The Galaxy A-series have grown so much in the last couple of years and Samsung is keeping the family afloat with a couple of successful models despite the fierce Chinese competition in the mid-range. Well, it appears that the Galaxy A lineup is mature enough to introduce a flagship smartphone of its own – the Galaxy A90.
What makes a flagship device flagship-worthy? Good screen, performance, cameras and features are all integral part of a true flagship device and the Galaxy A90 appears to have most of them in its checklist. So in a sense, it’s a flagship Galaxy A smartphone by mid-range standards.
Of course, Samsung isn’t trying to sell you a flagship phone with the Galaxy A90 but instead, it’s trying to bring 5G to the masses. As of now, not many SoCs support 5G and all of them are high-end chips so the best way to do it is to put one of them in a ready and somewhat successful mid-range formula – in this case the Snapdragon 855 in a Galaxy A70.
As you go across the specs sheet real quick, you will see that the Galaxy A70 is an almost identical device to the Galaxy A90 5G. The only difference is in the chipset and the main camera – the Galaxy A90 gets the popular 48MP sensor while the A70 settles for the 32MP one.
Samsung Galaxy A90 specs
Body: Gorilla Glass 6 front and back panel, aluminum side frame
Screen: 6.7″ Super AMOLED, 1080x2400px resolution, 393 ppi.
But we can’t shake off the feeling that the it’s a bit early for this phone. The 5G adoption is too small for now and anyone looking to be an early adopter will be aiming for the premium segment anyway. And besides, the Galaxy S10 is selling for roughly the same price, which is a true flagship phone, minus the 5G.
Expectedly, there’s virtually no difference between the Galaxy A70 and A90 in terms of design. Since the screen measures 6.7″ in diagonal, it’s easy to assume that it’s unwieldy, to say the least. It’s one of the biggest Galaxies around so users will small hands will struggle.
The curved back and the thin side bezels do help with the overall handling while the top and the bottom bezels are considerably slim too. It does give the impression of a high-end smartphone when looking at it from the front.
Interestingly, the Galaxy A90 uses glass for its back instead of plastic like its cheaper sibling, the Galaxy A70. The glass panel features geometric patterns giving it a more distinct look and the available colors are Black and White. The patterns themselves do look a lot different from what we’ve seen before.
The glass back is also a home to the triple-camera setup tucked away in the upper-left corner. It’s vertically stacked but the bump isn’t as prominent as one would expect. Perhaps it’s because the Galaxy A90‘s chassis is 0.5mm thicker than the A70’s making the camera bulge less prominent.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any information regarding the device’s frame but since Samsung didn’t say anything specific about it, we’d assume it’s plastic.
Hardware and features
This is not the first smartphone we’ve seen with Snapdragon 855 so we know what to expect in terms of performance. The SoC is paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage as a base offering and you can upgrade to the 8GB/128GB configuration. Strangely, microSD card support applies only to the 6GB model. The modem inside is Qualcomm’s X50, which is also found on the range-topping Galaxy S10 5G.
The device is built around a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED panel with a U-shaped notch. An extra tall 20:9 aspect ratio (1080 x 2400px resolution) makes the phone ideal for videos, web browsing and multi-tasking. It’s just a few pixels shy of the 21:9 cinematic experience offered on some phones.
On the camera front, we’ve got a 48MP main one with a rather small f/2.0 aperture and PDAF, 8MP ultra wide-angle lens with f/2.2 and a 5MP depth sensor. The notch houses a 32MP shooter and just like the main one, it supports native quad-pixel technology and outputs 8MP images.
This is one of the few Samsung devices with the 48MP sensor and our two main complaints are the narrow f/2.0 opening of the lens – rarely can you find even a midranger with a smaller than f/2.0 aperture – and the lack of OIS. The exact same camera can be found on the Galaxy A80.
Then again, the more advanced ISP on the Snapdragon 855 chipset could mean some minor improvements here and there. Speaking of the Snapdragon 855, it brings a couple of camera-related features that are only available on the Galaxy flagship handsets. Thus, the Galaxy A90 can shoot Super Steady videos (like the S10s and the Note10s), makes use of the Scene Optimizer and Flaw Detector. Of course, 2160p video recording in 30fps is also possible.
Additionally, for the first time, Samsung is bringing DeX support for its mid-range A-series with the Galaxy A90. Most probably hardware limitations have kept the PC-like experience away from the series but with the Snapdragon 855, DeX is now available over the USB-C connector.
While on the subject of connectors, the Galaxy A90 seems to be missing the 3.5mm audio jack from the equation. Strangely, the Galaxy A70 has one.
Lastly, the whole hardware sips from a generous 4,500 mAh battery supporting 25W fast charging in compliance with the Power Delivery standard. But don’t hold your breath for that one because the Galaxy A70’s charging times were far from the ones we got when testing the Galaxy Note10+.
Battery life should be stellar, given that the Snapdragon 855 has proven to be a remarkably efficient SoC and should be in the same ballpark as the Galaxy A70. However, when 5G is involved, since the Snapdragon 855 doesn’t have an integrated modem, the X50 is expected to draw more power too.
As we already pointed out, Samsung isn’t aiming at the premium-seeking users with the Galaxy A90 but instead, it tries to deliver a semi-flagship experience with 5G connectivity at a more reasonable price point, as far as 5G phones go. It’s by far the cheapest 5G option out there and it’s already out in Korea for roughly €685.
The price is surely steep and it begs the question of how bad you want to be an early 5G adopter? For the same price (even a few bucks less), you can snatch a full-fledged flagship like the Samsung Galaxy S10 or the considerably cheaper S10e. Of course, both are limited to 4G support and have considerably smaller screens. If 5G and big screen are a necessity for you, the A90 is the only option you have and that’s what Samsung is aiming for.
The confirmation comes from Samsung’s biggest mobile experience store in India, courtesy of an inquiry from Android Authority and a separate reaffirmation from Sammobile. The Opera House store in Bengaluru has said that it will start sales of the devices from January 29th, as stock won’t reach India until the week after the launch. It also says it has begun taking preorders with an ₹2000 ($27) deposit, in return for which it will keep customers updated on availability via WhatsApp. Those leaving a deposit will not need to decide which variant they want until the official announcement. After all, technically, these devices “don’t exist” yet.
The store also confirmed that Indian devices will be powered by the still-unannounced Exynos 2100 chipset, rather than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 believed to be under the hood in some other markets. They also confirmed the colors seen in teaser videos – gray, pink, purple, and white for the Galaxy S21, pink, purple, silver, and black for the Galaxy S21 Plus, and silver or black for the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Yesterday, we got our first look at what’s believed to be the camera array for the range, suggesting a main sensor at 12MP, along with a 12MP ultra-wide lens and a 64MP telephoto lens. The Ultra has a quad-array with 108MP main shooter, 12MP Ultra Wide lens and not one, but two telephoto lens, one of which offers up to 10x optical zoom, the other 3x zoom. One thing that hasn’t been confirmed or denied is the rumor that Samsung won’t be bundling a charger with this year’s flagships, at least in some countries. That’s a surprise yet to come.
In an unexpected turn of events, a regional branch of Samsung revealed the launch date for the Galaxy S21 series before any announcement from its global offices. More specifically, Samsung India confirmed the company’s next-gen flagship series will be debuting on January 14th. It did so in quite a casual statement issued to Android Authority earlier today.
We followed up with Samsung’s local offices and had a company official confirm the development. Not only that, but they actually said Samsung Experience Stores in India are already accepting Galaxy S21 pre-orders in exchange for a token advance fee of Rs. 2,000 (just over $27).
Is Samsung India jumping the gun with these Galaxy S21 pre-bookings?
If that sounds a bit premature, that’s probably because it is. Because it seems these early pre-bookings are completely blind, i.e. they are not accompanied by any concrete pricing or availability details. Yet with Samsung now confirming our October scoop by announcing a definitive Galaxy S21 launch date that falls in the first half of January, those who pre-book them today might already have their new Android flagships by the end of the same month.
Anyone who pays the aforementioned fee will be able to choose from any of the available models once the actual pre-orders open on January 14th before everyone else. Finally, Samsung India also revealed the color options for the entire flagship series, stating that the Galaxy S21 will be available in white, gray, pink, and purple, whereas the Galaxy S21+ will also be offered in purple and pink, in addition to black and silver. Those last two hues will be the only options presented to prospective Galaxy S21 Ultra buyers.
This is not just a smartphone. It’s a gaming smartphone.
Have you notice lately about a new breed of smartphones? Aside from the growing popularity of the folding phone, gaming smartphones are all on the rage right now. The rise of mobile gaming gave way for smartphone manufacturers to make gaming focused devices.
So are they just regular smartphones with slightly better specs on some areas or are there things common among these monstrous computing devices?
Here’s five distinct features that a gaming smartphone could or should have. We are not saying that all these things exist in a single smartphone but more often than not, these come as standard to be able to say that your smartphone is gaming focused.
1. High Refresh Display
What’s the difference between high resolution and high refresh displays? High resolutions are typically 1440p or 4K AMOLED displays mostly seen on flagship smartphones. High refresh rate displays are higher than 60Hz (the standard refresh rate even on laptop monitors). Gaming smartphones can have 120Hz or 144Hz refresh rates which provides a very smooth animation for gaming. It also allows you, the player, to react sooner to moving targets or elements in the UI. You have to see it to appreciate it. The Asus ROG Phone 3, ZTE Nubia Red Magic 5G have 144Hz refresh rate and a 1080p resolution. The OnePlus 8 Pro has a 120Hz refresh rate and a 1440p resolution. Notice that as the refresh rate increases, the effective resolution decreases. It’s a trade off to preserve battery life and maintain a cool thermal for the smartphone.
