Samsung’s mid-range Galaxy A series has got a new middle entry in the Samsung Galaxy A5 2017. It sits comfortably above the Samsung Galaxy A3 2017, but how does it compare to the similarly named Samsung Galaxy A5 2016?
We’ve put the two phones head to head across a range of categories, including design, display, power, camera, battery life and more to see what a difference a year makes.
We’ve also included information on price, availability and which of these two phones you should ultimately opt for.
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 (144.8 x 71 x 7.3mm) vs Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 (146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9mm)
Samsung’s Galaxy A range is heavily inspired by the flagship Galaxy S range, and it’s impressive how close both the A5 2016 and the A5 2017 get to matching the quality of those phones.
Both of these handsets have a metal frame and a glass back, for a premium look and feel, but there are some differences.
The most immediately obvious of these is that the Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 is slightly curvier than the Galaxy A5 2016, especially on the corners.
Arguably that leaves it looking slightly better, but the more significant difference is that the A5 2017 is IP68 certified dust and water resistant. That’s the same level of waterproofing as the Samsung Galaxy S7, while the Galaxy A3 2016 isn’t dust or water resistant at all.
The only downside to the design of the new model is that it’s ever so slightly thicker than the Galaxy A5 2016, at 7.9mm thick where that phone is 7.3mm thick, but it’s a difference that’s hardly noticeable.
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 (5.2-inch 1080 x 1920) vs Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 (5.2-inch 1080 x 1920)
Both of these phones have impressive screens, but there’s very little to choose between them, as they each have a 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 display with a pixel density of 424 pixels per inch.
While that’s not a match for the QHD-toting Galaxy S7, it’s still plenty sharp, and these are Super AMOLED displays, so they’re bright and vibrant. 5.2 inches is also a good size – it’s not compact by any means, but it’s still small enough to comfortably use with one hand.
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 (octa-core Exynos 7580 2GB RAM) vs Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 (octa-core Exynos 7880 3GB RAM)
Neither of these phones are lacking for power by mid-range standards, but the Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 has been given a significant boost, with 3GB of RAM and a speedy Exynos 7880 octa-core processor clocked at 1.9GHz.
The Galaxy A5 2016 on the other hand has 2GB of RAM and a slightly slower octa-core Exynos 7580 processor clocked at 1.6GHz.
The difference isn’t likely to be all that noticeable when using most apps, but booting apps up should be faster on the Galaxy A5 2017 and it’s also likely to be able to hold more apps in memory and run games slightly better.
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 (13MP rear 5MP front-facing) vs Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 (16MP rear 16MP front-facing)
The Samsung Galaxy A5 2017’s camera has been given an even bigger boost, with a 16MP rear camera and an almost unprecedented 16MP front-facing one too. That will allow you to take far higher quality selfies than is possible with almost any other smartphone, and both cameras can record video in 1080p.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 can also record 1080p video with either of its cameras, but they’re far lower spec, with a 13MP rear one and just a 5MP front-facing one. However, while that front-facing snapper is a far lower megapixel count than the A5 2017’s it’s worth noting that it’s still in line with many phones, including some flagships.
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 (2900mAh 16GB 4G) vs Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 (3000mAh 32GB 4G)
And this is yet another area where the newer Galaxy A5 comes out substantially on top. For one thing it’s got a larger battery – 3000mAh in place of the Samsung Galaxy A5 2016’s 2900mAh one. That’s not a huge jump, but even the tiniest improvement is important when it comes to battery life.
There’s a bigger jump in storage capacity, with the Galaxy A5 2017 packing 32GB in, while the Galaxy A5 2016 has just half that at 16GB. Though both phones also have a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 256GB.
Connectivity options at least aren’t that different, with both handsets sporting Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth and NFC.
They also both have fingerprint scanners, which not only ups their security skills, but coupled with NFC makes mobile payments a breeze.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 is out now and starts at around £300 SIM-free or from roughly £23.50 on contract.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 hasn’t launched yet but it’s coming soon to Three, likely in February. The network hasn’t confirmed pricing yet, but SIM free prices are expected to start at £399.
Apparently a year makes a lot of difference, with the Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 sporting more power, better cameras on both front and back, a water-resistant build, a bigger battery and twice the storage capacity of the Samsung Galaxy A5 2016.
The design and screens are similar, but otherwise the Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 is a substantial upgrade. Of course it’s also likely to cost a fair bit more, so if you’re on a strict budget then the A5 2016 is a great choice, but if you can afford it the A5 2017 looks set to be one of the best mid-rangers around.
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