While it’s always nice to have the newest, most fashionable gadgets, not everybody has the sort of expendable income to be able to afford them. While the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge might be the finest phone to come out of Samsung in years, it comes with a particularly prohibitive price-tag. That, I suppose, is where the Galaxy A5 comes in. With a more palatable price point, and a premium aesthetic, it finds a nice balance between affordability and luxury. Or at least it does on the surface.

Aesthetics

sm-a500f_006_l-perspective_black

At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy is a snappy, slim and sleek looking device, which seems to have Samsung’s new design ethos all over it. Taking a page or two or thirty-seven from the iPhone, it sports a thin all-metal unibody, with a non-removable plastic back plate. It’s just 6.7mm thin, which makes it thinner than most Android Phones – and even comes in slightly slimmer than the iPhone 6. It’s pretty damned light too, coming in at just 123g.

It packs a Gorilla glass 4-protected 5 inch Super AMOLED screen, with a resolution of 720 x 1280. While it’s not as crisp as we’d like from a phone, with a pixel density of 294 pixels per inch, it makes up for that with sharp, vivid colours and the natural softness you’d expect from AMOLED. Unfortunately, that means it doesn’t work especially well in high-light situations, meaning you’ll be stumbling about trying to cover the screen if you use it in direct sunlight.

Along the side of the body, you’ll find the power button (just like the iPhone 6!) , which took a bit of getting used to for me. Just about every phone I’ve used since the inception of smartphones has had the power button on top, so whenever I’d pull the phone out of my pocket to use it, I’d invariably fumble with the top trying to find the button, like a teenager trying to find the clasp on a girl’s bra. On the same edge you’ll find the nano-sim slot, and one to house a micro SD card to expand the storage beyond the 16GB of built-in storage. As any Android user knows, 16GB doesn’t go very far.

sm-a500f_007_dynamic_black

The opposite side of the phone is home to the phone’s volume rockers, with a headphone jack and the micro-USB port on the bottom finishing the device off. On the face, you’ll find that slightly elliptical rectangular button that Samsung’s fallen in love with, with two soft-keys on either side of it. It looks and feels like a high-end phone, but it packs in some decidedly mid-range internals.

Performance

It’s powered by the Snapdragon 410 chipset, a quad-core CPU that clocks in at just under 1.2 GHz, which is a capable enough, but the fact that it’s now being used in some entry-level Android phones tells you all you need to know about what’s under the hood here. With 2GB of RAM, you should have no real problem running anything beyond the latest, resource-hungry 3D games. And while the phone should be powerful enough for nearly everyone, it is prone to a few aberrant hiccups and intermittent freezes.

Using Geekbench 3, we got single core scores of 429 and 1234 respectively, which puts it in the performance bracket of the much older Samsung Galaxy S3. A 3D mark score of 2640 shows you probably shouldn’t expect to run 3D games on the phone.

SamsungA5

 

Camera

Yes I'm a sucker.

The phone is home, as with most phones these days, to two cameras; a 13MP main camera that is more than adequate, and a 5MP front-facing one for all your selfie needs. Yes, it comes with gestures and shortcuts to capture the perfect bit of digital narcissism. The rear camera protrudes from the back quite a bit, making it slightly uncomfortable in tighter pockets – but that’ll only affect the tight jeans-wearing hipsters, and they all have iPhones anyway. It also captures video at 1080p/30fps.

Connectivity

It comes with just about all the connectivity you’d want from a mobile device: 4G support, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0, NFC and ANT+. The NFC means you’ll not be able to tap and pay to buy your groceries, just like the millions of other South Africans whose phones have the feature, but haven’t been able to find merchants that utilise it. ANT+ is the standard that many of the popular fitness and sports bands use. It’s something I had to look up, because my general mantra when it comes to fitness is “No Pain? NO PAIN!”

Software

Interestingly, the phone is – for whatever reason – stuck on Android Kitkat. I’ve browsed the internet and found rumours of a Lollipop update, but at the time of writing there was no such update that exists. As far as software goes, it comes with Samsung’s own Touchwiz, which is a secondary layer on Android I’ve always despised, especially when compared to lighter implementations like HTC’s Sense and Sony’s Xperia UI. Samsung seems to be learning from its past transgressions though, and like the S6, this comes with far less pre-loaded bloatware, with Samsung’s Siri-alike S-Voice and a pre-installed Flipboard being the only egregious additions.

Battery life

sm-a500f_009_set_black

Because it’s packing middling hardware, its battery life can’t really be faulted, and you’ll easily get about a day and a half’s worth of juice out of the 2300mAH battery, with Wi-Fi, 4G use and the odd bit of gaming, browsing and video play. At rest, the phone can last for days, so people like Darryn who never get calls or messages could probably get by with charging it just twice a week.

It has a recommended retail price in the region of R5999.