2. Enormous Battery Capacity
The Asus ROG Phone 3 has 6000mAh battery. ZTE Nubia Red Magic 5G, 4500mAh. Xiaomi Black Shark 3 Pro, 5000mAh. If you plan on gaming for longer sessions, your smartphone need to last for longer. Yes, you can plug in your smartphone to a powerbank while gaming but that’s not a wise idea if you want to maintain the performance of your smartphone. Your typical smartphone have 2500 to 3000mAh battery capacity. It’s perfect for regular daily tasks. But for high refresh rate gaming, a bigger lithium power source is needed. That’s why the big gaming smartphone brands are packing the highest possible battery to give you the edge to win.
3. Even Bigger Storage
OnePlus 8 Pro and Xiaomi Black Shark 3 Pro give you 256Gb of internal storage. And so is the Asus ROG Phone 3. ZTE Nubia Red Magic 5G, 128Gb. We all know that game files when downloaded locally can take up a lot of space. So gaming smartphones, in following this principle needed to have big storage spaces for these games. 256Gb is great but having the option of adding an external micro SD card, it’s even better. This means that you can allocate you faster internal storage for your games, and your external storage for all your other files.
4. Custom Cooling Solution
How does your smartphone keep itself cool? Simple, it transfers the heat from the CPU and other components to the case. That’s why when you hold your smartphone that just performed a very heavy task, it’s really hot. Yes, you are the heat sink. You absorb and transfer the heat from the device to your hands. Gaming smartphones, on the other hand, goes way beyond this solution and provide you with a custom cooling solution to accelerate this process. You will not see it but inside an Asus ROG Phone 3 are bigger copper heat sinks and thermal paste. Yes, the same thing you use on your desktop and laptop CPU. In effect, it can dissipate heat faster than your conventional smartphone.
5. Performance, Performance, Performance
It’s all about the performance. If your gaming smartphone has a weak CPU, it will not stay on top that long. Samsung Galaxy S20, Snapdragon 865 chipset. The same with Xiaomi Black Shark 3 Pro and ZTE Nubia Red Magic 5G. Asus ROG Phone 3’s got a better one, the Snapdragon 865+. In short, only the best processor with the highest possible speed will be allowed in this category. As soon as a new high performance processor is released, a gaming smartphone could have that hardware to maximise your gaming credibility – if only on paper.
Now you see how gaming smartphones are different from your pedestrian smartphones. They are based on performance, endurance and efficiency. Although your smartphone has these qualities too but nothing beats a smartphone that was specifically built, designed and sold to be good at gaming.
Call us at 8011 4119 if you have smartphone problems, Sydney CBD Repair Centre will fix it for you.
Why go to a repair shop or a manufacturer or the smartphone shop you bought the phone from? When you can do it yourself?
So you have to know if you are an enthusiast or a tech oriented individual. If you own a shop and you fix smartphones for a living, then this video is not for you. However, if you only do screen replacement once or twice a year, then watch out for the risk of DIYing a screen replacement.
Risk #1: You buy the wrong replacement part.
Think about it, the only places where you can buy these replacement parts is online shops or an actual repair shop that is willing to sell you one.
There will be a risk that you can buy the wrong part from a slightly different model. Whether it’s an iPhone or Android smartphone, you might end up with a half open smartphone that you fixed up in your kitchen counter because you can’t finish it because of a wrong part.
Risk #2: You don’t have the right tools or the knowledge to use them.
If you’ve seen some of our videos, we have a lot of special tools specifically designed to perform an operation. Oftentimes, we create our own tools based on experience.
If you don’t have the right tools to do the job, then you can jeopardise the whole repair by giving your already damaged device more damage. It’s a risk that you have to think about. Remember that a smartphone screen is made up of glass. You still have to be very gentle with it and use non-metallic tools to pry your smartphone open.
Risk #3: You can have complications while disassembling or reassembling the device.
You’ve watched videos on ifixit. you have the tools. You have the right part. But what if somewhere down your screen replacement operation, something came up that was not discussed in the repair video that you watched? What if your smartphone didn’t boot up when you tested it? What will you do?
Complications like these can happen if you don’t know the nuance of fixing a specific smartphone model. What is your smartphone chassis is bent? What will you do? What if you punctured your battery? These complications do happen, folks, so watch out.
Risk #4: You can spend more if you damage other components.
Speaking of complications, one other risk is damage to other components. So you thought that you just have to remove the broken screen and you’re good to go? One wrong move and you can bend your smartphone’s housing. Hashtag, bendgate. You can puncture your battery if you’re not careful too. That’s why no metallic objects should be used when you interact with electrical or glass components of a smartphone. You can also leave scratches on the smartphone’s aluminum body.
Damaging other parts of the smartphone if you’re not careful is a risk.
Risk #5: You don’t know advanced troubleshooting techniques if the smartphone won’t boot up after your screen replacement.
We already discussed this. What if your smartphone required more troubleshooting after you successfully replaced the screen? Do you know how to deal with it? If you’re not sure, just let the pros do it.
Sometimes, when you drop your smartphone and whacked the front display, you can also dislodge some parts inside the smartphone. Or your smartphone just won’t accept the replacement screen. It’s like next level skills that you can only get from years of experience fixing smartphones.
Call us at 8011 4119 if you have smartphone problems, Sydney CBD Repair Centre will fix it for you.
We know very well of the dangers of a battery exploding or instantly dying on you. One is a fire hazard and a health hazard. The other one can let you down on critical situations. So how can you tell that your battery needs to retire and you need to get a new one?
Reason #1: Reduced Battery Life
One of the main reason is when your battery isn’t as lively as it used to be a year ago. It needed a recharge after lunch? It needed one again just after six o’clock. What is going on? Aging. That’s what’s going on. Some lithium ion batteries just lost their capabilities to hold charge after a year. Some batteries are extreme so you might end up with a bad one. Get a new battery installed if you still want to use your old device.
Reason #2: Unexpected Shutdowns
This is worse. You are still at 80 percent and then out goes your smartphone to sleep. What’s going on? Well, your battery is not even registering the accurate charge through it’s controller. This means that it can go from hero to zero in a second. Battery replacement? Sure.
Reason #3: Bootloops
Smartphones are smart. That’s why when they detect that your battery is not supplying enough voltage to start up the device, they immediately retry. And then retry again. And again. You’re in a loop. A boot loop. Some factors can also cause this like corrupted OS or a bad motherboard. However, if you can fix it with a battery replacement, then go for it.
Reason #4: Physical Damage
Need I say more? Your smartphone is literally trying to rip itself apart because the battery pack is bloating. This is dangerous so don’t even attempt to open up your device if you don’t know what you’re doing. It can explode. Go to a repair centre immediately and have this sorted out.
Call us at 8011 4119 if you have smartphone problems, Sydney CBD Repair Centre will fix it for you.
These 5 screen menace could happen to your smartphone too!
In the many years of Sydney CBD Repair Centre operation, we have faced screen issues of all sorts. From the subtle cracks to the totally obliterated smartphone display. We fix all of them. Here are the top 5 most common that we deal with on the daily.
Damage #1: Cracks
We’re pretty sure that you’ve seen a crack before. When you drop something glassy and brittle, it will most likely crack, shatter or disintegrate into smaller pieces. Your smartphone is no different. It will crack when you sit on it the wrong way. It will crack when you drop it on the hard floor. It will crack if you tried to fix it yourself. It will crack if you ran it over with your car. All this Gorilla glass technology and your smartphone’s display won’t last long if you don’t cover it with thick screen protectors. This damage is as old as the first fully glass LCD on the modern smartphone. It’s also the most common so if you cracked yours, then welcome to the club!
Damage #2: Dead Pixels
To be honest this is not that annoying if you’re not really particular on your smartphone’s condition. A dead pixel is not a broken Google smartphone but exactly how it is said – dead/broken pixels. Your smartphone can exhibit a permanent dot where a pixel is not anymore working. It’s unnoticeable if you got one or two of them. However, if you got a big region with dead pixels, then you might need to replace your screen.
Damage #3: Ghost Touch
Ghost touch is when your smartphone screen is moving some of the UI elements totally on its own. This means that the touch mechanism is detecting touches that you didn’t do. Hence, the name ghost touch because it seems like someone unseen is using your smartphone. But there is no ghost involved, fortunately. This is just a faulty touch assembly that picks up taps and drags because some portions of it are permanently pressed down. It can detect this all the time so when you use your smartphone, it seems like it is using your smartphone with a ghost.
Damage #4: No Backlight
This is a tricky one to diagnose. Your smartphone screen has many layers. There’s the touch assembly, the LCD/LED layer and the backlight, if it is an LCD. What it does is it lights up your screen. DUh? But when it gets busted, you will not see a thing. Seriously. However, if you light up your smartphone with a flashlight, you can see that your smartphone is perfectly working but you just don’t see a thing! Screen replacement is the way to go on this one or maybe a software update. But updating your smartphone is rarely the solution on this hardware problem.
Damage #5: Brightness or Colour Issues
Of course, you can’t complete this list without mentioning the washed out colour problem on some displays. There are also cases of burn-in on some AMOLED display where it retains some images of static UI elements. But this one is stemmed on either a bad smartphone setting or a bad display overall. You can’t ramp up your smartphone’s brightness outdoors or you just don’t see colour accurately like you did before. If tinkering with the settings on your smartphone wouldn’t work, replace the screen mate. We’ll help you with that.
