Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review

Introduction


Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Upper mid-range smartphones are exciting. Traditionally, sub-flagship smartphones haven't been getting as much love as they deserve; there haven't been that many 'hero' devices to come out from the more affordable ranks. Last year, we saw a good deal of spec-heavy handsets that were built to attack the more affordable segments of the market. Most of the time, though, those products were exactly that: heavy on specs, but light on character – with generic features and boring aesthetics.

Samsung might be looking to change that in 2016. The company is releasing three mid-range devices that should, theoretically, address the aforementioned issues we've had with the category of late. The popular Galaxy A series is getting updated with the A3, A5, and A7 (2016), but if you're neither willing to compromise much with the specs, nor having the hands of a high-profile basketball player, chances are the new Galaxy A5 will be what's on your mind. It costs around $400 and is not expected to be sold officially in the US, but will be available pretty much everywhere else in the world. And then there's always third-party retails to import it in the US, so if there's a will, there's a way.

But has Samsung managed to produce the first true mid-range hero device of the century? Let's have a look!

In the box, you'll find:

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
  • Fast charger (9V – 1.67A / 5V – 2A)
  • microUSB cable
  • Earphones (GH59-11720J)
  • SIM ejector tool
  • User manual

Design

Exquisite, ambitious design with stylish colors – almost perfect

Last year's Galaxy A5 was impressively thin, but it lacked the sophistication of Samsung's higher-tier handsets. This year, though, things are much different. The Galaxy A5 (2016) sacrifices some of the lightness of its predecessor for a more substantial, ambitious feel. The looks and proportions of the new A5 are near perfect – it's very stylish and well put together, not to mention that the black on gold / rose gold color options look striking and different from what we've been treated to so far.

Even though this isn't a top-level phone, it has one of the most exquisite designs you can find in a _phone_ these days. The finely polished glass surfaces are non-slippery in the hand, yet don't get too messy; the metal frame is thoughtfully shaped, so it doesn't create any discomfort for the user; and the physical keys have the perfect amount of click response. While the _phone_ won't slide out of your hand easily, however, it does slide over most other surfaces (that are not skin or leather), so you should still be careful with how and where you place it.

In an increasingly larger and deeper ocean of generic-looking plastic and metal products, Samsung's Galaxy A5 (2016) stands out as familiar, yet distinctive model. It's both aesthetically pleasing and convenient to work with.

 

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Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
5.7 x 2.8 x 0.29 inches
144.8 x 71 x 7.3 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

HTC One A9
HTC One A9
5.74 x 2.79 x 0.29 inches
145.75 x 70.8 x 7.26 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)

HTC One A9

OnePlus X
OnePlus X
5.51 x 2.72 x 0.27 inches
140 x 69 x 6.9 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

OnePlus X

Motorola Moto G (2015)
Motorola Moto G (2015)
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.48 inches
142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto G (2015)



Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review

Display

Not the best display around, but definitely in the upper echelon

A sizable 5.2” AMOLED touchscreen graces the front of the Galaxy A5 (2016). Even before we powered it up, we already knew what to expect – the default Adaptive screen mode with extra-punchy colors, our inevitable desire to switch to Basic mode in order to make things look more natural, the deep blacks, the volatile viewing angles, and everything else.

The A5's display didn't surprise us in any way – it exhibits the exact same characteristics as those of other current Samsung models. Its 1080 x 1920 px resolution is more than enough to produce a fine, pleasantly clear image, but the screen does come off as slightly washed out. Worse is the color balance, which, even on Basic screen mode, exhibits an unpleasantly strong green. It's nothing you can't get used to, but we'd like to see Samsung get rid of this problem right away.

