Samsung welcomed in the New Year by introducing it's latest mid-rage device: The Galaxy A5 (2017). As usual, this smartphone is based on the Korean company's current flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy S7. So how does the A5 compare against its high-end big brother?
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- Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs Galaxy S7: design and build quality
- Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs Galaxy S7: display
- Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs Galaxy S7: software
- Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs Galaxy S7: performance
- Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs Galaxy S7: camera
- Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs Galaxy S7: battery
- Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs Galaxy S7: technical specs
- Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs Galaxy S7: the verdict
As previously stated, the design for the A5 (2017) is based on that of the Galaxy S7, so you can imagine that there are quite a few similarities. The sizes of both devices are very close, with dimensions of 146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9, though the A5 is a bit bigger than the S7 which measures in at 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm.
They both have a premium look; the S7 is slightly smaller than the A5, which is fairly standard for flagship models, so the A5 is clearly identifiable as a mid-range device. In both cases, the finishes are excellent and we’re glad to see that Samsung are trying to raise the game with their mid-range models.
The position of the buttons and the microSD card slot are the same on both devices. However, there is a slight difference: the loud speaker found on the bottom edge of the S7 was placed on the right-hand side of the A5. But why? The answer is simple: to provide users with a better gaming / video experience. When sound comes from the bottom of the phone, it can easily be muffled by the palm of your hand when you're holding the phone.
In both cases, the fingerprint reader is found on the Home button and the mini-jack is found on the bottom edge of the device. There's a chance that this may be abandoned when the S8 is finally released but, in any case, it's still well and truly present on the A5. Unlike the Galaxy S7, the A5 also includes a Type-C USB port. Another selling point for both devices is that each one has IP68 certification, so they are equally protected against water and dust.
At 5.2-inches, the screen on the A5 (2017) is slightly bigger than that of its big brother, which measures in at ‘only’ 5.1-inches. As usual, Samsung has used a Super AMOLED screen on both models. As the S7 is a premium-range device it has a higher resolution (1,400 x 2,560 pixels) while the A5 carries Full-HD (1,080 x 1,920) which in most cases is more than sufficient for everyday use.
When it comes to ‘traditional’ usage, such as sending messages, watching videos, gaming, etc, both devices have a very satisfactory screen with maximum brightness which allows the user to read the content even when the outside brightness is high. If you're wanting to use your device for VR, you should go for the S7.
While each device does have a different operating system (we’ll come back to that later), they both include night mode. On the S7, the mode is obtained thanks to Nougat whereas on the A5 (2017) it is installed by default through Marshmallow. This feature is handy for using the screen without straining your eyes. The Always On Display mode is also included on both models.
Originally, the Samsung Galaxy S7 was released with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Slowly but surely, Nougat eventually managed to make its way to the S7. Even though Nougat has been around for a while now, the Galaxy A5 was released with Android 6.0.1. Perhaps Samsung didn’t want to overwork the mid-range smartphone too much. Shame!
In both cases, TouchWiz works rather well. Personally, I don’t particularly like touches of white and blue but each to their own taste. Of course, there are pre-installed applications but these are largely limited to Samsung, Google and a few Microsoft applications. It's important to note that both devices use the Samsung game system, ‘game launcher’. The user experience is very sleek on both devices, so there are no problems in that department.
The Galaxy S7 is a top-range device and the Galaxy A5 is a mid-range device. This pretty much summarizes what you should expect from both devices: if you want the more powerful option, you should go for the S7. The S7 includes the Exynos 8890 octa-core processor (4 processors with speeds of 2.3 GHz and 4 with 1.6 GHz) and is armed with 4 GB of RAM, while the graphics are provided by the Mali T880 MP12 chip. All this guarantees a fluid user experience with enough power to carry out almost any task without delays.
The Galaxy A5, on the other hand, uses a Exynos 7880 octo-core processor (14 nm processing). It has a little less live memory, and ‘only’ 3 GB of RAM. As for the graphics card, it has a Mali T830 MP3 chip. Now that the introductions have been made, let’s get to the practical part: we have tested the device in various scenarios (especially for power greedy games) and we didn’t notice any problems or delays. In other words, even if the equipment doesn't quite meet the mark, it still performs to a similar level as that of the S7. At least that's the case when it comes to 'normal' usage.
You’ll find 32 GB of internal memory on the Galaxy A5, but remember part of that is already allocated to supporting the system. The S7 also includes 32 GB but several GB are also used by the system…
As for SAR, the S7 is slightly better with 1.40 W/kg for the head and 1.59 W/kg for the body. The A5 has a SAR of 0.52 W/kg for the head and 1.39 W/kg for the body.
The Galaxy S7 has one of the best cameras on the market, as Stefan recently showed in his comparative test of several cameras. Could this mid-range device dethrone the S7? The answer is implicit. The S7 has a 12-megapixel back camera with a f/1.7 aperture, all with dual pixel technology. At the front, there’s a 5-megapixel camera with a f/1.7 aperture.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 has one of the best cameras on the market
The A5 has a 16-megapixel camera with a f/1.9 aperture on the front and the back. In short, the device takes good photos but, in poor lighting conditions, the quality is lost and the noise becomes obvious.
It’s interesting to note that this weakness in the A5 is a strength in the S7 as, thanks to dual pixel technology, it can take excellent pictures even in poor lighting conditions. If you don’t have great expectations of your device in terms of the camera, the Galaxy A5 (2017) would be enough for you. However, if you want to take a lot of photos, the Galaxy S7 will be your best friend.
- Take a look at our gallery of photos taken with the Samsung Galaxy S7
- Take a look at our gallery of photos taken with the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
The Galaxy A5 is popular option for many as a result of its excellent battery life. This is possible because of the combination of a 3000 mAh battery and Full-HD definition. The combination of a large battery with moderate consumption is an interesting mix. It's estimated that the battery could last up to a day and a half with standard usage and a little over a day with intensive usage.
The Galaxy S7 also has a 3000 mAh battery and offers a slightly inferior battery life but this isn’t surprising given that the device has QHD definition. With that said, the S7 offers an advantage that will thrill some people: quick charge. In about 100 minutes, you can fully charge your device.
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 technical specifications
|Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)||Samsung Galaxy S7|
|Dimensions:||146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9 mm||142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm|
|Weight:||159 g||152 g|
|Battery size:||3000 mAh||3000 mAh|
|Screen size:||5.2 in||5.1 in|
|Screen:||1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi)||2560 x 1440 pixels (577 ppi)|
|Front camera:||16 megapixels||5 megapixels|
|Rear camera:||16 megapixels||12 megapixels|
|Android version:||6.0 - Marshmallow||6.0.1 - Marshmallow|
|RAM:||3 GB||4 GB|
|Internal storage:||32 GB||32 GB
|Chipset:||Sorry, not yet available!||Samsung Exynos 8890
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
|Number of cores:||8||8
|Max. clock speed:||1.9 GHz||2.6 GHz
|Connectivity:||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2|
On the whole, the Galaxy S7 is superior to the A5 in almost all categories. That said, it placed the bar high and this mid-range Samsung clips at its heels. If you want the best device, you have to choose the flagship. If photo potential and performance aren’t really a priority for you, the Galaxy A5 is a great alternative.
The last key aspect to consider: the price. The value of the S7 is decreasing with time and it is now priced below the $700 mark. Despite everything, you’ll find it for around $440. The Galaxy A5 is much less expensive with a price of around $350 so, if you have a limited budget, the mid-range device is a much more affordable solution.
Which one of these devices do you think you would prefer? Why would you choose one over another? Let us know in the comments below.