Technology giant Samsung, long known for its plastic-clad mid-range and flagship smartphones, finally listened to feedback from both loyalists and general users alike, and came out with the Galaxy A series of phones that are not only metal-clad but also cater to those stuck with tight budgets.
Out of all the Galaxy A series of metal-clad smartphones, the A7 has been grabbing eyeballs considering the fact that it falls into the category of both pure mid-range as well as high-end phones. These aspects made us acquire a Galaxy A7 and spend enough time so as to conduct a hands-on review with regard to the handset’s performance.
Check out how the Samsung Galaxy A7 performed, in our tests, below:
Design and Display
The Samsung Galaxy A7 gives off a premium look and feel, on first impression. Close examination of the smartphone made us aware that there is a more angular design than we imagined. On physically feeling the device’s outer metallic frame, its flat rear end and reduction in rounded edges come to the fore. The touchscreen is protected by a Gorilla Glass 4 outer protector, both at the rear as well as front; the Gorilla Glass 4 in combination with the metallic outer finish of the Galaxy A7 makes the handset slippery thereby requiring a relatively tight grip to hold it in the hand without falling.
Also, the touchscreen, and the body of the smartphone by virtue of the glass extra-coating is easily susceptible to fingerprints. Nonetheless, for those interested in looks, the Galaxy A7 does not disappoint. The phone can be flaunted with “prestige” by those preferring to do so. Other aspects of the design and build include the volume and power keys that are located at the left and right sides. The home button at the front also doubles up as the fingerprint sensor. The handset flaunts, at the bottom, a speaker as well as microUSB and headphone ports respectively.
As far as the actual touchscreen is concerned, it measures 5.5-inches and has resolutions of 1080 x 1920 pixels with pixel density of 400 ppi. The display here also belongs to the Super AMOLED capacitive type. The display, of the Galaxy A7, offers good viewing angles. We were able to do things such as access the web browser (to browse the web), read messages, compose text/chat messages effortlessly even in outdoor sunlit conditions.
However, sharpness of rendered images could have been a tad better, the sharpness of highlighted colors also was not up to our expectations considering the smartphone’s 400 ppi pixel density. Nonetheless, first-time smartphone users and those preferring the handset for general everyday use should still enjoy what is displayed on the screen.
Processor and Memory
Samsung Galaxy A7, is driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC that embeds two Cortex-A53 quad-core CPUs. In some geographies, the Galaxy A7 also comes in an another variant, based on the processor, incorporating two quad-core CPUS within a Samsung Exynos 5430 Octa-core SoC.
During our testing, we used the Snapdragon 615 variant. Under the hood, there is also a 2GB RAM. Aspects such as multi-app navigation and multi-tasking are a breeze. Even high-end games run fairly well but with occasional lags depending on how graphics-intensive a gaming title is.
When apps deal with animation effects, this aspect also experiences a slight glitch, making users wait comparatively. The user interface (UI) is straight-forward and simple, it was relatively lag-free during the entire time of our testing. However, navigation within WhatsApp (in certain circumstances requiring you to switch between contacts in a short period of time) was comparatively more time-consuming than within other phones.
As far as Memory is concerned, Samsung’s Galaxy A7 offers a default internal storage area of 16 GB that is expandable up to a meagre 64 GB via an external microSD card slot. This means that movie storage is limited within the handset.
You get a 13 MP rear camera that has lenses measuring 28mm and offering autofocus along with a single LED flash.
The 13 MP camera lets you record 1080p videos at 30fps. 4K video recording is conspicuous by its absence, so is the HDR toggle feature. Activation the camera is easier, however, and can be achieved with just a conventional double tap of the home key. The rear snapper does well to highlight all essential colors with the right amount of lighting; however low-light imagery/photography turned out to be a disappointment. External imagery in photos/images captured in low-light conditions. For the selfie obsessed, there is a 5MP front camera that lets users record 1080p videos. This snapper has lens measuring 23mm.
Samsung’s Galaxy A7 runs Google’s old Android 4.4.4 (KitKat) operating system out of the box, but upgrades to the legacy Lollipop (that is Android 5.0.2) are supported (and offered on a timely basis).
We were able to turn-on the one-handed operation by tapping on the home button thrice. The handset supports split-screen multi-window feature which is a pleasure to navigate through and use. Gesture controls and visually rich themes are offered. These work in sync with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, and are a pleasure to use. There are also pre-loaded Samsung applications such as the S-Voice which are effective circumstantially.
Samsung Galaxy A7 is powered by a fixed 2,600 mAh Lithium-Ion battery. After we fully charged the battery, we could get a backup time of almost an entire day when phone usage is conventional such as calling and basic web browsing. Upon indulging in basic gaming, we noticed that the battery backup did not reduce drastically (as in the case with most modern smartphones) instead reduced only insignificantly. You cannot expect support for wireless charging, within the Galaxy A7 smartphone. However, this should not be a criterion for normal everyday home users looking at buying a proper high-end phone.
Overall performance and verdict
In summary, the Galaxy A7 is impressive if it is looked at from a general everyday home user perspective. The performance of the handset justifies its tech-specs., but the “Samsung touch” could have been a tad enhanced.
During our testing, we experienced slight warmth at the rear of the smartphone, but these were eliminated relatively quickly. Functions such as calling ((even with hands-free where the mic gets rid of background noise)) is a pleasure. Hence, the Galaxy A7 becomes an ideal companion for those on the move, but not strictly for the business user and the technology-obsessed category.