Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) review: Alphabet soup

Alphabet soup

GSMArena team, 20 January 2017.

Display

The Galaxy A5 (2017) like all self-respecting Galaxies packs a Super AMOLED display. The A5 in particular is smack in the middle between the 4.7-inch A3 (2017) and the 5.7-inch A7 (2017) in terms of diagonal, and its 5.2-inch panel has FullHD resolution. That amounts to a 424ppi density but the Diamond Pixel arrangement makes that less sharp than a competing LCD with equal number of subpixels for each color. It's still plenty sharp though.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) review

The display can give you that AMOLED punch that's become synonymous with the tech, at the expense of color accuracy. In Adaptive mode average DeltaE is 5.3 with Red waaay off at 11.2, but also quite inaccurate whites. Switch to basic mode, however, and you're treated to an excellently calibrated display with an average DeltaE of just 2.0 and a maximum of 3.2. Cinema and Photo modes are somewhere in between - whatever floats your boat.

Maximum brightness is excellent, particularly if you engage the Auto mode, in which case the display gets a healthy boost in bright conditions. That said, last year's model could pump out more nits in Auto mode. Even so, the A5 (2017)'s numbers are right up there with the S7 flagship - excellent. Contrast is infinite, it's Super AMOLED's treat for you. With a minimum brightness of just 1.8 nits night-time scrolling sessions won't strain your eyes either.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 0 421
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) max auto 0 601
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 0 413
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) max auto 0 559
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) 0 408
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) max auto 0 518
Samsung Galaxy S7 0 391
Samsung Galaxy S7 max auto 0 563
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 0 392
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge max auto 0 610
Samsung Galaxy S6 0 363
Samsung Galaxy S6 max auto 0 619
Huawei Honor 8 0.34 374 1101
Huawei Honor 8 (Max auto) 0.34 395 1161
Honor 8 0.37 460 1243
Huawei nova 0.25 385 1540
Huawei P9 0.46 500 1094
OnePlus 3 0 433
OnePlus 3T 0 447

As for sunlight legibility, the AMOLED A5 for 2017 is on par with last year's model, and slightly better than the A3 (2017), but none of them is a match for this or last year's flagships. In fact, the A5 (2017) sunlight contrast ratio is virtually identical to the budget J7 (2016) - sounds great from that phone's perspective, not as flattering from the A5's. That said, only top-of-the-line LCD-equipped phones can post such results (the likes of the iPhone 7 and Xperia XZ), and it's not them that the A5 is facing, pricey as it may be.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy S6
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • Samsung Galaxy C5
    3.911
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    3.798
  • Sony Xperia XZ
    3.795
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Sony Xperia X Compact
    3.694
  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
    3.688
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Huawei Mate 9
    3.68
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Motorola Moto Z Play
    3.526
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • nubia Z11
    3.466
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S
    2.913
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
    2.893
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus
    2.884
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Lenovo Moto M
    2.813
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Meizu MX6
    2.751
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
    2.679
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
    2.658
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Lenovo K6 Note
    2.544
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Oppo F1s
    2.481
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Huawei nova
    2.467
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Lenovo Vibe K5
    2.459
  • Meizu m3 max
    2.447
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    2.378
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Huawei nova plus
    2.329
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
    2.145
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Asus Zenfone Selfie
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

Connectivity

The Galaxy A5 (2017) is well-stocked on connectivity options. Samsung specifies Cat.6 LTE (300Mbps downlink, 50Mbps uplink), with a disclaimer that it may vary by region and carrier, and since the Exynos 7880 itself supports Cat.7 you may want to check locally if the 100Mbps DL speed is of such crucial importance to you (you know who you are).

There are single SIM and dual SIM versions, each of them with two card slots. In each case there's a dedicated microSD slot as well - on single SIM models (such as the one we had) there's no cutout for the second SIM in the top slot (presumably, no contacts and hardware, maybe?).

There is also dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.2 (but no detail on aptX for high-quality audio), NFC and MST (for Samsung Pay, where available), and an FM radio receiver. There is no IR transmitter, though.

A Type-C port is in charge of charging, but only adheres to USB 2.0 spec, so you're limited to a 'measly' 480Mbps theoretical maximum transfer speeds. USB OTG is supported for attaching peripherals, but there's no MHL support for wired video output. Thankfully, there's a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) battery life

The Galaxy A5 (2017) is powered by a 3,000mAh battery - oh, look, it's the same capacity as the Galaxy S7. And this one has fewer pixels to render, plus a chipset that should be more frugal than the thirsty flagship number-crunchers.

Well, indeed it is. The Galaxy A5 (2017) only fell short of the S7's time in the voice call test, and just by an hour and a quarter. At close to 22h its result is still perfectly acceptable.

It gets better in the screen-on disciplines. It takes 14 and a half hours of our Wi-Fi web browsing test to deplete the A5's battery - a remarkable feat, even if the smaller A3 (2017) does outlast it by an hour. The S7, on the other hand, can't even make it to 10h.

In video playback the A5 crosses the 16-hour mark before calling it quits - another superb performance. The flagship is closer here, but still falls short by an hour and a half.

As for standby, we've tested the phone both with the Always On Display feature engaged and then turned off. While it does take a massive toll on standby time (and consequently on the overall endurance rating), you should bear in mind that our testing can't account for the phone turning off the display completely when it's in a pocket, for example. So, presumably, actual real-world standby with the AOD on should be much better.

The overall endurance rating of 95h is an excellent result and is a testament to the inherent benefits of having a 14nm chipset on board - be it an Exynos or a Snapdragon.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Reader comments

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