Samsung Galaxy S7 vs. Galaxy A5 (2016): Bargain bin

Bargain bin

GSMArena team, 03 January 2017.

Retail package

It's easy to tell the Samsung Galaxy S7 is the more upscale model. It has a better pair of in-ear headphones packed in a nice carrying case, and you get a microUSB to full-size USB adapter if you need to plug in accessories (to transfer data or just to charge them up).

Galaxy A5 (2016) box - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 ... and contents - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 Galaxy S7's is fancier - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 ...and packs more - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7
Galaxy A5 (2016) box • ... and contents • Galaxy S7's is fancier • ...and packs more

Both phones come with a standard Samsung Fast charger and a USB cable.

Cheaper, but just as good? No, not really. You may not need the better headset or the USB adapter, but when it comes to value-for-money, the more you get, the better.

Design

The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a smooth body with rounded corners and glass on the front and back. The glass gently curves into the metal frame. While looks are subjective, the S7 has the better ergonomics as A5's flat front and back don't sit as well in hand.

Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7

The Galaxy A5 (2016) weighs practically the same as the S7, but is slightly thinner - 7.3mm vs. 7.9mm - if that's something you care about. And don't worry about the battery, the difference is tiny (2,900mAh and 3,000mAh respectively).

A5 (2016) has slightly sharper corners - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 The S7 is a bit more fluid - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 The S7 is a bit more fluid - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 The S7 is a bit more fluid - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7
A5 (2016) has slightly sharper corners • The S7 is a bit more fluid

Both phones apparently come from the same mold, however, with their exposed metal frame, Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and back, the front adorned with a fingerprint-reading hardware Home button. Even the side buttons are positioned identically, so they are equally easy to reach on both devices.

Physical Home with fingerprint reader - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 Volume rocker on the left - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 Same here, same here - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 Same here, same here - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7
Physical Home with fingerprint reader • Volume rocker on the left • Same here, same here

Around back, the S7 has an additional sensor that the A5 lacks - a heart rate sensor - but more importantly, its camera is nearly flush with the back while the 13MP shooter of the A-series sticks out more prominently.

Camera and a lone LED on the A5 (2016) - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 The S7 adds a heart rate sensor to those - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 The S7 adds a heart rate sensor to those - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 The S7 adds a heart rate sensor to those - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7
Camera and a lone LED on the A5 (2016) • The S7 adds a heart rate sensor to those

That's one of the reasons why we don't mind that the Galaxy S7 is a fraction of a millimeter thicker. Another reason is the IP68 rating, which gives it improved resistance to the elements - specifically it can survive underwater (1.5m deep or more, though you shouldn't try and find the limit).

Both phones offer microSD slots and depending on the exact sub-model it can be a dedicated slot or it can trade places with SIM2. The Galaxy A5 (2016) only comes with 16GB of built-in storage so you'll need a memory card, while you may be able to squeak by with S7's 32GB. There's a 64GB model too - games will appreciate the fast and roomy UFS 2.0 storage, multimedia files will not care.

Galaxy A5 (2016) card tray on the side - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 ...with a hybrid slot - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 On top of the S7 - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7 ...hybrid nonetheless - Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7
Galaxy A5 (2016) card tray on the side • ...with a hybrid slot • On top of the S7 • ...hybrid nonetheless

Cheaper, but just as good? You know what, we think we can live with the design of the Galaxy A5 (2016). The smooth curves of the Galaxy S7 are more appealing to our eyes and hands, but not enough to pay extra just for that.

Screen

"Super AMOLED" has become synonymous with the screens of flagship Galaxy phones, and these two are no exception. They are virtually the same size - the A5 slightly bigger at 5.2" vs. 5.1" - and both displays are flat (the 2.5D beveled Gorilla Glass 4 above them is not).

