Tag Archives: Samsung Exynos 7880

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 (SM-A720F) Review

We covered the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 quite extensively after its launch, with a look at its new IP68 capability and the 7 upgrades since the 2016 model. But there is nothing like a full review, and that’s what we are proud to share with you today – our comprehensive review of the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 (SM-A720F) smartphone!

 

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 Specifications

Here are the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 specifications, compared against the 2016 model.

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy A7 (2017)Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 4Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Dust- And Water-ResistanceIP68-rated
- water submersion up to 1.5 m for up to 30 minutes
Not water-resistant
Display5.7" Super AMOLED (1080 x 1920 pixels)
- Always On Display
- Corning Gorilla Glass 4
5.5" Super AMOLED (1080 x 1920 pixels)
- Corning Gorilla Glass 4
System PlatformSamsung Exynos 7880 OctaSamsung Exynos 7580 Octa
Processor8 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.9 GHz)8 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.6 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorARM Mali-T830MP2ARM Mali-T720MP2
Memory3 GB RAM LPDDR3 (1066 MHz)3 GB RAM LPDDR3 (933 MHz)
Storage32 GB internal flash memory
microSD slot (up to 256 GB)
16 GB internal flash memory
microSD slot (up to 128 GB)
Front Camera16 MP fixed focus camera with f/1.9 lens5 MP fixed focus camera with f/1.9 lens
Rear Camera16 MP PDAF sensor with f/1.9 lens13 MP sensor with f/1.9 lens
Connectivity4G : LTE Cat.6
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2, NFC
4G : LTE Cat.6
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.2, NFC
Fingerprint SensorYesYes
USB PortUSB Type Cmicro USB 2.0
Battery3,600 mAh lithium-ion (non-removable)
- supports Fast Charging
3,300 mAh lithium-ion (non-removable)
Wireless Charging SupportNoNo
Samsung Pay SupportYesYes
Dimensions77.6 mm (wide) x 156.8 mm (tall) x 7.9 mm (thick)74.1 mm (wide) x 151.5 mm (tall) x 7.3 mm (thick)
Weight186 g172 g
Launch PriceRM 1,899 / ~US$ 419RM 1,899 / ~US$ 499
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Unboxing The Samsung Galaxy A7

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 comes in the ubiquitous white Samsung cardboard box. Not as fancy as the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge‘s classy black box, but hey, it’s a completely different segment. Watch us unbox the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 in this video, and look at what we found inside!

Inside, you will find the following items :

  • One 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 smartphone
  • One Samsung 15 W adaptive fast charging travel charger
  • One USB 2.0 to Type C USB cable
  • One pair of Samsung earphones
  • One SIM card tray extractor
  • One set of  Quick Start Guides and Warranty Cards and a Region Lock Guide

Next Page > The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 Quick Tour & Key Features

 

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The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 Quick Tour

Before we go into the details of the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7, let’s take a quick 2-minute tour of its key features.

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 has a large 5.7″ display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It also uses a Super AMOLED panel, which gives very rich and vivid colours and true black. Perfect for watching full HD videos.

It is also notable as being the first Samsung Galaxy A series smartphone to boast IP68 dust- and water-resistance. That means it is rated to withstand complete immersion in water up to 1.5 m in depth, for up to 30 minutes.

On the left side of the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7, you will find two Volume buttons and the SIM1 tray. On the right side are a Power button and curiously, the speaker ports.

The microSD card and SIM2 card tray is located at the top of the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7, together with a microphone port. It supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in capacity. The second microphone port is located at the bottom, together with the bidirectional Type C USB port and the 3.5 mm earphone port.

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Dual SIM, Dual Standby

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 has dual SIM, dual standby capability, like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon). However, it has two dedicated nano SIM trays, instead of a hybrid SIM tray.

The SIM1 tray is located on the left side, while SIM2 shares the same tray as the microSD card. This is not a hybrid SIM tray so both a microSD card and a second nano SIM card can be used at the same time.

 

Fast Fingerprint Sensor

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 comes with a fingerprint sensor integrated into the Home button. Our tests showed that it requires about 21 finger presses to register a fingerprint.

However, it is very fast in recognising the fingerprint after it’s registered, and it has 360 degree fingerprint recognition.

Next Page > Initial Setup, Ergonomics, Available Memory & Storage, Cameras

 

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Initial Setup

When you power up the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 for the first time, it will take only about 24 seconds to boot up. If you set it up as a fresh device, it should take no more than 5 minutes to complete the initial setup. Check out our quick 3-minute video on the initial setup process.

 

Ergonomics

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 is a large smartphone. It is actually larger and a bit thicker than the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon), so it is best for those with larger hands. Nevertheless, this is a two-handed device.

Both the front and back are protected by Gorilla Glass 4, with a 2.5D edge cut for the front and a 3D curve for the back. The back glass cover naturally lacks the oleophobic coating of the front, which is great for grip, but makes it an absolute magnet for fingerprint smears.

As usual, the Super AMOLED display is a delight for the eyes. It may not be a QHD display like those on the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon), or the HTC 10 (Amazon).

