Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Review – Almost A Flagship Smartphone?

by Linus 5

Samsung has changed their design language in the past several years and the company has also brought some premium materials and great build quality to their midrange phones lineup.
Galaxy A5 2016 year edition is a great example of it but is it any good? Learn more in the full Galaxy A5 2016 review. 

The review is brought to you by TechLineHD.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 VIDEO REVIEW:

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Review: DESIGN and DISPLAY

Let’s start by the design as the Galaxy A5 looks and feels like a flagship phone. It uses a quality metal frame around the device along with metal buttons, which are located on the left and right sides and they have excellent tactile feedback. Also, there is a single SIM card slot and the microSD card slot for storage expansion. It’s worth mentioning that you can also opt in for a dual-SIM card model.
The Gorilla Glass 4 protects the 5.2” 1080p Amoled display, which is just gorgeous. It is sharp, vibrant, bright and it has great viewing angles. Also, you can adjust colour temperature to your liking in the settings menu. 
On the top we have a 5MP selfie shooter with a bright f/1.9 aperture. Unfortunately, the phones does not have a notification LED light. 
On the bottom there are typical Samsung capacitive buttons with a nice backlight. The physical home button also doubles as a fingerprint scanner. While it is very accurate and recognises your fingerprint quickly, it does not work straight from the standby mode. For me, it is a huge letdown, because even some cheapest budget phones have this feature. 
The backplate is also covered by the sheet of the Gorilla Glass 4 and it is a fingerprint magnet but at least it is not that visible on the gold colour unit I have. 
As far as optics, we have optically-stabilised 13MP shooter with a single LED flash and a bright f/1.9 aperture.
The usual set of ports along with the loudspeaker and the mic are located on the bottom.
Overall, the phone feels really solid and if you asked me, I would say it could easily rival even the Galaxy S6. By the way, the full comparison review is just around the corner, so stay tuned to the TechLineHD for that. 

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Review: USER INTERFACE

When it comes to software, we are looking at the Samsung’s Touchwiz UI, which is built on top of Android 5.1. 
Although it is not as heavy as it used to be in the past, it is still Samsung’s UI after all. We have a briefing app, which is basically a news feed similar to the Blinkfeed we’ve seen on HTC phones for years. Also, we have redesigned icons, different colour schemes and so on. 
Some of the notable features would be the ability to quickly access the camera app straight from the standby mode by simply double tapping the home button. I have to say this is really good feature and it works well. 
A dedicated theme store allows you to choose from a variety of themes and lets you make the device look your own.
Finally, the Touchwiz UI is fast and snappy, and it’s a pleasure to use it as I didn’t have any hiccups or lags. 

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Review: BENCHMARKS

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Review: HARDWARE and PERFORMANCE

Samsung Galaxy A5 has a mid-range level specs. It uses an octa-core Snapdragon 615 chip with the clock speeds of up to 1.6GHz, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage and only 11GB of it are available to the user.
While the phone will not be your next benchmarks champion, the hardware is definitely enough to run some graphically intensive games like Asphalt 8 at the highest settings without any lags but with just a few skipped frames.
The Snapdragon 615 chip is infamous for its overheating issues. However, I have to tell you that Samsung optimised it well and the phone does not overheat even after extensive periods of gaming. 

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Review: MULTIMEDIA

The sound via earphones is actually very good. However, the volume output could be louder. 
The loudspeaker is pretty good too. While it is not the loudest out there, it has quite a balanced sound with a decent amount of depth.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Review: CAMERA

As far as the camera app, we have a typical Samsung interface. There are some settings and shooting modes to play with but most importantly, the app is fast, responsive, easy to use and the capture speeds are very fast. 

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Review: IMAGE QUALITY

The daylight images are near excellent and it is almost on par with most of the flagships. There is a huge amount of details, colours look natural and contrast levels are great. A few flaws that differentiate the Galaxy A5 from the e.g. Galaxy S6 are the dynamic range and exposure adjustment in some shots but these are just minor complaints. Well, the Galaxy A5 is a midrange phone after all. 
When it comes to indoor and low-light shots, the level of details decreases and more noise kicks in. Still, the phone is capable of producing some good looking images and that is thanks not only to the capable hardware but also to mature post-processing.
As for selfies, the Galaxy A5 is very good. It produces high-quality images with a good amount of details.
When it comes to the video recording, the phone can shoot up to 1080p videos and they look sharp, have lots of details, and the continuous auto-focus works fine. See a camera video review for various video samples
Make sure to check out my dedicated camera review video for more camera samples.
Download full resolution camera samples Part 1[/su_button

Download full resolution camera samples Part 2
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Review: CONNECTIVITY
All the connectivity options that include Wifi, Bluetooth and GPS are working fine. Also, the signal reception is excellent and the call quality is good.

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Review: BATTERY LIFE 

The Galaxy A5 has a 2900mAh battery. In short, it performs really well. I could constantly get over 4.5h or even 5 hours of SOT even if used the phone quite intensively with maximum auto brightness setting. Also, the phone features a fast charging feature and I was able to fully charge the phone in less than 1.5 hours. 

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Review: CONCLUSIONS

So, there you have it, the Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 edition. For around $400 you are getting a phone that has a premium design and excellent build quality, great display, fast UI, a fingerprint scanner, great battery life and a very good camera. 
The Snapdragon 615 chip does its job for day-to-day tasks very well and even for some gaming. However, if you are a serious gamer and you love playing the all latest 3D games, the processor along with the GPU will not be powerful enough for you.
Another shortcoming would be a fingerprint scanner. Don’t get me wrong, it is fast and accurate. However, it does not work straight from the standby mode as the majority of even a lot cheaper phones. Cmon Samsung, step up you fingerprint scanner game. 
All in all, the Samsung Galaxy A5 is a great phone despite a few shortcomings and I can definitely recommend it. However, I can’t say there aren’t any other alternatives out there at this price point. E.g. the Galaxy S6, which is still a flagship, can be bought at a similar price right now. It has a much better chipset for gamers but has some other disadvantages like poor battery life. 
At the end of the day, the Galaxy A5 is still an awesome phone and the chipset is the only major shortcoming if you care about gaming.