Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review: Alphabet Soup: Telephony, Loudspeaker, Pre-installed Apps

By 08:18 Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Comments


Telephony

The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) comes in single-SIM and dual-SIM flavors, and it so happened that we had the single-SIM version.






Dialer • Call log • All contacts • In-call screen

There's native support for blocking incoming calls - you can block specific numbers and all anonymous calls.




Blocking unwanted calls • More call settings

Loudspeaker

This year's A-series have their loudspeakers in a novel position - on the correct side of the phone. The single speaker on the A5 (2017) posted numbers that put it in the Good category in our test in terms of loudness, just like the A3 (2017). It's a noticeable improvement over the 2016 model, and puts the A5 (2017) on par with most of its competition. Output quality is quite good, too.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score

Sony Xperia X 61.3 61.1 65.7 Below Average

HTC 10 (Theater mode) 61.9 66.0 62.1 Below Average

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) 65.8 66.0 66.5 Below Average

OnePlus X 65.9 66.3 70.7 Average

HTC 10 (Music mode) 63.1 66.7 74.3 Average

Oppo F1 Plus 67.9 71.9 66.5 Average

Samsung Galaxy S6 68.1 66.3 73.7 Good

Xiaomi Mi 5 66.9 67.2 74.0 Good

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) 66.1 66.9 75.5 Good

Samsung Galaxy C5 67.4 69.0 72.9 Good

Samsung Galaxy S7 69.5 69.3 71.1 Good

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) 66.4 66.2 78.0 Good

Huawei P9 72.1 66.6 75.6 Good

Honor 8 67.1 66.2 82.6 Good

Xiaomi Mi 5s 64.2 70.0 84.9 Very Good

Google Pixel 74.0 68.3 78.0 Very Good

Huawei nova 69.2 71.9 80.6 Very Good

Meizu MX5 75.7 73.5 79.5 Excellent

Google Pixel XL 73.4 72.1 84.1 Excellent

OnePlus 2 75.7 73.5 80.7 Excellent

Messaging and text input

Samsung preloaded its own Messaging app to handle SMS/MMS instead of using Google's Allo (which isn't even available out of the box). The app has a clean but powerful interface, much of its functionality hides behind a slide-out menu on the right.

This menu lets you view all photos (or even general attachments) in a conversation, sort of like a two-person gallery. You can also insert canned responses, block numbers (or just mute notifications for the contact) as well as pin the conversation thread so it's always on top.

You can insert smiles and photos, similar to popular chat apps (except that files are sent over MMS).







Threaded view • Chatting with Dee Dee • Slide-out menu • Attachments: Smilies • Photos

The Samsung Keyboard handles text input. It can be heavily customized - you can resize it (in height and width), cover the number row and add additional symbols (punctuation on long key press).

Swipe input can be tasked with one of two tasks - go the cursor or text input. A High contrast mode is available for people with poor eyesight.






Samsung keyboard: Default view • Settings • Resizing/secondary symbols • High contrast mode

Other apps

Samsung's S Health is available and it can track your walks/runs and your sleep. With assist from the correct accessory, it can track a lot more - it works with Samsung's activity trackers, of course, but you can connect heart rate monitors, bike sensors, smart scales, even blood pressure and glucose monitors. Both Bluetooth 4.0 LE and ANT+ accessories are available. If it was a flagship, you'd have a heart rate sensor built in, but not here.

For those who need motivation, you can challenge a fridiscontinue and compete to win virtual crowns. You also acquire a global leaderboard so you know where you stand. S Health can cooperate with a number of third-party apps (from Withings and others).






S Health: Main classy screen • Tracking classy screen • Rewards • Nope, no heart rate sensor on board

The File manager shows the most recent files by default and supports basic folder operations as well as compression.





File browser

Finally, there's Galaxy Apps, an alternative (or, rather, parallel) source of apps. A number of Samsung apps are available here, including ones not pre-installed on the Galaxy A5 (2017). You can also find freebies and exclusives here.






Galaxy Apps


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