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Available Memory & Storage

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 comes with 3 GB of LPDDR3 memory, of which half is available for use. This is about par with other smartphones with 3 GB of memory (e.g. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, OPPO F1s), and enough free memory to run several apps at the same time.

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 also comes with 32 GB of internal flash memory. Once you deduct 8.9 GB for the Android 6.0 operating system and apps, you have 23.1 GB of free space to use. This is pretty decent, allowing you to store about 4,000 photos, or record 180 minutes of 1080p video.

Don’t worry about running out of storage space with the Galaxy A7 though. It has a dedicated microSD slot that supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in capacity.

 

Front & Rear Cameras

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 boasts a 16 MP front camera that uses Samsung’s own S5K3P8SX BSI sensor. It is capable of recording 1080p videos at 30 fps. Thanks to its f/1.9 lens, it has great low-light capability equivalent to that of the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro (Amazon) and Galaxy S6 edge (Amazon) smartphones. It will come in handy since the front camera does not have flash support, not even screen flash.

The main camera uses the same 16 MP Samsung S5K3P8SX sensor, paired with a single LED flash. It also boasts the same fast f/1.9 lens, which allows for better low-light performance. Let’s take a look at some sample pictures and videos in the next page!

Next Page > Camera & Video Recording Performance

 

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Camera Performance

The 16 MP Samsung S5K3P8SX BSI sensor has great resolution, which is obvious in the close-up shots of the rubber balls, cauliflower and flowers. However, it has a tendency to blow out the highlights (the bright reflections on the glass elevator) and white balance issues in certain scenes (the Dala horse).

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Video Recording Performance

Despite sporting a 16 MP sensor, the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7‘s rear camera is limited to recording 1080p videos, even though it is capable of recording 4K videos. This is Samsung’s way of differentiating the Galaxy A7 from their premium models like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon).

Also disappointing is the lack of optical or electronic image stabilisation. While this is another product differentiation decision, I wished they would at least enable electronic image stabilisation.

To test the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7‘s video recording capabilities, we recorded both a lion dance, and a street dance at night. Check them out!

First off, you can tell that there is a complete lack of image stabilisation. The videos were rather jerky, even though they were taken with two hands. Using a gimbal like the Osmo Mobile is highly recommended.

The bright background was completely overblown. But as long as it does not affect the main subjects, it actually acts as a kind of bokeh effect. The audio fidelity was also pretty good.

We were more impressed with the night scene. The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 did well in the Gangnam Style street dance, even though it was pretty dim. The subjects were reasonably well-exposed, and the noise level was surprisingly low. The bright areas were overblown, as expected, but because they were in the background, it helped to keep focus on the subjects.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Performance

 

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Work Performance : PCMark

We tested the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7‘s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) ASUS ZenFone 3 honor 5C OPPO F1s
Work Performance Score
(Average)
4954 6405 5357 3884
Web Browsing 5143 8045 5643 3688
Video Playback 4515 3469 4487 3789
Writing 4948 7316 5944 4141
Photo Editing 5243 8246 5469 3933

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 is not the fastest smartphone in this comparison, particularly in the Web Browsing and Writing tests. However, it came up tops in the Video Playback test. Overall, it was a decent, if unspectacular performer, in this benchmark.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7‘s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 lasted an astounding 12 hours on the PCMark stress test on its 3,600 mAh battery. The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro (Amazon) is the only Samsung smartphone to comes close to its battery life, and that’s because it has a 5,000 mAh battery.

In our real world experience, we had no problem using it for a full day with light loads.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7‘s remarkable battery life is thanks to its 3,600 mAh battery, which is about 9% larger than the 2016 model. But does it take much longer to recharge? Let’s find out!

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 supports quick charging, and even comes with a 15 W fast adaptive charger. Our tests showed that the Galaxy A7 will recharge from 18% to 100% in just 100 minutes (1 hours and 40 minutes). This is very good performance, with an incredible battery life : recharging ratio of 7.2 : 1.

Next Page > Overall & Gaming Performance, Verdict & Award

 

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Overall Performance – AnTuTu Benchmark

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) ASUS ZenFone 3 honor 5C OPPO F1s
TOTAL SCORE 56431 62761 53417 41486
3D SCORE 15458 18816 9842 4868
– 3D (Marooned) 10511 10861 5795 3188
– 3D (Garden) 4947 7952 4047 1679
UX SCORE 18496 26794 19297 17640
– UX Data Secure 5295 5077 5577 4885
– UX Data Process 2612 4198 2706 2542
– UX Strategy Games 3671 7503 4109 2829
– UX Image Process 3373 6879 3144 3885
– UX I/O Performance 3545 3137 3761 3499
CPU SCORE 16459 23689 19254 14336
– CPU Mathematics 3132 6950 4198 3142
– CPU Common Use 5199 6311 5947 4805
– CPU Multi-Core 8128 10428 9109 6389
RAM 6018 6797 5024 4643

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 did not do so well in the CPU tests, coming in between the honor 5C (Amazon) and the OPPO F1s (Amazon). However, it did well in the 3D tests, coming in close to the performance of the ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon).

