The Galaxy A (2017) series of mid-range smartphones finally went official earlier this week, and Samsung has hit it out of the park in terms of the features on offer. Samsung has brought quite a few features from its flagship line down to its mid-range; we have already compared the specifications of each new Galaxy A device with its predecessor’s, and today we’re taking a look at what we think are the most interesting new features on the Galaxy A (2017) lineup.
Samsung’s Galaxy S7 phones and the now discontinued Galaxy Note 7 were rated for IP68 water and dust resistance, the highest seen on any flagship smartphone this year, and the Korean giant is now offering the same level of water resistance at a lower price with the Galaxy A3 (2107), A5 (2017) and the A7 (2017). Water resistance might look like a fringe benefit to some, but it can make all the difference should you get caught out in the rain or when the phone takes an accidental dive in water. The best part is that these phones will look and feel premium while being protected against the elements, and it’s clearly one of the important new features of the A (2017) lineup.
Always On Display
Samsung’s 2015 flagships still haven’t received this feature (and probably never will because of their small batteries), but Always On Display is a part of the new A series smartphones. We’re yet to find out if this is the full-fledged version that supports notifications from third-party apps, but even in its basic form, Always On Display should be welcomed by quite a few folks. Sure, it will take its toll on battery life, but the A5 (2017) and A7 (2017) shouldn’t be hugely affected thanks to their 3,000 mAh and 3,600 mAh batteries.
Samsung Pay with MST
Samsung Pay was supported on the Galaxy A (2016) phones, but with the 2017 lineup, it is no longer limited to only the LTE model. Samsung Pay is set to expand to new markets over the coming months, and anyone buying one of the Galaxy A (2017) phones should be able to make contactless payments at supported merchants.
Floating shutter button in camera
The shutter button in the camera app on the new A series phones can float, which is to say it can be placed anywhere on the screen. Basically, no more awkwardly reaching for the shutter button when you’re trying to take a selfie, or hiding the screen with your hand while trying to reach the volume buttons to take a photo. It’s a minor feature, but one that should make a lot of difference when you’re using your new Galaxy A device to take pictures.
16-megapixel selfie camera
The Galaxy A (2017) handsets feature the highest-resolution front-facing camera seen on a Samsung device (not counting the China-exclusive, yet-to-be-launched Galaxy C smartphones). The 16-megapixel front camera should take selfies with considerably higher detail than even Samsung’s flagship phones, and the company can finally compete with all those smartphones from Chinese manufacturers that have been offering high-resolution selfie cameras for a while now. Too bad the A3 (2017) has only an 8-megapixel selfie camera.
USB Type-C port
Well, a USB Type-C port may or may not seem like an interesting feature to you, as it would make your microUSB cables unusable, but Samsung is future-proofing its mid-range smartphones by opting for the newest USB connector.
They come in blue!
The Blue Coral color that debuted on the Galaxy Note 7 has been renamed to Blue Mist on the A (2017) phones, but it should still be as cool as we found it to be on the Note 7 (and lately, the Galaxy S7 edge). The A series phones are completely blue instead of having a golden trim on the sides, but it’s great to see Samsung making these color options available in the mid-range segment.
There’s a lot to like about the new Galaxy A handsets, but the features above are what we think are the most interesting. See something we missed? Let us know by leaving a comment, and tell us what you think are the best features of Samsung’s latest mid-range smartphones.