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New Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 review: Camera review

Samsung Galaxy A5 6 (2016)

Samsung has made the same update to the Galaxy A5’s camera as it did to the Galaxy S6 over the Galaxy S5: it’s added optical image stabilisation. Otherwise the phone remains fitted with a 13Mp, f/1.9 rear camera with LED flash, and 5Mp (also f/1.9) at the front. Both cameras are capable of 1080p video at 30fps. Also see: Best phone camera 2016

By default the main camera shoots in 16:9 at 9.6Mp; if you want the full 13Mp it’s available in 4:3 mode, which means you’ll lose the top and bottom sections of photos.

The camera isn’t as good as the 16Mp model found in the Galaxy S6, but it does capture a fair amount of detail (you can make out the Midland Road street sign in a photo captured from our 7th floor roof terrace, for example), with accurate exposure and the lens is sharp right to the corners.

The camera app is unchanged, with various shooting modes including Pro, Panorama, Continuous Shot, HDR and Night, with an option to download more. There are also real-time effects and, in selfie mode, a Wide Selfie option.

You can check out a couple of our test shots of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel below, first with Auto settings and secondly in HDR mode.

Samsung Galaxy A5 6 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A5 6 (2016)

New Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 review: Software

While the Samsung Galaxy S7 comes with Android Marshmallow preinstalled, and an upgrade is available for the Galaxy S6, the Galaxy A5 2016 comes with 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box. This might be a previous-gen Android operating system, but just 4.6 percent of all Android phones are running Marshmallow today. Plus we think Lollipop is pretty good.

Samsung overlays its TouchWiz UI, and while you get the Easy mode, Smart alert, Easy mute, Palm swipe to capture and quick access to the camera with a double-tap of the Home button, as seen in the Galaxy S6, there’s no Smart Stay, Pop-up view or Multi-View Window, nor the handy new screenshotting capabilities (see How to take a screenshot on Galaxy S7).

Samsung Galaxy A5 6 (2016)

The Galaxy A5 2016 features the usual TouchWiz customisations on the drop-down notification bar, with shortcuts to S Finder and Quick Connect alongside a row of circular quick-access icons for Wi-Fi, Location, Sound, Screen Rotation and Bluetooth (you can edit what’s shown here).

As usual, you get a load of Samsung’s own apps for browsing the web, playing back music and video, email, calendar and so on, with access to the Galaxy Apps store as well as Google’s Play store. Google apps are also preinstalled, as are Microsoft apps - Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype - and you get 100GB of free OneDrive storage. All in all that’s quite a lot gobbling away at the device’s 16GB of storage, and you’ll see just 9GB available.

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2016.

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Samsung Galaxy A5 2016: Specs

  • 1.6GHz Exynos 7580 (Cortex-A53) octa-core processor
  • Mali-T720 MP2 GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • up to 128GB via microSD
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with TouchWiz
  • 5.2in full-HD (1920x1080, 424ppi) SuperAMOLED display
  • Gorilla Glass 4 front and rear panel
  • 4G LTE (single-SIM)
  • dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • NFC
  • Micro-USB
  • fingerprint scanner
  • 13Mp, f/1.9 rear camera with OIS and LED flash, records 1080 video at 30fps
  • 5Mp, f/1.9 front camera, records 1080 video
  • available in black, white, gold or pink
  • 2,900mAh non-removable lithium-polymer battery
  • adaptive fast charging
  • 144.8x71x7.3mm
  • 155g
  • Geekbench 3: 694 (single-core), 3688 (multi-core)
  • AnTuTu: 37,906
  • GFXBench: T-Rex: 14fps, Manhattan: 4.7fps
  • JetStream: 23.146
  • Geekbench 3 battery life: 11:46:20 (4709)