Review

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) and Galaxy A9 (2016) preview

Not so long ago, Samsung’s flagship smartphones were the only devices you could get if you wanted a great experience, and the lower tier devices had many limitations that made them hard to recommend. But the Galaxy A series was the company’s first attempt to offer a premium experience in the mid-range category, and the 2016 iteration of the Galaxy A takes things up a couple of notches by introducing rather high-end specs and the same metal and glass design as Samsung’s Galaxy S and Galaxy Note flagships.

We have all four devices – the Galaxy A3 (2016), Galaxy A5 (2016), Galaxy A7 (2016) and Galaxy A9 (2016) – in our possession; we will be reviewing all four phones in the near future, but while we’re working on the reviews, here is a quick preview of the Galaxy A7 and Galaxy A9 (2016), which we managed to get our hands on in a trip to China. A preview of the Galaxy A3 and Galaxy A5 is incoming too, so stay tuned for that as well!

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The Galaxy A7 and Galaxy A9 are large, with the latter the biggest yet in the series with a 6-inch display. These phones have the same glass and metal build as the Galaxy S6 lineup and the Galaxy Note 5, and for most intents and purposes, look and feel the same as the S6 lineup. That is to say the design is pretty much perfect – it feels extremely premium, and while the glass makes the phones slippery, the overall design is something that gets high marks.

These devices have Super AMOLED displays, so the viewing experience is great. Software performance is great as well, and the software theme Samsung is using for the Chinese market is rather nice, especially thanks to the good-looking homescreen icons (the icons are flat and look immensely better than the tacky icons Samsung is using on other devices, including all of 2015’s flagships.)

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Imaging is something neither the Galaxy A7 nor the Galaxy A9 score high points in. Both phones have 13-megapixel cameras with optical image stabilization and f/1.9 aperture, but the performance isn’t that nice based on preliminary testing. It reminds us of the Galaxy A8, which had good camera specs on paper but failed to take good pictures thanks to poor software processing. Samsung is probably limiting camera performance on these devices to make their flagship cameras stand out, or just not doing enough optimization to keep costs down.

The new Galaxy A devices are heavy as well, but we don’t mind that at all thanks to the large batteries Samsung has managed to fit in. We haven’t tested the Galaxy A7 or Galaxy A9 2016 enough to give conclusive battery life numbers, but the 3,300 and 4,000 mAh batteries should be able to last an entire day for most users.

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The 2016 Galaxy A lineup was made available in China first, and considering the market’s affinity for large-screen smartphones, the Galaxy A7 (2016) and Galaxy A9 (2016) could do well in the country, and in other markets as well. The Galaxy A8 took our recommendation for the best mid-range smartphone from Samsung, and from what we have seen on the new A7 and A8 so far, the A8 might not be able to keep that crown for much longer.

Stay tuned for our full review in the coming weeks (and a preview of the Galaxy A7 and Galaxy A9 (2016) as well), and do let us know what you think of the Galaxy A7 (2016) and Galaxy A9 (2016) down in the comments!

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MobilePrice
MobilePrice

The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) is essentially an A5 (2016) stretched to 5.5″ screen size. This sort of size has turned into somewhat of a sweetspot for a phablet – any bigger and the phone becomes unwieldy, any smaller and you lose the benefit of the big screen . ! Available with a hybrid dual-SIM/microSD slot, Metal frame sandwiched between 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4, 5.5″ Super AMOLED of 1,080 x 1,920px resolution, ~401ppi , Octa-core Cortex-A53 processor, 3GB of RAM, Adreno 405 GPU; Snapdragon 615 chipset (also available with an Exynos 7580 chipset) , Android 5.1 Lollipop with TouchWiz, theme… Read more »

trannghi7707
trannghi7707

Hi there,

Are you close to finish this review ? I’d like to know about the bands these phones are using.

sanghyun6757
sanghyun6757

Galaxy A series always had better design than Galaxy S series… They also adopted the metal rim design earlier than the S.

nathanarchbold
nathanarchbold

Comment about the icons was certainly uncalled for, it’s definitely opinion. I prefer the rounded icons significantly more, I like the uniform look and with Marshmallow it looks like they really nailed the simple but premium icon design they were trying to pull of with lolipop on the note 5/edge+/gs6

XaErO_Xion
XaErO_Xion

I love this 2016 A series .. I believe, it’s just the price that isn’t right .. (let’s hope the appropriate price for 2016 A series .. #India) ..

ProdByEchelon
ProdByEchelon

I think the Note5 TouchWiz looks better. Square icons aren’t nice. Maybe the LG UI made me hate squared off icons.

sanayp
sanayp

Why high end flagship phone’s be sold for $250 LOL

Droplys
Droplys

Wahoo, the samsung iPhone 🙁

adam.kirby5
adam.kirby5

To be honest, I don’t know why there are so many dislikes to this comment as of now… Actually, I do… It’s because the people who dislike a comment are the sort of people we had the likes of Stalin and Hitler for. They also have nothing intelligent to say. Among the smartphones I own, an iPhone 6s Plus is one, and I look at it and look at these photos and it’s just lazy design from Samsung. They have the money and the resources to make a design totally different to this and they didn’t. Such a shame. It… Read more »

manojmcn
manojmcn

I look at my old, but still good white Note II and feel iPhone 6(s) Plus looks a lot like it. The sides are also curved.

adam.kirby5
adam.kirby5

Yeah, I agree that the sides are curved also, however it ends there for me. The Note 2 looks so completely different from the iPhone. When I see the iPhone and Note 2 I just see two completely different phones. However, when I look at The Galaxy S6 and the iPhone, there are too many similarities between them in design.

People often get confused by that statement and immediately dislike it. However, the iPhone is a nice looking phone. The Galaxy S6 is a beautiful phone as well so it’s not as if it was a bad thing.

joseanand
joseanand

htc m7, htc m8, htc m9, htc a9 . thats where iphone design came from.

s6 looks nothing like iphone

adam.kirby5
adam.kirby5

Oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear oh dear… First of all, choice of material e.g. using a metal rather than another material is different to a design, HTC M and A series phones look NOTHING like an iPhone. Secondly, yes, the Galaxy S6 DOES look like the iPhone is most angles. In a few angles, it doesn’t. You might be confusing my statement with “it looks exactly like the iPhone” – which you’re correct! It doesn’t look EXACTLY like an iPhone. However, the inexorable truth is from most angles it is too similar. If I were… Read more »

joseanand
joseanand

well.. check them at this angle 😀

https://imgur.com/a/xqo8u

adam.kirby5
adam.kirby5

Well, I’m really sorry to burst your little bubble. However, the HTC One M7 came out in 2013, this was long before the iPhone 6 design. Again, the HTC One M8 came out in October 2014 which was 1 month after the iPhone 6. So to recap, what HTC did was go into the future, copy the iPhone 6 design, release it and then the next year change their original copied design by going into the future and copy it again? Forgetting the M7 design, it takes MORE than 1 month to completely re-design a mobile phone and produce in… Read more »