Samsung hosted a briefing in Sydney today to introduce Australia to its new Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 phones. The company is bringing some great value to the Australian midrange market, bringing “the features you love” down from the Galaxy S7 into the midrange A-series devices. We didn’t see these devices in Australia last year, so a big welcome is due to these new midrange powerhouses.
The big news is that you’ll find them online from next Thursday at the Samsung store, at some pretty decent prices. Firing a shot across the bow of some of the other players who’ve come to embrace our midrange market, the 5.2-inch Galaxy A5 is a serious contender for your money at $649, while the larger 5.7-inch Galaxy A7 comes in a bit higher at $799.
Physically, the phones bear more than a passing resemblance to last year’s Galaxy S7 series with a similar metal-and-glass body and finish, and they’re also offering the same water-resistant IP68 rating. They’re slightly thicker and heavier than their forebear, and the rear curve is contoured slightly differently. The bottom-mounted speaker has been switched up for a side-mounted forward-firing speaker – perhaps a sign of things to come to the Galaxy S8.
The phones pack 16MP front and rear cameras with an impressive f/1.9 aperture – the kind of setup that wowed us in 2015 with the Galaxy S6 although there’s no optical image stabilisation offered here. They’re also slightly thicker, which accounts for the complete absence of the camera bump protruding from the back.
Continuing the trend of bringing features down from the premier device range, both devices feature Samsung’s gorgeous Super AMOLED displays with bright screens and excellent viewing angles. The Galaxy S7’s “always on” feature is also starting to make its way downmarket, a welcome addition to these handsets.
Finally, there’s also a fingerprint sensor in the home button, Samsung Pay is fully supported on the devices, and they’ll obviously pair happily with your Samsung watches (and probably others). Battery size is predictably different between the devices too, with a 3,000 mAh battery in the smaller A5 and a whopping 3,600 mAh in the larger A7. Interestingly (or not), they’re USB-C devices with the fast charging features we’ve come to love in the Galaxy S6 and S7.
Samsung’s got some accessories on offer for the phone too, in the form of cases (the Neon Case offers some super bright colours, and there’s also a traditional S-View Case) and they’re also pushing a new water-resistant bluetooth speaker, the Level Box Slim that was unveiled at CES.
I picked up the phones and had a play at and found them to be speedy and responsive. Today’s event took place in a bright sunny venue in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, so there’s no sneaky camera samples worth looking over (every phone camera does well in that setting). My personal preference is for the A5, whose smaller size is more appealing to me for one-handed use.
Samsung’s put in a solid effort in these two phones, and continues to offer compelling choices to customers in both the smaller/standard and larger size classes.
We’ll have a full review of the 2017 Galaxy A series in the next few weeks. You can order one online from Thursday, and Samsung’s promised they’ll see carrier availability at a later date.
Official press photos follow.
Will you be checking out the Galaxy A series? Is the A5 or A7 right for you? Tell us in the comments!