The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge might be Samsung’s current – and soon to be replaced – flagships, but you don’t have to buy them to experience the flagship Galaxy experience. The Galaxy A 2017 series offer a few flagship features from the Galaxy S7 at a much more affordable price point. The question is, should you buy the Galaxy A3 or Galaxy A5?

This year’s handsets don’t overhaul a lot from previous years, with Samsung opting to borrow specific Galaxy S features to improve the overall experience. The first of these is the design, with all three Galaxy A models borrowing the curved 3D glass rear and minimal bezel from last year’s flagships. In the hand, these definitely feel a lot like the Galaxy S range and the curved rear makes them very ergonomically friendly.

Galaxy A3 and A5 2017

Another change is the camera bump, which has been shaved from 1.3mm in 2015 to 0.7mm last year and now, it sits flush with the rear of the handset. All three models also borrow the Galaxy DNA, with IP68 certification for waterproofing, an always-on display, microSD card expansion and a long lasting battery. In particular, IP68 certification is fantastic for the price point and the always-on display (coupled with general design) does make you feel like you might be using the Galaxy S7.

Those are the similarities, but the differences are also crucial, with varying specs across the Galaxy A3 and A5 we have here, as well as the Galaxy A7 (which isn’t coming to the UK).

Up front, the Galaxy A3 2017 sports a 4.7-inch 720p display, the A5 has a 5.2-inch Full HD display and the Galaxy A7 has a larger 5.7-inch Full HD 1080p screen. All have Super AMOLED displays and offer the vibrant colors, rich saturation and deep blacks we’ve come to expect from Samsung’s displays.

All three also sport what Samsung is calling an advanced camera, with the A3 offering a 13MP rear and 8MP front camera, while the A5 and A7 have a 16MP camera on the front and back. All lenses come with f/1.9 aperture for better low light photos and the Galaxy A5 and A7 also have Phase Detection Autofocus for lightning fast focus times.

One particularly useful feature is a floating shutter, which allows you to drag the camera shutter button anywhere on the screen, in a bid to solve the problem of cramping your hand when reaching down to take a selfie. The camera also has a simple Swipe UI so you can swipe up or down to flip between the cameras left to change modes and right to change effects. It’s simple enough but rather effective and there’s little to no lag when swiping around the interface.

The Galaxy A3 is powered by Samsung’s quad-core Exynos 7870 processor with 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, while the A5 and A7 feature a slightly better Exynos 7880 CPU, 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. All also come with USB Type-C ports as well as a fingerprint sensor built into the home button beneath the screen.

The A3 is powered by a 2,350mAh battery, the A5 has a much beefier 3,000mAh battery and the A7 is powered by a 3,600mAh battery. Interestingly, Samsung chose to move the speaker to the upper corner of the handset rather than the bottom which should prevent the issue of the speaker being covered when you’re watching a video in landscape.

 Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
Display4.7-inch 720p HD Super AMOLED, 312ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 4, Always On Display5.2-inch Full HD Super AMOLED, 424ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 4, Always On Display5.7-inch Full HD Super AMOLED, 386ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 4, Always On Display
ProcessorExynos 7870 Octa, 1.6 GHz octa-core Exynos 7880 Octa, 1.9 GHz octa-core Exynos 7880 Octa, 1.9 GHz octa-core
GPUMali-T830Mali-T830MP3 Mali-T830MP3
RAM2 GB3 GB3 GB
Storage16 GB 32 GB 32 GB
SoftwareAndroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
MicroSDYes, up to 256 GBYes, up to 256 GBYes, up to 256 GB
Rear camera13 MP CMOS, f/1.9, autofocus, 1080p video recording,16 MP CMOS, f/1.9, autofocus, 1080p video recording,16 MP CMOS, f/1.9, autofocus, OIS, 1080p video recording,
Front camera8 MP, f/1.9 aperture, 1080p video recording16 MP, f/1.9 aperture, 1080p video recording16 MP, f/1.9 aperture, 1080p video recording
Fingerprint sensorYesYesYes
Battery 2,350 mAh, USB Type-C 3,000 mAh, fast charging, USB Type-C 3,600 mAh, fast charging, USB Type-C
ConnectivityDual-SIM, LTE, FM Radio, dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth v4.2, GPSDual-SIM, LTE, FM Radio, dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth v4.2, GPSDual-SIM, LTE, FM Radio, dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS
ExtrasMST technology (Samsung Pay), Samsung KNOX, IP68 certificationMST technology (Samsung Pay), Samsung KNOX, IP68 certificationMST technology (Samsung Pay), Samsung KNOX, IP68 certification
Dimensions and weight135.4 x 66.2 x 7.9 mm, (weight 135g)146.1 x 71.4 x 7.9 mm, (weight 157g)156.8 x 77.6 x 7.9 mm, (weight tbc)
ColorsBlack Sky, Gold Sand, Blue Mist, Peach Cloud

Available in four colors – Black Sky, Gold Sand, Blue Mist and Peach Cloud – these handsets offer a touch of the flagship Galaxy S experience at a more affordable price point. At a price point of £279 for the A3 and £369 for the A5 in the UK, they’ll both have stiff competition but offer a glimpse of the Galaxy S experience for half the cost or less. The Galaxy A7 doesn’t have a price point in the UK but we’d expect it to cost the equivalent of £450-£500.

What do you think of the Galaxy A 2017 series? Do you plan to buy any of them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Nirave Gondhia
Nirave is one of the Managing Editors and a fan of travel. He's worked in technology for over ten years (including stints at two carriers in the UK) and reported on it for nearly nine years. In my spare time, A big football (soccer to those over the pond) fan and avid supporter of Man United for over 20 years, he reads a lot, loves a cocktails and blogs about travel.
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