 

 

 

 

Last Updated: May 18, 2015

Samsung Galaxy A5
The Samsung Galaxy A5 is in a bit of a tricky spot. It’s priced in the upper echelons of the middle end, but has the guts of a lower end phone. Its premium body, stylish design and abundance of features though make it more desirable than it really should be. It’s sleek and sexy, and its premium design belies the middling hardware that lurks underneath. I really liked the A5, and though I’d have preferred beefier hardware, it makes for a good, lower-cost alternative to both Samsung’s S range and Apple’s iPhone.
7

63 Comments

  1. Admiral Chief

    May 18, 2015 at 15:33

    Geoffus Maximus reviewing phones?

    I likes

    Reply

    • HairyEwok

      May 18, 2015 at 15:45

      Pssst…. 8:14:29

      Reply

    • Lord Chaos

      May 18, 2015 at 15:52

      *Goes back to article looking for missing 0’s

      Reply

      • Geoffrey Tim

        May 18, 2015 at 15:54

        Is actually the Samsung Galaxy A000050000000. My bad. 😉

        Reply

        • HairyEwok

          May 18, 2015 at 15:56

          4 zeroes then 7 zeroes…… Half life 3 confirmed

          Reply

          • Lord Chaos

            May 18, 2015 at 15:56

            Staring Raptor

          • HairyEwok

            May 18, 2015 at 15:57

            huehuehuehue

          • Dutch-Trevor Matrix

            May 18, 2015 at 15:57

            What are he staring about?

          • Lord Chaos

            May 18, 2015 at 15:59

            Something about 7’s, and horses.

          • Dutch-Trevor Matrix

            May 18, 2015 at 16:00

            Horse Life 3?

          • Hammersteyn

            May 18, 2015 at 16:01

            Now that’s beating a dead horse

          • Dutch-Trevor Matrix

            May 18, 2015 at 16:03

            If you said “flogging” a dead horse I would have had an amazing joke about my disturbed redneck cousin. Ah well. Such is your luck for today!

          • Lord Chaos

            May 18, 2015 at 16:04

            You calling someone disturbed… Now that is truly disturbing.

          • Dutch-Trevor Matrix

            May 18, 2015 at 16:11

            Heh. I always thought the Skywalker sibblings had it bad. What with their incestious face sucking. Then I remembered my own aunt coming on to me…

          • BacchusZA

            May 18, 2015 at 17:10

            Heh well, so long as she’s not a blood relative, you’re hot to trot.

            And genetically speaking, even if she is a blood relative there’s enough of a separation between first cousins not to produce Funny Looking Kids(tm), so I imagine it can’t be much different for an aunt.

            That said, it’d still be fucking wrong.

          • Dutch-Trevor Matrix

            May 18, 2015 at 18:45

            “fucking wrong.” No pun intended?

          • BacchusZA

            May 18, 2015 at 21:24

            Maaaaaaaybe just an itty-bitty little one 😛

          • HairyEwok

            May 18, 2015 at 16:01

  2. Brady miaau

    May 18, 2015 at 15:37

    Is it an Audi or a phone?

    Will Samsung bring out a new RS6 next year?

    Reply

    • Geoffrey Tim

      May 18, 2015 at 15:38

      Only if Apple does first.

      Reply

      • Brady miaau

        May 18, 2015 at 16:33

        Hah, that is brilliant

        Reply

  3. HairyEwok

    May 18, 2015 at 15:41

    A Quad core running @ 1.2 GHz… 8 years ago that was my pc core speed. Technology is moving forward too fast for me. Watch out old crooked ewok coming through.

    Reply

  4. Hammersteyn

    May 18, 2015 at 15:45

    If I buy a phone that costs as much or more than a PS4, I’d expect it too last as long as a console

    Reply

    • Lord Chaos

      May 18, 2015 at 15:50

      And play Crysis 3

      Reply

      • HairyEwok

        May 18, 2015 at 15:52

        Not speaking of what resolution and FPS…..

        Reply

        • Lord Chaos

          May 18, 2015 at 15:54

          I just got a VERY bad idea.
          Sorry Admiral, going to cross the line here…

          Crysis…Mobile.

          Reply

          • HairyEwok

            May 18, 2015 at 15:55

            Woah now there’s already the board game…. Calm down now please don’t give them more ideas.

    • Admiral Chief

      May 18, 2015 at 15:51

      3 years?

      Reply

      • Matthew Holliday

        May 18, 2015 at 15:55

        2 years and you’ll have to charge every 3 hours.

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          May 18, 2015 at 15:55

          lol this

          Reply

        • Admiral Chief

          May 19, 2015 at 07:50

          Haha

          Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        May 18, 2015 at 15:55

        At least 5

        Reply

    • Blood Emperor Trevor

      May 18, 2015 at 15:57

      I’ve only had my S3 for 2.5 years & the S6 is already out. And costs more than my PC. :/

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        May 18, 2015 at 15:58

        The S6 is almost as much as my second car that I bought in 2005

        Reply

  5. Krabby Paddy

    May 18, 2015 at 15:55

    You know I’d much rather have a graphics card on contract with an upgrade every two years, rather than a cell phone.

