Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review

Introduction


Samsung released a pretty strong entrance in the mid-range Android segment with the waterproof 2017 A-series trio, and now we have the largest of them all – Galaxy A7 – to check out on. It shares specs with the A5, which we already reviewed – 14nm Exynos chipset and two 16 MP cameras – but has a half an inch longer display diagonal and a 20% larger battery. Will these warrant the price difference between the two for big screen aficionados? Let's find out...

What's in the box:

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) model SM-A720F/DS (dual SIM)
  • User Manual and warranty leaflets
  • Sim ejector tool
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • White Samsung OEM EHS64 earbuds with replaceable rubber tips
  • 2A wall charger (15 watts peak, 9V and 1.67A, or 5V and 2A)

Design

Samsung is moving its flagship glass-and-metal chassis downmarket, so don't drop the A7 biggie.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review

Our Galaxy A7 (2017) looks like a nondescript black slab before you pick it up, but when you do, the premium crafting is palatable. The _phone_ is also available in several other colors, including a very nice pastel blue. Samsung moved the glass-and-metal design of its flagships downstream this year, and as a result the A7 has a dark metal frame sandwiched between two plates of glass. It's not Gorilla Glass 5, though, and as the case is with all types of glass, it will crack if subjected to enough impact force.

The A7 is a pretty big phone, too, with a 5.7" display, so make sure you don't drop it while getting it out first, before you have gotten used to the grip needed to secure its dimensions in your palm. The biggest downside of the handset stems precisely from its largish display, as it is not very conducive to handling in the palm only, especially if it has a case tacked on, too.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
The sides of the _phone_ are busier than usual, as Samsung has moved the speaker from its traditional place on the back or bottom where it is likely to get covered during certain activities, to the right side, above the home key. It's a good placement, and the speaker grill isn't covered easily when you watch videos in landscape mode as we were afraid it would. The power key on the right, and the volume buttons on the left are somewhat thin, but made out of sturdy metal, they don't wobble, and are easy to find and press without looking if need be.

Last but by no means least, Samsung has provided two SIM card trays in the A7 Duo version. Given that this phone will be sold in regions where dual SIM card phones are very popular, it is going to prove a wise decision. Moreover, the A7 can function with two SIMs and a microSD card inserted at the same time, unlike many dual SIM phones that make you choose between dual SIM functionality or expandable storage.

All SIM card slots are plug and play, too, there is no need to power down the phone first in order to add or swap SIMs.Dreamy! We'd advise against doing that with the secondary combined tray at the top, though, as it also houses the microSD card, and, if you are writing something on it at the moment, taking it our without powering off the phone may result in loss of information on it.

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Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
6.17 x 3.06 x 0.31 inches
156.8 x 77.6 x 7.9 mm
6.56 oz (186 g)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
5.75 x 2.81 x 0.31 inches
146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9 mm
5.96 oz (169 g)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

OnePlus 3T
OnePlus 3T
6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29 inches
152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm
5.57 oz (158 g)

OnePlus 3T

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches
150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm
5.54 oz (157 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge




Display

Same old, same old AMOLED advantages and mishaps

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review

Move on, people, nothing to see here, just your run-of-the-mill 5.7” Super AMOLED display with 1080x1920 pixels. We can't scoff at the resolution as it is perfectly enough and allows for longer battery life, but we can whine about the viewing angles. The color shifts to overly cold and blueish with the slightest tilt of the phone, which, if you are coming from an LCD panel, can be pretty annoying.

Other than than that, if you run the Galaxy A7's display in Basic mode, it will exhibit credible colors with tamed saturation levels. In the default Adaptive mode, however, the phone is becoming your typical loud AMOLED with flashy, overzealous colors. The screen is bright enough, and with low reflectance ratio, so it is comfortable to view outside.

The A7 also has ‘Always-on Display’ mode that shows you the time, date and the type of missed notifications even when your screen is locked (but not the actual notifications). The letters are well contrasted and easy to see, but be warned – this will have a noticeable impact on battery life.