Call us at 8011 4119 if you have smartphone problems, Sydney CBD Repair Centre will fix it for you.
A 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display, 14nm Exynos chipset, a body made out of a glass/metal combo, IP68 certification, 16MP f/1.9 cameras front and back – it sure sounds like Samsung’s next flagship. Only it’s not the flagship we’re talking about, but the Galaxy A5 (2017) premium mid-ranger.
Of course, we are guilty of hand-picking that selection of specs to prove a point, and there are other fields in that spec sheet that would give away the A5’s lower position in the Galaxy universe. Display resolution is one (1080p), and the chipset is another (Exynos 7880). Even though it’s made on a cutting-edge 14nm fabrication process, it’s still only mainstream Cortex-A53 cores inside and not hard-hitting Mongooses or Kryos. And then the cameras lack OIS and 4K video recording, even if they both offer higher resolution than the Galaxy S7.
Connectivity: nano SIM (dual SIM version available); LTE (Cat. 6); Wi-Fi ac; Bluetooth 4.2; FM Radio; USB Type-C; 3.5mm jack
Misc: Fingerprint reader, IP68 certification for dust and water resistance, Samsung Pay
Somewhat expensive – the Galaxy S6 can be had for less, the S7 is slightly pricier, but will certainly dip in a couple of months when the S8 comes out.
Android is still Marshmallow, though an update is coming.
No 4K video recording at a price point, where you can find plenty of phones that support it.
It’s not exactly what you call a bargain, the A5 (2017), unfortunately. Its price tag makes a pretty solid case for the Galaxy S6, and why not even the S7 when the time is right? It’s also not looking good that Samsung is putting out a new premium product with good ol’ Marshmallow, and no shiny fresh Grace UX can make up for that.
None of that means we don’t like the premise of a premium full-featured (or thereabout) smartphone positioned a notch below the flagships – quite the opposite. We’ll be looking into just how much the A5 (2017) deserves its place in the world on the following pages, starting (not unusually) with a hardware overview.
The Galaxy A5 (2017) measures 146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9 mm which is standard for a 5.2-inch phone – most other devices with the same diagonal are within a millimeter in each direction
As for weight, the A5 (2017) is on the heavy side of average. Its 157g aren’t really an issue, but the similarly sized Huawei P9, for example, tips the scales at just 144g. The brand new HTC U Play is even a notch lighter at 143g, though admittedly it is severely battery-deprived (2,500mAh).
If there’s one area where the Galaxy A5 (2017) can stand up to flagship-grade scrutiny it’s build and looks. To a non-discerning eye the A5 can easily pass for an S7 – the aluminum frame, the dual-glass sandwich, the shapes and proportions – it’s all top-shelf material.
What’s been missing on the A-series for a while now and hasn’t made an appearance on the Galaxy A5 (2017) either is a notification LED. That one seems to be a flagship-only feature as of late. The top bezel of the midranger does contain all the other usual stuff though – earpiece, proximity/ambient light sensors, and selfie camera.
More importantly, and unlike any previous non-flagship or non-rugged phone, the A-series for this year have IP68 certification for dust and water resistance.
We do tend to compare the Galaxy A5 (2017) to both the existing S7 and the projected S8 and while the S7 is so last year with its 3.5mm jack, the S8 may be one of the trendsetters to lose it. So there – the Galaxy A5 (2017) is on par with the current top model in this respect, and possibly better than the upcoming one.
The Galaxy A5 (2017)‘s wired interface is in fact more up-to-date than the current flagship S7. The Type-C USB port only made it on a Samsung phone with the Note7, but we all know how that ended. Other than a somewhat obscure C9 Pro, the A-series remain the only Samsung handsets with a Type-C port. Beat that, S7.
One odd design decision sees the loudspeaker placed on the right side of the phone, right above the power button. For ringtones that’s as good as any other position and in a way it’s better for video viewing when holding the display in landscape orientation than the prevalent bottom placement. There are no stereo speakers, but there aren’t any on Samsung flagships either. Not yet, at least.
As with a few other previous A-series models, the A5 (2017) has a couple of card slots. The one on the side accommodates one nanoSIM, while the slot on top takes a microSD card. The latter can also fit an additional nanoSIM card on dual SIM versions of the A5 (2017) and in this case the microSD slot remains available – it’s a dedicated solution and not a hybrid one and we can’t stress enough just how much we prefer it this way.
On the back, the S-series have been having all sorts of sensors, but not the A’s – it’s the bare minimum here with just the camera module and the LED flash.
Your palms will undoubtedly appreciate the curves on the back, which make the A5 a joy to handle. Some people tend to complain that glass is slippery, but we’ve had more issues in this respect with satin-finished aluminum on some phones, so it’s probably down to the individual’s skin properties. What’s not debatable is that on glass backs smudges reign.
The Galaxy A5 (2017) like all self-respecting Galaxies packs a Super AMOLED display. The A5 in particular is smack in the middle between the 4.7-inch A3 (2017) and the 5.7-inch A7 (2017) in terms of diagonal, and its 5.2-inch panel has FullHD resolution. That amounts to a 424ppi density but the Diamond Pixel arrangement makes that less sharp than a competing LCD with equal number of subpixels for each color. It’s still plenty sharp though.
The display can give you that AMOLED punch that’s become synonymous with the tech, at the expense of color accuracy. In Adaptive mode average DeltaE is 5.3 with Red waaay off at 11.2, but also quite inaccurate whites. Switch to basic mode, however, and you’re treated to an excellently calibrated display with an average DeltaE of just 2.0 and a maximum of 3.2. Cinema and Photo modes are somewhere in between – whatever floats your boat.
Maximum brightness is excellent, particularly if you engage the Auto mode, in which case the display gets a healthy boost in bright conditions. That said, last year’s model could pump out more nits in Auto mode. Even so, the A5 (2017)‘s numbers are right up there with the S7 flagship – excellent. Contrast is infinite, it’s Super AMOLED’s treat for you. With a minimum brightness of just 1.8 nits night-time scrolling sessions won’t strain your eyes either.
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) max auto
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) max auto
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) max auto
Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung Galaxy S7 max auto
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge max auto
Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy S6 max auto
Huawei Honor 8
Huawei Honor 8 (Max auto)
As for sunlight legibility, the AMOLED A5 for 2017 is on par with last year’s model, and slightly better than the A3 (2017), but none of them is a match for this or last year’s flagships. In fact, the A5 (2017) sunlight contrast ratio is virtually identical to the budget J7 (2016) – sounds great from that phone’s perspective, not as flattering from the A5’s. That said, only top-of-the-line LCD-equipped phones can post such results (the likes of the iPhone 7 and Xperia XZ), and it’s not them that the A5 is facing, pricey as it may be.
The Galaxy A5 (2017) is well-stocked on connectivity options. Samsung specifies Cat.6 LTE (300Mbps downlink, 50Mbps uplink), with a disclaimer that it may vary by region and carrier, and since the Exynos 7880 itself supports Cat.7 you may want to check locally if the 100Mbps DL speed is of such crucial importance to you (you know who you are).
There are single SIM and dual SIM versions, each of them with two card slots. In each case there’s a dedicated microSD slot as well – on single SIM models (such as the one we had) there’s no cutout for the second SIM in the top slot (presumably, no contacts and hardware, maybe?).
There is also dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.2 (but no detail on aptX for high-quality audio), NFC and MST (for Samsung Pay, where available), and an FM radio receiver. There is no IR transmitter, though.
A Type-C port is in charge of charging, but only adheres to USB 2.0 spec, so you’re limited to a ‘measly’ 480Mbps theoretical maximum transfer speeds. USB OTG is supported for attaching peripherals, but there’s no MHL support for wired video output. Thankfully, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) battery life
The Galaxy A5 (2017) is powered by a 3,000mAh battery – oh, look, it’s the same capacity as the Galaxy S7. And this one has fewer pixels to render, plus a chipset that should be more frugal than the thirsty flagship number-crunchers.
Well, indeed it is. The Galaxy A5 (2017) only fell short of the S7’s time in the voice call test, and just by an hour and a quarter. At close to 22h its result is still perfectly acceptable.
It gets better in the screen-on disciplines. It takes 14 and a half hours of our Wi-Fi web browsing test to deplete the A5’s battery – a remarkable feat, even if the smaller A3 (2017) does outlast it by an hour. The S7, on the other hand, can’t even make it to 10h.
In video playback the A5 crosses the 16-hour mark before calling it quits – another superb performance. The flagship is closer here, but still falls short by an hour and a half.
As for standby, we’ve tested the phone both with the Always On Display feature engaged and then turned off. While it does take a massive toll on standby time (and consequently on the overall endurance rating), you should bear in mind that our testing can’t account for the phone turning off the display completely when it’s in a pocket, for example. So, presumably, actual real-world standby with the AOD on should be much better.
The overall endurance rating of 95h is an excellent result and is a testament to the inherent benefits of having a 14nm chipset on board – be it an Exynos or a Snapdragon.
Remember the Note7? The Galaxy flagship phablet (that wasn’t meant to be) introduced a redesigned Samsung user interface called Grace UX. The Note7 being absent, the 2017 A-series are the only phones to come with the updated Android overlay out of the box, but it is also being seeded as we speak with the Nougat update for the S7 and S7 edge. Mind you, in the A5 (2017)‘s case it’s on top of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, though a bump to Android 7 is in the works.
This generation of A-series is the first to feature Always On Display (AOD). Three main views are available – Clock, Calendar and Image, with some customization available. Notifications from third-party apps show up (something that didn’t work when the S7 launched, but was added later).
