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Samsung's new metal Galaxy A phones don't run Android 6.0

Samsung's metal-and-glass updates to its Galaxy A3, A5 and A7 phones for 2016 settle firmly in the midrange on specs across the board.

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The Samsung Galaxy A7 packs a generous 5.5-inch display.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Samsung is kicking off the new year with updates to three of its midrange Android smartphones. Available later this month, the metal-and-glass versions of the Galaxy A3, A5 and A7 for 2016 have the look of a premium phone but without the cost -- or hardware chops -- of a flagship model.

Instead, they're made for people who want a classy-looking phone but need to keep costs down. The phones, which range in size and spec strength from the lowest (A3) to highest (A7), all run Android 5.1 Lollipop and include 16GB of internal storage; each packs a 13-megapixel rear camera and front-facing 5-megapixel shooter.

It's a shame they don't launch with Android 6.0, but hopefully this is something that Samsung will upgrade sooner rather than later. While the new phones share some similarities, they also have distinct features, too. Here's a quick breakdown of the refreshed lineup.

Samsung Galaxy A3

  • 4.7-inch 1,280 x 720-pixel display
  • 1.5GHz quad-core processor
  • 1.5GB of RAM
  • 2,300mAh battery
  • Roughly $275, £190 and AU$395

Samsung Galaxy A5

  • 5.2-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel display
  • 1.6GHz octa-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Samsung Pay support
  • 2,900mAh battery with fast charging
  • Roughly $420, £290 and AU$590

Samsung Galaxy A7

  • 5.5-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel display
  • 1.6GHz octa-core processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • Samsung Pay support
  • 3,300mAh battery with fast charging
  • Roughly $485, £335 and AU$690

CNET has spent some time with the new handsets; be sure to check out our first impressions of the Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7.