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 A7 (2017) 569
(Excellent)
1.8
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6899
(Excellent)
2.19
2.58
(Good)
7.44
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 556
(Excellent)
1.8
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6725
(Excellent)
2.02
2.37
(Good)
7.25
(Average)
OnePlus 3T 407
(Good)
3
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6851
(Excellent)
2.2
1.86
(Excellent)
3.6
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 493
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6586
(Excellent)
2.03
1.47
(Excellent)
2.62
(Good)
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.

These 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.

These 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.

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

View all


Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review

Introduction


Samsung released a pretty strong entrance in the mid-range Android segment with the waterproof 2017 A-series trio, and now we have the largest of them all – Galaxy A7 – to check out on. It shares specs with the A5, which we already reviewed – 14nm Exynos chipset and two 16 MP cameras – but has a half an inch longer display diagonal and a 20% larger battery. Will these warrant the price difference between the two for big screen aficionados? Let's find out...

What's in the box:

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) model SM-A720F/DS (dual SIM)
  • User Manual and warranty leaflets
  • Sim ejector tool
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • White Samsung OEM EHS64 earbuds with replaceable rubber tips
  • 2A wall charger (15 watts peak, 9V and 1.67A, or 5V and 2A)

Design

Samsung is moving its flagship glass-and-metal chassis downmarket, so don't drop the A7 biggie.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review

Our Galaxy A7 (2017) looks like a nondescript black slab before you pick it up, but when you do, the premium crafting is palatable. The phone is also available in several other colors, including a very nice pastel blue. Samsung moved the glass-and-metal design of its flagships downstream this year, and as a result the A7 has a dark metal frame sandwiched between two plates of glass. It's not Gorilla Glass 5, though, and as the case is with all types of glass, it will crack if subjected to enough impact force.

The A7 is a pretty big phone, too, with a 5.7" display, so make sure you don't drop it while getting it out first, before you have gotten used to the grip needed to secure its dimensions in your palm. The biggest downside of the handset stems precisely from its largish display, as it is not very conducive to handling in the palm only, especially if it has a case tacked on, too.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
The sides of the phone are busier than usual, as Samsung has moved the speaker from its traditional place on the back or bottom where it is likely to get covered during certain activities, to the right side, above the home key. It's a good placement, and the speaker grill isn't covered easily when you watch videos in landscape mode as we were afraid it would. The power key on the right, and the volume buttons on the left are somewhat thin, but made out of sturdy metal, they don't wobble, and are easy to find and press without looking if need be.

Last but by no means least, Samsung has provided two SIM card trays in the A7 Duo version. Given that this phone will be sold in regions where dual SIM card phones are very popular, it is going to prove a wise decision. Moreover, the A7 can function with two SIMs and a microSD card inserted at the same time, unlike many dual SIM phones that make you choose between dual SIM functionality or expandable storage.

All SIM card slots are plug and play, too, there is no need to power down the phone first in order to add or swap SIMs.Dreamy! We'd advise against doing that with the secondary combined tray at the top, though, as it also houses the microSD card, and, if you are writing something on it at the moment, taking it our without powering off the phone may result in loss of information on it.

Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
6.17 x 3.06 x 0.31 inches
156.8 x 77.6 x 7.9 mm
6.56 oz (186 g)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
5.75 x 2.81 x 0.31 inches
146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9 mm
5.96 oz (169 g)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

OnePlus 3T
OnePlus 3T
6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29 inches
152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm
5.57 oz (158 g)

OnePlus 3T

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches
150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm
5.54 oz (157 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge




Display

Same old, same old AMOLED advantages and mishaps

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review

Move on, people, nothing to see here, just your run-of-the-mill 5.7” Super AMOLED display with 1080x1920 pixels. We can't scoff at the resolution as it is perfectly enough and allows for longer battery life, but we can whine about the viewing angles. The color shifts to overly cold and blueish with the slightest tilt of the phone, which, if you are coming from an LCD panel, can be pretty annoying.

Other than than that, if you run the Galaxy A7's display in Basic mode, it will exhibit credible colors with tamed saturation levels. In the default Adaptive mode, however, the phone is becoming your typical loud AMOLED with flashy, overzealous colors. The screen is bright enough, and with low reflectance ratio, so it is comfortable to view outside.

