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Thursday, February 19, 2015

First impressions: Samsung's Galaxy A7 is a sleek phablet but without the latest Android

Samsung launched four new smartphones for the
Indian market on Monday: the Galaxy Grand Prime 4G, Galaxy Core Prime
4G, the J1 4G and the new Galaxy A7 which is part of the Series of
full-metal body smartphones.

The smartphones were on display at the Samsung Forum 2015 in Bangkok
and we got a chance to spend sometime with each of these phones. The
Galaxy A7 is the device that has already been launched in India, with a
price of Rs 30,499, while the other three will launch in mid-March.
Samsung is expected to announce the price of Grand Prime 4G and Core
Prime 4G phones at the time of the launch, while the J1 4G will cost Rs
9,990 in India.

The Galaxy A7 which is the most expensive smartphone of the A series
is part of Samsung’s new series which are sleek in design, sport a
full-metal body and aimed at the mid/high budget segment user. Here’s
our first impression of the smartphone.

Design, Screen: The USP of this smartphone is the
slim design (it’s only 6.8mm thick) and comes in a full metal unibody
design. Personally, this is one of the best-looking phablets from
Samsung I’ve seen. The screen is 5.5-inch full HD Super AMOLED which
means its big enough to watch videos and movies and the resolution is
quite sharp. While a big screen is not my personal preference, for those
who want a phablet that doesn’t look too tacky and is available for
under Rs 40k, this is a worthy option to consider.

It’s a slim phone aimed at the chic crowd, the one that Samsung hopes
will go for its phones because they might find the iPhone over-priced.
Thankfully Samsung kept the back cover design simple and did not add any
faux leather look, which looked tacky on older phones.

Storage, Processor, RAM, Connectivity: Samsung’s
smartphone comes with 16 GB total storage space, 2GB RAM and a Qualcomm
Snapdragon 615 Octa-core processor which includes two quad-core A53
chips clocked at 1.5 and 1 GHz respectively.

Users can expand the space on the phone to 64 GB via a microSD. Of
course, for users who want more space this won’t seem like a great
option given that other phones on the market offer more space for a
lower price. Examples include OnePlus One (which comes with 64GB and is
priced at Rs 21,999) and the Xiaomi Mi 4 which has launched a 64 GB version of smartphone in India for Rs 23,999.

The phone supports Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, WiFi. There appear to be two
versions of the Galaxy A7 , one which is an LTE Cat 4 and an HSPA+
version. It’s not clear if the A7 will support 4G in India, given that
Samsung did not specify which bands the India version of smartphone
supports. If this isn’t a 4G phone for India users, this would appear to
be quite an expensive buy, especially if 4G as an option is available
in your city.

Camera, OS: The Galaxy A7 has a 13 megapixel rear
camera and a 5 megapixel front camera with a wide-angle for
group-selfies. It’s also got the usual-modes that Samsung tends to add
on its smartphone camera, which also includes a Beauty-face mode.

While there was no lag on the camera and it was fairly easy to switch
modes, I wasn’t too impressed by the beauty face mode. The skin tends
to look rather plasticky and a flawless that borders on the unnatural,
which isn’t something I favour. Of course, if you want selfies with
perfect skin and a really good-looking smartphone to flash while you’re
taking them, then the A7 is a phone for you to consider.

The Galaxy A7 with all the apps.
The Galaxy A7 with runs Android 4.4.4 which is a disappointment.
The Galaxy A7 runs Android 4.4.4 which is dated now specially considering the Galaxy S4 has already got the Android 5.0 Lollipop update
(and also a price drop to Rs 17,499). The A7 might be a new phone but
the old OS is a disappointment and once again highlights the problems of
the fragmented Android universe.

The storage space on the Galaxy A7 is 16 GB in total.
The storage space on the Galaxy A7 is 16 GB in total.
Conclusion: So is the Galaxy A7 worth the price? As
we’ve noted before, the USP of this phone is the slim form factor and
the metal body which give it a stunning design. Add to that Samsung has
given this one a great screen and a camera resolution that will appeal
to the selfie-lovers.

Settings menu on the Samsung Galaxy A7.
Settings menu on the Samsung Galaxy A7.
If you want a branded phone and aren’t willing to wait in flash
sales, as is the case with a lot of new devices that are being launched
in India, the A7 should be on your list to consider, if have a budget
that is north of Rs 25, 000. For sure this is a good-looking phone from
Samsung but whether that’s good enough to convince today’s demanding
consumers is another question.

Disclaimer: Firstpost was at the Samsung Forum 2015 in Bangkok courtesy of the company.

 - Tech2

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