March 21, 2017
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The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) review: a mid-range Galaxy phone with a high-end feel

Mid-range phones are the bread and butter of every smartphone company, that’s why it was no surprise that the Galaxy A series was a success for the company last year. This year, Samsung has gone back to their winning formula and refined it with the release of their new Galaxy A (2017) series.

At the top of the line is the Galaxy A7 (2017), with a striking resemblance to its siblings, the A3 and A5. But all the likenesses end at the superficial.

Design

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The Galaxy A series sports a metal and glass build that’s similar to the Galaxy S7. It’s streamlined to fit the user’s hand well, with a slightly curved 3D glass back and a comfortable metal frame in spite of its size: 156.8 x 77.6 x 7.9 mm, weighing in at 186 grams with a 5.7-inch display, a slight improvement to the A7 (2016)’s 5.5-inch display and 172 grams.

Grab the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) here. 

The A7 (2017) is one extremely thin bezel away from being an all-screen phone. With the amount of glass in the phone, it’s vulnerable to shattering or scratching if it falls. So, if you’re getting an A7 (2017), better get a phone case along with it.

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One design decision they made that we didn’t like was the positioning of the speaker to the right corner above the power button. If you like watching videos or looking at images in landscape mode, this new speaker position has the disadvantage of being accidentally covered by your fingers as you hold it in this position.

Don’t worry though, there’s a sound quality and effects menu in the Settings app that offers advanced options so you can modify the A7 (2017)’s sound to your liking.

Essentials

The Galaxy A7 (2017)’s 386-pixel-per-inch Super AMOLED Full HD display has a higher contrast ratio and deeper blacks than its predecessors. Visuals come out in eye-popping colors with respectable viewing angles, bright even under direct sunlight.

The A7 screen has three visual modes, the Adaptive Display mode, the AMOLED photo mode, and the AMOLED cinema mode. The Adaptive Display mode is the default but you can change it to the other two basic modes.

The A7 (2017) runs a stock Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. For its interface, it features the Grace UX instead of the usual TouchWiz. The new interface was introduced in the Galaxy Note 7 and is a much simpler and more streamlined user interface. The Grace UX has softer colors, rounded edges, and smoother animations that are easier on the eyes.

Features

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Samsung was nice enough to listen to the feedback about the Galaxy A7 (2016) camera and improve its 2017 version. The 2017 A7 has two 16-megapixel f/1.9 cameras, one on the front and back, with a LED flash for the rear one.  Both cameras can shoot at 4:3 aspect ratio on full resolution, and 16:9 aspect ratio at the 12-megapixel setting.

The cameras perform well in broad daylight with good color reproduction and detail. But like a lot of cameras built into most smartphones, its cameras leave much to be desired in low light conditions. So much detail and sharpness tend to get lost with the lack of light. In spite of this pervasive flaw in most cameras, Samsung managed to fix some of the A7 (2016) problems, so focusing is much faster and there’s better color reproduction.

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The cameras also have a Pro mode with advanced settings, Panorama, Hyperlapse, HDR, Night, and Food modes. They’re also capable of recording Full HD video.

Apart from the new interface, the Galaxy A7 (2017) includes some software features like the Secure Folder, S Bike Mode, Device Maintenance, Blue Light Filter, and others. There’s still theme support that you can download from the Theme Store. It also has NFC so you can use Android Pay.

The A7 (2017) has an IP68 dust and water resistance rating, meaning that apart from being dust resistant, the phone can survive under water at a maximum depth of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes. So this is one tough phone that can handle sand, coffee, and taking pictures underwater just as long you don’t take it too deep.

Performance

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The Galaxy A7 (2017) is run by a 1.9GHz Exynos 7880 octa-core processor which is comparable to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615 chip. It also comes with 3GB of RAM, a Mali-T830MP3 graphics processor, and 32GB of storage. It has expandable memory via microSD card of up to 256 GB.

The phone is reliably quick and smooth most times but there will always be some times when it would trip a bit depending on the amount of data you have and the number of apps you have running at any given time.

In spite of the occasional, while reasonable, lapses in its performance, it’s a good device for mobile gaming. This is underscored by its large display, so playing heavy titles like Need for Speed or Asphalt 8 can be an entertaining experience.

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The Galaxy A7 (2017) features a 3600mAh battery with a 22-hour battery life based on playing a video non-stop in airplane mode from a full charge. It also has an app power monitor feature that detects background apps using up the battery so you can turn them off and prolong its battery life.

In addition to the app power monitor, the A7 (2017) also has Medium and Max power saving modes that limits the device performance in exchange for more battery life. The power saving modes reduce CPU speed, visual interactions, prevent background data use, and even turn the display from full-color to grayscale just so you can save more battery if you’re in a pickle without a charger.

The Verdict

The A7 (2017) is a remarkable phone and definitely a must-buy out of the Galaxy A Series. The design has a high-end feel to it, with an excellent display, an incredibly long battery life, and high-megapixel cameras in spite of their underperforming under low light. What’s more, it has utility features like a fingerprint sensor, Samsung Pay, IP68 dust and water resistance

The Galaxy A7 (2017) retails online at 1249 AED on Crazy Deals, but you’ll have to pay extra for shipping. Mobileshop.ae sells it at 1277 AED with free shipping.

If you can’t afford the A7 (2017), don’t worry: we’ll do reviews of the other phones in the 2017 series, the A3 and A5.

Design
3.8 out of 5
Essentials
4 out of 5
Features
4 out of 5
Performance
4.5 out of 5
Overall

The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) is definitely an improvement on the A7 2016 edition. As is usual with midrange phones, it has a simplistic, almost non-descript design that's more concerned with function over form. Even so, it's simplistic elegance contrasts well with its essential function. It has the right features and very utilitarian. It performs well in battery and app tests, proving that it is at the top of the Galaxy A Series (2017) line.

4.08

Good
4.08 out of 5