The A7 also has ‘Always-on Display’ mode that shows you the time, date and the type of missed notifications even when your screen is locked (but not the actual notifications). The letters are well contrasted and easy to see, but be warned – this will have a noticeable impact on battery life.

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 A7 (2017) 569
(Excellent)
1.8
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6899
(Excellent)
2.19
2.58
(Good)
7.44
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 556
(Excellent)
1.8
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6725
(Excellent)
2.02
2.37
(Good)
7.25
(Average)
OnePlus 3T 407
(Good)
3
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6851
(Excellent)
2.2
1.86
(Excellent)
3.6
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 493
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6586
(Excellent)
2.03
1.47
(Excellent)
2.62
(Good)
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.

These 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.

These 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.

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

View all


Interface and functionality

The new UX is much more coherent than TouchWiz of old, but Samsung still hasn't given us pull down or double tap gestures to ease operations.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review

The А7 ships with Android Marshmallow, but still sports the new Samsung UX so you can't really tell, as Nougat doesn't bring all that much novel to the table. Samsung's new overlay replaces TouchWiz of yesteryear with much cleaner, tidier visuals, a much more coherent and well-thought out style. This is roughly the same interface as on the newly updated Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge with Nougat, which in turn borrows from the Grace UX that Note 7 shipped with.

All in all, we have to admit that Samsung has done an admirable job with this new user interface. It’s not only good looking: it’s very convenient. Samsung has polished the core apps and they are all now a pleasure to use: the Samsung calendar is fast, shows weather information and is reliable, the Mail app looks better than ever and adds an easy Gmail set-up (unlike before), the Weather app is nothing short of great, and the list goes on and on.

The new notification dropdown looks sleek and comes with a few more options. Among the new features is the capability to search for apps directly from the app drawer, and you have two shortcuts that allow you to take that search directly in the Play Store or in Samsung’s own app store. The settings that were always a mess on Samsung phones are now finally all clean and well arranged. The new native device manager detects malicious and battery-hungry apps and helps you fix problems related to them.

Power user features like the Secure Folder that was first introduced with the Note 7 are also here. Secure Folder is just what it sounds like: a totally secure environment where you can have apps like your business email that you don’t want your kids accidentally messing with. Or a secret Tinder profile. Secure Folder can even run a separate Google account, which is impressive.

The keyboard experience on the Galaxy A7 (2017) is also flawless. It’s a personal opinion, but the Samsung keyboard is the most accurate and fastest one on Android, it’s a joy for texters, phone poets and mail typists, not the least because its keys are well separated from each other.

The only gripes we have with Samsung's interface is that there is still no support for the most useful and obvious gestures. It boggles the mind how can such a popular interface not have a pull down gesture anywhere on the screen to unfurl the notification shade. That's especially painful on a 5.7” phone like the A7, where you often have to use both hands for a simple action like that. There is also no double-tapping, swiping, or any on-screen gesture to unlock the display, you are limited to a physical button press for that, bummer. Thankfully, all rumors point out that Android 8.0 Oreo, or whatever it's called, will mandate such gestures for all Android overlays, just like Nougat did with the split-screen option.

Processor, Performance and Memory

The octa-core Exynos chip is not a speed king, but is very power-sipping

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review

The Galaxy A7 (2017) uses a new mid-range processor that is 36% more power-efficient than its predecessor. The name is Exynos 7880, an octa-core chip with eight Cortex A53 CPU cores, built with a modern, 14nm FinFET manufacturing. It is nothing to write home about when it comes to performance, as it uses lower clocks than, say, the top Snapdragons, and has a generic Mali graphics chip, but it is a power-sipping architecture that distributes workloads in a balanced manner.

Despite the occasional lag and stutter, there isn't much to be desired in terms of smooth performance, given how feature-rich the interface is. Granted, a phone with stock Android would probably perform a tad smoother, but it will also be pretty limited in UI functionality and less inspiring visually. We'd like to see 4 GB of RAM, though, as that could speed up the process of switching between apps, for instance.