Leaving that aside, the flexibility of this screen brightness-wise is applaudable – outdoors, it can get bright enough to let you view it comfortably, while in the dark, brightness can get extremely low, so as not to hurt your eyes.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 479
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6610
(Excellent)
2.04
2.52
(Good)
5.26
(Average)
Motorola Moto G (2015) 449
(Good)
19
(Poor)
1:1116
(Good)
7440
(Good)
2.27
5.87
(Average)
4.04
(Average)
HTC One A9 345
(Average)
11
(Average)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6829
(Excellent)
2.1
2.42
(Good)
3.01
(Good)
OnePlus X 298
(Poor)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8816
(Poor)
2
7.9
(Average)
8.12
(Poor)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
HTC One A9 48.4%
45.5%
unmeasurable
12.9%
1%
44.6%
110%
OnePlus X 66.4%
0%
unmeasurable
35.2%
0%
37.8%
60.8%
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 67.4%
0%
unmeasurable
1%
2.5%
114.3%
103.6%
Motorola Moto G (2015) 86.6%
84.2%
83.1%
7.6%
1.3%
32.7%
14.4%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review

Introduction


Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
Upper mid-range smartphones are exciting. Traditionally, sub-flagship smartphones haven't been getting as much love as they deserve; there haven't been that many 'hero' devices to come out from the more affordable ranks. Last year, we saw a good deal of spec-heavy handsets that were built to attack the more affordable segments of the market. Most of the time, though, those products were exactly that: heavy on specs, but light on character – with generic features and boring aesthetics.

Samsung might be looking to change that in 2016. The company is releasing three mid-range devices that should, theoretically, address the aforementioned issues we've had with the category of late. The popular Galaxy A series is getting updated with the A3, A5, and A7 (2016), but if you're neither willing to compromise much with the specs, nor having the hands of a high-profile basketball player, chances are the new Galaxy A5 will be what's on your mind. It costs around $400 and is not expected to be sold officially in the US, but will be available pretty much everywhere else in the world. And then there's always third-party retails to import it in the US, so if there's a will, there's a way.

But has Samsung managed to produce the first true mid-range hero device of the century? Let's have a look!

In the box, you'll find:

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
  • Fast charger (9V – 1.67A / 5V – 2A)
  • microUSB cable
  • Earphones (GH59-11720J)
  • SIM ejector tool
  • User manual

Design

Exquisite, ambitious design with stylish colors – almost perfect

Last year's Galaxy A5 was impressively thin, but it lacked the sophistication of Samsung's higher-tier handsets. This year, though, things are much different. The Galaxy A5 (2016) sacrifices some of the lightness of its predecessor for a more substantial, ambitious feel. The looks and proportions of the new A5 are near perfect – it's very stylish and well put together, not to mention that the black on gold / rose gold color options look striking and different from what we've been treated to so far.

Even though this isn't a top-level phone, it has one of the most exquisite designs you can find in a phone these days. The finely polished glass surfaces are non-slippery in the hand, yet don't get too messy; the metal frame is thoughtfully shaped, so it doesn't create any discomfort for the user; and the physical keys have the perfect amount of click response. While the phone won't slide out of your hand easily, however, it does slide over most other surfaces (that are not skin or leather), so you should still be careful with how and where you place it.

In an increasingly larger and deeper ocean of generic-looking plastic and metal products, Samsung's Galaxy A5 (2016) stands out as familiar, yet distinctive model. It's both aesthetically pleasing and convenient to work with.


Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
5.7 x 2.8 x 0.29 inches
144.8 x 71 x 7.3 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

HTC One A9
HTC One A9
5.74 x 2.79 x 0.29 inches
145.75 x 70.8 x 7.26 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)

HTC One A9

OnePlus X
OnePlus X
5.51 x 2.72 x 0.27 inches
140 x 69 x 6.9 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

OnePlus X

Motorola Moto G (2015)
Motorola Moto G (2015)
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.48 inches
142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto G (2015)



Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review

Display

Not the best display around, but definitely in the upper echelon

A sizable 5.2” AMOLED touchscreen graces the front of the Galaxy A5 (2016). Even before we powered it up, we already knew what to expect – the default Adaptive screen mode with extra-punchy colors, our inevitable desire to switch to Basic mode in order to make things look more natural, the deep blacks, the volatile viewing angles, and everything else.

The A5's display didn't surprise us in any way – it exhibits the exact same characteristics as those of other current Samsung models. Its 1080 x 1920 px resolution is more than enough to produce a fine, pleasantly clear image, but the screen does come off as slightly washed out. Worse is the color balance, which, even on Basic screen mode, exhibits an unpleasantly strong green. It's nothing you can't get used to, but we'd like to see Samsung get rid of this problem right away.

