Samsung unveils midrange phones with beefed-up features

With its market share and sales still struggling, Samsung hopes new Galaxy A phones will be strong contenders against those of its Chinese rivals.

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Will Samsung's new mid-range Galaxy A lineup help it win customers from the competition?

Samsung

Samsung on Wednesday revealed new versions of three midrange phones with features designed to give the company an edge over the competition.

The 2016 editions of the Galaxy A3, A5 and A7 sport different screen sizes, high-resolution displays and advanced cameras. Two of the models also offer the Samsung Pay mobile payment system. The new Galaxy A phones are due to reach China in mid-December and then expand to other markets around the world.

The new lineup is Samsung's attempt to offer affordable phones with premium features as a way to battle its Chinese rivals Xiaomi and Huawei. The phone comes as Samsung struggles with dwindling market share and sales as more budget-minded consumers look elsewhere.

South Korea-based Samsung remains the top smartphone maker in the world, followed by Apple. But Huawei and Xiaomi have climbed their way to the third and fourth position, respectively, research firm TrendForce said in October, by offering inexpensive phones that appeal to consumers in China and beyond.

The three new Galaxy A phones have been created to outshine the current versions of the Galaxy A3 and A5 and the A7. With different screen sizes, the phones are also geared to reach a range of consumers.

All three use Samsung's Super AMOLED displays, which are designed to be thinner, lighter and brighter than the LCD screens used on such handsets as Apple's iPhone. But the Galaxy A3 offers a 4.7-inch 1,280x720 display. The A5 bumps that up to a 5.2-inch display with 1,920x1,080 pixels. And the A7 tops the other two with a 5.5-inch screen and a 1,920x1,080 resolution.

The new phones lineup promise brighter and clearer photos and videos with a better camera than the one on its predecessors. The new camera system includes Optical Image Stabilization, which tries to guard against blurry images, especially in dark conditions. A Quick Launch feature can help snap a photo just by double-clicking the home button.

Samsung has also worked on the phones' aesthetic with a frame that combines both metal and glass and a narrower bezel that makes for a large display without increasing the overall size of the phone. Samsung Pay, the company's new mobile payments system, is only available on the A5 and A7, both of which incorporate a fingerprint sensor as a security measure.

Samsung did not officially reveal prices for the new phones, but a company representative apparently shared pricing information with blog site Sammobile. The A3 will reportedly cost 329 euros ($347), while the A5 will go for 399 euros ($421). The Samsung rep didn't share the price of the A7, but Sammobile said it expects the higher-end model to cost 469 euros ($495).

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