The Always On Display dims when ambient light is low and will shut off when the Galaxy A5 is in your pocket. This saves energy, but you can be more explicit about it and put AOD on a schedule (or it may just be that you don’t like the extra light while you sleep).
The lockscreen can be secured with the fingerprint reader. It’s not the fastest we’ve seen, but it’s no slower than the readers that flagship Samsungs use.
The fingerprint reader can do more than that. Web sign-in remembers the passwords you use for sites and can automatically fill them in when you touch the fingerprint reader. You can also secure your Samsung account (more on that in a bit).
The Homescreen has the Briefing pane on the left (which you can disable) and supports themes and icon packs. More interestingly, it supports sort of a 3D Touch feature, not unlike the one found on the Google Pixel phones – you tap and hold on an app and a contextual menu appears. However, it offers just basic app handling actions and is not tied to the actual functionality of app.
The notification area should be quite familiar as well. A line of quick toggles is available above the notifications. Pulling the shade further down reveals all toggles, a brightness slider and a handy search field (Google prefers to put the search field on the homescreen instead).
We like the idea of the Block notifications button, it allows you to quickly mute notifications from pushy apps (games are often guilty of crying for attention when you haven’t played them in a while). Still, we don’t like the aesthetics of it.
The app switcher is the usual rolodex, but unlike the A3 here it offers split-screen multitasking (standard on Nougat, but this is Samsung’s implementation in Marshmallow). The apps that can go in multi-window have an icon next to the X, and that’s one way of doing it – the other is to hold the task switcher capacitive key.
The App drawer has a search field that looks through the apps you have installed, but also suggests apps from Galaxy Apps (you can search the Play Store if you prefer).
Being a somewhat larger phone than the A3, the A5 also gets a one-handed operation mode. It’s part of the Advanced features menu where you can also enable other actions like double press on the Home button to launch the camera and screenshot capture with a palm swipe.
Secure folder creates a separate zone so sensitive files (photos, documents, etc.) and apps can be locked away from prying eyes. Once you enter the Secure folder, taking a photo with the camera or snapping a screenshot places the file in the Secure folder. To access those from the regular gallery, you’ll first have to move them.
The reason you want to secure your Samsung account with your fingerprint is that you get 15GB of cloud storage for free. Everything from contacts to photos can be synced and you get to choose which files are synced over LTE and which are left for when Wi-Fi is available (contacts, calendar and notes don’t use much data, but photos do).
The Galaxy A5 (2017)‘s primary camera is based on a 16MP sensor that sits behind a 27mm-equiv. lens with an f/1.9 aperture. It’s lost the optical stabilization, unfortunately – last year’s model had that. Autofocus is also contrast-detect only – or at least no phase detection is being advertised. There is a single-LED flash, but that’s been Samsung’s treatments of its flagships, so why should the A-series be any better.
The camera interface has not received substantial changes. Grace UX has brought only minor refinements like swipe gestures.
As usual for Samsung smartphones, you can launch the camera with a quick double press on the Home key. The viewfinder greets you with only a flash mode toggle and a shortcut to settings.
From here you can swipe down to switch between the front and rear cameras, which is much appreciated even if not very original (LG says hi!). Swiping to the left gives you a panel with color filters, while in the other pane you get access to the shooting modes.
That’s where HDR mode resides – there is no Auto HDR like on flagships and the HDR mode is a swipe and a tap away, instead of just a tap. A Pro mode is present too, though that’s clearly a huge overstatement – you get control over exposure compensation, ISO and white balance presents, plus a metering mode selector, but no manual focus and no manual shutter speed. We gather the ‘pro’ could pass for ‘program’, but not ‘professional’, really.
Image quality is quite good, with low noise and minimal signs of noise reduction. Colors are pleasingly vivid too, without being over the top – in this weather it’s mostly the iPhone graffiti in the second image that can testify to that, but it’s enough (also the Photo compare tool down below). Dynamic range is good, though in extreme cases like the 4th and 5th sample you’re bound to end up with blown highlights.
HDR needs to be engaged manually, there’s no Auto and certainly no live preview like on the flagships. In high-contrast scenarios you might be wise to take a shot in normal and HDR mode, just in case. It does what it promises without much drama – shadows get a modest boost, and some detail in the highlights is salvaged, adding up to a very natural-looking image. Some might prefer a little less subtlety here.
We’ve seen better panoramas than the ones coming out of the Galaxy A5 (2017), but then again, we’ve seen better weather too, though certainly not lately. Anyway, the A5’s panoramas are about 1,800px tall, detail is about average, and stitching is very good, of course provided there are no moving objects.
The selfie camera on the Galaxy A5 (2017) is another 16MP f/1.9 unit, though naturally not of the same caliber as the rear one with the same numbers. For one, the front-facer lacks autofocus, and you’d think that’s a non-issue for a cam used almost exclusively at arm’s length. It would have been, had the focus distance been tuned to arm’s length shooting, and that’s not the case.
Which is sad, because at the proper distance the results are superb, only that means just your face is in the frame, and presumes some serious interest in your pores. At arm’s length everything’s a blur.
The evenly matched pixel count prompted us to make a comparison between the front and rear cameras, and… well… makes you wonder just how crucial composition needs to be for it to make such a trade-off in quality worth it.
The Galaxy A5 (2017) captures video up to 1080p/30fps, so no 4K recording out of this one. We’ve sort of grown used to expecting a phone in this price range to be able to do it – damn you, OnePlus 3.
The A5’s videos are encoded with a 17Mbps bitrate, the usual number, while audio gets a generous 256Kbps, stereo.
The FullHD video output is good, with nice levels of detail and low noise. Colors are rendered quite well too, though once again you’re better off looking at the Video compare tool to get a better idea. Audio, by the way, is surprisingly clear, and it can’t be down to just the bitrate.
One thing is clear from this review – Samsung has got the alphabet wrong. A has never been as close to S as it is with the A (2017) series. The Galaxy A5 (2017) carries more than a passing resemblance to the reigning Galaxy S7 flagship – let’s just say that if the S7 were to stumble into the A5, they’d take a selfie together.
It’s hard to split the two for looks and build quality, and that includes the IP68 certification. Only now making it outside of a select group of flagship or rugged Samsungs, the dust and water proofing is shared across the entire ‘A’ lineup this year. Same for the Home button with a fingerprint reader, complete with Samsung Pay capabilities, but that’s old news – it was already available on last year’s As.
Another thing to trickle down into the upper midrange is the cutting-edge internals. The 14nm chipset at the heart of the A5 (2017) may not outperform the top-end silicon of the day, but its efficiency is immediately evident – the battery life of the A5 is just marvelous.
The 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display is equally great – gone are the days of dim AMOLEDs with colors all over the place. This one is bright, it can be accurate if you want it to be, and it is well visible in the sun. Flagships retain the QHD resolution as a trump card, but the A5 is perfectly okay with its FullHD.
16MP cameras front and back – we can see smiles lighting up the faces of Samsung’s marketing team. The front cam can be super-detailed, only you need to keep the phone a foot away from your face, and that barely fits our grown-up mugs. We don’t know about you, but that’s not how we like our selfies. The rear camera is a lot more balanced and a capable overall performer. Its images are detailed and exhibit mature detail rendering, pleasing colors, and dynamic range is quite wide.
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) key test findings
Build quality and materials are flagship-grade (IP68 rating, too), but the glass back is inevitably prone to fingerprints.
The high-quality Super AMOLED display has excellent maximum brightness and infinite contrast and can put out punchy or spot-on colors depending on your preference. Sunlight legibility is not quite up there with the best, but it’s still better than any LCD.
Battery life is superb – the phone’s endurance rating is 95h, and it posted excellent numbers in all our individual tests.
Grace UX or TouchWiz, Samsung’s interface is functional and feature-rich, now also sleeker. It’s still based on Android Marshmallow, which is less than ideal in 2017.
The Exynos 7880 performs great if you take into account its efficiency. In absolute terms, it’s an average midrange SoC that’s not greatly suited to the most demanding tasks. Then again, Game launcher could help you alleviate that by lowering the resolution at which games are rendered so you get all the special effects.
The loudspeaker posts a Good rating for loudness, it’s nice and clear at maximum volume too.
Image quality from the main camera is good – there’s sufficient detail, colors are nicely saturated, and dynamic range is pretty wide.
1080p video quality is very good, so is the audio that accompanies it.
The 16MP selfie camera produces spectacular results, but its focus is fixed way too close, so you’re forced to choose between narrow coverage or images that are simply not in focus.
The Galaxy A5 (2017) may look like the (still) current flagship S7, but it is the S6 that it will give it the hardest time. The previous-gen top model boasts a higher-grade camera with 4K video recording and OIS, a higher-res display and a superior chipset. We’d even cautiously suggest that the much more versatile 5MP selfie shooter of the S6 wins over the 16MP one of the A5. The A5 (2017) fights back with its IP68 rating (the S6 carries none), a microSD slot, a FM radio and longer battery life, plus a Type-C port if that’s a decider for you.
Oh, we almost forgot – the S6 is one of the best choices if you want to take advantage of Samsung’s Gear VR platform. The A5 (2017) stays quietly in the corner when the big boys talk VR.
Then there are the other As from this year. Maybe you’re eyeing the A3 (2017) for its pocketability, just beware that it’s got a lower-res (and lower pixel density) display, a slower chipset, less RAM and storage and lower-res cameras. It does keep a lot of the important stuff like the microSD slot (though hybrid on the dual-SIM version), IP68 rating, and superb display and battery life. It’s also cheaper, duh.
