Recently I was lucky enough to be invited up to London to attend a launch event for the new Samsung Galaxy A series. The new Galaxy A3 and its big brother, the Galaxy A5 are mid-market phones, sitting nicely between the very high end Galaxy S7 Edge and Samsung’s entry level offerings. Samsung know that even those with less budget, say: teenagers, for example, still demand features like great quality pictures, water resistance and good battery life. The new Samsung Galaxy A series sits happily in this mid-range spot, offering some really fabulous innovations:
After hearing the presentation from Paul Scott (Senior Product Manager for the Galaxy A series) about the phone boasting a 3D glass screen and a really strong metal frame, with minimal bezel and a lovely 3D curved back, I’ve got to be honest, I was a bit confused by what all this terminology would mean. In practice, the phone really is very comfortable to hold, as well as feeling quite smooth and easy to the touch. It feels…. expensive. Interestingly, for those who find that their phone camera snags on their pocket or wherever you keep it, the camera doesn’t protrude as well, which is really handy. Also, it comes in four modern colour options: peach cloud, blue mist, and gold sand (below) as well as black sky.
The new Samsung Galaxy A5 has a pretty impressive 16mp camera both rear and front (great news if you love a selfie), with the Galaxy A3 boasting an improved 13mp rear camera and 8mp at the front. There’s some seriously advanced camera technology built into these phones now (I won’t bore you with technical terms I don’t understand), offering super-accurate autofocus, resulting in clear, vibrant pictures, with the lens performing really well even in low light. I was really impressed with the new camera modes, easily chosen by just swiping left to right for effects, and straight down for selfies. We messed about taking photos in the food mode and the results were pretty spectacular. Here are the delicious desserts taken with my iPhone 6 Plus:
Now I appreciate that this is a photo of a photo, but check out the lovely detail on the Samsung Galaxy A5’s shot of exactly the same plate. ‘In the flesh’, as it were, the picture really came to life, with warmer tones and enhanced contrast, among other small indiscernible tweaks:
Still gutted I didn’t get to eat one of those cakes.
Another useful function is the floating shutter. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve nearly dropped my phone trying to twist my fingers around so I’m not blocking the lens but can still reach the shutter. With the Galaxy A3 and A5, there’s now a floating shutter, which allows you to move it about to where it’s comfortable on the screen for you. See the shutter here on the right, about halfway up the screen?
Now see it in the top left of the screen? How clever is that?
I guess one of the advantages of producing really high end phones is that it’s relatively easy to filter those innovations down into your mid ranges. The A3 and A5 are both IP68 water and dust resistant up to 1.5 metres for 30 min, they also boast always on display of things like notifications, the time, etc, plus a long-lasting battery (fast charging on the A5). It’s easy and cheap to boost the internal storage by sticking in a microSD card (one of the things I’d love the iPhone to have) up to a huge 256GB on the cheap. There are also some fab accessories, including an awesome neon cover that lights up when the phone rings.
Value for money
The best thing about these phones, though, is the price. As you know, I’m a Three UK advocate and will always recommend getting your phone from Three just because I love them, especially their fabulous Feel at Home service, which allows you to use your phone as normal in over 40 different destinations. The Samsung Galaxy A5 starts at a ridiculously cheap £25.00 per month, with an upfront cost of £19.00, and the Samsung Galaxy A3 starts at just £20.00 per month with a £19.00 upfront cost.
In summary, both the Samsung Galaxy A3 and the A5 don’t feel like ‘compromise’ phones at all – they’re great quality, user-friendly and intelligent,and with the beautiful feel, fabulous cameras and filters, water resistance, fast charging and more, and I’d be really happy to use the A5 (the A3 is a bit small for me) and feel satisfied that I was using a really great, high end phone.