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Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Galaxy S6: Which is best for me?

Samsung’s Galaxy A5 (2016) is one of the best mid-range mobiles of 2016, but now you can snap up the Galaxy S6 – Samsung’s flagship phone from 2015 – for almost the same price. So which Samsung blower is best for you? Here’s our full Galaxy A5 vs Galaxy S6 comparison review.

The 2016 update of the Samsung Galaxy A5 rightly earned a full five stars in our in-depth review, thanks to its solid design and premium features. For just £319 you get something that can compete with most flagship phones, making it a great alternative to the pricey Galaxy S7.

However, last year’s excellent Galaxy S6 flagship handset has now dropped in price and isn’t much more expensive than the Galaxy A5 2016. So, which is best for you? Here’s our full A5 vs S6 comparison.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Galaxy S6: At a glance

Phone Galaxy S6 Galaxy A5 2016
Screen size 5.1-inch 5.2-inch
Screen resolution 2560×1440 1920×1080
Water resistant? No No
Android 6.0.1 5.1.1
Processor Exynos 7420 Snapdragon 615
Memory 3GB 2GB
Storage 32/64/128GB 16GB
Memory card support? No Yes
Cameras 16MP + 5MP 13MP + 5MP

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Galaxy S6: Design

When it comes to design, there’s little difference between the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy S6. The A5 is a wee bit taller and not quite as rounded at the corners, but besides that you’d be hard pressed to tell the two apart.

Both phones are constructed from an attractive combination of glass and metal, with glossy rears and silver edging, complete with physical home buttons and slightly jutting camera lenses. Either way, you’re getting a good-looking mobile that’s reasonably solid. Of course, unlike this year’s Galaxy S7, neither the A5 2016 or the S6 are water-resistant.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Galaxy S6: Features

You get a fingerprint sensor on both phones, built into the home button, so you’ll be able to quickly and securely unlock to your desktops. Samsung’s Knox security software is supported by both, for extra protection of your data and other privates.

However, the Galaxy S6 has already been updated to Android Marshmallow, while the Galaxy A5 2016 is still stuck on Lollipop. That means you miss out on some of Android’s latest features, until Samsung gets around to pumping out an update.

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 also boasts a heart rate sensor built into the back, something missing on the Galaxy A5.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Galaxy S6: Screen and media

On paper, the Galaxy S6 has the better screen. The S6’s 5.1-inch display packs a mighty Quad HD resolution, while the A5 makes do with a 5.2-inch Full HD panel, meaning less pixels packed into every square inch.

However, put the phones side-by-side and you’ll not notice much difference. The A5’s screen is just as crisp to the naked eye, even when kicking back with a high-def movie. And as both displays are Super AMOLEDs, backed by Samsung’s Adaptive Display tech, colours really pop out. In fact, the Galaxy A5’s screen is actually a wee bit brighter than the S6’s, although the difference is minor.

If you want to carry a big media collection around, then the Galaxy A5 is your best bet. The Galaxy S6 has limited storage built in, which can’t be expanded with a memory card. Thankfully Samsung saw the light and added a memory card slot into the Galaxy A5, for quick and easy expansion.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Galaxy S6: Performance and battery life

The Galaxy A5 2016 is the clear winner when it comes to battery life, offering twice the longeity of the Galaxy S6. With regular everyday use, we just about made it through a full day with the Galaxy S6, but the Galaxy A5 will happily make it through a full weekend with no time at the plug.

However, performance-wise the Galaxy S6 is still the king. That Exynos processor of Samsung’s own creation is more powerful than the Galaxy A5’s mid-range Snapdragon 615 chipset, so gamers and other demanding users will be best off with the S6. That said, the Galaxy A5 2016 can currently play the most demanding games and multi-task with two apps side-by-side. It’ll just show signs of ageing before the S6.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) vs Galaxy S6: Cameras

The Galaxy S6 has the more capable camera of this pair, with HDR support built into the auto mode for brighter, more even shots. However, the Galaxy A5 isn’t far behind at all. Both phone snappers capture plenty of detail and produce good-looking snaps that look fine when blown up on a big screen. And they’re also impressively fast, taking a shot as soon as you tap the shutter button.

When it comes to video, both phones are again very capable. However, while the Galaxy A5 tops out at Full HD resolution, the Galaxy S6 can shoot up to Ultra HD 4K video. The S6 also offers bettery stabilisation, to cut down on judder when you’re walking and shooting.

For photo and video samples from each phone, check out our Galaxy A5 2015 camera review and Galaxy S7 camera review.

Check out our full Galaxy A5 2016 review and our long-term Galaxy S6 review one year after release.

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