Samsung Galaxy A7 review: Alpha leader

Alpha leader

GSMArena team, 9 March 2015.

Display

As a premium Samsung device, the Galaxy A7 gets the Super AMOLED treatment. The screen has 1080p resolution and is a bit smaller than the Galaxy Note 3's screen, 5.5" vs. 5.7". The difference in surface area is under 8%.



In terms of sharpness, the screen has just over 400ppi. Even with Super AMOLED's PenTile matrix that's more than enough. The Galaxy Note 4/Edge screens looks crisper but it's a difference noticeable mostly when you do a side-by-side comparison.

When viewed under a microscope, the diamond PenTile matrix of the Samsung Galaxy A7 can be observed. It's the same diamond layout that Samsung has been using since the Galaxy S4 and on its flagships ever since.

Samsung Galaxy A7

The screen has impressive contrast and bright colors typical of AMOLEDs and Samsung has added the Display mode setting to let you control the white balance and color saturation.

The screen shows a bit of a color shift at an angle, more than the Galaxy Note 4 screen shows. The maximum brightness is on the low side, not particularly impressive even for an AMOLED display.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy A7 0 175 0 349
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 0 291 0 399
LG G3 0.14 109 763 0.72 570 789
Samsung Galaxy S5 0 274 0 529
Motorola Nexus 6 0 149 0 372
OnePlus One 0.39 317 805 0.75 598 799


AMOLED screens typically are not very bright, but their reflectivity is low so they remain legible even in direct sunlight. The Samsung Galaxy A7 is no exception and is one of the best phones we've tested.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    4.033
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    3.799
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Oppo R5
    3.678
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    3.547
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    3.543
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • LG G Flex2
    3.465
  • YotaPhone 2
    3.453
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
    3.406
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    2.892
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • HTC Desire Eye
    2.815
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    2.812
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    2.765
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • BlackBerry Passport
    2.595
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
    2.416
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC Desire 820
    2.372
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Meizu MX4
    2.366
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • HTC One (M8) for Windows
    2.291
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Oppo N3
    2.181
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia C3 Dual
    2.12
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Huawei Ascend Mate7
    2.024
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    1.952
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1.943
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1.935
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • ZTE Blade S6
    1.927
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • HTC Butterfly 2
    1.905
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    1.887
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Windows Phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    1.735
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    1.507
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Microsoft Lumia 535
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • HTC Desire 510
    1.34
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

The screen has the option to increase touch sensitivity so you can use it with gloves. Other helpful features include Smart stay (keep the backlight on while the front camera can see your face) and Smart rotate (which orients the screen relative to your face, not the accelerometer readings).

Since 5.5" is more than some people can manage with one hand, Samsung offers three options to help them deal with it. First up is one-handed input, which squishes the on-screen keyboard to the left or right so you can reach all the keys with your thumb.

Next up is the Side key panel, which enables on-screen versions of the hardware keys. You can move this panel around to where it's most comfortable for you. It also slides out of the way, so it won't cover anything important.

Finally, the Reduce screen options shrinks the whole image into a smaller, floating window that you can move around. This mode also has on-screen buttons (it adds volume up and down too). It's triggered by a swipe-left-then-right gesture.

Dual-SIM support and LTE

The optional dual-SIM is a key feature of the device. A second phone line is a must-have for some, but everyone else isn't losing anything - they can just put a microSD in the second slot and go about their business as usual. Even they will find themselves using the second SIM slot though, say a local card while on vacation abroad while the main phone number remains active for emergencies.

Anyway, you get LTE-Advanced Cat. 4 for mobile data, in other words 150Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink. You can select a preferred card for calls and which card is used for data, but only SIM1 has 4G and 3G connectivity. SIM2 is on 2G only.

The Galaxy A7 is a dual-SIM, dual-standby device so you can receive calls on one card even while talking on the other. This feature can be disabled to reduce the battery usage a bit.

Moving on, the phone supports dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n (but no 802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.0. There's also ANT+ for use with sports sensors, if they don't support Bluetooth. Easy pairing is enabled with NFC support.

The microUSB 2.0 port on the bottom of the phone does not support MHL so there's no TV out. There's no DLNA either, so you have only the wireless screen mirroring to rely on (if you have a compatible device). The microUSB port does support USB On the Go, however.

The Samsung Galaxy A7 supports GPS, GLONASS and Beidou for positioning (regardless of which chipset you have). Beidou is the Chinese system, which is important for a country that has its own LTE standard.

Battery life

The Samsung Galaxy A7 comes with a 2,600mAh battery - the same size as the battery in a 5" Galaxy S4 and practically the same as the 5.1" Galaxy S6 battery. That's not a lot to feed a 5.5" screen and an octa-core processor, but it's the price you pay for the 6.3mm thinness. Plus, the Galaxy Alpha did quite well on a tiny battery.

After running the tests our concerns subsided - the Galaxy A7 managed an impressive 83-hour rating, matching the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z3. The Galaxy Note 4 is slightly ahead at 90 hours, but even the massive 3,900mAh battery of the Motorola RAZR MAXX was not enough to pull it far ahead.

Anyway, individual tests returned excellent results - over a full day of talking and nearly 10 hours for both web browsing and video playback. If you start with a full charge, you should get two days with heavy usage or three days if you show some restraint.

Note that we tested the Galaxy A7 with a Snapdragon 615 chipset. The other option is an Exynos 5430 chipset, the one from the Galaxy Alpha. The daddy of the Galaxy A series scored a 52 hour Endurance rating on a 1,860mah battery.

Samsung Galaxy A7

Reader comments

  • Sha

No

  • Pratik

It has a finger print sensor at home screen

  • (SERVER)

Agreed !! Mine tooo . I bought same date as you.