Samsung Galaxy A7 is a rather unusual model in the portfolio of the Korean giant. Is it worth being interested in it?
Samsung Galaxy A7 has a triple camera, unusually placed fingerprint scanner, a tray for three cards, and it does not have a notch.
|Samsung Galaxy A7 2018 - video review
video: GSMchoice.com, via YouTube
- Housing, set, biometrics
- Display, interface
- Efficiency, battery, communication, sound
- Photography, video
- Summary. Advantages and disadvantages
First – let us unpack the set. The white, simple box hides a rather typical set of accessories. Under the tray with the phone we have papers, needle for opening the cards’ tray, USB cable, charger and earphones. They are simple, not too comfortable, they have an average sound – but let us say that better those than none.
It is a comfort that Galaxy A7 has a minijack and we can easily replace those earphones with others. The charger is slightly disappointing. This is a typical one, and the cable is finished with a microUSB socket.
Fortunately the phone itself is much more pleasing. It lies in hands comfortably, it is light and it does not have a tendency for slipping out of hand and sliding on flat surfaces, though it is finished with a high polish. What is important is that its smooth surfaces do not catch dirt easily – though it can catch some smudges, both at the back and at the front. Unfortunately it is not waterproof.
The housing has a “sandwich” construction – two 2.5D glass panels are connected with an aluminium frame. The body is stiff and the housing looks solid. I have been using the phone for over a month and it still looks like a new one. On the back wall there are no micro scratches, the camera cover – though it stands above the housing a bit – looks perfect as well. Just like the front glass. The only flaw that I see is a damaged lacquer on the side next to the cards’ tray. It is possible that it was my fault – I exchange cards a lot.
In the age of displays covering almost the whole front panel, the one in Galaxy A7 can slightly disappoint. The display has rather wide bezels, the one at the bottom is the most bothersome, because it is empty – system buttons are shown on the display. The upper frame has a similar width, but here we can find a speaker, sensors, the front camera and its LED flash – so we can accept it, especially that there is no controversial notch.
I must commend the slot for cards placed on the left side. The tray is solid, and cards placed in them slightly snap, thanks to which they will not fall out when being placed, which makes it very convenient. What is more, the slot has three places, so we can use two nanoSIM cards and enhance the memory at the same time.
The speaker went on the lower wall and it has a rather narrow cavity, which I managed to cover with my finger when gaming or while watching movies. It is a pity because the speaker itself is nice and it sounds rather clear.
Volume buttons went on the right edge and in my opinion they are placed slightly too high. I had no problems with using them, but those with smaller hands can have troubles. Under it we can find a perfectly placed fingerprint scanner. It lies in a small cavity around the middle of the right side of the phone – which is where we can normally find the power button.
The scanner is an active one, so we do not need to press it in order to wake the phone – we just need to place our finger. The surface of the sensor is big and it is easy to use it without looking at it. The sensor works rather fast and ably, but I have noticed that it is susceptible to dirt. When I was using it often its accuracy fell rather fast – wiping the plate helps. The sensor – besides its basic function, can secure access to selected apps and can be used as a touchpad for quickly sliding down the notifications bar.
Facial recognition using the front camera can be an alternative security measurement. It works slightly slower than the scanner, but it is usually efficient. Unfortunately, it works worse in the dark, though usually we just need to light our face with the display for it to work.
The display of Galaxy A7 - for its price segment – is great. This is a Super AMOLED display, so we can count on intensive, saturated colours, deep black level and great brightness and view ability angles. The resolution of 1080x2220 pixels placed on a 6-inch diagonal ensures a good quality of image, and the minimum brightness level ensures a comfortable usage of the phone in the dark.
In the software we can find options for adjusting the white balance and the intensity of colours to our likings, there is the blue light filter with controlled intensity and the possibility to run in hours selected by us. The cherry on top is the Always On Display, which shows a power-saving clock and notifications on a dimmed display. We can set hours in which this information can be shown. The glass – as I have mentioned before – is rather resistant to damage and is easy to keep clean. The touch panel works without any problems.
And what can we see on the screen? Until the publication of this text, Galaxy A7 worked on Android 8.0 with a preinstalled Experience 9.0 interface. In default, this interface has a classic form with the apps’ tray, but we can switch it to the “flat” mode (like in iOS) or a simplified one, with enlarged icons.
The interface has a wide personalization range. We have preinstalled themes, we can change the density of placement and the size of icons on the desktop and in the tray, to which we can access to in two ways – with a classical button or a gesture.
We can change the buttons’ placement at the bottom of the screen, there are solutions known from previous Samsung models, like keeping the display on while looking at it or muting the ringtone by turning the phone upside down. There is a one hand usage, dividing screen or app cloning in order to use different user’s accounts. After swiping the desktop to the right we gain access to the Bixby Home screen, which aggregates the most important information from social media, calendar etc.
