Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) review: Alphabet soup
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) comes in single-SIM and dual-SIM flavors, and it so happened that we had the single-SIM version.
There's native support for blocking incoming calls - you can block specific numbers and all anonymous calls.
This year's A-series have their loudspeakers in a novel position - on the right side of the phone. The single speaker on the A5 (2017) posted numbers that put it in the Good category in our test in terms of loudness, just like the A3 (2017). It's a noticeable improvement over the 2016 model, and puts the A5 (2017) on par with most of its competition. Output quality is quite good, too.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
Messaging and text input
Samsung preloaded its own Messaging app to handle SMS/MMS instead of using Google's Allo (which isn't even available out of the box). The app has a clean but powerful interface, much of its functionality hides behind a slide-out menu on the right.
This menu lets you view all photos (or even general attachments) in a conversation, sort of like a two-person gallery. You can also insert canned responses, block numbers (or just mute notifications for the contact) as well as pin the conversation thread so it's always on top.
You can insert smiles and photos, similar to popular chat apps (except that files are sent over MMS).
The Samsung Keyboard handles text input. It can be heavily customized - you can resize it (in height and width), hide the number row and add additional symbols (punctuation on long key press).
Swipe input can be tasked with one of two tasks - move the cursor or text input. A High contrast mode is available for people with poor eyesight.
Samsung's S Health is available and it can track your walks/runs and your sleep. With help from the right accessory, it can track a lot more - it works with Samsung's activity trackers, of course, but you can connect heart rate monitors, bike sensors, smart scales, even blood pressure and glucose monitors. Both Bluetooth 4.0 LE and ANT+ accessories are available. If it was a flagship, you'd have a heart rate sensor built in, but not here.
For those who need motivation, you can challenge a friend and compete to win virtual crowns. You also get a global leaderboard so you know where you stand. S Health can cooperate with a number of third-party apps (from Withings and others).
The File manager shows the most recent files by default and supports basic folder operations as well as compression.
Finally, there's Galaxy Apps, an alternative (or, rather, parallel) source of apps. A number of Samsung apps are available here, including ones not pre-installed on the Galaxy A5 (2017). You can also find freebies and exclusives here.