Mid-range smartphones get left in the shadow of premium devices, but they’re worth a closer look.
This was shown last week with the announcement of Samsung’s flagship phone, the Galaxy S8. It’s release featured heavily on most media sites. Compare this to the company’s mid-priced A range which barely got a mention when announced. However, if you are looking for a more affordable device then they’re worth considering. The range includes the A3 (4.7-inch, $499), A5 (5.2-inch, $599) and A7 (5.7-inch, $749). These in-betweeners may lack the curved screens and digital assistants that other devices have but they offer enough features to meet your smartphone needs.DESIGN AND PERFORMANCE The phones are well built and feel nice in the hand and even though the back is made of plastic, it’s barely noticeable. They come in black or gold. The A7 I tested looked similar to a Galaxy S7 and they’re good-looking enough to impress friends, if you’re into that sort of thing The big difference between these devices and premium phones are the little things.
For example, the home button is physical so you feel it move, as opposed to more expensive devices that use tech to mimic the feeling.
Also, the A7 I tested was a big thicker than more expensive devices. The plus side was that it didn’t feel as fragile and the plastic back means you could get away without a case. Another advantage is that the camera lens doesn’t protrude from the back like it does on some high-end phones.
The A range run Android 6.0 instead of the least version that features on the S8. However, most people won’t notice the difference. The processors are also less powerful but I found apps loaded fast and there was no noticeable lag. However, if you play graphics-heavy games you may find they struggle a little.
The cameras feature great specifications and have a nice, simple interface. However, it was not quite as quick to snap a photo as a high-end smartphone. It’s nothing that will greatly affect your photography, and its to be expected from a phone at this price.
Aside from the price and screen size, there are only a few differences between the A3, A5 and A7.
First, the bigger the phone, the bigger the battery. I wasn’t able to test if this made a difference as the larger screen may negate any extra battery power.
The A5 and A7 have the same cameras (16MP front and back) while the A5 has a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera.
Despite the cheaper prices, the phones do have some high-end features such as being waterproof, having a fingerprint reader and an “always on” display which shows the time and date without waking up the phone.
They also have the latest USB-C port to connect the charging cable instead of the older style USB connection.
The phones have 32GB of storage which should be enough for most people. If not, you can buy a MicroSD card to add more.
The Samsung A range has everything you need from a phone, good design, a great screen, a good camera and enough processing power to make it a pleasure to use.
However, the best feature is the price. For example, the A7 is a lot cheaper than similar sized high-end Samsung phones, with the Galaxy S7 costing $999 and the S8 costing $1299. The smaller A phones are even more affordable.
When buying a phone, it’s always tempting to get the latest model. But really you should get one that suits your needs. The A-range phones will satisfy everyone, except maybe power users or those that always crave the latest tech.