- Good Performance
- Nice Camera Quality
- Good Display
- Decent Battery Life
- No IP Certification
- Iris Scanner is gone too
- Depth Sensor Still feels gimmicky
After their Note Series, Samsung invited us over to their Samsung Unpacked event – which happened here in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and they showcased two of their new smartphones – The Samsung Galaxy A7 which has a triple camera configuration and the Galaxy A9, the World’s first Quad Camera Smartphone. Thanks to Samsung Malaysia, they sent us the Galaxy A7 and after spending enough time with the phone, the moment has come for us to share our final verdict on the A7 on how it excels. Find out more in our Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018) Review.
Design and Build Quality
When it comes to design, the Galaxy A7 has a similar design cue as the A8 which we reviewed back in January 2018. It has a rather dated design that works and there isn’t any notch to be seen in the phone itself – which is a nice approach. On the side and the back, you still have this same generic design as well. Overall, simple design we have seen it before and it’s back again. The black color finish is a lot more muted under a room lighting and when you bring it out, it has a shining hue to the glass itself.
In terms of build quality, it feels well put together and nice to hold in the hand. On the front, the phone is covered in glass and on the side, it has a glossy finished metal touch to it and finally on the back, you’ll once again see a glass finish. Surprisingly, this is the first time we have seen a Samsung phone that came with a pre-applied screen protector and it looks like we might be looking at other phones from them in the future to have a pre-applied screen protector. On the back, there is a slight bump to the camera and it doesn’t sit flush. All the buttons on the phone is located towards one side – the volume rockers is positioned in a higher level whereas the power button is rather flushed in. This is because Samsung has moved their fingerprint to the side – which we have seen in the past from different manufacturers.
Finally, one thing the A7 is missing out is the fact that it’s no longer IP Certified. So, don’t ever think of bringing this phone anywhere near water because it will be very hard to recover.
Specification and Benchmark
In terms of specification, the Samsung Galaxy A7 packs an Samsung Exynos 7885, an octa core processor that’s clocked in at 2.2GHz respectively. This is actually the same processor as it’s predecessor – A8. To go with that, Samsung has included 4GB RAM and it comes with a whopping 128GB built in and this memory can be expanded with a help of an MicroSD Card which can go up to 512GB.
We have performed the following benchmarks – Antutu Benchmark, Geekbench and to verify the internals, we used CPU-Z. Do take note, benchmark scores do not add up to day-to-day usage basis but gives you an idea on how fast the phone would perform. You can take a look at the score below.
On the front, the Samsung Galaxy A7 has a 6.0” FHD+ Display that’s a Super AMOLED Panel. Like I have mentioned earlier, the phone has no notch. So, it follows the traditional 18:9 aspect ratio throughout which is nice to see. The screen on the A7 is quite saturated for an AMOLED panel and it felt rather different from the flagship series which has an AMOLED Panel. The colors are very saturated and it pops. The deep blacks produced on the screen is way muted and the colors tend to stand out on it’s own. Watching shows or movies on Netflix is nice.
The brightness on the phone can go low to a point that it can get very comfortable to the eyes. But when it’s cranked up to the max, it looks dull under a bright sunlight. So, you might have to find a shade then and there. Overall, a decent display.
In terms of performance, the Galaxy A7 handled pretty much everything quite well initially and since it’s a mid-tier smartphone, it did perform a bit better than what you’d usually get around that price tag. Last year, A8 had an impressive Exynos processor that left me in awe and guess what, the A7 actually rocks the same processor under the hood. Somehow, the phone feels a bit slower despite it rocking the same processor. This could be because of the fact that they use a different standard and there were times it did glitch – especially when unlocked via the fingerprint sensor and once it gets unlocked, the home screen would appear 3-5 seconds later. Not sure why it did that but upon disabling the fingerprint, it didn’t cause any problem. Looks like Samsung needs to patch those things up.
We tried Asphalt 8, Tekken to see how well the phone handles – and games on it were pretty impressive and it was playable. During our gameplay, we barely had very little to none lag. So, that means if you were to get this phone to play some titles of your liking, you can do it. It did get warm at times but didn’t cause any discomfort while holding it – and this is rather normal for a smartphone to do.
Battery Life & Charging
The Galaxy A7 has a 3300 mAh battery under the hood that powers up the device. During my time using it – we tested based on both heavy and light usage to see how it lasts. During our first test, the phone was disconnected after a full charge for 13 hours 30 minutes. With that, I was able to get a screen on time of 5 hour 43 minutes. Now we proceeded with another test and this time we unplugged the phone with 100 percent, 20 hours ago. And the battery life gave us SoT of 5 Hours 51 minutes. I’d say it’s pretty decent for what it is but you’ll have to carry a battery pack with you at all times to make sure that your phone just doesn’t die in the middle of the day.
Samsung has equipped a 24MP Front facing camera with an aperture of f/2.0. We normally don’t take selfies but the one time we took, it actually turned out to be very good. The exposure overall looks very even and honestly I really like how it turned out. This camera will definitely satisfy your selfie needs.
This is the first time the South Korean Giant has opted in for a triple camera on their smartphone. On the back, you’ll find three different cameras. Main sensor which is a 24MP with f/1.7, following that is an 8MP Wide angle with f/2.4 and finally a 5MP depth sensor with f/2.2. Now it’s nice to see such configuration but honestly, depth sensor is our least favorite sensor on any camera because it just isn’t a true camera. But to our testing, we actually liked the pictures that came out of the 24MP and the 8MP Sensor.
The 24MP sensor captures even exposure and has a sharper image to it. The details are well preserved. The moment you switch to the 8MP counterpart, you’ll notice that the blacks are now a lot deeper and there is a bit of details compromised. But nonetheless, the exposure is well maintained and it’s what we need. Now under a bright light, both the sensor does an impressive job in capturing splendid images. Like the one with the crowd, you’ll see the 24MP shot which is a little closer and the 8MP wide angle covers almost everything. Just like their previous devices, Samsung has done a good job with this one as well.
Speaker & Security
Sadly, we don’t get to see the Stereo Speaker with the A7 but for a downward speaker, it sounds well. The whole quality at maximum doesn’t get any distorting feel. It is loud and clear enough, just don’t expect it to have a clear vocal in a music that has loud instruments.
As for the security, the A7 has a fingerprint sensor and it has been repositioned to the side along with the power button. Unlike the A8 (2018), the new A7 doesn’t have an Iris Scanner which kind of feels like a downgrade. But the fingerprint sensor on the phone take a bit of a delay and unlocks the phone. This can be fixed with a help of an update which is quite alright.
UI & OS
The Samsung Galaxy A7 runs Samsung Experience – just like any other Samsung phones that has been announced in the recent time. The UI is my personal favorite from Samsung and it’s a lot cleaner and intuitive to use. Surprisingly, the A7 doesn’t have Bixby but none the less, you’ll find pretty much the same feature as the A8 in terms of UI.
The Samsung Galaxy A7 feels like they have removed few good features to make room for the extra camera on the back. But with that said, for RM 1,299 – it is without a doubt one of the good phones to opt in for various reasons. For one, it has a Triple Camera on the back that works (except for the Depth sensor which we are not a huge fan of), a nice design and display on the front and an impressive internals under the hood.
The Samsung Galaxy A7 is a good phone to consider.