Samsung Galaxy A5 and A5 Duos review: Five star

GSMArena team, 30 January 2015.

Single SIM and Dual SIM telephony

The Samsung Galaxy A5 held onto signal well and we liked the sound quality it produced. Calls were also very clear and loud. The active noise reduction during calls kept background noise under control and voice was loud and clear.

The dialer is the familiar TouchWiz app and features all the basics - smart dial, quick dial and even a video call button.

The list of contacts is displayed alphabetically and there's an alphabet scroll and a search field. Your contacts automatically get synced with your Google account and your social networks.

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Phonebook

The dialer is part of a tabbed app that also houses the Logs. Those are very detailed and show not only calls, but messages too and you can filter by various types of events (missed call, received message, etc.). There's even a search feature if you need to look up calls from just one number or contact.

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Dialer

We performed our traditional loudspeaker test on the Samsung Galaxy A5 and found it to be among the lowest we've ever tested. It lacks clarity, depth and above all else volume. No software enhancement could help it produce acceptable volumes.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Samsung Galaxy A5 57.9 60.7 66.6 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 63.0 60.3 68.3 Below Average
HTD Desire 816 66.6 65.7 66.6 Below Average
HTC Desire 820 65.6 61.1 75.7 Average
Samsung Galaxy A3 65.2 66.3 76 Average
Motorola Moto G (2014) 66.5 66.2 75.1 Average
Nokia Lumia 830 65.3 66.3 78 Good
Motorola Moto G 4G 77.1 76 83.3 Excellent


Messaging, email and text input

The Messages app has a row of shortcuts for the contacts you message most often and below that is the list of all conversation threads. Threads feels like a standard IM app and you can customize font size, the shape of the bubbles and the background. This app handles both SMS and MMS and features a wide variety of smilies.

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Messenger

The Messages app has some cool features too - you can delay dispatch by 3 seconds (or up to 30), so you can cancel a message before it goes out. You can also schedule messages to be sent automatically (say, congratulations for a birthday). You can upsize the user interface with the volume keys.

The app also features spam protection - messages from specific numbers or containing specific phrases can be blocked. Safe mode will disable the feature that automatically makes links clickable and will scan them for potential threats.

The Galaxy A5 comes with two familiar email applications out of the box - one for your Gmail and a generic app to use with any POP3/IMAP account.

The generic app handles multiple accounts from any email server and features a combined inbox. It has a spam filter and Delayed send options similar to those in the text message app. It has a Primary Senders inbox just like Gmail too.

Gmail is smart about categorizing messages and grouping them - e.g. all promotions go in a folder, all social network messages in another and so on, keeping the Primary folder clean and containing only the important stuff. The Gmail app can handle multiple Gmail accounts, but doesn't offer a combined inbox.

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Gmail

The Samsung keyboard offers an extra number row, which is very handy. You can enter text by swipe-typing (like Swype and others), move the cursor or view all alternative symbols for a key (depending on whether you use non-dictionary words or special symbols a lot).

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Samsung keyboard

Landscape mode expands the keyboard to around half the screen but shrinks it at the left and right edges so that keys there are easier to reach.

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Keyboard in landscape