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Samsung’s Mid-range Phones Make the A Grade

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Everyday convenience with a trendy design. This sums up the new Samsung Galaxy A series (2017), which features two new phones: the 5.2-inch A5 and the 5.7-inch A7.

In keeping with the times, the new phones sport a well-finished metal frame and glass back, so it looks premium all round. While there isn’t a single killer feature, there’s plenty of cheer in a collective of little comforts that help support Samsung’s claim of ‘everyday convenience’. For starters, the phones are rated IP68 for water and dust resistance, and it can survive being submerged underwater up to 1.5 metres deep for up to half and hour. Coupled with an appropriate protective case, the result is a piece of mind that your phone will survive all but the most serious mishaps.

Other nice touches include a well thought-out pair of cameras. Given that compact cameras have been effectively replaced by smartphones these days, the smartphone camera has become an important consideration in any purchase. In this respect, the A series has acquitted itself well.

Rear

Firstly, the rear camera is flush with the back of the phone, meaning you can now place the phone (sans case) on the table without it rocking about. Secondly, the cameras well-specced, with 16-megapixel modules on both front and rear, and both have an f1.9 aperture and flash. Now you can take good quality pics even with the front camera, which is likely to be a considerable upgrade over your existing phone and perfect for ‘selfies’ and family photos.

The user experience has also been simplified for ease of use: swipe up and down to switch between cameras, and swipe left or right for additional features and modes. It also has a welcome addition that’s particularly useful given the large smartphone sizes these days: a virtual shutter button that you can place anywhere on the screen so that it’s easier to press the shutter button regardless of which camera you are using.

The A series phones are equipped with Samsung’s 1.9GHz octa-core processors, which is a mid-range processor comparable to the Snapdragon 6-series family found in most mid-priced phones. This category of processors has been proven to be more than adequate for most, if not all applications that we use today. The same could be said for its RAM (3GB) and internal memory (32GB). If you need more storage, you can insert a microSD for up to 256GB of additional space.

For the most part, both the A7 and A5 are almost identical, barring size. The A5 has a 5.2-inch display while the A7 has a 5.7-inch screen. Both use 1080p resolution Super AMOLED panels from Samsung, which are inherently rich and vibrant in colour. Accordingly, the A7 has a larger 3,600mAh battery while the A5 has a 3,000mAh one.

Full-Length

The A series of phones also supports Samsung Pay, which means it supports both payments via NFC (payWave) or MST (traditional credit card reader), and you can even activate your EZ-Link Card within Samsung Pay. So instead of using your EZ-Link Card, you can simply use your phone the next time you take a bus or train. It also features additional security features (Knox security) like the very useful Secure Folder for storing private data.

The Samsung Galaxy A5 is priced at S$548, and the A7 is priced at S$648, and are available from 21 January onwards in three colours – Black Sky, Gold Sand and Peach Cloud.

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