After numerous rumours and leaks, the Samsung Galaxy A series has finally been revealed. If they keep the pricing in the same bracket as the previous Galaxy A series, we could have a serious contender in the low-to-midrange end of the smartphone market.
The Galaxy A series consists of three phones, the Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5, and Galaxy A7 all bearing their new “6” badge that is supposed to represent 2016. We don’t know about you, but this peculiar badging just seems like another way to unnecessarily confuse prospective buyers.
At first glance, all three devices share Samsung’s Galaxy S6 flagship’s looks with a metal body sandwiched between two panels of glass. They also feature the rounded edges of the Galaxy S6 and pretty much the same layout we’ve grown to get used to for Samsung devices. All three devices will come running Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box.
One thing that we were quite impressed with was the camera. All devices across the announced Galaxy A range feature a 13-megapixel f/1.9 aperture rear shooter and a 5-megapixel f/1.9 selfie camera. What separates them is that on the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 both come bundled with optical image stabilisation (OIS) for their primary imaging unit. That’s pretty impressive for what looks to be mid-range devices. The best part? They all come in Pink Gold, so if you’ve ever wanted that colour but not the price tag it usually comes with, this could be your chance.
Galaxy A3 (2016)
That aside, the Galaxy A series begins with what looks like the entry-level Galaxy A3 sporting a 4.7-inch HD (1280×720 pixels) Super AMOLED display. The device would be powered by a quad-core 1.5GHz processor mated with 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage that is expandable up to 128GB via microSD. This smartphone will also come with a 2,300 mAh battery.
The Galaxy A3 will also have dual-SIM support, but it doesn’t appear to be a hybrid-SIM set up which means that you can have two SIMs and a microSD card. Other goodies include Cat.4 LTE connectivity support and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi. It also comes with Bluetooth 4.1, USB 2.0 and NFC, but no support for Samsung Pay.
Galaxy A5 (2016)
Moving up the pecking order comes the mid-range Galaxy A5. As the name implies, the Galaxy A5 is a step up from the Galaxy A3 and features a 1.6GHz octa-core processor paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage (also expandable via microSD up to 128GB). It is also bigger, with a 5.2” full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) Super AMOLED display. Powering it all will be a 2,900 mAh battery with fast charging.
Connectivity options include Cat.6 LTE support, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, USB 2.0 and NFC, this time with support for Samsung Pay. Perhaps one of the key features of this device is the fingerprint scanner, which is quite rare beyond the top end of the smartphone spectrum. Much like the Galaxy A3, the Galaxy A5 also has dual-SIM support.
Galaxy A7 (2016)
Sitting at the top of the range is the Galaxy A7, which is the largest device, featuring a 5.5-inch full-HD Super AMOLED panel. Under the hood, the smartphone will be powered by an octa-core processor clocked at 1.6GHz with 3GB of RAM. Internal storage is rated at 16GB but is also expandable via microSD up to 128GB. It also has dual-SIM capabilities.
Connectivity options are the same as the Galaxy A5, but the Galaxy A7 gets a bigger 3,300 mAh battery also with fast charging. Like its smaller brother the Galaxy A5, the Galaxy A7 also comes with a fingerprint scanner and support for Samsung Pay.
Though the specific type of processor was not revealed, we have a hunch that it is Samsung’s Exynos processor. The first range of the Galaxy A smartphones were launched towards the end of 2014 and it was Samsung’s first attempt at truly bringing premium build quality to the masses. Before the Galaxy A series was launched, Samsung’s low end devices were all very plasticky and felt cheaply made, which felt like a rude reminder to all those who bought them to work harder.
Now, with the rise of Chinese OEMs and their seemingly impossible smartphone value-for-money, especially in the lower end of the spectrum, the Korean electronics giant can’t afford to be complacent in their budget smartphones and risk giving up this lucrative section in the market.
If the refreshed 2016 versions of the Galaxy A lineup are to be priced similarly to the previous Galaxy A lineup, we think that it could definitely be very competitive in that market. However, if Samsung prices these devices higher than their previous lineup, you’d be better off with a discounted Galaxy S6 instead.
As a reference, when the original Galaxy A lineup was launched, the Galaxy A3 was priced at RM899, while the Galaxy A5 was priced at RM1,199, and the Galaxy A7 would set you back RM1,499. Bear in mind, these prices were before the implementation of GST and the falling ringgit. Of course, there are other good smartphones at this price bracket as well, such as the OnePlus X, the Sony Xperia M5 Dual and the honor 7. So the question is, do you buy into Samsung’s idea of a premium mid-range device?
We’re pretty keen on these devices, what do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below.