There is no doubt that the newest Galaxy A7 looks and feels like a premium phone; one reason for this is the glass and metal chassis. Visually, it isn’t more than a slab of understated design, but the attention to detail cannot be ignored. It is a pretty big phone too, yet, despite the larger screen, it doesn’t feel much bigger than a 5.5-inch phone—the rounded corners do make a difference.
The 5.7-inch canvas is your run-of-the-mill super AMOLED display (1,920x1,080 resolution). While there will be the inevitable calls for a higher-resolution screen, we believe this resolution offers a fine balance for this genuinely big screen. But while brightness and sharpness are fine, a blue tint becomes distinctly visible if you tilt the phone even slightly. What’s more, the typical AMOLED’s overly vivid colours remain the norm. The Galaxy A7 also has “Always-on Display”, which shows the time, date, battery level and notifications, even if the phone screen is off.
The OnePlus 3T, the definitive Android flagship killer smartphone, now boasts of the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor. In comparison, the A7 takes a more conventional path with a high-mid range Exynos 7880 processor that is perhaps comparable to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chip. The A7 runs smoothly for the most part, even on intensive games such as Real Racing and Asphalt 8 and during multitasking. That said, the Touchwiz interface running on the A7 still stutters occasionally, and the momentary slowdown in performance is apparent—and this doesn’t happen only when you are running a game or a bunch of heavy apps. The 3,600 mAh battery is a strong point—it can genuinely last two days on a single charge with medium use, and fast-charging capabilities are a bonus.
While phone makers are rushing to ensure that they update existing phones to the newer Android 7 (Nougat) software, Samsung’s new phone stays with the much older Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow). Its direct rival, the OnePlus 3T, currently rocks the newer Android 7.1.1 version, so it’s impossible to ignore this shortcoming.
The 16-megapixel camera captures good daytime photographs, with lively colours. The focus locks quickly, but you will have to do without optical image stabilization (OIS).
The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) has a slick design, rich display and genuinely long battery life. However, it isn’t as powerful as the OnePlus 3T (Rs29,990 onwards)—and runs a very old Android version.