The A7 ships with 32 GB of internal storage (24 GB available), and the Duo version has a dedicated microSD slot for expansion that is not a hybrid combined with a SIM one, so you can use two SIM cards at once, and still add oodles of memory to the phone.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 59664
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 60678
OnePlus 3T 160646
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 128191
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 1327
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 1316
OnePlus 3T 4175.33
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 3198
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 3500
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 3450
OnePlus 3T 6302.33
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 4840
JetStream
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 31.804
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 31.472
OnePlus 3T 49.402
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 60.315
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 33
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 33
OnePlus 3T 59
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 52
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 9
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 9
OnePlus 3T 32
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 28
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 435
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 1432
OnePlus 3T 2185.33
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 1761
Geekbench 4 single-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 764
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 766
OnePlus 3T 1854
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 1857
Geekbench 4 multi-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 3808
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 3951
OnePlus 3T 4175.66
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 5569
View all

Connectivity

Full 4G LTE support only on AT&T, partial on T-Mobile, wouldn't work on Verizon or Sprint, as it's not meant for the US market.

You can find the Galaxy A7 (2017) on Amazon starting from $420, but it would only work on AT&T and T-Mobile, no CDMA support for Verizon or Sprint on this one. Unfortunately, it also does not support LTE band 12 that is required for 4G on T-Mobile at many places, so chances are that you won’t get proper coverage. But buyers in Europe, where the phone will be sold officially through carriers, will get proper coverage.

You have NFC on board on the new A7, and the phone supports Samsung Pay for wireless payments. Dual-band Wi-Fi is also on board, which is helpful in congested urban areas where a single-channel Wi-Fi receiver would often result in reduced download and upload speeds. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, Glonass and BeiDou as well as, thankfully, a USB Type-C port at the bottom.

Camera

A new fast and intuitive camera app, great daylight pictures, but shaky video with no 4K option

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Camera UI - Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Camera UI - Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
Camera UI - Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review

Camera UI


The Galaxy A7 (2017) features a 16-megapixel camera on both the back and the front. The main camera has a single LED flash and an f/1.9 lens, but lacks any form of stabilization, and there is no support for 4K video.

First, let’s say that the new camera app on the A7 is great. It supports the quick launch shortcut from other Samsung phones: just double click the home button to go directly into the camera app, fast and easy. The app itself is much cleaner. Samsung has removed all the clutter: unnecessary options are moved out of the main screen, leaving only the shutter button, a video recording button, a shortcut to the gallery, the flash controls, settings and the switch button for the front camera.

Those who want things like ISO and white balance controls, swipe left and select the Pro camera mode, where you have all those manual controls. A swipe right also reveals an HDR mode, Panorama mode, and others that you can tinker with. A swipe right brings you to different filters that change the colors and style of your pictures.

Image Quality


The quality of the pictures is very good. We are especially impressed with the lively colors and good dynamic range of the pictures shot in daylight. The camera is pretty fast to focus and take a picture in auto mode, too. The images, however, come out too soft for our liking, and often get smudged easily, as there is no optical stabilization.

In low light, that smudging and the lack of stabilization really start to creep up, resulting in quite a few blurry shots, so hold it steady and with bated breath. When it comes to the front camera, 16 MP seems more of a marketing trick than something that captures more detail than the competition. It does produce good selfies in decent lighting, but often struggles with tricky dynamic range scenes, and the results are just average.


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
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 1.9
2.7
346
332
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 1.8
2.9
No data
No data
OnePlus 3T 2
2.1
574
558
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 1.5
1.6
283
261
View all

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Video quality


The Galaxy A7 tops up at 1080p video definition, as it doesn't have a top-of-the-line chipset inside, but we'd gladly trade amazing battery life off for the niche 4K option that not many will end up switching to. Unfortunately, the 1080p video is nothing to write home about, either. While it exhibits the jolly colors and good dynamic range of the stills, Samsung has somehow managed to translate every little movement of your hand into a shake in the footage. It looks like as if there is not only no optical, but no software stabilization whatsoever, so make sure you hold the phone very steady while recording video, and with both hands. The continuous autofocus works quite fast, though not as instantaneous as with Samsung's Dual Pixel tech.

