Who ever said a budget phone needs to look and feel cheap? Since the debut of the original A series, Samsung has redefined “affordable luxury.” Now the 2016 Galaxy A series portfolio – Galaxy A7, Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3 – is here to bring “premium” to the Malaysian mid-range smartphone market.
If you love Samsung’s new design direction as seen on the Galaxy S6, S6 edge(plus) and Note5, then you’re going to love the new A series. The trio bare striking resemblance to the flagship Galaxy phones. And that’s a great thing.
The metal chassis coupled with glass panel back is polished and overall very well built.
I reviewed last year’s Galaxy A5 here.
What’s interesting is that throughout the A series range, there’s support for dual-SIM, plus the added bonus of microSD expansion. With exception of the A3 that uses a hybrid-SIM tray, there’s slots to accommodate two SIM cards and a microSD card simultaneously.
Let’s have a look at the devices individually.
The top-of-the-line in the new Galaxy A Series line-up packs a 5.5-inch FHD Super AMOLED display. Being renowned for display technology, Samsung doesn’t disappoint with this one, despite not being the most high resolution in its arsenal.
Under the hood, it an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, a mid-range processor found on phones such as the OPPO R7 Series. Internally there’s 16GB storage, with the option of adding more via microSD.
In the camera department is a 13MP rear shooter with the ultrafast f1/9 lens. On the opposite side is a 5MP unit, also with f1/9 aperture lens. The Galaxy A7 (and the A5) gets the added bonus of OIS on the camera, a welcomed feature indeed.
Powering the device is a large 3,300mAh battery.
The Galaxy A5 would be perfect for those not wanting too big a phone. It occupies the sweet spot in terms of handling, coming in at 5.2 inches. Hardware-wise, it’s pretty similar to the bigger Galaxy A7. The display panel is based on the FHD Super AMOLED unit on the Galaxy A7.
It gets a similar Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, though slightly lower rated, with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage.
Battery-wise, it’s packed with a more-than-decent 2,900mAh unit.
The baby of the 2016 Galaxy A line-up, the Galaxy A3 sports a 4.7-inch HD Super AMOLED display that’s decently bright and sharp. It’s powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor mated to 1.5GB RAM and 16GB of storage. The battery is rated at 2,300mAh.
No Marshmallow love
If you’re expecting Android 6.0 in the new A Series, you’re not going to get it. By default, the devices run Android 5.1 Lollipop. Expect Marshmallow to be pushed via OTA to the devices in the near future though.
Pricing and availability
The Galaxy A7 retails for MYR1,899, while the Galaxy A5 goes for MYR1,599. Little Galaxy A3 will cost you MYR1,299 including GST. All the devices will be available at Samsung authorized retailers from 28 January onwards. Available in four colours – Black, Gold, White and Pink Gold.
For a limited time only, all purchases will come bundled with a 32GB microSD, for free.