After the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Samsung has been really careful about their next smartphone launches. The upgraded A7 (2017) has a couple of new features that its predecessor lacked. In addition, the company recently refreshed the C-series by launching the C7 Pro and C9 Pro as well. All these smartphones have more or less similar specifications, and the prices don’t differ that much either.
We spent some time with the Galaxy A7 (2017), which has a price tag of Rs 33,490, to see how it’s different from the A7 (2016) and what new features it comes with. Here’s the rest of our review.
Design and display
Lower end Samsung looking almost the same to one another is not a new thing, the Galaxy A7 is also just a refined version its predecessor. The Galaxy A7 (2017) has rounded curved edges with a matte-finished frame and a shiny 3D glass back panel. The antenna bands are neatly placed on the frame, with the combo SIM 2/microSD card tray located on the top. The SIM 1 tray is placed on the lower left side of the frame, aligned vertically with the volume controls. On the right is the power button with the speaker grille. As for the bottom, it’s where a USB Type-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack are located. As for the front panel, it has a 5.7-inch display, below which there’s a Home button with an integrated fingerprint sensor. The selfie camera and earpiece, as expected, are placed above the display.
The A7 is dust and water resistant, but still manages to look beautiful with a flush 3D-glass body. It has a certain weight to it which makes it feel nice and premium when held in the hand. The only problem is that if you have sweaty hands, it might slip out of your hands quite often.
The 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) is brilliant, and makes watching Full HD videos a delight. Colour reproduction of the display is accurate and viewing angles are on point as well.
The Galaxy A7 (2017) is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 7870 octa-core processor, clocked at 1.9GHz. This is backed up by 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, with support for microSD cards of up to 256GB in size.
Out-of-the-box, the smartphone runs dated Android 6.0 Marshmallow but it’ll probably get the Android 7.0 Nougat update sometime later this year.
The reason why the Galaxy A7 (2017) is heavy is because it packs a sizeable 3,600mAh battery. It’s also IP68-certified, which means that you won’t have to worry about it getting splashed with water every now and then. In addition, the smartphone can resist the entry of foreign solid/liquid objects for up to 30minutes at 1.5m.
During our time with the device, we ran a few benchmark tests. The Galaxy A7 (2017) scored 785 (single-core) and 4,262 (multi-core) on GeekBench 4, while AnTuTu score was 58,976.
On the performance front, we found the Galaxy A7 (2017) to be decent. We tried a bunch of heavy games like WWE: Immortals and Justice League, and they all ran smoothly. However, the phone did heat up a little during prolonged gaming. Browsing with multiple Chrome tabs open and random app switching wasn’t a problem either. That said, some apps like Facebook and Instagram crashed too often.
We found the fingerpint sensor to be quite snappy. Just place your finger on it and the phone unlocks super fast. Call quality was fine during our testing too, and the only time it dropped was in areas with weak network coverage. The smartphone comes with dual nano-SIM support.
3,600mAh battery with Adaptive fast charging technology. And yes, it’s indeed fast. Even if there’s just 5% of battery left before you have to leave for work, just plug it in for about 15 minutes and the smartphone will have enough juice to last for about 3-4 hours.
As for the software, the TouchWiz UI layer looks and works similarly on the A7 (2017), as it does on any other Samsung smartphone. There are rounded, colourful icons, as well as a bunch of preloaded apps that can’t be uninstalled, just disabled. The only thing is that the UI instantly makes the A7 (2017) recognizable as a Samsung smartphone, as it’s nothing like stock Android. Apart from that there’s nothing unique that the TouchWiz brings to the table.
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) supports the company’s Samsung Pay digital payments solution, which was recently launched in India. But since the service is in its initial phase, we couldn’t test it out.
Lastly, let’s talk about the cameras. The Galaxy A7 (2017) has a 16MP rear camera with f/1.9 aperture that can record Full HD (1080p) resolution videos at 30fps. During our testing, we found the camera to be great. It takes impressive-looking pictures with sharp and vibrant colours. Even in low-light settings, the details captured are quite good.
The selfie camera is identical to the primary one and ha the same 16MP resolution and f/1.9 aperture. We found the pictures taken from the front camera to be decent. It kind of flushes the natural colours and makes the Whites beyond natural. But overall, it’s good for casual photography.
Priced at Rs 33,490, the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) checks nearly all the right boxes when it comes to the specs and performance. But, there are a few hits and misses, especially when compared to other Samsung smartphones such as the C7 Pro and C9 Pro, all of which are nearly the same with minimal variation(s) in price. The C9 Pro is notably’s Samsung’s first smartphone to have 6GB of RAM.
Our point is that if you’re already going to spend about 33k on a smartphone, you should rather go for the top-end (128GB internal storage) variant of the OnePlus 3T, which not only has 6GB of RAM, but also a flagship Snapdragon 821 processor and a near-stock Android-like experience.
But if what you want is a Samsung, you can even go for the Galaxy C7 Pro, which has the same display as the A7 (2017) and slightly-more RAM, all at a lower price of Rs 27,990.