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Review of Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Both the Galaxy A5 (2016) and the A3 (2016) have the same quality appearance and stylish metal frame as the Galaxy S6. If just look at only the front and rear of the A5, you might think you actually had an S6 in your hand.

But look closely, and you’ll notice that the glass on the A5 has a rounded 2.5D edge design, which merges the glass and metal frame almost seamlessly.

After several days of testing, the Galaxy A5 impressed me. The 155 g, 5.2-inch smartphone always felt secure in my hand and the metal frame hasn’t started to show any scratches. The Galaxy A5 (2016) feels robust, with Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and back.

The aluminum standby and volume buttons on the side feel nice to the touch and are easy to reach. It’s definitely possible to use it one-handed.

In short, the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) is easy to hold and use and just feels like a quality piece of hardware. The fact that the camera protrudes is a slight annoyance, but you could live with it. The Galaxy A5 (2016) is currently available in black, gold and white.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) display

The Galaxy A5 (2016) comes with a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display, which offers a Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution and rich, deep colors. Its contrast range is good too.


Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) software

Samsung has finally started to heed the “less is more” motto. It has purified its software, and the A5 comes with significantly fewer pre-installed apps than some of its other devices. This is a good thing, and right from the start, you’ll find the apps that are there add real value to the software experience.

Included are the usual suspects Google, including Maps, YouTube and Google Drive, as well as a good selection of apps from Microsoft, including Excel, Word and Skype.

We were sent a German test model (SM-A510F) running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop (build LMY47X). Like the Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016), TouchWiz is the software interface.

The Touchwiz interface is unquestionably a matter of taste. It has some advantages over stock Android, and can be individually adapted.

There’s nothing in the way of special features. The Galaxy A5 (2016) does not offer anything that you won’t find on another current smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) performance

The processor of the Galaxy A5 (2016) is an old acquaintance, as found in the Galaxy View tablet and Galaxy Tab S2. It’s a 1.6 GHz clocked octa-core Exynos 7580, receiving support from 2 GB RAM and 16 GB of internal memory, which can be expanded via microSD card. The Samsung Galaxy S6 famously does not have a microSD slot.

I performed a range of benchmark tests on the Galaxy A5 (2016), and it ended up mostly in the midfield. In the AnTuTu benchmark (v6.0.1) the Galaxy A5 (2016) scored 40,931, which is almost on par with the Nexus 5X and slightly behind the Honor 7 (around 45,000 points). It doesn’t stand out from the competition, and doesn’t come close to the current top smartphones.

But – and this is probably the deciding factor – no annoying delays or slowdowns were apparent when I was browsing and opening a succession of apps. Even graphically elaborate games ran smoothly across the screen.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) audio

The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) has a mono speaker on the bottom. It plays music well (especially classical) but not brilliantly. The sound is better when listening with headphones.

Also included is a headset that has a button for answer/end call, play/pause and a volume rocker. There’s a software equalizer for the music app that can be found in settings in the Audio options. Here you can improve the sound experience with headphones through the options SoundAlive and tube amplifiers.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) camera

The camera of the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) is nearly identical to that of the Galaxy A3. Thus, the main camera also has 13 MP in 4:9 format with a f/1.9 aperture. The front camera packs a 5 MP sensor with a f/1.9 aperture. In contrast to the A3, the A5 has an optical image stabilizer, which helps avoid blurry images.


Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) battery

At 2,900 mAh, the battery of the Galaxy A5 (2016) is 600 mAh larger than its predecessor’s. The battery can be fully juiced up in about an hour, thanks to the fast-charging feature.

The battery itself can run for quite some time, even under intensive use. In tests, I surfed the internet quite heavily and called up several apps, viewed more than an hour of video and played eight video games.

The integrated energy-saving mode also ensures that you can determine which apps are running in standby. This can save a significant amount of battery.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) technical specifications


Release date November 2014
Form factor Touchscreen
Dimensions (mm) 139.30 x 69.70 x 6.70
Weight (g) 123.00
Battery capacity (mAh) 2300
Removable battery No
SAR value NA


Screen size (inches) 5.00
Touchscreen Yes
Resolution 720×1280 pixels
Processor 1.2GHz  quad-core
Internal storage 16GB
Expandable storage Yes
Expandable storage type microSD
Expandable storage up to (GB) 64


Rear camera 13-megapixel
Flash Yes
Front camera 5-megapixel
Operating System Android 4.4


Wi-Fi Yes
Wi-Fi standards supported 802.11 a/ b/ g/ n
Bluetooth Yes, v 4.00
Infrared No
Headphones 3.5mm
FM Yes
SIM Type Nano-SIM
3G Yes
4G/ LTE Yes
Supports 4G in India (Band 40) No


Compass/ Magnetometer Yes
Proximity sensor Yes
Accelerometer Yes
Ambient light sensor Yes
Gyroscope No
Barometer No
Temperature sensor No

Final verdict

Its strengths and weaknesses keep the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) on an even scale. Plusses include the A5’s attractive display with crisp, sharp colors and contrast. The battery life is also very good. Even with intensive use, this phone won’t need to see a power source until after about two days. Then there’s the attractive design of and the microSD slot, which the Galaxy S6 doesn’t have.

Where there is light, there is also shade. Above all, camera performance is disappointing, although not as weak as the Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016), and the other minus point is the price.

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