Just over a year ago something must click Samsung. After years of mistreating his mid – range with devices that did not represent what could this company, they decided to start from scratch and eliminate Ace and Mini to found, among others, the line Galaxy A powerful devices that flirted with the high-end introducing some elements of it as material or screen. Last year they understood very well and this year redoubled the bet with a very clear objective: to be the reference of the super mid-range.
Samsung presented its new Galaxy A5, a terminal with a screen of just over five inches which combines good specifications with a large selection of design and materials. Now, do you have what you need to have to be a competitive terminal? Let’s find out in our analysis but as you advance the Achilles heel of this terminal is not inside.
Samsung knows understand the super middle range
The materials are of better quality (glass and metal instead of plastic) and include components as if they were in a high range not look out, such as the screen. Rather than compete price, brands seek to differentiate themselves to offer something different and the Galaxy A5 Samsung proves it.
|SAMSUNG GALAXY A5 (2016) TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS|
|Screen||5.2-inch Super AMOLED|
|Resolution||1,920 x 1,080 pixels
-Octa-core 1.6GHz GHz
-GPU Mali T720
|Memory||16 GB (expandable with microSD)|
|Android version||Android 5.1.1|
|Camera||Rear 13 MPx, aperture f / 1.9 and optical image stabilization (OIS)
Front 5MP with flash
|Connectivity||4G / LTE / HSPA + 21 Mbps (3G)
Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n
|Dimensions||144.8 x 71 x 7.3 mm|
|Battery||Li-Ion 2900 mAh
Fast charging 5V / 9V
|Extras||Fingerprint reader on the Home button|
Among the list of components, there are a few elements that attract much attention. On the one hand, we have the panel 5.2-inch Super AMOLED. Normally when Samsung bet on this technology makes reserving plain AMOLED panels for the best range topper. Here all I have skimped has been in full HD resolution but that size is perfect.
In the processor, we find an Exynos 7 has passed our radar last summer and aims to be the reference SoC for Samsung this year in the midrange. 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage are not a portent but are sufficient to ensure good performance. Eye: we have microSD slot to expand memory.
One detail that we liked was the introduction of a fingerprint reader, an element that we’ve only seen on top-end devices and in a few affordable smartphones come from China with brands such as UMI or Xiaomi. Technology is the same as in S6 so performance is impeccable.
The camera is a good sensor, do not put the best technology but the quality is sufficient for most circumstances. Then we’ll talk further about it. Squeaking more detail in the set is definitely the software: Android 5.1 Lollipop being Marshmallow for months is an ugly gesture from Samsung. There will be updated in the future but that come standard to save all the news for the S7 is not the best option.
Overall, a good device with few shortcomings, some successes and a very attractive looking, now we have made presentations giving some hints of hardware, we go on talking to one of the aspects that stands out in this Galaxy A5: design.
Design, the best and the worst of the Galaxy S6
For years, we have asked Samsung to take care of its Mini range-topping versions. It has cost but with the A series finally understood that they should take care forms. This year we have doubled the bet in this section and bring us a superb design. Wait, you say you sound like something that mobile you see? Of course, the similarities with the Samsung Galaxy S6 are obvious.
Koreans do not hide: they have taken everything they learned to design with its latest flagship and translate it into a device that keeps materials and almost all schemes. The most significant change is found in the elimination of the curved profile on the sides making the mobile is straighter. A change that makes you loses a bit of grip but thanks to small curves enable us to support the finger to avoid slipping.
In the front part there is no doubt that it is a mobile of Samsung: well hurry frames, good use of space for the display and physical accompanied by two touch button on the sides. No surprises, very sober but functional. To the rear, it is as if they had taken the S6 and had stuck such. That’s a compliment because the glass works very well and the end result is attractive. Now, it is not perfect because the camera still protrudes slightly.
The ratio size / weight are correct. It is not a light but not heavy mobile. Balanced, falls well in hand and the glass does not remove the grip. Prepare one yes suede because the back of the mobile tends to accumulate fat fingers and other dirt easily. The physical buttons are robust, have a little route and the feel is perfect, great job with these little details.
In the sound section, we find a small speaker in the lower part of the terminal. Mono sound, low power, and placement make it very easy to inadvertently cover ourselves when we are watching the video in landscape format. The slot to put the Nano sim and the microSD card is combined so we have a somewhat wider tray. Striking this decision as normal is usually a double tray further.
Without any doubt, this Samsung Galaxy A5 is the best mid-range Koreans have designed to date. If this will be the standard for 2016, the other manufacturers it will be difficult. They have set the bar very high and although it has some other hits, the combination works very well on the day.
An excellent AMOLED Super
AMOLED technology today is not a tombola where everything can go well or be a disaster. Samsung has understood that this section should have prominence and a good screen should not be exclusive somewhat of a top model. The Super AMOLED panels A5 riding this is a good choice and design as well known enter the eyes.
5.2 inches in size and 1080p Full HD resolution to give a density of more than 400 pixels per inch, the sharpness of the screen is tremendous, just you need to get to read a page or see a picture with many details to realize that the panel chosen by Samsung is a good decision.
The viewing angle is about 180 degrees, the color space is very broad and contrast, to be AMOLED, is infinite so enjoy a high color depth when we see the video. On sunny days, outdoor enough brightness so that we can see the screen without much difficulty, the front glass is not very thick so just reflections are generated.
With minimum brightness, we have enough light to read at night and rest your eyes. Where we noticed that falters a bit is in the color temperature: the panel tends to be a bit cold, something that we notice when we try to put a pure white on the screen, a small detail that only we notice when we compare with better-calibrated screens and in everyday poses no problem.
