Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) review: Marathoner with a punch

Hristo Zlatanov, 22 March 2017.

Display

As previously mentioned, the Galaxy A7 has grown since last year. Now with a 5.7-inch display diagonal, it sits squarely in Note territory. With all the trouble Samsung's coveted productivity series has been going through lately, having a close alternative isn't really a bad thing. The same is true if you don't particularly care for new curvy display designs. Then again, the A7 (2017) isn't alone in this category - there's the also excellent Galaxy C7 and the even bigger C9 Pro to possibly go for. But, more on that later.

Just like most of its siblings, especially in the higher price register, the A7 (2017) sports a Super AMOLED panel. Just like the smaller A5 (2017) sibling, it offers a resolution of 1080p, which does add up to a lower pixel density of 386 ppi. The Diamond Pixel arrangement within the panel helps with the screen sharpness to an extent, but it's still Pentile. This leaves the A7 (2017) at a slight disadvantage compared to a competing LCD with the same size and resolution. However, this is nothing new and the A7 (2017) is still plenty sharp in our opinion.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) review

AMOLED panels have become synonymous with punchy colors and the A7 (2017) doesn't disappoint in this department. If you are into that kind of color pallette, then the Adaptive color mode should be perfect for you. Of course, the reds, the greens and cyans are way off. Whites are also a bit bluish, but images just seem to pop off the screen, as usual - pretty eye-catching if nothing else.

You can also improve accuracy by switching to the Basic mode, which results in a pretty calibrated panel. In this case, it brings deltaE below 2 for almost every color. You do get a washed-out look too, so perhaps AmoledPHOTO represents a nice balance between color accuracy and punchiness.

The maximum screen brightness is excellent on the A7 (2017) at around 425 nits in normal mode and a hefty 533 through Auto boost. These results actually match last year's A7 (2016) almost number for number - impressive, when you consider the bigger panel size.

                                                     
Display test100% brightness
Black, cd/m2White, cd/m2Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy A7 0.00 349
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) 0.00 425
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) max auto 0.00 536
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 0 425
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Max auto 0 533
Samsung Galaxy A5 0.00 398
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 0.00 421
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) max auto 0.00 601
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 0 413
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) max auto 0 559
Samsung Galaxy A3 0.00 470
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) 0 408
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) max auto 0 518
Samsung Galaxy C7 0.00 422
Samsung Galaxy C7 (Max auto) 0.00 625
Samsung Galaxy S7 0.00 391
Samsung Galaxy S7 max auto 0.00 563
Samsung Galaxy S6 0.00 363
Samsung Galaxy S6 max auto 0.00 619
Huawei P10 0.416 592 1423
OnePlus 3 0.00 433
OnePlus 3T 0 447

Combine the nice max brightness level with the effectively infinite contrast of the AMOLED panel and you end up with excellent sunlight legibility. You won't have any trouble working with the A7 (2017) outdoors even in the brightest of days.

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 A7 (2017)
     4.124
  •  Samsung Galaxy Note5
     4.09
  •  Huawei Nexus 6P
     4.019
  •  OnePlus X
     3.983
  •  Vivo Xplay5 Elite
     3.983
  •  Oppo R7s
     3.964
  •  Apple iPhone 7
     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
  •  Xiaomi Redmi Pro
     3.798
  •  LG V20 Max auto
     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)
     3.523
  •  Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
     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
  •  Huawei P10
     3.379
  •  Oppo R9s
     3.352
  •  Oppo R7
     3.32
  •  Lenovo P2
     3.316
  •  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 Mate 9 Pro
     3.206
  •  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
  •  Meizu M5
     2.71
  •  Sony Xperia M5
     2.69
  •  Huawei P9 Lite
     2.679
  •  Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
     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
     2.582
  •  Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
     2.582
  •  Meizu M5s
     2.58
  •  Xiaomi Mi 4c
     2.574
  •  LeEco Le Max 2
     2.567
  •  Microsoft Lumia 640
     2.563
  •  Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
     2.563
  •  Lenovo Moto G4
     2.544
  •  Lenovo K6 Note
     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
  •  HTC 10 evo
     2.407
  •  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
  •  vivo V5 Plus
     2.371
  •  Meizu m1 note
     2.362
  •  Huawei nova plus
     2.329
  •  HTC One E9+
     2.305
  •  Alcatel One Touch Hero
     2.272
  •  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
  •  Meizu M5 Note
     2.189
  •  Huawei Honor 6
     2.169
  •  Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
     2.166
  •  OnePlus Two
     2.165
  •  HTC One X
     2.158
  •  LG Aka
     2.145
  •  Xiaomi Redmi Note 4
     2.145
  •  Archos 50 Diamond
     2.134
  •  Xiaomi Redmi Note
     2.119
  •  Acer Liquid X2
     2.084
  •  Huawei P8lite
     2.078
  •  vivo V5
     2.059
  •  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
  •  BlackBerry Leap
     1.892
  •  Meizu m2 note
     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
  •  Xiaomi Redmi 2
     1.311
  •  HTC Desire C
     1.3
  •  Sony Xperia C
     1.283
  •  Meizu MX
     1.221
  •  Sony Xperia E
     1.215

