Behind the glitz and glamour of Samsung's high-end smartphones lurks a whole family of "lesser" Galaxy siblings. While some deserve to be chained up in a basement like drooling Victorian invalids, others are worthy of carrying the Galaxy name.
Two of the best (non-flagship) options are the Galaxy A5 and A7. Should you buy them, or stump up the cash for one of their premium patriarchs? Let's find out.
What Is It?
The Galaxy A5 and A7 are two mid-range smartphones that originally hit stores back in February 2017. They are basically identical apart from screen size (which is why we're lumping them together.)
The A5 has a 5.2-inch display while the A7 is slightly bigger at 5.7 inches. Otherwise, the only discernible difference is battery size: the A7 packs in a 3600mAh battery while the A7 makes do with 3000mAh.
The A5 and A7 are powered by octa-core Samsung Exynos 7880 processors and 3GB of RAM. Both models come with 1080p Super AMOLED displays, 32GB of onboard storage, IP68 dust and water resistance, microSD card slots and twin 16-megapixel cameras (one on the front and one on the back). Let's take a look at the specs.
|OS||Android 6.0.1 (out of the box)|
|Processor||Octa-core Samsung Exynos 7880|
|Memory||32GB, 3GB RAM
|Screen||5.7in/5.8in 1080p Super AMOLED
|Camera||Rear: 16 MP (f/1.9, 27mm)
Front: 16 MP (f/1.9, 27mm)
|Dimensions (L x W x D)||146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9 mm / 156.8 x 77.6 x 7.9 mm|
|Weight||157g / 186g|
|Price (RRP)||$649 / $799|
Despite their low price tag, the A5 and A7 do a pretty good job at mimicking their flagship siblings. They both sport a stylish glass-on-metal finish reminiscent of the S7. They also come with USB Type-C chargers which is an impressive feat for an early-2017 phone. (Hell, even the top-of-the-range Galaxy shipped with Micro USB at that time.)
The aforementioned IP68 water-resistance is a handy thing to have, but the real star of the show is the 16-megapixel front facing camera. This is an exceedingly rare feature for any smartphone and makes the A5 and A7 particularly well suited to selfie addicts.
The A7 also scores extra points for its beefy 3600mAh battery. During moderate usage, it will keep your phone running for up to two days between charges.
There's no getting around the fact that these phones are getting old. If you're used to the all-screen design of modern handsets, the massive bezels on the A5 and A7 will take some getting used to.
The Exynos 7880 CPU is a bit creaky these days, which might cause minor issues when attempting to multitask or run demanding applications. The native resolution on the displays isn't spectacular either. But these are the sacrifices you make for a mid-range phone.
Should You Buy It?
At the time of release, the A5 and A7 were reasonable propositions for the asking price. Today, they are absolute bargains. Depending on where you shop, you should be able to snap up either model for under $400. Compare that to the Galaxy S9's $1199 RRP and laugh your arse off.
If you can live with subpar video playback and don't demand insane amounts of power while on the go, either of these phones are worth picking up.
You can read the full review at Gizmodo, by clicking the link below.
When did mid-range phones get good? When did they get waterproof, with good cameras, great battery life, and design that looks just about as high-end as anything else you can buy?
In so many different ways, the Galaxy A5 and A7 are a cheaper and more restrained version of Samsung's own chart-topping Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge from last year.
Rapid Reviews is Lifehacker's bite-sized buying advice on the latest technology products.