Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) review: Alphabet soup

Alphabet soup

GSMArena team, 20 January 2017.


A 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display, 14nm Exynos chipset, a body made out of a glass/metal combo, IP68 certification, 16MP f/1.9 cameras front and back - it sure sounds like Samsung's next flagship. Only it's not the flagship we're talking about, but the Galaxy A5 (2017) premium mid-ranger.

Of course, we are guilty of hand-picking that selection of specs to prove a point, and there are other fields in that spec sheet that would give away the A5's lower position in the Galaxy universe. Display resolution is one (1080p), and the chipset is another (Exynos 7880). Even though it's made on a cutting-edge 14nm fabrication process, it's still only mainstream Cortex-A53 cores inside and not hard-hitting Mongooses or Kryos. And then the cameras lack OIS and 4K video recording, even if they both offer higher resolution than the Galaxy S7.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) at a glance:

  • Body: Aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 4 display protection
  • Screen: 5.2" 1080p Super AMOLED screen (424ppi); Always On Display
  • OS: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow; Samsung Grace UX; Nougat update in the works
  • Chipset: Exynos 7880, 14nm process
  • Memory: 3GB of RAM; 32GB storage, dedicated microSD slot for expansion
  • Camera: Primary 16MP, f/1.9, 27mm; Secondary 16MP, f/1.9
  • Video: 1080p
  • Connectivity: nano SIM (dual SIM version available); LTE (Cat. 6); Wi-Fi ac; Bluetooth 4.2; FM Radio; USB Type-C; 3.5mm jack
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader, IP68 certification for dust and water resistance, Samsung Pay

Main shortcomings

  • Somewhat expensive - the Galaxy S6 can be had for less, the S7 is slightly pricier, but will certainly dip in a couple of months when the S8 comes out.
  • Android is still Marshmallow, though an update is coming.
  • No 4K video recording at a price point, where you can find plenty of phones that support it.

It's not exactly what you call a bargain, the A5 (2017), unfortunately. Its price tag makes a pretty solid case for the Galaxy S6, and why not even the S7 when the time is right? It's also not looking good that Samsung is putting out a new premium product with good ol' Marshmallow, and no shiny fresh Grace UX can make up for that.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) review

None of that means we don't like the premise of a premium full-featured (or thereabout) smartphone positioned a notch below the flagships - quite the opposite. We'll be looking into just how much the A5 (2017) deserves its place in the world on the following pages, starting (not unusually) with a hardware overview.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

Great camera if you use it right

  • Anonymous

How I can turn the screen upside down. The auto rotation turn the screen only side ways?

  • Nightowl

I've regretted ever since i bought it in 2017. The main reason is the camera. The photos taken are very poor quality. Two friends of mine also had this phone and had the same issue. Ip68 went under water, when pack panel came off after about 1.5...