-Premium metal and glass construction
-Vibrant Full HD Display
-Micro SD card expansion
-Great battery life
-Fingerprint scanner
-Fast performance


-Weak speaker
-Occasional homescreen lag issues
-Mediocre camera

Our Rating
Bottom Line

The Galaxy A5 is almost identical to the Galaxy S6, but with mid-range specs, a lower resolution display, and downgraded camera. However, the former actually surpasses the latter in other key areas, including battery life, and the availability of expandable storage, and depending on which features are important to you, the positives may far out-weigh the negatives.

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Samsung refreshed the Galaxy A series of smartphones late last year, and as was the case with the original line, the lineup covers a variety of smartphones across the size, specifications, and price spectrum. Starting with the Galaxy S6, Samsung certainly seems to have found its path with regards to design and build quality, wand these carriers over to the the mid-range Galaxy A line, which all feature premium metal and glass unibody constructions. We’ve already given the full review treatment to the two more high-end smartphones of the series, and we now take a closer look at the most entry-level of the trio in this in-depth Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) review!

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Buy the Galaxy A5 (2016) now



While the design language of all the Galaxy A smartphones is borrowed heavily from the Galaxy S6, the Galaxy A5 (2016) is also the closest in terms of size, with it featuring a 5.2-inch display. The premium metal and glass unibody construction returns, and the device looks and feels very familiar, if only a touch more angular in its design when compared to its flagship counterpart.


The Galaxy A5 is thicker than the Galaxy S6, but not significantly so, and the extra thickness actually helps in making the camera protrusion on the back be a lot more flush with the body of the phone. With a hefty weight to it, the smartphone feels substantial in the hand, and the use of glass feels great, even though it does prove to be a fingerprint magnet. All the ports, buttons, and speaker are in their typical positions as well, as seen with the current crop of Samsung devices. As you might expect thanks to its relatively compact size, the Galaxy A5 also offers a great handling experience, with its thin bezels along the sides of the display allowing for comfortable one-handed use.


The idea behind the current Galaxy A series is to provide users with a premium design and build quality but at a lower cost when compared to their flagship counterparts, and that is exactly what you get here. If you loved the look of the Galaxy S6, you won’t find anything to complain about with the Galaxy A5 (2016).



The Galaxy A5 comes with a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1080p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 424 ppi. This display may not feature the Quad HD resolution seen with Samsung’s high-end smartphones, but the bump down is understandable given the more budget-friendly nature of the Galaxy A5. However, Samsung’s display prowess shines through once again regardless of the lower resolution, with the vibrant, saturated colors, deep, inky blacks, and great viewing angles and brightness all available here. Full HD proves to be more than enough in this case, and you can certainly look forward to a fantastic display experience when you pick up this phone.



Under the hood, the Galaxy A5 (2016) comes with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, clocked at 1.5 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 405 GPU and 2 GB of RAM, but depending on the market, there is also an iteration that is powered by the octa-core Exynos 7580 processor, and backed by the Mali-T720MP2 GPU. This particular review unit features the Qualcomm processing package, and given that this was the 2015 mid-range standard, the performance available is as expected.

Everyday tasks like opening, closing, and switching between apps remain smooth and fast enough to not disrupt the workflow. The performance is reliable throughout, with the only instances of stutter noticeable when moving to the TouchWiz Briefing screen, which is more of an issue with the software optimization rather than the fault of the processor. The device handles gaming very well also, and while some dropped frames may be seen on occasion, the overall experience remains pretty good. The benchmark scores of the Galaxy A5 aren’t going to amaze, but as far as real world performance is concerned, it is certainly reliable.



16 GB of on-board storage is the only option available here, which is why users will definitely appreciate the vaunted return of expandable storage with the Galaxy A series, via microSD card, for up to an additional 128 GB. With the single SIM versions of the device, the second slot on the SIM tray serves as the microSD card slot, but there are some iterations of the phone, once again depending on the market, which come with dual-SIM capabilities, leaving it up to the users to make the choice between dual-SIM features or expandable storage.