Connectivity

The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) is pretty well equipped with connectivity options - quite natural for a device, positioned right below the flagship line. Just like its little brother, the A5 (2017), the A7 is based on the company's own Exynos 7880. On paper, the chip is capable of Cat.7 LTE speeds, however, Samsung only rates the A7 (2016) for Cat.6. That is up to 300 Mbps downlink and 50Mbps up, depending on your regional version and network.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) review

We already touched upon Samsung's dual tray approach in the hardware overview section. It is a really elegant solution that works well and leaves you with two SIM slots and a dedicated microSD one - no hybrid compromises. It is interesting to note that both the Single and Dual SIM models get two trays. On the former, there is no cutout for a second SIM next to the microSD. Presumably, that means no contacts and internal hardware either.

In terms of local connectivity, the A7 package includes dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.2, as well as a USB Type-C connector. Since the S7 came out with a micro USB one, the refreshed A series is actually a bit ahead of the curve in this aspect. USB OTG is part of the package, but there is no video output, MHL or otherwise.

NFC and Samsung's proprietary MST tech for emulating magnetic cards are also on board the A7 (2017) and are a potent mix for using Samsung Pay in supported markets.

The phone has an FM radio too, great for tuning in to free live broadcasts that require no data connection.

Battery Life

The new Galaxy A7 (2017) also boasts a bump in battery capacity to go along with the bigger screen. Samsung has managed to cram 3,600mAh inside the 7.9mm thin body. This is actually a whole 600 mAh more than the A5 (2017), which we already know makes pretty efficient use of its juice thanks to Samsung's Exynos 7880 Octa chipset. Combined with a Super AMOLED panel, the 14nm fabrication process of the chipset means some impressive battery numbers.

Naturally, the A7 (2017) outshines both of its smaller siblings as well as the flagship Galaxy S7 in this department. Sure, the latter definitely packs a stronger punch performance-wise, but its 80 hours of total endurance rating seem almost inadequate compared to the whopping 115 hours the A7 (2017) scored.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) review

The improvements over the A5 (2017), as well as the older A7 (2016) are across the board. 28 and a half hours of talk time is no joke, and neither is 15 hours of Wi-Fi web browsing - a task which brings the S7 down to its knees in under 10.

As far as standby goes, we employed our typical two-test approach to see how much of a difference the Always On Display feature has. And once again, the answer is: A lot! However, it is worth noting that our testing procedure does not allow the automatic dimming or display switching off to take place, which would be the case with normal pocket or night use (two scenarios where the AOD turns off automatically). So with that said, your mileage will vary on AOD - consider our score the worst-case scenario.

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

  • Anonymous

A7 17

  • Farhan

I want to buy smart phone after using samsung galaxy s6 now i am too much confused in Samsung j6 , Huawei mate10 lite , Honor 8x , Oppo , which one is better ???

  • Anonymous

"to avoid led burn-in" 1. LCD, not LED 2. LCD doesn't burn in, at least not permanently 3. The display is AMOLED, not LCD.