 

Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7‘s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) ASUS ZenFone 3 honor 5C OPPO F1s
Gaming Score 13540 13956 11560 7666
Graphics 13548 13484 11067 7511
Physics 13510 15903 13698 8265
Graphics Test 1 81.1 fps 80.5 fps 63.4 fps 49.4 fps
Graphics Test 2 46.2 fps 46.1 fps 38.8 fps 24.4 fps
Physics Test 42.9 fps 50.5 fps 43.5 fps 26.2 fps

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 did well in this 3D gaming test, virtually matching the performance of the ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon). It was only slightly slower in the Physics test.

 

Our Verdict & Award

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 is a big upgrade from the 2016 model, offering IP68 dust- and water-resistance, a 20% faster processor, twice as much storage and a new 16 MP front camera. It also boasts the new bidirectional Type C USB port and a bigger fast charging battery.

The dual 16 MP cameras of the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 is a unique development. It appears to be Samsung’s first salvo at OPPO and their focus on high-resolution front cameras. In fact, its dual 16 MP cameras appear to be a direct competitor against the OPPO R9s, which was launched at the same time.

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Samsung is also positioning the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 as the affordable version of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon). It packs many of the Galaxy S7 edge‘s key features with some tradeoffs. For example, it has higher-resolution 16 MP cameras but they can only record videos at 1080p, instead of 4K. They also lack both optical and electronic image stabilisation.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) still boasts the better cameras, a higher resolution QHD display and a wireless charging capability. The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7, on the other hand, has better battery life, a larger display and separate SIM and microSD slots.

So which Samsung smartphone should you get? Samsung would love for you to buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon). But if you can’t afford it, that’s where the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 comes in.

Despite our misgivings about the lack of image stabilisation of its cameras, and the 1080p restriction on video recordings, we are impressed with major upgrades Samsung packed into the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7. We think it deserves our Reviewer’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Samsung!

Go Back To > First Page | ReviewsHome

 

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The 7 Upgrades In The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A Smartphones

The Samsung Galaxy A smartphones are very popular because they offer the key features of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S series smartphones at more affordable price points. The new 2017 Samsung Galaxy A series is no different, borrowing the best features of the award-winning Samsung Galaxy S7 edge smartphone.

So how do the new 2017 Samsung Galaxy A smartphones compare to the 2016 Samsung Galaxy A smartphones? Let’s find out!

 

Upgrade #1 : IP68 Dust & Water-Resistance

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A smartphones are now dust- and water-resistant, boasting the same IP68 rating as the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge! This means they can withstand complete immersion in up to 1.5 m of water, for up to 30 minutes. Jogging in the rain is nothing to the 2017 Galaxy A smartphones  – take them out for a swim!

 

Upgrade #2 : Faster CPU & GPU

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A smartphones come with a faster CPU and graphics processor. They are powered by the 1.9 GHz Samsung Exynos 7880, which is about 20% faster than the 1.6 GHz Samsung Exynos 7580 used in the 2016 Galaxy A smartphones. They also boast a faster GPU than the one used in the 2016 Galaxy A series.

 

Upgrade #3 : Double The Storage!

One chief complaint users had with the 2016 Samsung Galaxy A series was their limited internal storage of just 16 GB. Samsung addressed this in the 2017 models by giving them double the storage capacity32 GB! They also doubled the microSD card support from 128 GB to 256 GB!

 

Upgrade #4 : Incredible Selfie Camera

The 2016 Samsung Galaxy A series has a good 5 MP front camera with f/1.9 lens – almost equal to the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. But the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A smartphones beat them all flat with its 16 MP front camera! Now you can take really high-resolution selfies!

 

Upgrade #5 : Awesome New Main Camera

Even the main camera was greatly improved. Samsung upgraded the 13 MP sensor in the 2016 Galaxy A series to a 16 MP sensor with PDAF (Phase Detection Auto-Focus) technology in the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A series. This upgrade means the 2017 Galaxy A smartphones will not just take higher resolution photos, they will also have much faster and more accurate auto-focus performance.

 

Upgrade #6 : New USB Type C Port

Like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, the 2016 Galaxy A smartphones use the old micro USB 2.0 port. The new 2017 Samsung Galaxy A smartphones now boast the new USB Type C port, which is bidirectional. That means you won’t have to worry about plugging in the cable the wrong way!

 

Upgrade #7 : Bigger Fast Charging Battery

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A smartphones come with bigger batteries than their 2016 predecessors. But what’s more important is that they now support fast charging as well. This means they not only last longer, you can recharge them quicker for more enjoyment on-the-go!

 

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Want An Awesome 2017 Samsung Galaxy A Smartphone?

Samsung currently offers two models – the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017), with the recommended retail price of RM 1,699 (~US$ 379) and RM 1,899 (~US$ 429) respectively.

You don’t even have to get off your chair. You can buy them online from the Samsung online store in Lazada. Then all you have to do is chill and wait for your 2017 Samsung Galaxy A smartphone to arrive!

 

Disclosure

This article was sponsored by Samsung Malaysia.

 

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