You'll notice that the S7 screen has QHD resolution against the 1080p of the A5. Super AMOLED does look better with some extra sharpness, but at this screen diagonal, the pixel density really only makes a difference in Virtual Reality (VR). And A5's GPU is no good for VR anyway, so if that's a consideration for you, you may as well order the S7 and a Gear VR now.

Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7

For regular usage, both screens deliver similar image quality - that is to say an amazing image quality. The rich colors, deep blacks and overall punchiness of an AMOLED screen is Samsung's forte.

Galaxy A5 2016 vs. Galaxy S7

For those thinking "ugh, AMOLED colors", the Basic display mode delivers the best color accuracy in the business. Surprisingly, the Galaxy A5 (2016) comes out ahead with a lower average deltaE, 1.3 vs. 1.7, though that's nitpicking. We tend to prefer the less accurate, but punchier Adaptive mode, but accuracy is there if you need it.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 0.00 421
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) max auto 0.00 601
Samsung Galaxy S7 0.00 391
Samsung Galaxy S7 max auto 0.00 563

The A5 screen holds its own regarding brightness too - it's brighter that the S7 screen in both manual and auto modes. However, despite this, it does slightly worse in sunlight legibility. In the dark, the Super AMOLED screens can deliver as little as 2 nits so they won't blind you.

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 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
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 (max auto)
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • 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
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • 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
  • 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

The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a hidden ace though - its Always On Display (AOD) is great at delivering notifications and is surprisingly useful even for simple things like checking the time and date.

We're quite impressed by the caliber of the screen that the Galaxy A5 (2016) delivers, though there's a big "but" coming. Its PWM-driven, which means you may notice a flicker, which becomes more apparent as the brightness goes down. Most people are not sensitive to this and may not even notice it (the backlighting on many desktop monitors runs this way too), but if you tend to notice screen flicker, then the A5 may not be for you.

Cheaper, but just as good? We're divided. If we put aside VR (which is niche) and the Always On screen (which we think is awesome), the Galaxy A5 (2016) screen can rub shoulders with flagships. The screen flicker is a potential deal-breaker though, if possible get some hands-on time in a brick and mortar store before you commit to purchasing.

Battery

While the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) starts with a small disadvantage - 100mAh less in battery capacity - it turns out that one of the flagship features on the Galaxy S7 has a much more meaningful impact.

The Always On Display feature surely takes its toll on the Endurance rating. Again, we think it's a great feature that brings a lot of value. If you don't use it, this would bring the S7 to near-A5 levels of battery Endurance. We're sure that most people will still pick AOD even if it means more frequent charging. Also, note that AOD automatically turns off when you have the phone in your pocket or purse or when it's pitch dark, so it won't be that bad on your battery life as our test suggets as it assumes the feature is on 24h per day.

Samsung Galaxy A5 vs. Galaxy S7

The Galaxy A5 (2016) gets a 90 hour Endurance rating - a huge improvement over the S7 with AOD and a small but decent bump over the S7 without AOD. This is all due to the more efficient standby of the A5, the results from the individual tests are essentially equal to those of the S7.

Samsung Galaxy A5 vs. Galaxy S7

Note that these numbers are for the A5 with the Snapdragon 615 chipset and there's an Exynos 7580 version that we haven't tested.

Both phones support Fast charging and come with the needed wall charger for it on most markets. For the Galaxy S7, Samsung quotes 0% to 100% charging in 90 minutes but gives no similar numbers for the A5.

The Galaxy S7 also has wireless charging (supporting both Qi and PMA standards), and this mode can top up the battery quite quickly too (not as fast as wired charging, but faster than standard wireless charging).

Cheaper, but just as good? For the most part, yes, you might say even better. Even if you disable AOD on the S7, you can expect the A5 to last slightly longer. We think wireless charging is a convenience, but not a necessity.

Reader comments

  • Idrisayo

About what you said you can adjust the flashlight while holding on it

s7's high battery capacity, low light camera and its good ergonomics takes it to the peak compared to the A5 (2017)

  • No one

try uninstalling it and install it again