Samsung is at the top of the smartphone world, selling more devices than any other manufacturer out there. While their flagships are among the best in the world, the company’s bread and butter lies in the midrange and budget smartphone segment.
Design & Hardware
The 2016 edition of the Galaxy A5 sees a departure from the Note 4 like design language in favour of the aesthetics introduced with the Galaxy S6. The final result is an excellent blend of metal and glass that looks particularly bold in black. Fingerprints though, are highly visible on the A5 due to the use of a glass back. The metal frame is slightly tapered at the edges making for a comfortable fit in the hand. This is helped by the slim bezels and small (by today’s standards) 5.2 inch display.
The speakers are positioned on the bottom of the device and can easily get covered but the sound decent. The device is only 7.3mm thin and weighs 155 grams. Due to the thinness, the camera protrudes slightly from the body. The metal buttons are very nice and produce that satisfying click that we search for on all devices. The A5 may be a midrange phone but it surely feels like something much more expensive.
Super AMOLED panels on Samsung products never fail to impress. That is also the case with the A5 as the 5.2 inch 1080p display looks fantastic. The 424ppi pixel density ensure everything on the screen looks nice and crisp. The viewing angles and colour reproduction are excellent. The display gets bright enough to use under direct sunlight but also dims down for strain free use in the dark. The use of Gorilla Glass 4 will protect the display from minor drops and scratches but dual screen protectors are highly advised.
Powering the A5 is an octa core Exynos 7580 processor, a Mali-T720 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The battery is rated at 2,900mAh and lasts through a full day of use without much difficulty. The battery life is helped by the resolution of the display and the availability of power saving.
The A5 is quite a zippy phone with smooth animations and a more or less stutter free experience. Apps are quick to launch and multitasking is fluid too. The A5 ran Modern Combat 5 and Asphalt 8 without any noticeable drops in performance. Running apps in multi window mode on the other hand can get tricky as there is noticeable slowdown when keeping too many tabs open on an application like Google Chrome.
Embedded in the home button is a fingerprint scanner quite similar to the one on the S6. This scanner is not the fastest in the market by any means but it gets the job done. The scanner is fairly accurate and works 8 out of 10 times on average.
The software suite on the A5 is identical to that of the Galaxy S6. This means you get cool features like Multiwindow, Download Booster, Theme Store and Pro Mode in the camera application. Unfortunately the A5 is still stuck on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop but it will soon get updated to Marshmallow. The one gripe we had about the entire software experience was the presence of Flipboard Briefing on the home screen which remains extremely slow. Fortunately this can be switched off – which should be your first move when you purchase the smartphone. The Theme Store is a great software tool which can help you change the look of the user interface if you don’t like the appearance OS stock TouchWiz.
The camera on the A5 is a great performer although it tends to overexpose shots outdoors making colours like red and pink look unrealistic. Other than that, the A5’s cameras are excellent. There is a lot of detail in the images along with good depth of field. The main camera is a 13MP unit with an f/1.9 aperture and optical image stabilization. The front facing camera utilizes a 5MP f/1.9 aperture sensor that does a great job at taking selfies.
The Galaxy A5 2016 is a midrange device that embraces Samsung’s flagship smartphone DNA. The Galaxy A5 is being sold at a promotional price of Tk/-29,900 (instead of the regular Tk/-39,900) right now which makes this a steal! The main draw of the A5 is its stellar looks and premium build but this isn’t a one trick pony. It is a complete package that comes with very capable specifications and performance to match. The cameras too will surely attract buyers. The price may be a bit steep compared to devices with similar specifications but that is what you have to pay for the high end design and Samsung’s quality assurance.
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