Or, you could go one up and pick the 5.7-inch Galaxy A7 (2017) if that’s available near you. Much fewer trade-offs here – the hardware is almost identical, only you’d be paying a little more for a larger diagonal and more battery (so possibly better battery life). The one caveat – Samsung won’t be selling the A7 in Europe – a decision which is beyond us.
There’s yet another option that needs to be mentioned, and it’s none other than the Galaxy S7. Of course, it’s considerably more expensive right now, but it’s due for replacement in three months, so if you could wait, the S7 will certainly be a much better deal then. The A5 (2017) has nothing on the flagship – all the advantages over the S6 vanish (alright, there’s the FM radio), and the S7 is hands-down the better phone altogether.
The Xperia X Performance goes for Galaxy A5 (2017) money in most markets. It’s a model that’s close to being a year old if you count from the announcement or half that if you consider the actual launch.
The X Performance is among a select few devices to offer an IP68 rating for dust and water protection, so the A5 has found its match on this front. Not regarding battery life, though – the Sony is nowhere near. It does boast a Snapdragon 820 chipset, which it chooses not to use for UHD video, but its advantages for mobile gaming remain – it’s much better suited to the task than the A5’s Exynos 7880.
Huawei has a couple of phones to compete with the A5 (2017) for your affection. Another flagship due for replacement, the P9 is a bit pricier but has a lovely dual 12MP camera (color+monochrome) on its back and a more powerful chipset (that still doesn’t support 4K video recording, mind you). The A5 is dust and water resistant, though, and makes much better use of its 3,000mAh battery than the P9.
Going for the Huawei nova instead, you’d save a few notes, but still get a premium midranger – this one made of metal. Unlike the P9, the nova has a single rear camera (but then so does the A5), only it can record 4K video. Battery life isn’t half bad, but it’s no match for the marathon runner that the A5 is and the Samsung handset’s display is superior in all respects. Did we mention the A5’s IP68 rating? Well, now we have.
Priced identically to the Galaxy A5 (2017), the OnePlus 3T deserves a spot here. Sure, you can’t find it in a store, and claiming a warranty might be a minor pain in the…hassle, but it’s hard to beat it in bang-for-buck ratio. Packing one of the most powerful chipsets available, the 3T also comes with more RAM and storage. The latest from OnePlus packs 2x16MP cameras too, and both are arguably slightly better than the A5’s, plus the main one can capture 2160p video.
The A5 has its strengths – the 32GB of memory may look modest next to OnePlus’ 64GB or 128GB (has anyone actually gotten one of those), but a 256GB microSD card can easily dwarf that, as the 3T offers no option for expansion. Perhaps you’re tired of reading about the A5’s water-resistance and excellent battery life, but that’s only because no other phone manages to match it on both of those counts, most not even on one. The OnePlus 3T certainly can’t.
Going through the numbers that define the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) it’s all too easy to focus on the negative stuff. No 2160p video recording. £400/€430. Android 6.0.1. Even that name is a bit too much – A5 (2017).
Those numbers can easily be countered with a few others that ring much more nicely, but let’s not get so hung up on the digits. The facts are that the Galaxy A5 (2017) is beautifully-built; it will live through a downpour; it packs a screen that’s only bested by flagships, and has battery life to spare. Of course, it’s not ideal, and it’s not cheap, but you’re also unlikely to find a better match for the description in the previous sentence. Well, not unless you dig even deeper into your pocket.
One of the first phones with five cameras on board and, several months after the announcement, still the only one with four on the back – it’s the Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018). We set out to discover how well the impressive specsheet translates into real world performance.
Sitting on top of the ever-confusing Galaxy A-series, the A9 leaves no doubt it’s the best-equipped of the bunch. Of course, it’s got more cameras than any other – it adds a telephoto module to the A7’s regular/wide/depth configuration. There’s ‘only’ a single cam on the front – the 24MP selfie shooter doesn’t get a depth sensor of its own.
It’s not just the camera count that sets the A9 apart from the rest of the 2018 midrange Galaxy models – it’s also got the most powerful chipset. Its Snapdragon 660 outclasses the Exynos chipsets of its lesser brethren and only falls short of the recently announced A8s (which lacks a year designation, so it doesn’t really count).
The largest display of the A-series is also to be found on the A9 (2018), its 6.3-inch diagonal only bested by that pesky A8s that came out as we were doing the A9’s review, so we had to reword stuff here and there. Anyway, the A9 (2018) feature set continues with more RAM than you could possibly need, 128GB of storage that you can also expand with a dedicated microSD slot, and ample battery capacity complete with Samsung’s sort-of fast charging – yup, the A9’s spec sheet has all the right boxes checked.
Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018) specs
Body: Glass back, metal frame; 162.5 x 77 x 7.8mm, 183g; Caviar Black, Lemonade Blue and Bubblegum Pink color schemes;
Memory: 6GB/8GB (market dependent) of RAM, 128GB of storage; dedicated microSD slot for expansion.
Battery: 3,800 mAh Li-Po (sealed); Samsung Adaptive Fast charging.
Connectivity: Dual SIM; LTE Cat. 9 (450Mbps download/50Mbps upload); USB 2.0 Type-C port; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO; NFC; Bluetooth 5.0; FM radio.
Misc: Rear-mounted fingerprint reader; Samsung Pay; single speaker on the bottom; 3.5mm jack.
Well, we would have preferred Android Pie instead of last year’s Oreo, but in a world where the Note9 doesn’t have v9.0 of the OS yet, and the S9 only got it as a post-Christmas present, we didn’t actually expect it of the A9, of all models.
And while we usually avoid thinking in price-vs-performance terms before evaluating a phone on its merits, the number Samsung is asking for the Galaxy A9 (2018) raised a few eyebrows around the office as soon as the phone got in through the door. We’ll be quick to go over the lab test results, but not before we have a look at the A9’s design.
Design and 360-degree spin
The Galaxy A9 (2018) is immediately recognizeable – after all, there’s no other smartphone with 4 cameras on the back, as we established. The quad-cam array is positioned in the top left corner and is remarkably less intrusive than we would have thought – or is it just us getting used to multi-camera setups?
The four modules are arranged in a row, instead of a 2×2 square and it’s perhaps this setup that makes them less in-your-face. It also helps that they all peek at you from one shared window instead of, say, Huawei’s 2+1 configuration on the P20 Pro. Even so, Samsung didn’t find room in there for the flash and it’s outside of the camera cluster.
Instead of the Galaxy A7 (2018)’s one-off side-mounted fingerprint reader, the one on the A9 is placed more conventionally on the back. If you’re switching from a smaller phone, this reader may seem a bit high, but if you’re coming from another 6+-inch phone it’s exactly where you’d expect it to be. A word of praise to Samsung for having no text other than the company logo to spoil the look of the back.
The front is very clean too – the 6.3-inch Super AMOLED takes center stage, naturally, with thin sides and meatier, though not excessive, top and bottom bezels. Samsung still calls it Infinity Display even though it’s less ‘infinity’ than on the S9s and the Note9s of this world. Some folks will prefer it that way – if you’re into large screens, but like them flat, the A9’s the way to go in Samsung’s lineup.
The top bezel houses the usual elements you’d expect to find there. The earpiece is in the middle, the selfie camera is to its right, while the ambient light and proximity sensors share a cutout on the left. There’s nothing below the display.
The Galaxy A9 (2018)‘s frame is made of metal, keeping together the glass sandwich. Down on the bottom, there’s a USB-C port (we still can’t forgive Samsung for pairing the A7 with a microUSB port in 2018), a good old 3.5mm jack, the single loudspeaker, and the primary mic.
Up top you’ll find the secondary mic pinhole and the card slot. That card slot is our favorite type – it takes two nanoSIMs and a microSD card, so you’re not forced to choose between dual SIM versatility and extra storage.
Samsung’s messed things up a bit with the control scheme on the A9 (2018) and moved the volume rocker to the right, above the power button. It used to be a given that your Samsung will come with a power-on-the-right-volume-on-the-left setup, but that’s no longer the case. There still is a button on the left of the A9 – that one’s for Bixby. Even though we find the arrangement unorthodox for a Galaxy, we had no issues with actually using the buttons, so the above are just pointless musings. The click action is good too.
The Galaxy A9 (2018) measures 162.5x77x7.8mm, which is about right for its display size. The 6.4-inch Note9, in fact, has a marginally smaller footprint, but its curved screen helps with the numbers. And then the A9 is actually a full millimeter thinner than the flagship. The A9 (2018) is also reasonably light for the combination of display size and battery capacity, and its 183g won’t be a burden on your jeans pocket.
A large-screened smartphone with upper mid-range internals and a bunch of cameras – who else makes those? Practically everyone, though as we’ve established, not one of them can beat the Galaxy A9 (2018) for the sheer number of its rear cameras. Then again, having many cameras on board hasn’t translated into great image quality for the Galaxy, so let’s explore what other options you can get for the same amount of cash.
OnePlus 6T • Xiaomi Pocophone F1 • Huawei P20 Pro • Samsung Galaxy S9+
The OnePlus 6T is the first that comes to mind. Just like the A9, it has one useless camera on the back, but the one that it does use, it uses a whole lot better than the Galaxy. It’s also got a more powerful high-end chipset and overall more streamlined software experience.
The Pocophone F1 caused quite the stir and for a reason – it packs some flagship-grade internals at a fraction of a flagship’s price. It’s also a lot cheaper than the A9, and it also has the Snapdragon 845 of the OP6T, which easily beats the A9’s 660. And the Pocophone isn’t really behind this particular Galaxy in any meaningful way either.