    Reply

    • Lord Chaos

      May 18, 2015 at 15:56

      This, Comment of the month

      Reply

    • HairyEwok

      May 18, 2015 at 15:56

      New business plan approved…. I’m gonna be rich!

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        May 18, 2015 at 15:57

        Stealing business plans like Ewoks stole kills in Return of the Jedi

        Reply

        • HairyEwok

          May 18, 2015 at 15:58

          We needed payment somehow….. Stealing kills was just one of them.

          Reply

      • Krabby Paddy

        May 18, 2015 at 15:59

        Hey if you can get the dough and make this work. You have my blessing 🙂

        Reply

      • Dutch-Trevor Matrix

        May 18, 2015 at 15:59

        I dunno. If you fell down and worshipped at the sight of C3PO I dunno what you are gonna do with a graphics card that is all shiny and what not.
        Start a new church every other day?

        Reply

        • Lord Chaos

          May 18, 2015 at 16:00

          Hush you, before the great one touches you with his noodly appendage.

          Reply

          • Dutch-Trevor Matrix

            May 18, 2015 at 16:01

            Oh I will just shove a picture of scantily clad girl in his face. It will be GamerGate 2.0…

    • Hammersteyn

      May 18, 2015 at 15:56

      Great idea, but it could still be very expensive.

      Reply

      • Krabby Paddy

        May 18, 2015 at 15:58

        Money still better spent (for me anyhow).

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          May 18, 2015 at 15:59

          Agreed. Bought a S3 mini cash after my previous phone was stolen, works just as well. I say again. People think owning the latest Apple or Android phone is a new status symbol

          Reply

          • Krabby Paddy

            May 18, 2015 at 16:02

            I’ve got an S3 mini that is now due for an upgrade and looking at the prices for what is out there I’m not renewing my contract. Now my graphics card could do with an upgrade (for Witcher 3).

      • Matthew Holliday

        May 19, 2015 at 11:11

        same could be said for all contracts.
        gives you more access to high tier cards though.
        you’d still be looking at R400pm+ for a gtx 980 though… would struggle to justify that, but
        it would drop the required capital for a new top tier PC down by a fair bit.

        Reply

  6. Matthew Holliday

    May 18, 2015 at 15:57

    the “mid range master” goes for R350pm for a 5″, 16gb and 720p phone
    compared to my R300pm for 5″, 32gb and 1080p nokia that i got 2 years ago.

    again I complain about cellphone prices being stupid.

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      May 18, 2015 at 16:00

      So do I, but no ones listening

      Reply

      • Lord Chaos

        May 18, 2015 at 16:01

        Sorry, what where you saying?

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          May 18, 2015 at 16:04

          lol

          Reply

    • _X_

      May 21, 2015 at 08:13

      What is the package you get with the nokia? Plus it is windows…not that it is bad…I just like Android.

      Reply

      • Matthew Holliday

        May 21, 2015 at 09:37

        2 years ago now, so the standard 200 minutes, 200 smses & 200mb data. package prices are actually quite affordable and from what i saw in the mtn pamphlet the other day, packages were pretty comparable.

        windows is ok, just limited. its a good and underated OS, its only the store that lets it down.

        Reply

  7. Eric

    May 18, 2015 at 16:25

    I’d just like to mention that For R500 more you can get the HTC M8s(not the mini, like M8, but bigger battery etc). Even if it’s technically “last gen”.

    Reply

  8. Raidz

    May 18, 2015 at 16:57

    For some reason I don’t trust that after a year the phone will still be working flawlessly. I can’t stand a phone that constantly freezes. How good do you think will the hardware last in the long run?

    Reply

    • Matthew Holliday

      May 19, 2015 at 11:04

      its using old established tech, i dont think reliability will be an issue, just dont expect it to still be amazing when the 2 year contract finishes.
      i reckon you’d be crying for an upgrade towards the end.
      anything that isnt a top of the range phone wont scale well.

      Reply

      • Raidz

        May 19, 2015 at 13:33

        yeeah… sucks so much that they have already discontinued the S5 mini and S4. I trust the galaxy series with my life.

        Reply

  9. ThomasVSmock

    May 18, 2015 at 18:48

    With yahoo google youtube and lazygamer……..$$$$< Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,

    ?????? Join Free <—————

    Reply

  10. Tbone187

    May 19, 2015 at 12:38

    Was hoping mid range would be around 3k….yikes!

    Reply

  11. _X_

    May 21, 2015 at 08:11

    “Along the side of the body, you’ll find the power button (just like the iPhone 6!)”

    I stopped reading this article after that sentence. ALL Samsungs have the power button on the right! iPhone only got it on the side when the iPhone 6 launched! Please change your article to read the following

    “Along the side of the body, you’ll find the power button (just like all Samsung phones and now the iPhone 6 as well)”

    Reply

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