Samsung Galaxy A7 review: Less oomph than Note 4 but beautiful design

Samsung made headlines at this month’s Mobile World Congress with the launch of its high-end Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones, taking firm aim at Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Also noteworthy, however – and for those looking for a solid performing device at a slightly more affordable price – is its new “A” range of smartphones.

At the top of this new range is the Galaxy A7, a 5.5 inch “phablet” for those who want a Note 4 (and let’s face it, don’t we all?) but don’t want to shell out for the privilege.

The A7’s Dh1,799 price tag puts it in the same bracket as devices such as the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 and one of last year’s best devices, the LG G3.

So how does the A7 compare with LG’s flagship? While it lacks the amazing design of the S6 Edge, the A7 has a more premium feel than the G3, with a well-crafted, all-metal body available in white, black and gold. At just 6.3mm its one of the Samsung’s thinnest phones, and weighs in at just 141g, sitting nicely in the hand.

Like its cousins, the Note 4 and the S5, the A7 sports a Super Amoled screen with sharp definition and bright, deep colours. Movie trailers and music videos look great, but its arguable that the Quad HD displays of the LG G3 (and the Oppo Find 7) offer a superior viewing experience with more natural looking colours.

Camera-wise the A7 sports a 13MP snapper, in line with the G3, but sports a beefier 5MP front camera for better selfies. On the downside, the A7 comes pre-installed with the older Android KitKat, whereas the G3 has already received an update to the new Android Lollipop.

In the final reckoning, there’s a lot to recommend the Galaxy A7 as a cheap phablet, especially its beautiful design. Those who want a less vivid colour palette and the newest version of Android might want to stick with the LG G3, but if you like your reds bright and software updates aren’t the be all and end all, the A7 is a solid choice.


Tell me more about Samsung’s new “A” Team.

It started last August with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, a 4.7 inch smartphone that put a strong emphasis on design quality, again taking aim at Apple’s iPhone. In addition to the A7, the company has also recently launched the A3 and A5.

So how do these “A” handsets compare to their “S” counterparts?

The S range appear to be where Samsung’s bleeding edge technology is on display, like the dual curved screen of the S6 Edge for example. The A range, by contrast, will offer you a nicely designed handset that has solid but not market leading specs, all at a more affordable price.

Sounds reasonable. Has the strategy been successful?

Hard to say at this stage; the original Alpha won plaudits for its design, but was criticised at first for being too expensive for its perceived lower performance. It’s early days but the A7 and the other new models appear to have been better received so far. Perhaps there are better performing devices for similar prices on the market, but the A range’s design will probably tempt a lot of would-be buyers.

Speaking of other models …

The A3 is a lower-end device, with a 4.5 inch display and an 8MP primary camera. It retails at around Dh1,099. The higher spec A5, with a 5 inch display and 13MP camera, will set you back Dh1,499. Both have a 5MP front facing camera for your selfie needs.

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