprint. This makes log-ins as simple as unlocking the phone.

With the Galaxy A5 (2016) your fingerprint can be your password - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
With the Galaxy A5 (2016) your fingerprint can be your password

S Health is on board though without the advanced sensors (heart rate, blood oxygen) its functionality is more limited. It can still track walking/running/cycling and you can manually input water and coffee intake and so on.

S Health - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Counting our steps - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Additional things to track - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
S Health Counting our steps Additional things to track

Smart Manager is a hub that controls several key areas - battery, RAM, Storage and Device security. This gives you tools to track down apps that drain the battery, use too much RAM and clean-up unnecessary files.

Smart Manager - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Freeing up storage - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Freeing up RAM - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
Smart Manager Freeing up storage Freeing up RAM

The Device Security tab lets you activate KNOX (protects the phone and OS from attacks but adds a second to boot time) and scan for malware. The My KNOX app lets you separate work and personal apps by creating a secure, isolated space on the phone.

Device Security activates KNOX and scans for malware - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
Device Security activates KNOX and scans for malware

The My Files app is the default file browser. It features Google Drive integration. You can ZIP folders to make them easier to share as a single file.

My Files with Google Drive integration - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review My Files with Google Drive integration - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
My Files with Google Drive integration

Smart Switch you'll probably use just once, but it's still handy. It lets you import your content from your old Android, iOS or BlackBerry device. For iOS it pulls data from iCloud, for the other platforms, the transfer happens either wirelessly or via USB (which is faster).

Smart Switch helps you move from your old phone to your new Galaxy A5 - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Smart Switch helps you move from your old phone to your new Galaxy A5 - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Smart Switch helps you move from your old phone to your new Galaxy A5 - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
Smart Switch helps you move from your old phone to your new Galaxy A5

Finally, there's Galaxy Apps, Samsung's own app store. Galaxy Essentials is a good place to find great tools (like Kids Mode), but for general app shopping, you would probably be better off with Google Play.

Galaxy Apps offers some exclusives - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Galaxy Apps offers some exclusives - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review Galaxy Apps offers some exclusives - Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review
Galaxy Apps offers some exclusives

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