Samsung enriches the standard Android with a few additional apps. We have a preinstalled package from Microsoft, Health app and a separate Samsung store with apps or a one that manages external accessories (Smart Things). There is the Samsung Members app as well, with tips regarding the phone and a tool for reporting issues, there is a system management tool as well. Samsung adds its own recorder, notepad, e-mail client, clock or a browser, but playing music was entrusted to the standard Google app. Pity…
Basically – the interface is well-thought, perfected, comfortable in usage, but not filled with bloatware. Some – like preinstalled Linked-in – can be deleted. At the beginning – we are left with less than 50 out of 64GB of internal memory. And let us remember about using the microSD card with DualSIM…
And how does it work? Pretty good! The phone does not irritate with lags or hang-ups, it ably runs and closes apps, it ensures a smooth work of most apps available in the Google store. Exynos 7885, supported with 4GB of RAM works without any problems with utility apps, we can enjoy games on this phone, even those more demanding ones.
During the work we will not feel a heightened heat emission, though benchmarks showed a slight efficiency downfall after a longer period of a more intensive work – which is probably connected with the increased temperature inside the housing.
The battery of Galaxy A7 evokes mixed feelings. It has a 3300 mAh capacity and basically I should commend it. The full battery can withstand a whole day of an intensive work.
In my case, when I have started a normal usage of the phone after first tests, the battery lasted for two days of work, though it happened that it went down slightly earlier. It depended on the usage scenario, but we must mention that in an emergency situation there is the power saving mode. It would have been great if it was not for the lack of quick charging. Filling an empty battery with the charger from the set takes around 2.5 hours.
When it comes to the communication aspect, Samsung Galaxy A7 has all that we need. There is NFC, dual-channel Wi-Fi and two separate slots for SIM cards. The phone ensures a high quality of sound, it is good enough for the loud speaking mode as well (provided that we will not cover the speaker with our hand).
The smartphone is equipped with a comfortable dialler and a Samsung keyboard, while for the DualSIM we have a separate, friendly tab in the menu. I did not notice any problems with maintaining the coverage, GPS works appropriately, there are no problems while connecting through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
There is a minijack, and in addition – what is less and less common in smartphones – FM radio – and with the possibility to record broadcasts. Samsung provides the Dolby Atmos system and an enhanced equalizer with the Adapt Sound function, thanks to which we can adjust the sound correction to our hearing capabilities. Good impressions are ruined by the added earphones and the lack of a “Samsung” music player.
Samsung Galaxy A7 surprised everyone with a triple camera. The standard “eye” is enhanced with a wide-angle lens and an additional, small matrix which measures the depth of field and enhances the background blurring.
Basically I consider the camera as a good one, though it leaves something to be desired. We cannot complain much about photos. Colours representation is great, details representation is nice as well, though when we will see the resolution of the matrix they could have been better – but some flaws can be seen only in a close up.
The wide lens gives a clear (though an unavoidable one) image deformation, but in connection with the focus set to infinity it can achieve some interesting effects in some conditions. The additional matrix for background blurring looks like it was added by force – but basically we can consider its work as a good one.
Night time photos are decent for a middle-class smartphone, though I must admit that I expected more from Samsung. We can see some intensive noise reduction effects, the autofocus sometimes “gets lost” when measuring in a weak lighting – but basically, it is acceptable. It is best to use the main matrix during such shots – the wide lens has a smaller brightness, which contributes to the quality of photos.
Digital zoom – just like the background blurring and panoramas – works decently.
It is worth noting that when blurring we can add some special effects – for example change brighter parts of the image into hearts or stars. Selfie lovers should be pleased. The front camera takes nice, clear photos and its possibilities are supported with an additional LED flash, which can work with a screen flash, which gives a nice, rather natural effect.
In the video recording mode – a surprise. We can record only in Full HD. As a consolation – the video quality is decent, the image is clear and has a nicely recoded sound.
|Videos from Samsung Galaxy A7
video: GSMchoice.com, via YouTube
The camera app is typical for Samsung – rather simple and comfortable in usage, enhanced even with the manual mode, which unfortunately does not have the possibility to control the shutter opening time. The cherry on the top is Bixby Vision, an app for recognizing objects visible in the shot, which helps to search them on the Internet and which can recognize QR codes as well. The app gives the possibility to scan a whole text and translate it using the Google dictionary as well.
Samsung Galaxy A7 proved to be a nice, good smartphone, though it has a few shortcomings. It has a decent and rather nice housing, it is equipped with NFC and a handy, triple cards’ slot. It has a nice battery, a reasonable interface and a great display. It has no shortcomings in the software, we should not complain about its efficiency and the sound quality that it offers.
The camera is nice, but the inability to record in 4K is strange, and the wide lens – though it can cover a large shot – strongly distorts the image. I did not enjoy the lack of quick charging either, just like the terrible earphones from the set.
Fortunately the smartphone has the minijack. Some of you can consider the presence of the microUSB socket and wide bezels of the display as a flaw – but I was not bothered by these features. The fingerprint scanner is placed perfectly – but it would have been great if it worked faster and more accurate.
The competition is large – but if you are accustomed to the Samsung’s interface - Galaxy A7 can be considered as a good proposition among the middle guys.
Advantages and disadvantages
- bright, clear display
- decent housing
- Dual SIM without the hybrid solution
- reasonable interface
- FM radio
- nicely placed fingerprint scanner
- wide-angle lens
- good sound
- nice background blurring with special effects
- front camera with additional lighting
- decent battery
- lack of quick charging
- is not waterproof
- weak earphones in the set
- wide bezels around the display
- image distortions in the wide-angles shots
- microUSB instead of USB-C
- work of the fingerprint scanner is debatable
Source: GSMchoice.com; viewed: 246 times.