Sunday, May 17, 2015

Samsung Galaxy A5 4G Smarphone Review

I got this phone for a few days- Samsung Galaxy A5 from the folks at Airtel, with their 4G connection SIM, so that I could experience the Airtel 4G. While I am at it, I noticed that price of Galaxy A5 was in the range of Rs 22,000, which was comparable to recently launched Asus Zenfone 2. So I had the temptation to compare the two phones and review Galaxy A5 briefly.

This post is the outcome of my findings. Will be useful for those looking for a phone in the range of 20k and considering Asus and Samsung brands. I did quick comparison with my colleague's One Plus One and Xiomi models, but that comparison isn't detailed enough for a review, so I will limit the comparison mostly to Asus, while giving brief mention to others where possible.

Compared to top end variant of Zenfone2, Galaxy A5 is half an inch smaller, its specs doesn't look better in any department, nor it has got some cool features to boast about. But Samsung has better sales & service network to depend on.

Samsung Galaxy A5 Camera:
  • A5 has 13 MP rear and 5MP front camera. They are pretty good in all scenarios. But Not a match to DSLR in terms of colour sensing and low light capabilities.
  • Each picture takes 3-4 MB approx in default 9.3 Mega pixel mode. I was looking for an option to export/upload them in little lower resolution (to save data charges), but there isn't such option
  • Camera comes with host of settings and few modes, including rear camera selfie mode which detects face, a GIF mode (which clicks 20 quick photos and makes a simple animation file. Zenfone 2 on the other hand offers few more modes and more setting options.
  • Panorama feature took more than 360 degree to complete- I completed one full circle but it was still not done! I checked if there's any setting to limit the panning area to say 180 or 270 degrees, there was no such setting.
Above: A panoramic click using Samsung A5- click to view full.
Above: Flowers closeup clicked in Auto Mode
Below: ISKCON temple Chennai- Radha Krishna idols clicked in night mode (images are compressed for upload)
Some more photos taken using Samsung Duos A5 can be seen in this post.

Samsung Galaxy A5 Features and Performance
A5 gets 2GB Ram and 1.2 GHz qualcomm, again Zenfone leads here. But Samsung A5 is lighter, has smaller screen and is very much adequate for everyday usage. Unless you're an extreme user, Zenfone's over spec is likely to remain unused anyway. Samsung A5 is light and easy to hold compared to some of the rivals who are heavy and bigger in size.

Samsung A5 casing is sealed for life. Battery is fixed, there is no rear case to open. Inserting SIM and micro SD card involves inserting a pin into two holes that pop-out the holders. If you're on the go and suddenly need to change SD card or SIM, then you will have to search for something to insert into the phone in order to pop-out these holders (assuming you're not carrying the one provided in the box). Note that A5 is a single SIM phone, not dual sim like many mobiles in the market.

I tried its in-built S-voice voice command feature, it is just not trained to understand Indian accent, unless we use very basic single word commands. It has a private mode like the Zenfone.

Battery life felt adequate. But this could be because I didn't use voice feature on the phone and didn't subject it to lots of battery heavy usage. Zenfone 2 claims to charge 69% in 30 minutes. A5 takes its own time.

Overall, there is no WoW! features in Samsung Galaxy compared to some of the competition in 20k range. But A5 is from a tried and tested brand like Samsung, with good service network, while competition is relatively new and yet to set proper after sales infrastructure in the country- many of them relying on online retailers for sales. Unless you're fancied by various features offered in competition models, A5 could be a reliable choice for standard smart phone usage. Of course, Samsung has models from 5000 to 60000 with varying features and specs- so if you want something more or something less, there sure will be another Samsung brand that offers the combinations you're looking for.

Camera doesn't work when battery is below 5%. Also Wifi hot spot turns off when connected devices move away for longer period...

Similar: Univercell sync- smartphone experience centre * Airtel 4G in Chennai *


Prasad Np aka desi Traveler said...

Airtel 3 G doesn't work properly in most places leave aside 4 G, I have a 4 G sim of Airtel , that rarely functions without dropping calls. Same was the case when I had 3 G. They invited me to take 4 G sim...and I did so..

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for your inputs Prasad. but in their list of cities where 4G is launched, Delhi/NCR was not one of them. It had Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chadigarh, Chennai, Amritsar and Pune...

The trial phone given to us had only Data.. call and SMS were disabled, so couldn't check call quality/drop issue. But 4G is not used for calls. Voice calls still use existing technology.

Raj Kumar said...


Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Raj Kumar

THat is sad. if possible try in another 4G phone- this way you can find out if the issue is with the phone or something is wrong with the SIM.

Balaji Parthasarathy said...

I bought Samsung Galaxy on 13th Apr'15. Front camera images were blurred, rear camera colour reproduction was pathetic. A pink shirt looked like grey. Frequent signal drop. I returned this phone and the service representative informed that there is display problem and they would change the dis play. It was hardly a week old and I insisted for a replacement. New sevice was delivered on 5th May'15 and the didn't provide a standby phone. I got a 4G sim from my service provider. Though, there is network signal if someone calls me, it would give them a message that the phone is switched off. I'm able to make calls but unable to receive at times. This phone has an entry level processor which cannot handle even single simple application. Memory management is poor. Always, 80-85% of memory usage and the applications shut off suddenly. Device hangs frequently. After browsing for 10-15 minutes, the phone over heats to 72 degree, which is unbearable temperature if you want to make calls. They claim that the RAM is 2GB but only 1.85GB is available. Sim 2 slot can either be used for second sim or for memory and not both at the same time. They call it as hybrid sim slot which is utter useless feature. Low light rear camera images are full of noise. Front camera automatically uses beautification even in normal mode so that your face looks like a status made up of Plaster of Paris. No skin tone, texture...It is quite artificial. Battery drains faster and doesn't last for more than half day for an averge user. A few good thing about the phone is its 125g, 6.7mm thin and the super AMOLED display. Speaker is not loud enough. Music on earphones is horrible when you use Google Play Music but sounds better with Sound Alive. You can buy two other brand phones in the price of this phone with the same specifications. Motion & gesture features are already available in low cost Samsung phones. Samsung Galaxy Apps, Samsung Link, Briefing, Flip board, Ant+, Sound Alive, Weather, Drop box, Google Circles and many applications run in the background by default. There are unwanted apps pre-pre - installed which is the major cause for the sluggish performance. I'm completely disappointed with this product. Samsung promised cashback for this product but it was not credited yet.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for very detailed feedback Balaji.

Hope you will get a cashback as promised. Usually phones won;t be that bad on several fronts. May be you got a really defective unit.

Anonymous said...

I also purchased this phone but still there's no issues at all.

n whenever u purchased that phone, that retailer or promoter ask's u about the features like hybride sim, multiwindow etc.

I think its a perfact phone for me.

Its an electronic device, if one device cannot works properly,that does't mean that all devices are bad.

I hope u'll get promised cashback n next tome u'll change ur thinking on electronics.