Samsung Galaxy A5 review: mid-range phone with high-end looks

The Galaxy A5 doesn't have all the bells and whistles of a flagship smartphone, but it’s a good low cost alternative

Samsung Galaxy A5
(Image credit: Samsung )

Samsung's mid-range Galaxy A5 boasts an excellent display, design and set of cameras, but isn't quite as impressive on performance, say reviewers.

The A5 finally launched in the UK earlier this month as the bigger brother to the A3, representing another mid-range phone for the Android masses.

Starting at £349, the smartphone has a 5-inch display, a quad-core Qualcomm processor, the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system (upgradable to Android 5.0 Lollipop) and a sleek metallic design not dissimilar to last year's Galaxy Alpha.

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Reviewers say that the smartphone's design belies its price with a super-thin (6.7mm thick) and light (123g) metal chassis in 'midnight' black.

"To call the Galaxy A5 out-and-out mid-range is to do it a disservice," says Pocket Lint. "We've been using its bigger brother, the flagship (and soon-to-be-replaced) Galaxy S5, for a few weeks in the run-up to this review – and we can confidently say that, on looks alone, the more affordable A5 is the better designed phone."

"The Samsung Galaxy A5 is light and sleek, and finally offers the premium feeling in the hand that consumers have been calling for. If this is an indication of what we can expect from Samsung's upcoming flagship, a lot of people are going to be very happy," adds Android Authority.


The A5's 5-inch Super AMOLED 1280 x 720 screen isn't necessarily the brightest, biggest or sharpest (at 294 pixels per inch) smartphone screen but it still impresses, especially for watching multimedia content.

"Following on from the premium design, Samsung has bolted a seriously good 5-inch display onto the Galaxy A5. It isn't the sharpest screen around, packing a 720p resolution rather than Full HD, but it hardly matters as high-def movies look absolutely gorgeous," says Recombu.

"Fast-paced action movies look fantastic, both crisp and blur-free, while the panel is more than spacious enough to comfortably watch for extended periods."


The A5 sports two cameras – a 13 megapixel (MP) rear-facing camera, 5MP front-facing camera – and also promises image detection, voice recognition software and novel new settings for taking selfies or making GIFs.

"The camera on the Samsung Galaxy A5 is a pretty high quality affair, and along with the metal chassis is probably the key selling point on the mid-range phone from Samsung," says TechRadar.

"At 13MP it's certainly powerful enough for most, but again the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact is offering a 20.7MP effort in the same sort of frame – complete with more camera modes as well.

"That said, the Galaxy A5 does have wide selfie mode, which will appease a few of those looking to get a phone that's better for the group shots they want to be in as well".


If there are any complaints with the Galaxy A5 it is that the 1.2GHz quad-core processor lacks the power of more premium smartphones, even if the smartphone wins praise for its numerous connection ports.

"The Galaxy A5's main flaw is its slightly lacklustre performance," writes Expert Reviews. "Whereas the Galaxy A7 has a snappy octa-core processor, the Galaxy A5 uses the same quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor as its little brother, the Galaxy A3. Unsurprisingly, our initial SunSpider JavaScript tests returned very similar scores, with the Galaxy A5 completing the test in 1,238ms in Chrome and 857ms in Samsung's default browser."


"The Galaxy A5 is a solid, perfectly usable and attractive mid-range smartphone, which is unusual for Samsung, which has a habit of making its lower-priced smartphones frustrating to use," concludes The Guardian.

"It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of current flagship smartphones, but is thin, light and has enough processing power to get most jobs done without issue. It looks and feels like a premium smartphone, which most mid-range handsets do not."

Wired notes that for just £100 more than the A3, the Galaxy A5 is bigger, with a better screen and a superior camera. "It's a sleek-looking device and a pretty good performer too, though not everyone will feel the price is justified when compared to cheaper big-screen rivals like the OnePlus One, or phones with superior camera options, like the 20-megapixel model on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact."

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