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Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016) vs Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Galaxy A7 (2016)

We compare Samsung’s Galaxy A-Series smartphones from 2016; the Galaxy A3 2016, Galaxy A5 2016 and Galaxy A7 2016. What’s the difference between these great-value mobiles and which is best for you?

As much as we love Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge handsets, they really are pricey devices. If you want high-def visuals, smooth performance and a dependable camera, but you haven’t got a massive wodge of cash in your wallet, then you might want to consider Samsung’s Galaxy A-Series mobiles instead.

Samsung first launched its Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 phones back in 2015, but now we have updated versions of all three handsets: the Galaxy A3 2016, Galaxy A5 2016 and Galaxy A7 2016. So, what’s the difference and which phone is best for you? Here’s our full comparison review.

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 vs Galaxy A5 2016 vs Galaxy A7 2016: At a glance

Phone Galaxy A3 2016 Galaxy A5 2016 Galaxy A7 2016
Weight 132g 155g 172g
Screen size 4.7-inches 5.2-inches 5.5-inches
Screen resolution 1280×720 1920×1080 1920×1080
Fingerprint sensor? No Yes Yes
Processor Snapdragon 410 Snapdragon 615 Snapdragon 615
Memory 1.5GB 2GB 3GB
Storage 16GB 16GB 16GB
MicroSD? Yes Yes Yes
Cameras 13MP + 5MP 13MP + 5MP 13MP + 5MP
Price £229 £299 £379

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 vs Galaxy A5 2016 vs Galaxy A7 2016: Design

As you might expect, the Galaxy A3, A5 and A7 all sport a very similar design, which is quite reminiscent of Samsung’s 2015 flagship phone, the Galaxy S6. They’re attractive mobiles, with metallic edging wrapped around a glossy glass rear.

The main difference between these phones when it comes to look and feel is their size. The Galaxy A3 is the dinkiest of the trio, with a compact 4.7-inch screen and a lightweight 132g body that slips neatly into pockets and handbags. It’s one of our favourite mini phones that you can buy right now.

At the other end of the scale you have the mighty 5.5-inch Galaxy A7, which is as monstrous and weighty as the Galaxy S7 Edge. You’ll definitely need to use both hands when wielding the A7, or risk fumbling it. And the Galaxy A5 sits neatly in the middle with a more typical 5.2-inch design.

None of these phones are water-resistant, unlike the Galaxy S7, so you shouldn’t play around with them in the bath. However, they are reasonably tough, tolerating the odd knock and bump.

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 vs Galaxy A5 2016 vs Galaxy A7 2016: Screen and media

The three phones here boast gorgeous screens, and in typical Samsung fashion they’re punchy, vibrant Super AMOLED panels. The smaller Galaxy A3 2016 has a 720p HD resolution while the larger models have Full HD 1080p screens, but images are crisp and packed with detail on all three handsets. Viewing angles are great and on top brightness you’ll have no trouble reading text, even with glare reflecting off the glass.

Audio quality is decent too, so you can enjoy a YouTube video in a noisy environment with no need to resort to earphones. ANd good news if you prefer carrying around a large media collection to streaming your content. Each phone may only have 16GB of storage, but microSD support means you can slot in a memory card for quick and easy expansion.

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 vs Galaxy A5 2016 vs Galaxy A7 2016: Features

The everyday experience is very similar on these three Galaxy mobiles, with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface sat on top of Android Lollipop. Here’s hoping that Android Marshmallow makes an appearance in an update soon.

However, the Galaxy A3 2016 doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor, something found built into the home button on the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 2016. Those scanners are accurate and responsive, providing a quick and effortless way of securely unlocking your phone. On the Galaxy A3, you’ll have to stick with a PIN or Google’s Trusted unlock feature (although Samsung’s Knox security suite is at least supported, for extra data encryption).

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 vs Galaxy A5 2016 vs Galaxy A7 2016: Performance and battery life

When it comes to performance, all three phones offer a pleasingly smooth experience right now. The Galaxy A3 2016 makes do with a basic Snapdragon 410 processor, which still manages to run apps and games without stutter or pause. Of course, chances are it’ll start to show its age before the other mobiles here, which pack more powerful Snapdragon 615 chipsets.

That extra power means that you can multi-task with two apps side-by-side on the Galaxy A5 2016 and Galaxy A7 2016. And you should be able to play the latest games for some time to come, especially with the Galaxy A7, which crams in an extra gig of RAM.

As for battery life, all three phones here are very impressive indeed. All three handsets give you two days of use on a single charge, or around 10 hours of non-stop video streaming before finally biting the dust. That’s one of the most impressive results we’ve seen from any mobile lately.

The Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 both boast fast charging, but the Galaxy A3 misses out so it’ll need longer at the plug to reach full capacity.

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 vs Galaxy A5 2016 vs Galaxy A7 2016: Cameras

The 2016 models of the Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 all pack in a 13-megapixel front-facing camera, as well as a 5-megapixel selfie camera. No matter which handset you choose, you can expect detailed, crisp photos with realistic colours. It’s only when the lights go down that these cameras struggle, but thankfully you get a capable LED flash to brighten things up.

The Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 do have a couple of improvements compared with the Galaxy A3. Firstly, the compact A-Series handset doesn’t have Optical Image Stabilisation to help cut down on judder when shooting video, although thankfully the A3’s video doesn’t shake about too badly when you’re shooting and moving at the same time. You also don’t have HDR built into the A3’s Auto mode; rather, it’s a separate mode that you have to manually select.

Check out our Galaxy A5 2016 camera review and Galaxy A3 2016 camera review for more info and full photo and video samples.

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