The only thing I miss in the AMOLED screens is that manufacturers will take out more profitable with the software. It is rumored to be the Galaxy S7 technology similar to Ambient Display screen with the Nexus. Having put that function in the A5 to see notifications barely uses energy would have been a deal. With a little luck, you will (if the rumor is true, of course) in that future updates to Marshmallow 6.0.
Exynos refines in the middle range but still has room for improvement
After several shaded by Qualcomm in 2015 Samsung demonstrated its Exynos 7 could make a good processor for the mobile top end. The next step is the mid – range and eliminates dependence Snapdragon chips. Exynos 7580 is chosen and results in the benchmark show us not do anything wrong.
It is early to conclude what this will do to other phones of its line as the A5 is the first super smartphone midrange so far this year. When compared with the more modest figures of high-end 2015, we see that the benchmark is not very far and the results shown are high. Remember that it is synthetic tests but the experience of everyday life, as we shall see, it is up.
Samsung again homework well and this performance Exynos is formidable. The system is fast, not just slowdowns are appreciated and considering that has to deal with a layer of TouchWiz customization as heavy as it is quite a compliment. The only section where we noticed that weakens a bit is in the GPU performance when it has to render heavy games will cost a bit and you can see small drops frames.
2GB of RAM made enough but again Samsung makes it clear that is not the best managing multitasking: few apps in the background with a similar performance to phone a year ago. Again, it seems that Koreans their main new optimization for the future Samsung Galaxy S7 is saved.
The 16GB of storage are an acceptable starting point. Serial, without installing anything, we will have about 10 free at our disposal. Enough to not have to be juggling of first but eventually may be small if not uninstalled applications that do not use much. The microSD slot is a nice addition and once the update arrives Marshmallow has more value as it will be possible to move applications to the card easily.
The fingerprint reader built into the physical button offers good performance and as the top end of the previous year: quick read and a very small percentage of errors. The only drawback is that it remains necessary to press the finger and no release by friction as the Mate S, Nexus 6P, OnePlus 2, etc. Leaving aside this little nuance is an addition that gives much value to the terminal.
With less than 3,000 mAh battery we did not expect a performance above average and indeed, it is. We can get four hours of screen on if you do not use demanding applications such as games and streaming video playback. In days of much use, it will endure one day barely. Should we use little loose but we will not have enough power to endure another full day.
Nothing new in the software and Lollipop
TouchWiz Galaxy A5 arrives in this 2016 with the entire legacy that we saw last year, the same software layer without substantial changes. This lack of change can be understood in two ways: if something works, better not touch or Samsung did not want to make a great effort in this terminal and best cards for the S7 is saved. Whatever the interpretation, the result has liked.
Galaxy software is no longer slow but still just as heavy. There will be those who enjoy the rococo Korean interfaces but are far more loaded and away from the simple lines of Material Design. Given that everything is light and fast, it is something that does not end importing a lot but if you seek a mobile where simplicity reigns, not going to find in this terminal.
As on other occasions, Samsung took the opportunity to introduce their crop applications: tools to add more features (such as the connection with Smart TV) and strategic apps as the introduction of Office or Skype package. The good news is that both S Voice and S Club Health and do not interfere much if not activated. In fact, their integration into the system is very timid on this occasion.
The number of applications preinstalled on the A5 is remarkable, but less than in other terminals Samsung. Most cannot be uninstalled first (you can disable or delete with root yes) but not a great hindrance in the user experience nor pose a big hole in the device memory.
It is noted that Samsung tries to reconcile with users an intermediate point where they can offer their experience (interface, applications, tools …) without compromising the user and give much respite. They do not all bad, all reprehensible is that no new developments and that the software they put on the terminal is the same as we saw in 2015.
Marshmallow series come without a small disappointment. Sometime in the year will reach the moment but we have no specific date, a pity that once again the midrange terminals suffer this discrimination.
One of lime and sand in the photographic section
The Galaxy A5 2015 showed us we could have a good camera in the middle range, nothing spectacular but enough for most situations. This year keep the bet by having a pair of competitive sensors. Here are some pictures to see what we can achieve with the rear camera.
With harsh lights sensor suffers Galaxy A5. It is able to capture many details on cuts and makes processing software do its job well. Now, the dynamic range is very poor as you can see in the picture. By focusing on the building to get details, almost all the blue sky information is lost and forcing us to have to use the HDR mode to balance the scene.
In interior with natural and diffused light camera achieves better results. In the brightest areas, much information is observed textures and shadows you can see many details very faithful in capturing colors and fast approach.
Photo inside a picture detail lasts processing software and test mixed results. It does its work with the canvas texture and not pasted whites and allows us to appreciate the property of the material very well. However, the background noise is something despite having enough light. File with colors although in this case a little saturated.
In night situations, he is able to capture lots of light and little noise meter. The injured is the approach, in this case, does not refine everything. Still, if we look a little artistic effect the result is acceptable.
Camera A5 meets very well first: bright images, accurate colors … See them from the mobile is a delight (that screen Super AMOLED helps a lot) but further analysis to detail lets us see that the processing software is not quite fine in the details and cuts 100%. Refine here remains exclusive to high-end.
The application interface is identical to the Galaxy S6: clean with quick access to several advanced settings and giving absolute priority to what we have in front of us. Another detail that we liked a lot has been maintaining double – click on the start button to start the camera at the time.
The front camera is light and provides good results for self-portraits and video conferencing. The only thing I did not like is that by default is always on beauty mode so we’ll have to disable it so that not soften the skin without us realizing it. Exposure is automatically by default and cannot change it manually so careful when taking pictures because they can go very dark or bright if we are not careful.