The single speaker unit is located on the right side at the bottom, and, as is the case with most bottom-mounted speakers, the placement isn’t great, with the sound directed away from you, and makes for a speaker that is also very easy to cover up when holding the phone in the landscape orientation. The audio quality on offer is quite decent however, but there are a slew of other mid-range smartphones out there that offer a better audio experience.


Also returning is a fingerprint scanner embedded into the tactile home button up front. The implementation is the same as seen with the Samsung flagships, and this scanner proves to be as reliable and accurate. It may not be as fast as the scanner found with devices like the Galaxy Note 5, but the difference isn’t significant enough to be an issue.

The Galaxy A5 comes with a large 2,900 mAh battery, and combined with the more energy efficient Full HD display, the device offers really good battery life. The screen on-time reaches the 4.5 hour mark on most days, and should provide most users with a full day of use comfortably. Even if you do run out of battery, the device comes with fast charging capabilities, to help you get up and running in a short amount of time.



The Galaxy A5 comes with a 13 MP rear camera with a f/1.9 aperture and optical image stabilization, but the camera quality doesn’t live up to the standards set by its flagship counterparts, which isn’t really that surprising. Images don’t look bad, with some extra sharpening happening in post processing that makes for better looking shots.

The big problem with this camera is its tendency to overexpose a lot, and HDR doesn’t do a lot with addressing this issue, only creating a brighter image instead. When this issue doesn’t show up however, the pictures do look good, with vibrant colors and a decent amount of detail. Another point of note is the fact that 4:3 is the aspect ratio you will be shooting in if you’re looking to take advantage of the full 13 MP. Image quality worsens significantly in low-light conditions, with pictures appearing dull, and with a lot of noise.

The front-facing 5 MP camera creates some very soft looking images, with not much sharpness to them. However, if you are as bright as the background, you will end up with a decent enough shot. That said, this is something that is difficult to do, and magnifies the overexposure issue seen with the rear camera. The cameras of the Galaxy A5 aren’t bad, and you can work to get a good shot, but there are better smartphone cameras out there that fall in this price range.



On the software side of things, the Galaxy A5 (2016) is running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box, which is very disappointing to see, given how long ago Android 6.0 Marshmallow was released. An official update to the latest version of Android is in the works, but even that might be out-dated soon enough, with the launch of Android N just around the corner.

With the older version of Android and TouchWiz on-board, the software experience remains identical to what was seen with Samsung smartphones in 2015. While things remain largely familiar aesthetically, Samsung has toned things down in terms of extra, often unnecessary, software features. Returning features include multi-window, which is nice to have, but might not be particularly useful on this relatively smaller display, and the Briefing screen, which does display all the articles and information in a nice way, but the lag is significant, making this difficult to use. The best part about this software package is the robust Theme engine, which allows you to cater the look and feel of the user interface to exactly how you may like it.


DIsplay5.2-inch Super AMOLED display
Full HD resolution, 424 ppi
Processor1.5 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
Adreno 405 GPU
Storage16 GB
expandable via microSD card by up to 128 GB
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1
FM Radio with RDS
microUSB 2.0
Cameras13 MP rear camera, f/1.9 aperture, OIS, LED flash
8 MP front-facing camera, f1/.9 aperture
Battery2,900 mAh
SoftwareAndroid 5.1.1 Lollipop
Dimensions144.8 x 71 x 7.3 mm
155 grams


Pricing and final thoughts

The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) isn’t officially offered in the US but the international model can be found for around $350, with the available color options being black and rose gold.


So there you have it for this closer look at the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)! The Galaxy A5 is essentially the Galaxy S6 with mid-range specifications, and poorer camera, but does actually offer more than its flagship counterpart in other areas, such as improved battery life, and the return of expandable storage. The disappointing camera may be a let down for some, but if you loved the Galaxy S6 but wished that it was cheaper, significantly so in this case, the Galaxy A5 (2016) is the device for you.