Sound quality


You were all curious about that side positioned speaker, weren’t you? We were too: it’s one of the rare occasions we see a phone with the speaker on the right side, next to the power key. It is a clever decision, though: this way, you will not accidentally block your speaker when you hold the phone in either portrait or landscape orientation. And we were pleased with the quality out of such a small speaker: it was louder than we expected and the sound was fairly full, though lacking in much depth, as you’d expect from a phone speaker.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 0.53
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 0.53
OnePlus 3T 0.84
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 0.707
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 71
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 75
OnePlus 3T 74
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 72.9
View all


Call quality

Talk all day, chatterbox – the A7 has excellent call quality all around, and long battery life to support it

The Galaxy A7 (2017) has a rather potent top speaker, too, that can pierce your eardrums at the highest volume. In addition, the sound is clean, without any parasitic noises or distortions. The voice timbres coming in are easily discernible, and don't sound muffled like on Sony's waterproof phones, despite the water-tight seal around the earpiece.

The two microphones also did an excellent job relaying our voice loud and clear to the other end - our callers said we sounded natural, with sufficient volume strength, while the two noise-canceling mics weeded out the ambient noise rather successfully.

Battery life

Galaxy A7 is a true weekend warrior with a real two-day battery and rapid charging

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review

We don't know what Samsung is doing with the battery life of its mid-range Galaxy A-series trio this year, but those things last. The Galaxy A5 (2017) scored 11 hours of screen-on time on our demanding benchmark with a 3000 mAh battery, while the A7 (2017), at 3600 mAh battery capacity, lasted about 20% longer, or exactly as much as Samsung promises under the most demanding of circumstances, as you can see in the official battery specs list.

Yep, the Galaxy A7 (2017) clocked nearly 13 hours of screen-on time while looping our battery testing script (at uniform 200 nits of brightness for all phones), and this shoots it straight to the top of its upper mid-range category. Barring a few nondescript phones with 4000-5000 mAh juicers, the only direct competitor of the A7 that scores higher on our test is the Moto Z Play Droid, which, however, doesn't have a waterproof chassis, charges much slower, and has a worse screen-to-body ratio for the same price.

The marriage of a largish battery and a 1080p or HD display seem to be the winning combinations for battery endurance these days, as the Quad HD flagships are all clustered in the 6-9 hours range of screen-on time in our proprietary script. Samsung, however, being both the producer and the assembler of the screens, chipsets and memory of the new A-series, has managed to optimize them better in terms of power consumption than other brands that don't make everything in-house. Take the Honor 8, for instance – while it still scores nine admirable hours of screen-on time in our test, and has a homebrew Kirin 950 chipset built on a modern 16nm node, plus a 5.2" 1080p display, just like the A5 (2017), it lasts 20% less than Samsung's mid-ranger with the same size battery pack.

Thus, if you are looking for a phone that can last you a weekend away from the charger, or a day of heavy gaming, pick your favorite size among the A7, A5 or A3, and you will be good to go. On top of that, the A7 tops up really fast for its battery capacity, too, at 104 minutes from zero to a full charge.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 12h 58 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 11h 9 min (Excellent)
OnePlus 3T 5h 41 min (Average)
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 7h 18 min (Good)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) 104
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 91
OnePlus 3T 85
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 99
View all

Conclusion


Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Review
By now it must have become clear that we really liked this year's Galaxy A7 edition. Were it not for the many camera mishaps like the soft-ish pictures and shaky videos, it could have scored excellent on all counts.

It, however, excelled in one pretty important metric, especially for people who aren't sitting at a desk all day – battery life. The phone has the best battery life in its upper mid-range category, and if you need a weekend warrior with a large screen, this is it.

It also sports very good call quality, premium chassis feel, and finally a polished, uniform interface that is still feature-rich. The waterproof body is only icing on the cake, so the sole direct competitor would be the Moto Z Play Droid, which has an even better battery life to smooth out some inferior specs.

You might also be asking yourself why would I give 450 USD or EUR on average for the A7, if for a tad above I can get the Galaxy S7 with its Dual Pixel camera. Well, apart from the much larger display, the A7 will last you almost twice as much on a single charge, which is important if you are out and about, and can't babysit a charger. All in all, if you are in need of a long-lasting big screen phone to consume media, browse or game on the go, the A7 will fit your mid-range budget, and then some.