As previously mentioned, the Galaxy A7 has grown since last year. Now with a 5.7-inch display diagonal, it sits squarely in Note territory. With all the trouble Samsung's coveted productivity series has been going through lately, having a close alternative isn't really a bad thing. The same is true if you don't particularly care for new curvy display designs. Then again, the A7 (2017) isn't alone in this category - there's the also excellent Galaxy C7 and the even bigger C9 Pro to possibly go for. But, more on that later.
Just like most of its siblings, especially in the higher price register, the A7 (2017) sports a Super AMOLED panel. Just like the smaller A5 (2017) sibling, it offers a resolution of 1080p, which does add up to a lower pixel density of 386 ppi. The Diamond Pixel arrangement within the panel helps with the screen sharpness to an extent, but it's still Pentile. This leaves the A7 (2017) at a slight disadvantage compared to a competing LCD with the same size and resolution. However, this is nothing new and the A7 (2017) is still plenty sharp in our opinion.
AMOLED panels have become synonymous with punchy colors and the A7 (2017) doesn't disappoint in this department. If you are into that kind of color pallette, then the Adaptive color mode should be perfect for you. Of course, the reds, the greens and cyans are way off. Whites are also a bit bluish, but images just seem to pop off the screen, as usual - pretty eye-catching if nothing else.
You can also improve accuracy by switching to the Basic mode, which results in a pretty calibrated panel. In this case, it brings deltaE below 2 for almost every color. You do get a washed-out look too, so perhaps AmoledPHOTO represents a nice balance between color accuracy and punchiness.
The maximum screen brightness is excellent on the A7 (2017) at around 425 nits in normal mode and a hefty 533 through Auto boost. These results actually match last year's A7 (2016) almost number for number - impressive, when you consider the bigger panel size.
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Combine the nice max brightness level with the effectively infinite contrast of the AMOLED panel and you end up with excellent sunlight legibility. You won't have any trouble working with the A7 (2017) outdoors even in the brightest of days.
The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) is pretty well equipped with connectivity options - quite natural for a device, positioned right below the flagship line. Just like its little brother, the A5 (2017), the A7 is based on the company's own Exynos 7880. On paper, the chip is capable of Cat.7 LTE speeds, however, Samsung only rates the A7 (2016) for Cat.6. That is up to 300 Mbps downlink and 50Mbps up, depending on your regional version and network.
We already touched upon Samsung's dual tray approach in the hardware overview section. It is a really elegant solution that works well and leaves you with two SIM slots and a dedicated microSD one - no hybrid compromises. It is interesting to note that both the Single and Dual SIM models get two trays. On the former, there is no cutout for a second SIM next to the microSD. Presumably, that means no contacts and internal hardware either.
In terms of local connectivity, the A7 package includes dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.2, as well as a USB Type-C connector. Since the S7 came out with a micro USB one, the refreshed A series is actually a bit ahead of the curve in this aspect. USB OTG is part of the package, but there is no video output, MHL or otherwise.
NFC and Samsung's proprietary MST tech for emulating magnetic cards are also on board the A7 (2017) and are a potent mix for using Samsung Pay in supported markets.
The phone has an FM radio too, great for tuning in to free live broadcasts that require no data connection.
The new Galaxy A7 (2017) also boasts a bump in battery capacity to go along with the bigger screen. Samsung has managed to cram 3,600mAh inside the 7.9mm thin body. This is actually a whole 600 mAh more than the A5 (2017), which we already know makes pretty efficient use of its juice thanks to Samsung's Exynos 7880 Octa chipset. Combined with a Super AMOLED panel, the 14nm fabrication process of the chipset means some impressive battery numbers.
Naturally, the A7 (2017) outshines both of its smaller siblings as well as the flagship Galaxy S7 in this department. Sure, the latter definitely packs a stronger punch performance-wise, but its 80 hours of total endurance rating seem almost inadequate compared to the whopping 115 hours the A7 (2017) scored.
The improvements over the A5 (2017), as well as the older A7 (2016) are across the board. 28 and a half hours of talk time is no joke, and neither is 15 hours of Wi-Fi web browsing - a task which brings the S7 down to its knees in under 10.
As far as standby goes, we employed our typical two-test approach to see how much of a difference the Always On Display feature has. And once again, the answer is: A lot! However, it is worth noting that our testing procedure does not allow the automatic dimming or display switching off to take place, which would be the case with normal pocket or night use (two scenarios where the AOD turns off automatically). So with that said, your mileage will vary on AOD - consider our score the worst-case scenario.
The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.