Samsung's new Galaxy A5 is neither too big nor too small (hands-on)

Aloysius Low/CNET


Editors' note: This hands-on first take shares some text with those of the new Samsung Galaxy A3 and A7.

Samsung's Galaxy A range of smartphones is designed for a younger, trendier crowd who can't afford its higher end flagships, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Announced late last year, the updated 2016 versions of these phones sport metal bodies similar to the S6 Edge, with shared design cues such as rounded edges and shiny glass rears.

While the specs can't quite compare with the Edge, the new Galaxy A phones will pretty much knock your socks off in the looks department, and really only vary depending on the screen sizes of the phone. For the Galaxy A5, this 5.2-inch handset goes for the balanced approach. It's neither as small as the 4.7-inch A3, or as large as the A7 with its 5.5-inch display. Specs-wise, it's as powerful as the larger A7 -- and a lot more capable than the smaller A3.

The phone first made its debut in China alongside the Galaxy A3 and A7, and is set for global markets in the new few months. Alongside the other two phones, the A5 will also be sold in Southeast Asia. In Singapore, the A5 is a tad more expensive than the S$275 A3, going for S$598, which converts to approximately $420, £290 or AU$590. Do check with your local retailer for exact pricing and availability.

By covering a variety of sizes with its new 2016 A range, Samsung is hoping to resonate with its chosen market segment of younger folks, though the A5's slightly higher price bump compared to the A3 may be off-putting for budget-conscious folks. Given that the A5 is about $70 cheaper than the A7 while having mostly the same specs could be just the thing that helps it sell well.

Premium features in a midrange phone

Unlike the cheaper A3, the A5 comes packing a fingerprint sensor on the home button -- a feature found mostly on Samsung's higher-end phones, such as the S6. If you value security for your devices, well, this could help. Samsung's Super AMOLED panels have always offered eye-catching vivid colors and bright displays, and the A5's full-HD 5.2-inch screen shines at this.

Eight-core internals

The Samsung Galaxy A5 comes packing an octa-core processor clocked at 1.6GHz, which should be enough even for gaming. Its 13-megapixel rear camera shouldn't have any issues letting you take great pictures, and the 2,900mAh built-in battery features fast charging as well. If you're digging the specs, look below for the lowdown:

  • 5.2-inch screen with 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution
  • 1.6GHz octa-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of internal storage
  • 128GB microSD card slot for external storage
  • 2,900mAh battery
  • 13-megapixel camera
  • 5-megapixel front-facing camera
  • Android 5.1.1
  • 5.7 by 2.8 by 0.29 inches (144.8 by 71 by 7.3mm)
  • 5.47 ounces (155 grams

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Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016 - black)

Part Number: Galaxy A5-2016-black
Low Price: $344.90 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Technology LTE
  • Weight 5.46 oz
  • Diagonal Size 5.2 in