Samsung has slashed the prices of its 2017 A-series line-up in India by up to a massive Rs 5,000 ahead of the start of the festive season. While the Galaxy A5 was launched at Rs 28,990, the Galaxy A7 2017 was available for Rs 33,490 on launch. Well until recently, these phones were retailing at an MOP of Rs 26,900 and Rs 30,900 respectively. After the newly announced price cut, the Galaxy A5 will sell for an MOP of Rs 22,900 while the Galaxy A7 2017 will sell for an MOP of Rs 25,900.
FYI: MOP and MRP are different terms. While MOP stands for market operating price: the price at which the product was made available to a retailer by the manufacturer and therefore the lowest price at which the retailer can sell the product; MRP stands for maximum retail price and is therefore the maximum price at which the retailer can charge for a product inclusive of all taxes. While MOP is set by the manufacturer (Samsung in this case), the MRP is set by the Government.
It must be understood that Samsung has slashed the MOPs in the case of the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 2017 which means not every retailer will necessarily pass over the benefit to the consumer which means there would be instances where these phones would be available at slightly different – read higher – prices. But that is more likely for offline or physical stores. You can expect these phones to be available for Rs 22,900 and Rs 25,900 – or at least close to it – respectively on online sales channels. Flipkart and Amazon India, for instance, are now selling Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 2017 at their new MOPs.
Premium looks and water-proofing
Now that we are through with the financial technicalities, let’s just get on to the fact, that the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 2017 are pretty amazing phones, and how the new price cut makes quite a steal deal under Rs 30,000.
The A-series, ever since its inception, has been geared towards consumers who are looking for a flagship kind of experience at relatively more mainstream and affordable prices. Phones under Samsung’s Galaxy A-series try to replicate the looks and features of the company’s premium Galaxy S-series. But while Samsung’s Galaxy S-series phones cost close to Rs 50,000, its Galaxy A-series phones usually hover around the Rs 30,000 price tag. In the case of this year’s Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7, they’re even cheaper now. To recall, these phones were first announced in March earlier this year.
Successors to last year’s A5 and A7 2016, the A5 and A7 2017 have been designed from grounds up to offer a flagship Galaxy S7-kind of experience at a not so flagship Galaxy S7-kind of pricing.
The Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 2017 are pretty amazing phones, and how the new price cut makes quite a steal deal under Rs 30,000
The A5, in particular, looks ridiculously like the S7 owing to its 5.2-inch compact form factor. If that wasn’t enough, it is almost as thin (7.9 mm) and as light-weight (157 gram) as Samsung’s top-tier phone. It shares its build materials, meaning, you get a healthy dose of 3D glass — Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on the front — and metal on the sides. Not to mention, the kind of curves — a la the S7 — that only a certain Samsung could have conjured.
Last year’s A5 came dangerously close to replicating the then flagship, S6. There were some very subtle yet useful changes though. In the A5 2017, however, the only visible change that Samsung has brought about is in the positioning of the speaker grille. It lies on the right above the power button now. The new positioning ensures you don’t accidentally cover it with your hand — to muffle the sound — while watching videos and/or playing games in landscape mode.
The A5 also borrows two of the biggest highlights of the S7. It is IP68 certified for one, which makes it dust and water-resistant and also it comes with Samsung’s characteristic Always-on display that’s essentially a mobile screensaver housing time/calendar and notification alerts in a dimly-lit state at all times.
Capable harwdare and expandable storage
In terms of hardware specs, the A5 comes with a 5.2-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display that metes out exceptionally bright and punchy colours, as also some excellent viewing angles. It is powered by a 1.9GHz Exynos 7880 (8-core ARM Cortex-A53) processor clubbed with Mali-T830MP3 GPU and 3GB of RAM. It comes with 32GB of internal memory which is further expandable by up to 256GB via a micro-SD card slot. The Exynos 7880 is Samsung’s in-house mobile chipset in line with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 processor. “With advanced 14nm FinFET process technology, Exynos 7880 consumes up to 36 per cent less power than its predecessor built on 28nm HKMG process at the same performance level,” claims Samsung. The emphasis therefore lies on achieving greater thermal efficiency and longer battery life.
Moving on, the A5 is a dual-SIM phone that runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow-based TouchWiz UI and will be upgradable to Android Nougat. It supports 4G LTE and USB Type-C port for charging and data syncing. The user interface is a lot different (read, slick) from say last year’s version atop the A5 2016 and /or the S7. It is a lot less cluttered and a lot more user friendly now.
The A5 is also MST-enabled which makes it Samsung Pay-ready out-of-the-box, a service that is now widely available for use in India. Samsung Pay works with both NFC and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission). It works with any payment terminal: card swiping or reading machine accepting either a traditional swipe or contactless payments.
Owners of compatible phones, after they have linked their bank account and card to the Samsung App, can simply wave/tap their phone over an NFC-enabled point-of-sale (POS) machine to initiate payments. Authentication is done via fingerprint or a four digit pin entered on the Samsung Pay app. The service is further available with the following banks/ issuers: Axis, HDFC, ICICI, SBI, and Standard Chartered. Citibank and American Express have also been added to the list. The service works with both debit and credit cards and ropes in Paytm as well. The service supports Unified Payments Interface (UPI) as well which will allow Samsung Pay users to make payments using their bank accounts.
On the camera front, the A5 comes with a 16-megapixel sensor with f/1.9 aperture, phase detection autofocus, LED flash and 1080p video recording. On the front, it (again) sports a 16-megapixel sensor with f/1.9 aperture and 1080p video recording. The camera app now comes with a very convenient Swipe UI that allows you to simply swipe up or down to switch between the front and rear cameras. Also, there’s an option to drag (and drop) the camera shutter button anywhere on the screen which is quite useful.If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t touched the Galaxy A7 2017 till now, well, it’s because it is practically the same phone. The A7 is an exact replica of the A5, in terms of looks as well as paper specs differing only in screen size and battery capacity. The A7 has a 5.7-inch screen and a larger 3,600mAh (as opposed to 3,000mAh in case of the A5) battery inside. Ideally, it should appeal to those looking for a phablet form factor.
The Galaxy A7 2017, in particular, was deemed as an overpriced phone at launch – something that we mentioned in our full review as well – but, at its new price, it certainly makes a lot more sense. The A5 2015, similarly, is for someone who prefers a more compact form factor. Either ways, you get a phone that’s high on style as well as substance somewhat. At the same time, features like water-proofing and Samsung Pay go a long way in making them stand out from the crowd.
Also Read: Samsung Galaxy A7 2017 review: Ticks almost all the right boxes