Buy the Galaxy A5 (2016) now
  • Scott Lowe

    Why on earth would anyone spend $350 on this crap when there are so many better options out there?

    • Daggett Beaver

      I don’t think $350 is that bad for this phone, but I still wouldn’t buy it.

    • SP

      Just bought my daughter one. Care to elaborate what would have been a better option?

      • Saurabh Sahu

        honor 5x, nexus 5x, oneplus x, honor 7, motorola. Why samsung? Their flagships only get update. This will be discarded faster than s6.

        • SP

          Honor, N 5X and OP X are larger, to large for a young girl. Might not be that obvious on paper but I handled the OP X and the N5X and they feel significantly larger.
          Honor’s Android skin is horrible (personal opinion)
          N 5X is significantly (> 20%) pricier in Europe. No SD card.
          Motorola does not have something comparable in this price range (the A5 was 300€ unlocked).
          Updates are overrated. Most users don’t care, it’s only us the “nerds” that value them. I mean I do, but I don’t think my daughter cares that much about what Android version she’s running.
          Then there’s the availability / warranty issue: Samsung has a huge presence, you can see, test, buy and return their devices everywhere. If you have problems with them you can solve it in days, don’t need to send them overseas. Much more difficult to do that for the other brands (at least where I live).

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Samsung fan either (quiet the contrary), the only Samsung I ever bought was the Galaxy Nexus (I’m a Nexus fan), but this one looked like a great device at a great price. The only flaw I can find is that it’s a little heavy, everything else is top notch, especially screen, battery(!!!), fingerprint sensor, and even camera.

          • Copyrighter

            Well actually, the Samsung A5 has a 5,2″ screen like the Nexus 5X and
            the OnePlus X has only a 5″ screen, it definitly is smaller and easier
            to handle:
            A5 2016: 144.8 x 71 x 7.3 mm
            Nexus 5X: 147 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm
            OnePlus X: 140 x 69 x 6.9 mm

          • Saurabh Sahu

            No the idea is a phone which is durable and lasts for 1-2 year without problem. With 2GB RAM and touchwiz and slow processor, Geekbench score is 676. Even one year older devices, S5,oneplus one even oneplus x has score more than 900. Though benchmark scores don’t matter much, TW adds extra lag to be fair. and 2GB RAM with Touchwiz, I am little skeptical about durability. Don’t want to point too much negativity for your choice, but I would have bought oneplus x but software on oneplus x is little immature. I guess you got good device for daughter. Stability matters for normal people. And camera on samsung devices are always great.

          • SP

            The Nexus is bigger and pricier (where I live) and doesn’t have an SD card.

            You are right about the OP X (I confused it for the OP2). No fingerprint reader tho. The biggest problem is that it’s not available in store (online only) and that might be a problem warranty wise.

            Kids know exactly what they want these days, she asked specifically for:
            1. top notch battery
            2. SD card (tons of pictures, videos, music, games)
            3. fits in her jeans pocket (challenging!)
            4. above average camera
            5. fingerprint sensor (she doesn’t want her friends to pry into her phone)

            I was not trying to start a pissing contest, I was genuinely curious if I missed something when I did my homework. The phones you came up with were all on my shortlist. I also had the LG G3 but we already have 2 of these in the family and she didn’t want it.

            I agree with most of your opinions. The A6 is not a perfect phone, and surely not the best phone for everybody. It just happens that when you factor in price and availability the A6 won. After all, if she loves it, who am I to argue as long it’s not an iPhone, right?! :-D

          • Saurabh Sahu

            No man has ever won argument with daughter and wife. So all in all, I agree with your choice. It’s just that after my horrendous experience with samsung and of all the people I met, I get instant hatred after seeing samsung.

          • Airyl

            Where are you from?

          • fost4real

            agreed! i wanted a good dual sim phone with dedicated microSD slot. i did my research very well and almost all the phones mentioned were on my list but A5 2016 won my heart per my requirements.surprisingly the camera is not bad at all. takes very good pictures. the phone design is beautiful. feels solid.

          • SaRPeR

            Latest Touchwiz is really stabile.

