Samsung has been stressing on the importance of the Galaxy A series to the company’s growth. In a market like India, it is surely the mid-range and the affordable segments that see the most buzz and competition. This is also why we are hearing reports that the company is planning to expand its Galaxy A portfolio and may merge it with the Galaxy J-series sooner than later. With phones like the Poco F1 changing the game in the mid-range segment, it becomes more important than ever for Samsung to offer a phone that brings something truly unique to the game, and that’s where the Galaxy A7 comes in.
The new Galaxy A7 is no doubt one of Samsung’s most important Galaxy A phones to come in a long while. The reason being it is the first Samsung phone to bring a triple camera setup, something one would have expected to see in a flagship Galaxy S phone. Notably, this makes the Galaxy A7 the cheapest phone with a triple-lens system, since the only other phone with this feature is the Huawei P20 Pro at a more premium price point. I spent a brief amount of time with the Galaxy A7 and here are my initial thoughts.
The first Galaxy A7 was launched in India back in 2015 with a standard 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display and a metal unibody design. Successive Galaxy A7 phones have come with bigger displays but with a largely similar design language. However, the 2018 Galaxy A7 comes with a brand new look now. It’s got a lot more display, fewer buttons and more glass than before. It’s also slimmer at 7.5mm compared to last year’s A7. At 168 grams, the phone also feels quite light and easy to hold. Notably, the trio of cameras on the back sit quite flush with the panel.
The Galaxy A7 sports a 6.0-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display, which is taller by a couple of inches compared to last year’s model. Notably, Samsung has also brought its proprietary Infinity Display to the Galaxy A7, which means you get a more elegant full-screen display with smaller bezels all round so that you get a more immersive viewing experience. Samsung has some of the best display panels seen on a phone and the Galaxy A7 doesn’t disappoint as well. Based on a quick hands-on with the device, to be quite vibrant and colourful with a touch of overstauration, especially the reds and blues. As I could only handle the device indoors, there was no problem with the brightness levels, but I will need to see how legible the display is under bright sunlight.
The other big upgrade we see is the addition of a 2.5D glass on the back, which is glossy and more premium-looking. Of course, this also means the Galaxy A7 is now more delicate than last year’s model. Samsung says it has used Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and back and it feels pretty sturdy and layered. The glass back is quite a fingerprint magnet and will easily register smudges after a few moments holding the device. The device will be offered in blue, black and gold colour options.
We don’t get to say this often, but perhaps what’s more appealing than the glass back is the triple camera setup that can be seen vertically placed on the top left corner. This is what the Galaxy A7 is really all about and Samsung took it’s time on stage to highlight some key aspects about the cameras. The system includes an 8MP 120-degrees ultra wide-angle lens with f/2.4 aperture, a 24MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture and a 5MP depth sensor with f/2.2 aperture. All of this essentially means you’ll be able to capture bright and clear photographs in standard and wide-angle as well as some crisp bokehs. I could only test the cameras briefly indoors and under average to low lighting. Based on the photos I could capture, I can say that the camera captures a good amount of light. Colours pop and are slightly oversaturated, but that’s largely because you’ll see it on the AMOLED display. The wide-angle lens manages to capture a pretty large field while the scene detection was able to recognise a plant under low-light.
The selfie camera also lets in a good amount of light, but I noticed some loss in detailing indoors. It should work just fine in good lighting conditions, but in low-light you should expect selfies to look a little soft. I will, of course, need more time with the Galaxy A7 to test out the triple cameras in depth along with all of the features and modes on offer including slow-motion video recording, timelapse, pro lightning, and scene optimiser, among other things.
As a mid-range smartphone, the Galaxy A7 gets a mid-range octa-core Exynos 7885 SoC clocked at up to 2.2GHz. This is coupled with up to 6GB of RAM. The device ships with Android 8.0 Oreo with the company’s Experience 9.0 UI on top. It’s a familiar UI if you have used a Samsung phone before. Opening and closing apps were mostly quick and lag-free. The camera app was also quick to open and I could only briefly browse through the UI but nothing more.
The Galaxy A7 houses a 3,300mAh battery, which is a pretty standard capacity that we are used to seeing in mid-range phones. Even the OnePlus 6 offers a similar battery, so we expect a good full day out of it. This is something that requires a few days of hands-on time to really understand how the battery life is with the Galaxy A7. It also doesn’t look like the Galaxy A7 supports fast charging.
Samsung’s newest mid-range smartphone falls in a segment that’s seeing quite a disruption by the hands of Pocophone and the Poco F1. While it is unfair to compare the Galaxy A7 with the Poco F1, it is an inevitability that cannot be avoided. This is why brands like Samsung, Oppo and Vivo are doing their best to bring out some unique features. If it’s the in-display fingerprint sensor for the Vivo V11 Pro, waterdrop notch for the Oppo F9 Pro or a triple camera setup for the Galaxy A7, these phones are trying to stay relevant and competitive in this segment. We will know whether the Galaxy A7’s trio of cameras are enough to make it worth the money after a more in-depth review.