Now, if you want some of that actual flagship feel, the Huawei P20 Pro can be had for about as much as the Galaxy A9 (2018), and it is a superior phone all around, particularly in the camera department where the A9’s chops lie on paper.
The curious thing, however, is that you could be getting a better phone while remaining loyal to Samsung and without spending much more than you’d shell for the A9. The Galaxy S9+ is a couple of months from its due replacement and depending on where you are, deals are to be scored any day now.
Conceptually, the Galaxy A9 (2018) shows the direction the industry is headed – single device, all the cameras. In practice, however, it’s precisely these cameras that let it down. Of course, we can’t expect Samsung to make a better cameraphone in the midrange than its current top models, but the A9’s image and video quality is as if it’s coming from another era and it’s not the future we are talking about.
Which is sad, because it’s otherwise a capable phone. All the rest of the important stuff is there – a high-quality display, battery life to spare, a powerful chipset, more RAM and storage than you know what to do with – these are all covered. You know, except for the camera.
The prohibitively high price doesn’t help its case either. We’d understand it if there were no major dealbreakers, but with a camera like this, it’s not really so, is it?
Let’s put it this way – if you’re after the bragging rights for having the world’s only quad-rear-cam phone, well, the Galaxy A9 (2018) is the rather obvious choice. But if you are after taking nice pictures with your phone regardless of the number of cameras it has – well, there are better options out there.
Excellent display all around.
Very good battery life.
Powerful chipset, a ton of RAM, boatloads of storage and a dedicated microSD slot – it’s hard to beat the A9 when it comes to the essentials.
Really disappointing image quality, particularly for a phone that’s advertised for its camera prowess.
Old OS version, Pie update is going to take a while if it arrives at all.
If 2019 taught us anything it’s that Samsung‘s A-series span pretty much the entire spectrum of feature sets and price brackets short of a true flagship. The 2020 roster is only beginning to unfold and the company kicked things off by adding 1s to product names in the mid-tier – thus the Galaxy A51 was born.
That 1 means a lot when you look at the A51 and A50 side by side. For starters, there’s 1 more camera on the new model – a close-focusing 5MP shooter. The chipset is also “1” better – the A51 is powered by the Exynos 9611 as opposed to the 9610 in last year’s phone. And then a 0.1-inch increase in screen diagonal continues the theme albeit at a lower order of magnitude.
Let’s put our lame attempts at numerology to the side, and mention the other upgrades that the Galaxy A51 brings – almost exclusively in the camera system. There’s a 48MP Quad Bayer primary unit now replacing the 25MP conventional module of the A50 and the ultra wide-angle cam’s sensor has grown in pixel count – it now stands at 12MP as opposed to the A50’s 8MP, still with 123-degree coverage.
And you be the judge if this counts as an upgrade, but the selfie camera now sits in a cutout in the top center of the display, unlike the A50’s notch. Infinity-O replaces Infinity-U. The camera itself should, indeed, qualify as an upgrade – a 32MP Quad Bayer unit where the A50’s 25MP snapper used to sit.
Samsung Galaxy A51 specs
Body: Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3), polycarbonate back and frame.
Screen: 6.5-inch Super AMOLED, 20:9, FHD+ (1080x2400px), 405ppi.
Misc: Under-display fingerprint reader, single bottom-firing loudspeaker.
Samsung Galaxy A51 unboxing
There’s no ‘New year, new me’ when it comes to the A-series presentation and the Galaxy A51 arrives in a familiar white box with a glossy print of the phone on top, a cutout with the model numbers helping identify what’s inside.
And inside, sure enough, you’ll find the Galaxy A51. Besides the phone, you’ll be getting a 15W power adapter – the tried and tested QC2.0-based Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging unit, plus a USB-A-to-C cable to complete the link. A basic set of earbuds is also part of the bundle, but there’s no protective case – other makers take the exact opposite approach, and we’d probably pick a case instead of a headset, but to each their own.
The Galaxy A51 and A71 that got announced at the start of the year usher in Samsung‘s new language when it comes to rear camera design. Like it or not, oversized rectangular clusters in the top left corner that group all shooters under the same roof is how the company’s phones will adapt to the ever growing number of modules. The Galaxy A51 we have here, packs a total of four cameras on its back.
The assembly is raised by about a millimeter, but that doesn’t make it particularly prone to wobbling, if that’s a concern to you. The flash also found room with the cameras, and with a fingerprint reader missing on the back, the camera bump is the one thing that breaks the back panel’s continuity.
Samsung designers figured an accent is then in order, and spiced things up with a rather unique finish. A seemingly arbitrary diagonal line separates a fine-striped bottom part from the solid top, while another diagonal line divides the back into a darker and a lighter portion. The two diagonals intersect, forming an ‘X’ of sorts with four different resulting quadrants.
And that’s before the phone starts playing with light. Our Prism Crush Black review unit explodes in an entire rainbow of colors if you look at it under the right angle. Going by the official renders, we can see a hint of that rainbow regardless of the colorway. We do like the look, though if it were up to us, we’d pick one of the brighter colors.
For all its good looks, the Galaxy A51‘s back panel is made of plastic, so we wouldn’t trust it to be too durable – a sheet of Gorilla Glass would have inspired a bit more confidence. The front does get some of Corning’s 3rd-gen glass, so at least your display should be safer.
It’s an Infinity-O panel that sits on the A51‘s front, meaning a mostly bezelless and notchless display, but with a tiny circular cutout for the selfie cam. It’s a look that we’re familiar with from the Note10s of this world and it’s apparently another one of the company’s signature touches for the time being.
As for the bezels, the A51 is a noticeable step up from the A50, with the chin now being a lot thinner. The top and the sides are even slimmer, but more importantly they’re the same thickness too, which should please those of you that pay attention to small details. As was the case with the A50, the Galaxy A51 has a slit up top for the earpiece, carved into the glass.
The phone’s frame is made of plastic, same as last year, and much like the A50, the A51‘s physical buttons are all on the right – what was the point of the whole ‘buttons on the left’ switcheroo we saw on the Note10? The buttons themselves have decent travel, but they do click a bit less satisfyingly if you press them off-center.
On the left side of the phone, way up towards the top, you’ll find the card tray. On our dual SIM review unit, it’ll take two nano SIMs and a microSD all at the same time so you don’t have to pick between extra storage and an extra SIM.
Down on the bottom, there’s the USB-C port in the center. A headphone jack sits on one side, the loudspeaker and the primary mic on the other. Up top there’s another mic and that’s about it.
The Galaxy A51 measures 158.5×73.6×7.9mm and weighs 172g making it one of the more pocketable offerings in the segment. It’s thinner and narrower than the Realme X2 and competing Xiaomis (the Mi 9T and Redmi Note 8 Pro, to name a couple) and it’s also lighter while still packing a 4,000mAh battery. It is, in fact, surprisingly slim and light in the hand.
6.5-inch Infinity-O Super AMOLED
The Galaxy A51 has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 1080 by 2400 pixels in a tall-for-a-Samsung 20:9 aspect ratio. It’s an Infinity-O panel, meaning it’s got a punch hole for the selfie camera, as opposed to a notch of any sort or shape. The A51 and A71 were the first non-flagships in the company’s lineup to adopt that approach, with the Lite S10 and Note10 following.
Infinity-O or otherwise, it’s still a Samsung OLED display and behaves in much the same way we’ve come to expect from those. We measured a maximum brightness of 636nits when the Adaptive brightness toggle was engaged and 413nits if you take over control of the slider. Minimum brightness was 1.8nits.
Samsung Galaxy A51
Samsung Galaxy A51 (Max Auto)
Samsung Galaxy A50
Samsung Galaxy A50 (Max Auto)
Xiaomi Mi 9T
Xiaomi Mi 9T (Max Auto)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T (Max Auto)
Xiaomi Redmi K30
Xiaomi Redmi K30 (Max Auto)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (Max Auto)
Nokia 7.2 (Max Auto)
Motorola Moto G8 Plus
Motorola Moto G8 Plus (Max Auto)
Color rendition is handled familiarly – the Natural/Vivid approach Samsung introduced recently. Natural aims to reproduce sRGB content truthfully, and we measured a very good average deltaE of 1.8, though 100% Green was particularly off with a deviation of 5.4.
The Vivid mode offers a 5-position cool-to-warm slider, and we were particularly impressed with the spot-on whites and grays at the warmest setting, which yielded an overall average deltaE of 2.7 when examining color swatches against their DCI-P3 targets. The mid-point on the slider will get you slightly worse average deltaE of 3.3 and not as accurate whites – moderately shifted towards blue to the tune of a deltaE of 4.
Samsung Galaxy A51 battery life
The Galaxy A51 has a 4,000mAh battery inside, same capacity as the model it replaces and pretty much par for the course in the segment. Despite using the same chipset, the A51 does come with a slightly larger display and a different OS, so we expected at least some difference in the battery life, and indeed that’s what we got.
We clocked 13 and a half hours on the web over Wi-Fi, a full hour more than what the A50 managed. Then again, we’re witnessing an hour and a half drop in video playback to 14:22h – still a respectable number. The 22-hour call time isn’t spectacular, but it’ll do. In the end, the Galaxy A51‘s overall Endurance rating adds up to 86 hours.
Using the supplied adapter, the Galaxy A51 charges from flat to full in 2:14h, which won’t win it any contests, but is fairly decent. At the 30-minute mark, we were looking at 35%, and that too isn’t praiseworthy.
