It’s only been a few months since Samsung had its kerfuffle with the exploding Galaxy Note7. Undeterred, the smartphone maker is back with one of its first releases for 2017—the Galaxy A7. Beautiful and capable, the A7 makes the case that flagship caliber phones don’t need a bank-breaking price tag.

What a beauty. The Galaxy A7 is the most beautiful midrange smartphone I’ve ever laid eyes upon. Crafted with 2.5D + 3D glass and a beautiful metal frame, it would take some effort to convince me that this is a midranger based on how it looks. It still retains the same philosophy of the S7 series, but a flagship design is a flagship design even if it’s from yesteryear. Before the S8 hits, the A7 has the sleekest design among Samsung’s phones.

Great functionality in design. For a midrange player, the A7’s 5.7-inch screen is no joke. It’s an automatic check in the display department. It has less vibrant colors but still functional all around. It retains the much-needed dual SIM and microSD extension capabilities. Unlike the previous A7, this year’s model switches its fingerprint sensor to the better ones featured in the S7 series. Oh, hey, it also has a 3.5mm audio jack.

Zero camera bump. This is such a big feature for Samsung that it deserves its own bullet. The Galaxy A7’s camera bump is at zero millimeters. Since the S6, the obscene camera bump has always been a problem for Samsung. They drastically reduced it for the S7, but the A7 eliminated all of it.

Sample shot

Adequate performer. The Galaxy A7 carries an Exynos 7880 processor as opposed to the S7’s 8890 chip. It belongs solidly on the midrange side of the spectrum. Gaming was smooth on the pre-packaged game Nitro Nation, but was choppy on LEGO My City 2. The A7 performed adequately with 3D games, but performance quickly dips when multiple elements are introduced. For most users, though, the A7 is a capable daily driver worthy of regular use except for the most power intensive tasks. Although I should note that the unit I received was restricted to retail mode so I was unable take it through quantitative benchmarking tests or install my own selection of games to test it with.

16-16 vision. Both rear and front cameras are at 16 megapixels and f/1.9 of aperture. The rear camera produced photos with picture-perfect contrasts and sharp resolutions. Both high- and low-light conditions posed no abnormal problem for the camera. Since the front shares similar hardware as the rear, selfies are likewise sharp images.

Worry-free everywhere. The A7 marks the first of Samsung midrangers to feature IP68 certification. It is resistant to dust and water. It can also be immersed in 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes.

Powerhouse. The A7 has a whopping 3,600mAh of battery life packed into its 5.7-inch frame. Again, since the unit was in retail mode, I was unable to test the battery rigorously. However, regular use crunched in an average time of a day with at least one-fourth of the battery to spare. It usually ran out of juice in the middle of the next day.

An affordable package. The A7 takes out P23,990 from your bank account. For a midrange smartphone with flagship features, this is a vastly affordable price tag. Plus, all that you’re substantially sacrificing is the processor. I call that a good deal.

VERDICT
The Samsung Galaxy A7 is an amazing phone simply because it’s essentially a midrange driver with the essential features of a flagship phone and a much bigger battery. If you’re not a heavy power user, the Galaxy A is a steal.

Specifications
Display 5.7” Super AMOLED (1,920 x 1,080 resolution)
SIM Dual (nano)
Operating System Android Marshmallow 6.0.1
Processor Exynos 7880 octa-core 1.9GHz Cortex-A53
GPU Mali-T830MP3
Memory 3GB RAM
Storage 32GB internal, expandable up to 256GB via microSD
Cameras 16MP rear with f/1.9 aperture, 16MP front with f/1.9 aperture
Connectivity & I/O Ports Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS (A-GPS, GLONASS), NFC, FM radio, USB Type-C
Security Fingerprint scanner
Battery Non-removable 3,600mAh Li-Ion
Dimensions 156.8 x 77.6 x 7.9mm
Price P23,990