Leaving that aside, the flexibility of this screen brightness-wise is applaudable – outdoors, it can get bright enough to let you view it comfortably, while in the dark, brightness can get extremely low, so as not to hurt your eyes.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 479
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6610
(Excellent)
2.04
2.52
(Good)
5.26
(Average)
Motorola Moto G (2015) 449
(Good)
19
(Poor)
1:1116
(Good)
7440
(Good)
2.27
5.87
(Average)
4.04
(Average)
HTC One A9 345
(Average)
11
(Average)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6829
(Excellent)
2.1
2.42
(Good)
3.01
(Good)
OnePlus X 298
(Poor)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8816
(Poor)
2
7.9
(Average)
8.12
(Poor)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
HTC One A9 48.4%
45.5%
unmeasurable
12.9%
1%
44.6%
110%
OnePlus X 66.4%
0%
unmeasurable
35.2%
0%
37.8%
60.8%
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 67.4%
0%
unmeasurable
1%
2.5%
114.3%
103.6%
Motorola Moto G (2015) 86.6%
84.2%
83.1%
7.6%
1.3%
32.7%
14.4%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

Pathetic TouchWiz is pathetic

One would think Samsung never uses its own phones. If it did, we'd imagine the company would be willing to do something to improve their pathetic user experience.

It doesn't matter that the Galaxy A5 (2016) comes with Android 5.1 and not Android 6, which is a fact distasteful in itself. What matters is that Samsung's TouchWiz once again ruins pretty much the whole user experience here.

This phone, the new A5, handles as if it's running some sort of a prototype, early alpha version of the software its intended to run. TouchWiz UI, as Samsung calls its own take on the Android OS, acts like a bug-infested mess, with random events happening left and right, with disheartening stutter and sporadic slow-downs. Only it isn't bug-infested. For some reason, it's designed this way, which means a fix isn't coming. Things jerk around your finger like CRAZY, as you slide it across the otherwise quality glass, random apps happen to launch while the phone is still in your pocket, while system performance is more akin to that of a three-year-old HTC of the same caliber.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, TouchWiz does have good looks. Its colors are bright and fun, it feels fresh and lighthearted, and it's starting to show signs of taste, with its own, distinguishable icon shapes and styles, which remain impressively consistent throughout the UI.

The Galaxy A5 (2016) is unmistakably a contemporary smartphone, seeing that it's well prepared to handle mobile payments. It has a fingerprint scanner and MST – the feature which allows Samsung Pay to work with the widespread magnetic swipe terminals. The problem here is that the fingerprint scanner is as almost as pathetic as TouchWiz itself. It's touch-based, built into the home button, and 5 times out of 10, it wouldn't recognize its caring owner's fingerprint! Staying old-school by sticking with a numeric pin will prove to be the much less irritating route.

System performance

Not for the impatient ones

Sorry if we've ruined the surprise in the previous section, but yeah – this phone is ultimately slow, regardless of its more than adequate Snapdragon 615 chipset. The 1.6 GHz octa-core CPU feels overwhelmed by the TouchWiz software, making for a less than favorable overall performance of the system.

The GPU here is the Adreno 405 – a passable but not necessarily good processor. Heavy 3D games generally don't run too well, and when they do run, they usually revert to lower-quality graphics settings. More ordinary looking titles tend to run fine, though, so most entertainment isn't out of reach for the Galaxy A5 (2016). Plus, instead of blasting zombies and driving supercars at unlawfully high speeds, you could
play a nice game of chess, for example. See how the A5 subtly takes you down the path of intellectual development?

Note: In some markets the Galaxy A5 (2016) may be available with the Exynos 7 Octa 7580 SoC, where performance should be similar.

