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Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) review: A strong midrange choice

Samsung's 2017 version of its affordable Galaxy A7 packs beauty and performance in one affordable package.

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Aloysius Low
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Aloysius Low

Senior Editor

Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.

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2 min read

It looks like the Samsung Galaxy S7, feels like the Samsung Galaxy S7, but isn't actually the S7. No it's the 2017 version of Samsung's midrange series, and it's a pretty good-looking phone at that. While it's no OnePlus 3T, the current king of the midrange, the A7 has the chops to stand out as one of the best.

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Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)

The Good

The A7 looks just like the Galaxy S7 and has a 22-hour battery life. NFC means you can use Android Pay.

The Bad

The phone is a fingerprint magnet and accidental palm presses make it hard to use one-handed. It also runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is... old.

The Bottom Line

If you're looking for a cheaper, pared-down version of the Samsung Galaxy S7, this is it.

Samsung Galaxy A7 shows off its metal style

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While the OnePlus 3T boasts a flagship processor, the A7 takes a more typical midrange route with a 1.9GHz Exynos 7880 that's comparable to Qualcomm's Snapdragon 615 chip. That's not a mark against it though, as the phone runs as smooth as butter, especially on games like Asphalt 8. The only thing I felt could be better was palm rejection -- the phone would constantly register my palm brushes when I used the phone one-handed.

And while it's still only running Android 6.0 Marshmallow with no word on an update, you gotta give props to Samsung for the phone's amazing 22-hour battery life (which we got looping a video in airplane mode). I'm still pretty much blown away by how much of a workhorse this phone can be -- easily lasting a full day of hard use.

Retailing at S$648 in Singapore, which is around $450, £365 or AU$615, for the 32GB version, the A7 seems like a really good deal. There's, however, no word yet on whether Samsung will sell the A7 in the US, but we'll update this review if they do. It should, however, hit Europe soon.

Galaxy lite

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The phone feels premium, and the brilliant full-HD display is visible even under bright sunlight.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Everything that works great in Samsung's flagship is here, from the Game Tools software to the built-in Samsung Pay. The MySamsung app is also available, giving you access to lifestyle deals. The 13-megapixel camera takes pretty decent pictures, but unlike the higher-end S7, it struggles a tad in low light. You can check out the sample shots below.

Samsung Galaxy A7 camera test shots

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While it's not the best, the Galaxy A7 is one of the easiest phone recommendations I can make. While it may not be as cheap as other midrange phones or as powerful as the OnePlus 3T, it packs a beautiful, impressive glass-clad punch. If you don't need top-end performance but want Samsung's quality design, this is your phone.

Otherwise, there's always the Asus ZenFone 3 or Moto G4 Plus to consider, which are both quality phones, though the A7 does beat them by a slim margin. If you really want the absolute best midrange phone, though, there's really no avoiding the OnePlus 3T.

Samsung Galaxy A7 Spec comparison

Samsung Galaxy A7OnePlus 3TAsus ZenFone 3Motorola Moto G4 Plus
Display size, resolution 5.7-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel density 386ppi401ppi401ppi401ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.2x3.1x0.31 in6.01x2.94x0.29 in6.01x3.05x0.3 in6x3x0.39 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 156.8x77.6x7.9 mm152.7x74.7x7.35 mm152.6x77.4x7.7 mm153x76.6x9.8 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.56 oz; 186 g5.57 oz; 158 g5.47 oz; 155 g5.47 oz; 155 g
Mobile software Android 6.01 MarshmallowAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 6.0.1 MarshmallowAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera 16-megapixel16-megapixel16-megapixel16-megapixel
Front-facing camera 16-megapixel16-megapixel8-megapixel5-megapixel
Video capture Full-HD4K8-megapixel1,080p HD
Processor 1.9GHz Octa Core, Exynos 78802.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 8212GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 6251.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
Storage 32GB64GB, 128GB32/64GB32GB
RAM 3GB6GB3/4GB4GB
Expandable storage 256GBNoneUp to 256GBUp to 128GB
Battery 3,600mAh (nonremovable)3,400mAh (nonremovable)3,000mAh (nonremovable)3,000mAh (removable)
Fingerprint sensor Home buttonHome buttonBack coverBelow screen
Connector USB-CUSB-CUSB-CMicro-USB
Special features Water-resistantNotifications toggle, dual-SIM, Dash ChargingLaser/phase detection autofocus, OIS (4-axis), fingerprint doubles as shutter buttonWater-resistant
Price off-contract (USD) TBA$439 (16GB), $479 (128GB)$249$249
Price (GBP) TBA£399 (16GB), £439 (128GB)64GB: £265£229
Price (AUD) TBAConverts to AU$590 (16GB), AU$652 128GB) 32GB: AU$295; 64GB: AU$36016GB: AU$399; 32GB: AU$449
samsunggalaxya7-2017-002.jpg
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Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 8Camera 7Battery 10