        • SaRPeR

          New A series will get Marshmallow and Android N after that.

        • SaRPeR

          None of those phones are sold where i live.

      • The 2016 Samsung Galaxy J7, same specification.

        • SP

          Nope. Huge. Heavy. No fingerprint reader. 15% pricier.

    • Ankit

      Its $280 in India(Dual SIM variant galaxy A5-2016)

  • AbbyZFresh

    The author lives just 2 towns from me according to those pics. What a small world. lol

  • balcobomber25

    This is proof Samsung can’t do anything but flagships. $350 for a phone with specs that match the Honor 5X among others.

    • saksham

      samsung is famous anything popular will be sold at a higher price . its marketing strategy

    • James Theodore Retuya

      It’s still going to sell like pancakes unlike the “honor 5x among others”. Same thing with iphones. The specs are mid range but the price is flagship tier but people buy it anyway.

      • balcobomber25

        The A line isn’t sold in the USA officially, it is meant mostly for Asia where it competes in some markets head to head with the top Chinese phones from Xiaomi. A Xiaomi Redmi Note with better specs than this sells for under $200. The Redmi will outsell this 3 to 1 in same markets.

  • chillgreg

    Who cares. I just want to know who the cutie is ;)

    • Saurabh Sahu

      Krystal Lora, you may want to check out here youtube channel as well.

  • X

    I currently have the A5 2015 and want this A5 2016.
    I think it is the best Samsung phone for the price!

  • James Theodore Retuya

    It’s a beautiful phone. I wouldn’t mind buying it just for its aesthetics and build quality.

  • SaRPeR

    I bought this phone a week ago. It doesn’t have Wi-Fi ac and RDS Radio (Radio without RDS). Although CPU isn’t that powerful, it runs perfectly fine without any lags. It scores around 42k in Antutu. Where i live, brands like Motorola, Xiaomi, Honor and One Plus is not available and we can’t order it from another country. They requisite it when it passes through customs. Only Huawei G8 is available with specifications close to A5 (2016) and they are priced same.

    • balcobomber25

      What country do you live in?

  • Matteus

    Is there a release date for MM availability on this one?

  • Vivek Chandra

    With same specs and lesser price, Oneplus X gives competition to it but super Amoled on 5.2 screen is just too good and stylish. Though only with 2 GB ram but fingerprint sensor and OIS camera (f1.9) and metal glass fusion, it looks to me better than OPX, keeping into mind the superior after sales service of Samsung.

  • Ionut Mihalache

    I am currently using an iPhone 6 and I bought the A5 2016 because I needed a secondary phone.
    I have to say that it has the best battery life I have ever seen on a smartphone, the display is AMAZING, brighter than my sister’s s6 :).
    The camera is NOT dissapointing it is also great, it takes very good shots, you only have to focus right and not expect it to deal with difficult lightning conditions.
    Playing music is a little bit dull but OK, the headphones sound great.
    The software is very well built, the animations just flow it’s really that great. Ps marshmallow incoming.
    It charges very fast, call quality is perfect.
    Performance is good.
    the phone looks and feels great, the buttons press great and are not loose
    The only problem is the fact that in lollipop you can not disable the backlighted buttons which are not evenly lighted and does not look good, waiting for marshmallow for this

  • SaRPeR

    “The screen on-time reaches the 4.5 hour mark on most days.” ? I am using this phone and i don’t screen on time below 6 hours. I get 8.5 hours screen on time sometimes. Home screen lag issue is due to Briefing if you turn off Briefing, you won’t get homescreen lags. Mediocre camera ? This phone’s camera is comparable to S6 camera. There is not much difference. If you call this phone’s camera mediocre then you also call S6’s camera mediocre.

  • Ankit

    I have purchased it @ $280 in India as it price down.
    I think its one of the awesome phone at just ₹18,000.
    Must buy and you will not regret for sure.

  • Tabari

    It’s a damn same

  • Tabari

    It’s a damn shame it doesn’t have a gyroscope.