Samsung expands its market dominating line up of devices with their latest mid-range device for the year 2017. When we say expand, it is more like they updated their mid-range series of devices. It is also the first of many devices that have been launched, or will be launching for the year 2017. If the title is not obvious enough we are of course talking about the new Samsung Galaxy A7 2017 the mid-range topper for Samsung.
The Samsung Galaxy A7 2017 is one of two devices that Samsung offers in the current Galaxy A series of devices. The A7 being the bigger screen of the two devices hosts a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display that churns out 1080p Full HD of resolution. Compared to last year’s 720p HD display that is not an AMOLED the display is one of the big improvements for Samsung’s mid-range champion. The Super AMOLED display lives up to its name with crisp, bright colours that pops into live. Anything you can put on the screen is almost guaranteed to look good and interesting somehow.
With such a large screen you may think that the device is a little unwieldy. In this case though it is not. The curve at the back of the device that harks back to the Samsung Galaxy S and Note lines makes handling the device a surprising delight. The large screen does not feel as large as it actually is thanks to the ergonomics of the 3D glass back.
Underneath the display you get a heavy-duty eight-core Exynos processor that is clocked in at 1.9GHz. Paired with 3GB of RAM memory the device can handle anything you can throw at it. Multitasking is a breeze and any sort of games play brilliantly with the device. Even the brand new Grace UX based on the Android Marshmallow can appreciate the immense power contained within the body of the A7 2017. It feels smooth all the time and never looked like it was bogged down by anything.
Speaking of the UI, Grace UX is a far cry from Samsung’s glorified TouchWiz UX it replaces. Gone are the days when 3GB of RAM is not enough to work with in a Samsung device. Grace UX is so kinder to the RAM compared to TouchWiz and, if we might add looks so much better. It is Samsung’s most intuitive, cleanest, and best looking UI on top of Android yet. It also integrates Samsung Pay into the UI to make life easier with cashless payments too, so that is a plus.
Another big improvement over the old device is the cameras on the new device. The Samsung Galaxy A7 2017 features two 16-megapixel camera modules out the back and the front of the device. The main shooter produces high-resolution images that can rival most flagships these days with the amount of details it packs. The “selfie” camera also benefits from using the same high-resolution sensor of course. With f/1.9 aperture on both ends, low light photo shooting is less of a pain; though we did have some issues due to unsteady hands.
With high-resolution photos, comes large image files. To store all that photos you get 32GB of built-in memory out of the Samsung Galaxy A7 2017. You might need more though so you get an extra slot for a MicroSD card. The best part about that MicroSD slot is that it does not share a space with the dual-SIM tray which means that you still can have two numbers running on the device while having extra space in the device.
With so much bug upgrades compared to the old A7 2016, you would expect battery life to go south. That, in fact is not the case for the new 2017 mid-range champion. The new Galaxy A7 2017 packs a 3,600mAh battery out-of-the-box. It is not removable though, like the bigger boys from the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines now. But if you are a keen-eyed reader, that is a bigger battery than the brand new Galaxy S8 that is outgoing now. That results in two days of full use in our tests. The huge batteries also charges in about 2 hours from scratch thanks to fact-charging technology built-into the smartphone. It does look like Samsung thought of everything.
The biggest sell of this brand new mid-ranger though is its IP68 dust and water resistant rating. All that goodness is wrapped in a premium glass and aluminium body that can stand up to 1.5 metres of water for 30 minutes. This, mind you is a feature that trickled down from the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge flagships. We know that this is not the first of mid-range devices that comes with dust and water proofing. Dust and water proofing is also not a new technology and is not super revolutionary in any way at this point of time. But it is Samsung’s first mid-range device to receive that dust and water resistant treatment which means that we can expect more devices from the Korean manufacturer to be built to the same highest ratings.
Drawbacks? There are no haptic feedback on the touch buttons of the device. But that is minor. It also does not come pre-loaded with Android’s latest Nougat off the production line; though you can upgrade the device when it becomes available (note: there is not too much in difference in UI experience though from the current one). It has gained a bit of weight compared to its previous comrades. It does not include wireless charging that everyone is raving on about. It has a smaller RAM compared to some of its competition, and it is by far one of the most expensive offerings in the market when it comes to mid-range devices. It is some MYR200 more than the previous 2016 model bringing the price closer to the MYR2,000 mark; very close to some premium offerings in the current market. If you look closely as well the speaker placement is somewhat awkward at the side of the device, which also means you do not get a sort of 3D or stereo sound you get from some of the competition. It is also not the best looking device out there, and with some odd colour choices (that we rather liked) it may be less handsome than Brad Pitt, or Jessica Alba if you might.
But all these negatives are in fact very minor details. The device hits a lot of right notes when it comes to a smartphone. It even has fingerprint sensor that integrates itself to Samsung Pay. This new Galaxy A7 definitely benefits from the high-strung, high-profile production line that the Korean giant has with their flagships as well when you think about it. The smartphone is built to last and to a standard that anyone could be proud of. This then, we think is Samsung’s mark to a new era of devices. Perfect way to start 2017? We think so, what do you think?
- Smoother, cleaner, brand new Grace UX
- Premium build quality, design, and feel
- Long-lasting, large battery
- 16-Megapixel front and back cameras
- Dedicated MicroSD slot up to 256GB
- 5.7-inch Full HD Super AMOLED
- USB Type-C fast charge
- IP68 dust and water resistant
- Samsung Pay
- Near-premium pricing for mid-range device
- Non-removable battery
- Slightly thicker than competitors
- Odd speaker placement (side of body)
- USB Type-C not yet mainstream
- Odd colour choices to some
- Large screen may be slightly unwieldy
- Lack of haptic feedback