While we’re all waiting for the next iteration Samsung’s flagship device, the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus, the Korean brand has already released its first batch of smartphone for the year in its A series. Officially debuting at CES 2017 earlier this year, the A series was given a feature that was almost only seen in flagship devices — water and dust resistance. Now that we’ve had time with the big brother of the A series, it’s time to let you guys know what we think about the device and if it’s worth your hard earned moolah. Before we jump into the review, here’s another look at the spec sheet of the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017).
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Specifications
- 1.9GHz Exynos 7880 octa-core processor
- 3GB of RAM
- 5.7-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display; 1920×1080 resolution
- 32GB of expandable storage (Up to 256GB)
- 16-megapixel rear camera, f/1.9 aperture
- 16-megapixel front camera, f/1.9 aperture
- 3G, LTE
- Dual SIM
- WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, NFC
- GPS, A-GPS
- Fingerprint sensor
- IP68 Certification
- USB Type-C
- 3600mAh battery with Fast Charging
- Android 6.0.16 Marshmallow
Looks Similar to the Galaxy S7
Samsung has always tried to strike a balance with the A series, offering smartphones that could rival flagship devices in terms of design, and the best hardware possible to give a quality experience without breaking the bank. The A7 (2017) certainly fits the bill and, in our opinion, looks much better than last year’s offerings. It’s been given curvier edges and rounded corners than the previous model and looks more like the Samsung Galaxy S7. You’ve got two glass panels sandwiching its metal frame that really makes it look and feel like you’ve bought something a little pricier than it actually is. Suffice to say, its build quality follows suit as well. Let’s check how its buttons and ports are laid out.
In front, of course, you’ve got it’s 5.7-inch Full HD display with Sammy’s signature layout for navigation: a home button with an embedded fingerprint scanner, flanked by capacitive keys, plus the the 16-megapixel camera and speaker grille on top of the Samsung branding.
On the right, you’ve got the power button and the lone speaker grille above it. On the left of the device is where you’ll find the volume rocker and the tray for your main SIM card; accessed via a SIM ejector. The secondary SIM and micro SD slot have been separated from the main SIM and you can find its tray up on top. On the bottom is the 3.5mm audio jack and the USB Type-C port; a first for Samsung’s A series.
It’s overall dimensions sit at 156.8 x 77.6 x 7.9 mm and weighs in at 186 grams. While holding the device with one-hand wasn’t much of an issue for us, its button layout meant that we’d have to adjust our grip on device to reach them; it’s really not that big of a deal, but it may lead to more chances of the device meeting the pavement. If you’ve got small hands, we definitely recommend two handed use to avoid those nasty spills.
Speaking of spills, we were pleasantly surprised that Samsung has chosen to bring IP68 certification to the A series line. While we don’t intend to, nor is it advisable to take the device on prolonged dips, it certainly a nice feature to have given that most of us lay our phones on the dining table during meal time.
Super AMOLED Still Looks Great
For media consumption, Samsung always hits its mark with its homegrown Super AMOLED display and you’ve got 5.7-inches at Full HD to enjoy content on. Whether if its just browsing through your Facebook feed or watching videos on YouTube, its punchy colors and picture quality definitely do the trick. As mentioned above, the A7’s speaker is located on the right side of the device; much like the one found on the J7 Prime. It can sound a little tinny at times but it can pump out a decent amount of volume when you find yourself without headphones or just want to share something hilarious with your friends.
A Great Daily Driver
So, the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) looks good, but how does it perform? While benchmarks scores shouldn’t be the basis of your smartphone purchase, it does provide a bit of a gauge of how devices performs in the crowded space of Android devices. While most mid-ranged devices we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing averaged around 40k, The A7 scored a 55175 on its Antutu Benchmark test; giving it a nice lead from the rest of the pack.
It’s been a really good daily driver as well and it did not flinch when we’ve put it through the usual tasks we’ve asked our devices to do while testing them out. Navigation was smooth with no delays when launching apps and no hiccups when we’ve had to switch from app to app to app on a busy day of managing the site without the use of a laptop. It’s not on the level of a flagship, of course, but it does a really good job for everyday use. Playing games on the A7 proved to be a good experience as well, but you will have to turn down the settings to medium for heavier titles like Hitman Sniper or NBA 2K17 to really get rid of the frame rate drops.
One thing that really had us disappointed with the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) was the performance of its fingerprint scanner. It just wasn’t at the level we’re used to seeing from the Korean brand and, despite enrolling our fingerprints multiple times to make sure it wasn’t an error on our part, it really had trouble reading our prints accurately.
Samsung Goes Selfie-Centric
It seems Samsung is going with the flow and has kitted out the A7 with 16-megapixel cameras at f/1.9 for both its rear and selfie cameras. It comes to no surprise that the images look great from the device thought it does seem to prefer warmer tones. You get a decent amount of depth-of-field with both the cameras and they do a pretty decent job in low light situations.
A Phone That Lasts
One thing we love about the Samsung Galaxy A7 is its battery life. PCMark’s Work 2.0 Battery Benchmark Tests had it clock in a time of 10 hours and 14 mins and it definitely translates to real world use. We were able to leave the house on a full charge and head back after a long day without the need to reach for our powerbank or plug into a wall. The A7 also supports fast charging, which gave us 35% of juice after a quick 30-minute session with its wall charger.
Verdict: A Strong Opening Salvo from Samsung
Samsung didn’t have the best of year’s in 2016. It really is hard not to bring up the Note 7 when their brand name comes up. The good thing that came out of that unfortunate situation is that the company has promised to make good on the products to follow and the opening salvo that the A series brings is definitely a great sign.
Yes, at Php 23,990, the A7 is bit on the pricey side considering that it still fits within the mid-ranged category, but we believe its worth every centavo. It’s a great daily driver that has no problem lasting throughout the day, its been given water and dust resistance, and the cameras do a good job — whether or not you’re into selfies. If you’re a bit tight on the budget and looking for a phone at this price range, we would definitely recommend putting the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) on your shortlist.