|Style & Handling|
|+ Premium build||- Conservative design|
|+ Big screen||- Average processor|
|+ Good camera||- Pricey|
Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy A5 has a premium build, but despite high end looks it’s not quite as stylish as say the HTC One (M8) or the Motorola Moto X, which combine high end materials with a distinct look.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 is the middle child in Samsung’s new Galaxy A range of metal unibody phones. Not only does it have a premium build but it also has a high spec camera and a big and bright screen, but it’s not the only premium smartphone around.
So is Samsung on to a winner or should it go back to the drawing board?
The Galaxy A5 has a 5.0-inch 720 x 1280 Super AMOLED display with a pixel density of 294 pixels per inch. It’s big and being Super AMOLED it’s also bright and vibrant, with rich colours, strong contrast and good viewing angles.
But it’s still only 720p, so it’s far from the sharpest display around, especially given its size. It doesn’t feel horribly lacking in resolution but it could definitely do with a boost. As it is it’s immediately obvious that this isn’t a high end phone, despite its premium build.
The design is the real highlight of the Galaxy A5 and as one of Samsung’s first metal phones it’s moderately successful. It has a metal unibody, which looks premium and feels well-built. It’s also very slim at just 6.7mm thick.
Yet there are no flourishes here. Really it just looks like a metal rectangle, or to put it another way like a metal version of any other Samsung handset made in the last few years. That’s fine, but it doesn’t really do anything to stand out beyond being made of a high end material.
Unlike some Samsung phones it’s also not water or dust resistant, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most stylish handsets the company has ever made, even if there is still room for improvement.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 has a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor, which gives it a reasonable amount of power, but on the other hand that exact same processor has found its way into far lower end handsets, including the Galaxy A3, so it’s a shame Samsung didn’t stick something a bit faster in it.
On the plus side the Galaxy A5 does at least have a respectable 2GB of RAM, which no low end phone does. That makes it a good multitasker, with the grunt to support numerous apps and windows being open at once. It also supports 4G, so it can manage fast mobile data speeds in 4G areas.
While the Galaxy A5’s design and build is its standout feature its camera is a close second, as it has a 13 megapixel snapper on the back and a 5 megapixel one on the front. It can also record 1080p video at 30fps and the front-facing camera has a wide-angle lens, so you can fit more in a shot.
While it lacks some of the fancy features found on flagships- like optical image stabilisation and dual-LED flashes, this is pretty close to being a flagship-worthy setup and more than capable of taking good photos of both people and landscapes.
The Samsung Galaxy A5’s metal build is far and away its standout feature. It sets it apart from most other Samsung phones and also from most other mid-range phones, delivering a level of quality that’s usually reserved for the high end.
This seems a good place to talk about the features that it doesn’t have too though, as while many Samsung handsets are packed with features like fingerprint scanners, heart rate monitors and UV sensors, the Galaxy A5 has none of that and it’s not water or dust proof either.
The Galaxy A5 has a 2300mAh battery quoted for up to 15 hours of talk time or 68 hours of music. In practice it should last for a day to a day and a half of moderate use, but is unlikely to make it through a full two days.
There’s 16GB of built in storage, along with a microSD card slot which supports cards of up to 64GB. It’s not lacking for connectivity options, as it supports Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.0 and even NFC.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 has a premium build, but despite high end looks it’s not quite as stylish as say the HTC One (M8) or the Motorola Moto X, which combine high end materials with a distinct look.
Still, it’s not competing with them as it’s more affordable and with an impressive camera and a big screen it’s a tempting prospect. The slightly weak processor and 720p display leave room for improvement and as mid-rangers go it’s pricey at £349 SIM free, but it’s hard to argue that it’s not worth the money overall.
That said the existence of the Xperia Z3 Compact makes it harder to recommend than we’d like, as the Compact is similarly priced and has superior specs and while it’s not metal it looks good. We’d say it’s a better all-round phone than the Galaxy A5, but the A5 is a close second.
Samsung Galaxy A5 Review SpecificationDimensions : 139.3 x 69.7 x 6.7mm Weight: 123 grams Screen size: 5.0” Super AMOLED (720 x 1280) Screen Resolution: 720 x 1280 display resolution Pixels Per Inch (PPI): 294 Processor: 1.2GHz Quad core application processor RAM: 2GB On-board Memory: 16GB (microSD card support) Camera: 13MP (rear), 1080p at 30fps (5 megapixel front-facing) Operating system: Android 4.4.4 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ Yes Battery capacity: 2300mAh Colours: Pearl White, Midnight Black, Platinum Silver, Soft Pink, Light Blue, Champagne Gold Launch Date: Out now Price: £349