Memory-wise, the Galaxy A5 comes with 16 GB, but you can employ the services of a microSD card to increase the capacity. Just know that the A5 (2016) is typically a dual-SIM device, but using a microSD card will render one of the two SIM slots unusable.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
HTC One A9 40632
OnePlus X 40173
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 35638.33
Motorola Moto G (2015) 22406
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
HTC One A9 1078
OnePlus X 1542
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 1115
Motorola Moto G (2015) 1224
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
HTC One A9 2331
OnePlus X 2661
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 1944
Motorola Moto G (2015) 2186
Sunspider
Lower is better
HTC One A9 1712
OnePlus X 1285.5
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 1961.86
Motorola Moto G (2015) 1361.8
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
HTC One A9 16
OnePlus X 23
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 14
Motorola Moto G (2015) 9.6
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
HTC One A9 6.6
OnePlus X 10
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 5.6
Motorola Moto G (2015) 3.9
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
HTC One A9 957
OnePlus X 1185.66
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 763.33
Motorola Moto G (2015) 581
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
HTC One A9 738
OnePlus X 910.33
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 684.33
Motorola Moto G (2015) 528
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
HTC One A9 3063
OnePlus X 2415.33
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 3023
Motorola Moto G (2015) 1554
View all

Internet and Connectivity

Web pages are a bit slow to render. 4G LTE is on board, but band support is fairly limited. Yay for NFC and Samsung Pay support!

By default, surfing the web on the Galaxy A5 (2016) happens via the built-in Samsung browser. We had no major issues, but the experience was nothing to write home about: pages don't load too quickly, and scrolling around feels а tad clumsy. You also have Google’s Chrome browser pre-installed, where the experience is similar.

It’s important to know that currently, the Galaxy A5 (2016) is not officially sold in the United States. If you're looking to use it in the US, be sure to get the A510M model, which has the necessary bands to work with AT&T's LTE network, and some of the bands required by Verizon and T-Mo's LTE networks (so don't expect very reliable results).

Camera

Very fast and convenient camera experience, but image and video quality is good, not great.

The Galaxy A5 (2016) features a 13-megapixel rear camera with optical stabilization (OIS) and wide, f/1.9 aperture that allows more light in than your average smartphone. Up front, there’s a 5-megapixel selfie shooter.

The camera experience is one of the best you can have on a smartphone at the moment. The phone supports quick launch for the camera: just double click the home button from any place (even when the phone is locked) and the camera app starts right away. The camera interface is extremely convenient: it has separate video and photo capture buttons, allows you to pause the video (unlike pricier devices like the iPhone, for instance), the button to switch between the front and rear cameras is conveniently within reach.


It’s worth noting that by default, the phone captures images in 16:9 aspect ratio and 9.6-megapixel resolution. You can switch that to capture in 4:3 aspect ratio and 13 megapixels.

Image Quality


Image quality on the A5 (2016) is satisfactory, but not great.

The main issue we have with pictures shot on the main, 13-megapixel camera is that in daylight, the phone handles brighter light poorly, burning the whites, and its dynamic range suffers as a result.

We have used the popular iPhone 6s as our reference camera to better illustrate the issues: notice how colors appear less saturated and less punchy, but maybe a bit more natural on the A5. Detail is also a bit mushier and not as sharp on the Galaxy A5.

The differences are way more noticeable in low light. Despite having optical stabilization and wide, f/1.9 aperture, in lower light, images still turn out blurry way too often as the phone defaults to some very low shutter speeds in such conditions.

The flash is adequately strong to light up images and does so fairly evenly, but it does introduce a cold color cast that throws colors far off, and overall images with the flash on don’t look all that appealing because of the colors.

Selfies on the 5-megapixel front shooter of the A5 (2016) turn out okay, though not great. While 5-megapixels for the front camera might sound like an appealing number, selfies turned out blurry way too often. Colors are fine, skin tones look natural (if not a bit pale), and it’s worth noting how much wider this selfie camera is than the traditional smartphone selfie cam. This makes it easier to capture an image of a group of people, but when you are photographing just yourself, it seems a bit too wide.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
OnePlus X 2
3.2
711
543
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 3
4
390
237
HTC One A9 3.1
No data
662
459
Motorola Moto G (2015) 3.4
5
658
641
View all

Video quality


Disappointingly, the Galaxy A5 (2016) does not record video in 4K. It maxes out at 1080p @ 30fps.

Video quality is decent: detail is not too plentiful, especially when compared with the super sharp 4K recordings, and while in general colors are fine, the phone often overblows the highlights. Auto-focus is a bit trippy at times and you can notice how the optical stabilization system does its job: in the center of the frame, videos are usually rock solid, but you can notice a wiggle towards the edges of the frame.


