In Review

Samsung Galaxy A5: What do the critics think?

Critics say the mid-range smartphone has 'more in common' with expensive top-tier devices

170209galaxya5.jpg

Samsung has just unveiled its new Galaxy A5 smartphone, a mid-range device that costs less than £400. Here are its key features:

The Galaxy A5 has a 5.2ins FHD super AMOLED touchscreen running at 1080p. It's held in place by an all-metal frame and glass backplate that houses the phone's 16-megapixel front and rear facing cameras.

Its internal memory can be expanded from the standard 32GB to 256GB thanks to the inclusion of a microSD card slot. The device can be charged using a reversible USB-C connector.

Much like the flagship Galaxy S7, the A5 will feature a weather resistance rating of IP68, meaning the device can be submerged in a body of water in excess of three feet (one metre) for up to 30 minutes.

The Galaxy A5 is set to offer buyers a lot of high-end features at a lower price point, but is this enough to tempt people away from top-tier smartphones?

The critics have shared their first impressions and the response is largely positive. Here's what they think:

Reviews

"Although the price is set below £400, the A5 has more in common with phones [that are] far more expensive", says Alphr, which says that the A5's AMOLED display and "metal wrapping" around its exterior give it a more premium feel than its competitors.

Users will be pleased to find that the Galaxy A5's camera sits "completely flush to the rear of the phone", adds the website, a welcome design choice after the introduction of protruding lenses in many top-tier handsets.

The 1080p display is "perfectly acceptable" for its size and price, says TrustedReviews, and looks "just as good as the panel on the OnePlus 3."

While Samsung's budget AMOLED displays often suffer from "garish hues", the A5's panel performs well and has a "strong range" of brightness levels, the site adds.

There's also a "Blue Light Filter" mode similar to Apple's Night Shift that removes "certain blue light" that comes off the screen, reducing the effects of eye strain.

Users can expect most of the ports found on regular smartphones, says Pocket-Lint, but they are "not in the same place you'd seen see them on other brands". For instance, the speaker has been "built into the right edge", a space usually occupied by volume buttons on most devices, it says.

One negative is that the Galaxy A5 comes with Android Marshmallow, the previous generation of the software, although those looking for a bargain "may not mind or notice" as it's "a lot better" than older Android skins: "all the elements flow smoothly together" without any unnecessarily bright colours, adds the site.

TechRadar says the weatherproof rating of IP68, which allows the device to be dropped into a body of water of up to three feet (one meter), "isn't a feature you regularly see on mid-range phones" and its durability is among many "highlights" Samsung has taken from its Galaxy S7 range, although there's "sadly no wireless charging features".

Price and release

Samsung's mid-range smartphone is available now and can be found on Amazon for £360.

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