Samsung is back with a new selection of mid–range smartphones.
Its updated Galaxy A series may not have the allure of its top–end Galaxy S6 Edge, but they do come with impressive specs and some new features that should give the Korean giant an edge as it looks to make 2016 a success after a difficult past twelve months.
Here’s everything you need to know about Samsung’s latest efforts.
1 There are three new devices
Samsung’s Galaxy A devices were the company’s first all–metal phones when they launched last year.
And once again, the Korean giant is following the same approach, with sleek brushed metal designs to give these ostensibly affordable phones an edge.
There are three versions. The smaller Galaxy A3, with 4.7–inch screen and the A5 and A7, with a 5.2 and 5.5–inch screen respectively.
2 They’re mid–range, but the specs are excellent
Samsung certainly isn’t scrimping when it comes to specs.
Each phone has 16GB of internal storage, but also features support for 128GB microSD cards, so there’s more space than your average smartphone.
There’s also a 13-megapixel camera on the back of each device, with a five-megapixel effort round the front.
The A3 is slightly less powerful, with a quad-core processor rather than the octa-core one found in the A5 and A7, while its screen is a slightly less impressive 720p, compared with 1080p.
3 Samsung Pay included
Until now Samsung Pay, the company’s attempt at taking on Apple and Google in the field of mobile payments, has been confined to its 2015 flagship phones.
However, the Galaxy A5 and A7 both support this new standard. The service is already available in Korea and the US but is yet to launch here in the UK.
However, it suggests Samsung is serious about bringing mobile payments to devices that don’t cost a fortune.
4 But old–school Android lets the side down
There is one major miss, however. Despite these phones being dubbed '2016 models', Samsung has loaded them up with Android Lollipop.
That's 2014’s edition of Google’s OS, which was long ago superseded by Android Marshmallow.
The move once again highlights the issues Google is facing in getting its partners to use its best software, opening up a wider debate about security that manufacturers apparently do not want to have.
5 China first, rest of the world later
The Galaxy A (2016) series will launch in China later this month, before getting a global rollout in the new year.
There’s no official pricing yet, but expect these phones to be very affordable on contract while offering the kind of specs that we usually associate with the very best devices.