Multimedia


In an era of YouTube and Facebook videos, as well as Spotify and Apple Music, the default music and video players are getting less and less use. Many people still use them, of course, but there is really nothing new to be said about the dedicated music and video apps on the A5 (2016): they get the job done with support for most major formats and no issues with playback.

The music app auto-categorizes your songs, and it also has a useful folder view. Tap on the More button and go to SoundAlive to make quick adjustments to the bass/treble as well as instrument/vocal balance, or tap on details for a full-on equalizer. You can take a look at the screenshots below for an illustration of what the experience is like.

The photo gallery is still something that practically everyone uses on a daily basis. With the A5 (2016), it’s the typical Samsung affair: you can resize your image thumbnails by pinching in and out - make them small to easily go back in time, or large to have a better preview. Some quick editing options like cropping and basic effects are also available, but we’d rather use an image editing app like Snapseed for that.

Audio and speaker quality

Loud, but not particularly rich sounding speaker

Music played through the speaker gets fairly loud on the A5 (2016), but there is a very noticeable metallic rumble and some distortion, especially with the highs, and there is not much depth to the sound. Of course, we are speaking in comparative terms here, comparing the sound quality against that of other phones where we have heard much clearer sound in the highs and more depth in the lows.

When you plug in headphones in the 3.5mm jack, you can expect much better quality of course. The phone comes with a pair of white ear buds by Samsung. They are of the in-ear type and fit rather snugly. Sound quality through them is decent: they do well in the low-end, but lack quite a bit of clarity.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
HTC One A9 0.928
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 0.55
OnePlus X 0.44
Motorola Moto G (2015) 0.377
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
HTC One A9 72.3
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 74
OnePlus X 73
Motorola Moto G (2015) 78.5
View all


Call Quality


Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
We had no significant issues with call quality on the A5 (2016).

In calls, voices of our callers sound very natural and clear, with sufficient volume to be audible in even some noisier environments. The same is true on the other end of the line: voice through the mic is carried out in a fairly clean manner, with no major gripes.

Battery life


The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) features a 2,900mAh battery that is not user removable.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) Review
But how long does that battery last? We ran the phone through our battery life test and the result is nothing short of stellar. With close to 10 hours of battery life, this is one of the longest lasting phones we’ve ever tested.

Then, we have real-life impressions. The Galaxy A5 (2016) easily lasts a full day, even when you put it through its paces, and on average we got around a day and a half of use. Your mileage may vary, but you should get somewhere around this as well.

Given that a 2,900mAh battery is rather large, it’s important to measure how long it takes to charge the phone back from zero to 100% with the stock wall charger. Luckily, Samsung provides a Fast Adaptive Charger wall plug which puts out 15 watts of power to juice up the battery faster than usual. It takes one hour and thirty-six minutes to fully recharge the phone, which should be fast enough for most.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 9h 55 min (Excellent)
Motorola Moto G (2015) 8h 3 min (Excellent)
HTC One A9 6h 3 min (Average)
OnePlus X 5h 57 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 96
Motorola Moto G (2015) 251
HTC One A9 110
OnePlus X 121
View all

Conclusion


The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) is a beautiful, but flawed smartphone. It's hard not to like, or at least appreciate its classy look and quality feel.

But the new A5 is exactly like those people who tend to put extraordinary amounts of effort into making sure they look their best, and little to no effort into anything else. In other words, once the initial attraction starts wearing off, there isn't much left in the Galaxy A5 (2016) to keep you interested.

Sure, it has the better-than-average camera, but boy does TouchWiz ruin the show. Samsung should step up its software game ASAP. The software experience may be something difficult to quantify (unlike CPU cores, resolutions, and megapixels, which Samsung loves to pump up), but users can definitely feel it. The TouchWiz problem is there, and it's very real, so if Samsung doesn't want lesser companies to eat through its share, it'd do well to double down its software efforts.

At present, this year's Galaxy A5 costs around $400, which means it has to compete with some rather solid smartphones out there. The sub-$400 Nexus 5X, for example, has none of the A5's style, but immeasurably better performance. And then there's the much cheaper OnePlus X, which doesn't have the brand authority, but actually looks as good as the A5, and also has way better performance and user experience. Choose wisely!

The Galaxy A5 (2016) isn't the superhero mid-ranger we wanted to see. It has a costume, but lacks powers.



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