Next up – testing the quality of the output through the audio jack. The Samsung Galaxy A51 put in a spirited performance with an active external amplifier, getting top marks while maintaining downright impressive loudness.
The volume remained high with headphones, and we got a bit of extra distortion and a moderate amount of stereo crosstalk. All things considered, it’s an excellent showing by the mid-ranger, though.
IMD + Noise
Samsung Galaxy A51
Samsung Galaxy A51 (headphones)
Samsung Galaxy M30s
Samsung Galaxy M30s (headphones)
Redmi Note 8
Redmi Note 8 (headphones)
Motorola Moto G8 Plus
Motorola Moto G8 Plus (headphones)
Realme X2 (headphones)
Android 10 and One UI 2 out of the box
The Galaxy A51 is one of the first Samsung phones to boot Android 10 out of the box, complete with the latest custom One UI 2.0. It’s nice to see that new models are launching with their software already up to date, as opposed to having to wait several months for an OTA.
We’ve already seen the 10/2.0 combo on several flagship Galaxies, where it arrived as an update. On top of that, the second version of One UI isn’t all that different from the original, save for the new take on gesture navigation. Even so, the A51‘s build comes with a small surprise – you get Edge screen.
Previously reserved for the flagships where they would go together with the curved edge displays, the Edge screen set of features have made their way to the mostly flat-screened Galaxy A51. Edge panels is a well-known, long-standing feature that gives you quick access to apps, actions, tools, etc. with a single swipe from the side. You can choose which side the handle is located on, as well as adjust its position along the edge of the phone. In the Edge screen sub-menu, you will also find Edge lighting – it’s a feature that can light up different types of peripheral glow for notifications, and as you’ve probably guessed, there are tons of options and styles to choose from.
Gesture navigation is also available, and you get to pick between the One UI 2 set of actions or go back to the One UI 1 way of doing things. The former is similar to the current native Android 10 approach with a swipe-in from the sides for ‘Back’ and swipe-up from the bottom for Home or task switcher. The old way is by swiping up from three separate areas on the bottom that do what the on-screen buttons before them used to do. If you can’t be bothered with gesturess, the conventional onscreen nav bar remains an option too.
Other cool recent developments have made their way to the A51, including Dark mode. It skins UI elements in black and shades of dark gray and also invokes the dark modes of supported apps, which include the in-house ones as well as the Google suite (not Maps, though, not yet).
Biometrics on the Galaxy A51 include an optical fingerprint reader and basic camera-only face detection. The fingerprint reader experience is trouble-free, with the usual multi-step setup feeling a bit tedious but rewarding when it comes to accuracy afterwards.
It’s not the fastest of sensors and feels more like Samsung‘s ultra-sonic units in the flagships as opposed to a good, nearly-instant optical one, and the laggy animation doesn’t help with perceived speed, but it’s mostly a usable reader that doesn’t get in the way.
Other than that, the Galaxy A51‘s UI is One UI as we’ve come to enjoy. The shift of actionable UI elements towards the bottom for easier reach has been widely praised, and we’re also digging the iconography.
The Galaxy A51 is powered by the in-house Exynos 9611 chipset – a minor refresh on the 9610 found in last year’s model, and a refresh that only addresses high-res camera support. In fact, we did see an uptick in performance on the M30s, which uses the 9611 too, so there’s probably more than meets the eye in the specsheets.
Anyway, this particular Exynos is built on a 10nm process and packs an octa-core CPU in a classic 2×4 configuration – 4×2.3GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.7GHz Cortex-A53. The GPU is Mali-G72 MP3. Three RAM/storage versions are in existence – 4/64GB, 4/128GB, and 6/128GB, with our review unit being the mid spec.
In our benchmarking session, the Galaxy A51 proved it’s not up to the standard set by competitors in the price range. The Snapdragon 730 present in the Realme X2 and the Xiaomi Mi 9T is significantly more powerful in all applications, be it CPU- or GPU-intense. The Huawei Nova 5T that relies on the once flagship Kirin 980 SoC is in a class of its own, yet fits the budget. The A51 is keeping company to the Nokia 7.2 in terms of CPU performance, but even that ancient Snapdragon 660 in the 7.2 has better graphics than the Galaxy.
GSM / HSPA / LTE
2019, December 12
Available. Released 2019, December 16
158.5 x 73.6 x 7.9 mm (6.24 x 2.90 x 0.31 in)
172 g (6.07 oz)
Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3), plastic back, plastic frame
Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Samsung‘s never going to have it easy in the midrange, with great value handsets coming from the likes of Xiaomi and Realme. The brand image is one thing, but can the Galaxy A51 stand up to the competition for the brand-agnostic buyer?
At €300, the Realme X2 is some 10-15% cheaper than the Galaxy A51‘s €340-ish for a matching 128GB storage level, though the Realme will come with twice as much RAM (8GB vs. 4GB). The Realme has a vastly more powerful chipset across the board and delivers longer battery life. The A51‘s ultra-wide and macro cameras are better, while the X2’s main shooter makes a compelling case for itself, and there aren’t bad displays between these two. We’d call the Realme a winner here, if you don’t mind that people around the table may need some explaining where your phone comes from.
Xiaomi’s lineup is particularly tough to navigate, with numerous mid-tier models available, but certainly not all of them everywhere. A Mi 9T is a reasonably global player (known in some markets as Redmi K20), and it retails for about as much as the Galaxy A51 for comparable storage tiers. The Galaxy walks into this underpowered again, with the Xiaomi packing a brawnier chipset and Infinity-O as it may be, the A51‘s display still has a hole in it, unlike the Xiaomi with its retractable selfie cam. The 9T/K20 also has a telephoto camera, to which the Galaxy has no answer. Again, it’s only the brand that can have you going Galaxy instead of Mi.
A Huawei Nova 5T (or its Honor 20 cousin) could be a viable option in the Galaxy A51‘s price bracket if you want some of that Huawei goodness from the pre-trade war times when Huaweis had Google support. The Kirin 980 inside the Nova is a proper beast compared to the Exynos in the Samsung, while battery life is comparable between the two phones, but we’d pick the A51 when it comes to displays.
Realme X2 • Xiaomi Mi 9T • Huawei nova 5T
The Galaxy A51 offers a sensible package of features and performs well in most key areas. It’s one of the lightest handsets in the segment while still having a big display and doesn’t sacrifice battery life in the process. Typically for a Samsung, the A51‘s display leaves little to complain about too. A thorough upgrade in the camera department means good daylight photos from all cameras, with particularly great portraits and a ‘macro’ cam that’s hard to beat. The up to date software at launch, complete with added features which used to be reserved for the flagships until only recently, rounds up a compelling list of pros.
The thing is, though, competitors have all these boxes checked too, and then some. Pretty much every phone for the money will come with a more powerful chipset, and you’ll especially appreciate it if you’re into gaming, but future-proofing is also a valid concern. Samsung‘s not too keen on making its midranger cameras shoot too great in the dark, while others don’t necessarily pull their punches quite as much.
More importantly, key rivals come at a lower price, with few objective trade-offs. With that in mind, we can’t wholeheartedly recommend the Galaxy A51 at the current price. If you absolutely must have a Samsung (which is a sentiment we can understand), this one isn’t bad to spend the brand-related premium on. A carrier subsidy could also sweeten the Galaxy deal, and that you may not be able to get on the Xiaomis and Realmes of the world. But if we are buying at full retail price, our money wouldn’t be on the A51 judging strictly on its merits.
Compact and light for the display size and battery capacity, standout design.
Dependable battery life, reasonably fast charging.
Super AMOLED display that’s plenty bright and good with colors.
Superb portraits, better than average closeups, generally good daylight image quality from all cameras.
Android 10 out of the box, One UI 2 has plenty going for it.
Chipset isn’t as powerful as what the competition has to offer.
Camera performance is lacking in low light.
No video stabilization in 4K, no 60fps mode in 1080p.
The Galaxy A refresh has begun and the A51 and A71 are headliners of this new generation. Punch-hole appears to be the buzzword in this new series, though you should expect updated chipsets and cameras as well. And the Galaxy A71 has all these, topped with new Android and One UI.
Indeed, the Galaxy A71 seems to be packing just enough to warrant its upgrade status over the A70 – a smaller notch, a newer chip, a higher-res and higher-count camera setup, and newer Android and One launcher.
On the other hand, Glasstic is still the way forward for the Galaxy A lineup, and waterproofing is still not in the cards. The large 4,500 mAh battery and fast charging are going nowhere, so that’s good.
The Snapdragon 730 has become somewhat of a celebrity in the midrange and the new Galaxy A71 has it, so as far as gaming – Samsung has you covered. Then the 64MP camera, which seems to be the next big thing, is now on the A71, too. Oh, and a macro snapper, one of the hottest features right now (not), is now part of the A71 as well.
Samsung Galaxy A71 specs
Body: Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3), polycarbonate back and frame.
Screen: 6.7-inch Super AMOLED, 20:9, FHD+ (1080x2400px), 393ppi.
Misc: Under-display fingerprint reader, single bottom-firing loudspeaker.
We do appreciate the smaller notch on the AMOLED screen, but an HDR10 certification would have made the upgrade far more meaningful than a handful of pixels. Then, that Snapdragon could have been the 730G model, too. And that macro camera – without autofocus it’s useless and we won’t get tired of saying that.
Good or bad, we won’t know until we unbox that Galaxy A71, so here we go.
Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy A71
The Galaxy A71 comes in a compact paper box, but it’s full of stuff. In addition to the phone itself, you will also find a 25W charger, a USB-C-to-C cable, and a pair of in-ear Samsung headphones with a mic.
The A70 was the first Galaxy to use a USB-PD charger and it’s going to stick around, apparently. If you are looking for the SIM ejection pin, look no further than the box cover – just flip it and you’ll see it on the inside.
A large phone with an ample screen and slim profile – that’s what the Galaxy A71 is all about. Indeed, it has the biggest screen a modern Galaxy can offer these days, and the minimum of notches – the punch-hole kind.
The Samsung Galaxy A71 is yet another “Glasstic” phone and that’s easy to decipher – it’s made of both glass and plastic that looks like glass. The 6.7″ Super AMOLED has Gorilla Glass 3 protection – hence the glass part, while the thin frame and dazzling back are made of nicely polished plastic.
The AMOLED panel is probably the same we saw on the Galaxy A70 – a 6.7″ in diagonal with extended 1080p resolution and rounder corners. But instead of droplet-shaped cutout for the front camera, the 32MP selfie shooter now sits into a punch-hole.
The Gorilla Glass 3 is mostly flat though it ends very subtly on a cool 2.5D edge and thus avoids feeling sharp when handled. The ambient light sensor is behind the screen, while the earpiece grille is so thin – etched between the frame and the screen, so it’s almost invisible.
There is no notification LED around, but the Galaxy A71 supports Always-On Display. The cost is reduced battery life, of course.
An optical fingerprint sensor placed under the screen takes care of your security and privacy. It’s neither the fastest around nor the more accurate. And on top of these – the software implementation is far from peachy. Sure, usable it is, but far, far from perfect.
The back is where you will find trendy curves, but also the must-have originality that by today’s standards means unique hues and patterns mostly. Oh, and camera decks, of course – ever since Apple went completely asymmetrical with the iPhone 11s – all bets are off now and Samsung seems to be very comfortable with that.
So, the Prism Crush Black model we have here is, well, crushingly beautiful. The rear panel looks like glass, feels like glass, and shines like glass, meaning it can certainly fool everyone. It has this subtle stripe pattern that’s disturbed only by a few diagonal lines. So far, so good. But wait until it captures some light and then you’ll be treated to a captivating blast of colors and shades. It’s a stunning view for sure!
The rear camera design is new to this generation and apparently once you go in berserk camera mode – you can get away with anything. All four snappers – main, ultrawide, macro, and depth – are placed on this black deck, as well as the LED flash. The setup is bulging a little bit, and it is also the only exterior element you’ll find metal on – a tiny aluminum frame keeps the camera glass safe.
The Galaxy A71 has a glossy plastic frame, quite thin and somewhat grippy despite the excessive polish. On its left you will find a tri-card tray for two SIMs and a memory card, on the right are the volume and power keys, and the bottom has the audio jack, USB-C port, the mouthpiece and the speaker.
The new Galaxy A71 is indeed a big smartphone but it manages to stay quite slim and lightweight (by today’s standards). The A71 is just 7mm thin and weighs 179g, making it a hair thinner and lighter than the A70!
It is a pleasure to hold, handle, and use as a daily driver – its frame provides just enough grip to make it secure in hand, while the slim profile helps in keeping it pocket and one-hand friendly, believe it or not. It lacks ingress protection, but other than that – the A71 is a very well-built smartphone, beautiful and easily likable.
One big display, but no HDR
The Samsung Galaxy A71 has the same screen as the Galaxy A70’s but the notch is a bit different. While the A70 had the 2019’s waterdrop-shaped cutout, the A71 joins the ’20 trend with a punch-hole for the selfie camera. Sure, it’s not as small as the one on Note10 Lite, but it’s a hole alright.
Super AMOLED eye-candy – A71, S10 Lite, Note10 Lite
So, the Super AMOLED screen is 6.7″ in diagonal, with rounder corners and punch-hole for the front camera. It has a resolution of 2,400 x 1,080 pixels that makes for a 20:9 aspect ratio and 393ppi density. The display is protected by a Gorilla Glass 3 piece for some extra peace of mind.
The screen omits HDR10 certification and thus you won’t be able to enjoy premium HDR content over at Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, or similar streaming services. The only app that allows for HDR streaming is YouTube and we noticed the brightness boost when playing such clips, but we are not sure exactly what type of HDR is that.
Having said that, the screen does very well when it comes to brightness. Maxing out the brightness scrubber we measured 410 nits, while the Adaptive Brightness can give you an additional kick up to 515 nits.
We also measured a minimum brightness of 1.7nits – an excellent result.
Samsung Galaxy A71
Samsung Galaxy A71 (Max Auto)
Samsung Galaxy A51
Samsung Galaxy A51 (Max Auto)
Realme X2 Pro
Realme X2 Pro (Max Auto)
Xiaomi K20 Pro/Mi 9T Pro
Xiaomi K20 Pro/Mi 9T Pro (Max Auto)
Xiaomi Redmi K30
Xiaomi Redmi K30 (Max Auto)
Samsung Galaxy A70
Samsung Galaxy A70 (Max Auto)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (Max Auto)
As it usually happens with Samsung’s Super AMOLEDs, the one on the Galaxy A71 is capable of accurately reproducing different color spaces depending on content and selected display mode. The Natural screen mode stays accurate to sRGB with an average DeltaE of 1.7, while Vivid adheres to the DCI-P3 color space with an average DeltaE of 3.3 (though by opting for Warmer White Balance you can lower it down to 2.7). No other screen modes are available.
The Galaxy A71 has the same large battery as the A70 – it’s a 4,500 mAh Li-Ion cell. The phone supports fast charging and it comes bundled with the appropriate 25W plug. Using the charger, you will be able to replenish about 51% of its empty battery in half an hour, and it takes 81 minutes for a full charge.
The results from our battery life test are in and the Samsung Galaxy A71 scored an excellent mark! The phone lasted north of 13 hours on our web browsing test, more than 17 hours when playing videos, and 30+ hours on 3G talks. Finally, when we added the very good standby performance, we got an overall Endurance Rating of 102 hours.
When it comes to the output through the 3.5mm jack, the Samsung Galaxy A71 is a solid performer. When hooked to an active external amplifier it reproduced the test track perfectly at volume levels well above the average.
Headphones brought a moderate increase in stereo crosstalk and a tiny bit of intermodulation distortion, but no other damage whatsoever. Audiophiles should rest assured – the Galaxy A71 will play your tracks the way they were meant to sound.
IMD + Noise
Samsung Galaxy A71
Samsung Galaxy A71 (headphones)
Samsung Galaxy A51
Samsung Galaxy A51 (headphones)
Redmi Note 8
Redmi Note 8 (headphones)
Motorola Moto G8 Plus
Motorola Moto G8 Plus (headphones)
Realme X2 (headphones)
The Galaxy A71 is a thoughtful refresh over the Galaxy A70 even though it won’t make any A70 owners jump ship, let alone those who bought the A70s. But it does pack more gaming punch and more camera pixels, so it does pass as an update.
The Galaxy A71 adopts the punch-hole notch design, but the actual hole is not as discrete as on the more expensive S and Note models. Still, it’s a statement for the premium status of the A-series as is the massive multi-camera setup on the back.
At the end of the day – the Galaxy A71 seems like a job well done and is an attractive and powerful smartphone worth buying. But the competition always has the last say.
And the competing offers are plenty. Take the Realme X2 Pro for example. It packs a similarly large Super AMOLED screen, but impresses with a mighty Snapdragon 855 chip and has a more meaningful telephoto snapper instead of a macro shooter. Its 6+64GB version (€389) is cheaper than the A71, while the 8+128GB is a close match (€439).
The Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro has a smaller 6.39″ Super AMOLED, but it is a cutout-free one. A flagship-grade Snapdragon 855 chip is in charge of everything, while its quad-camera, just like the Realme X2 Pro, has a zoom shooter instead of macro.
If we are to match the Galaxy A71 specs, we could look at the Redmi K30, which is a lot cheaper in markets where both A71 and K30 are officially available. The Redmi K30 has a dual punch-hole on its large 6.67″ screen, matches the Snapdragon 730 chip (well, its 730G actually), and has an identical 4-camera arrangement at the back. The K30 brags with an IPS LCD screen with 120Hz refresh rate though, and the benefits of that will be obvious in the day to day experience.
Or maybe, if €480 or so are too much for you, but Samsung is your preferred brand, maybe you can give the Galaxy A51 a chance. It’s at least €130 cheaper but still offers a 6.5″ Super AMOLED and the same camera experience on both ends. Performance is where the A51 loses to the A71, but if you are not an avid gamer then you won’t have a problem with that.
Realme X2 Pro • Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro • Xiaomi Redmi K30 • Samsung Galaxy A51
The Galaxy A71 is a tangible upgrade over the A70 – it has a smaller screen cutout, faster performance, better all-round camera, and newer Android and One UI. But like other Galaxy A phones to come before it, the A71 is neither cheap nor competitively priced.
With Xiaomi and Realme aggressively launching phones with flagship-grade specs, it’s a tough job being a mid-ranger these days. We do believe the A71 has a bright future though, as its price will soon go down, while many carriers will subsidize it enough to make it an attractive purchase.
The A71 is a slim and well-built phone
The large 6.7″ AMOLED is a treat for multimedia and gaming
The Snapdragon 730 is the smart mid-range choice and excels in any job
Excellent battery life
All-round camera setup with good image and video quality
Android 10, One UI 2
The screen is not HDR10-compliant
The macro camera is limiting and uninspiring in quality