Samsung is slowly moving away from its oft-maligned, all-plastic smartphone designs of the past, in an attempt to convince consumers that it too can make premium-looking and feeling devices. The first smartphone to reveal what the future holds was Galaxy Alpha, announced just a few months ago. Then Galaxy Note 4 came along, stepping things up even further in the high-end segment.
And now we see how Samsung's vision will impact its less expensive Galaxy devices, as the company just took the wraps off Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3 today, two mid-range to low-end smartphones featuring "refined full metal unibody designs" that happen to be very, very thin (for whatever reason): 6.7 and 6.9 mm, respectively.
Samsung Galaxy A5
"The Galaxy A5 and A3 offer a beautifully crafted full metal unibody, slim design, superior hardware and the best possible social media experience", says Samsung CEO JK Shin. "These devices make our advanced Galaxy experience even more accessible to young and trend conscious consumers". In fact, Samsung is calling Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3 its "slimmest smartphones to date", thanks to those low profiles.
Samsung Galaxy A3
And when Shin says Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3 are designed for "young and trend conscious consumers", he means it. Both smartphones have 5 MP front-facing cameras, which should take quality selfies. But they also support 4G LTE connectivity, which means that those selfies should be uploaded in no time to Facebook or Instagram. Here's what Samsung says: "Users are also able to quickly and easily share photos or videos on their favorite social media channels with the device’s fast network speed of LTE Category 4 standard".
Both smartphones ship with Super AMOLED displays, a feature that is rarely seen in below-premium Galaxy smartphones (like Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4). Galaxy A5 has the bigger panel, measuring 5.0 inches, with the higher resolution, of 720 by 1,280. Galaxy A3 makes due with a 4.5-inch screen with a resolution of 540 by 960. There's a similar thing going on inside. Here are the other noteworthy specs:
Galaxy A5: 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 13 MP main camera, 2 GB of RAM, 2,300 mAh battery; 16 GB of internal storage; microSD card slot; Wi-Fi 802.11n; Bluetooth 4.0 LE; NFC (only in the 4G LTE model); Android 4.4 KitKat. It comes in at 139.3 x 69.7 x 6.7 mm and 123 grams.
Galaxy A3: 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 8 MP main camera, 1 GB of RAM, 1,900 mAh battery; 16 GB of internal storage; microSD card slot; Wi-Fi 802.11n; Bluetooth 4.0 LE; NFC (only in the 4G LTE model); Android 4.4 KitKat. It comes in at 130.1 x 65.5 x 6.9 mm and 110.3 grams.
As you might have figured out after going through the specs, both will be sold in 4G LTE and HSPA+ versions. And, of course, they will feature Samsung's usual TouchWiz add-ons, like Ultra-Power Saving Mode and Adaptive Display.
Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3 (pictured above) will be sold in Champagne Gold, Light Blue, Midnight Black, Pearl White and Platinum Silver, starting in November; the color names (trickling down from more expensive Galaxys) sound fitting for their upmarket designs.
I do have to wonder what Samsung means by "full metal unibody designs", as the backs of the two smartphones look like they are still made out of plastic (polycarbonate). That is not a problem in my eyes, as the design seems to work great for Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy Note 4 where the back cover can be removed to switch the battery and insert a microSD card. But that description may lead people into thinking that it will feature as much metal as an iPhone, which does not appear to be accurate.