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Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) First Impressions - The Waterproof Selfie Phone

With the goal of starting the year right, Samsung has introduced the Galaxy A5 (2017) and Galaxy A7 (2017) for the Philippine market earlier. They are handsets that's equipped with most of the positive features that people would love to have on their everyday smartphones.
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) First Impressions - The Waterproof Selfie Phone
Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) first impressions!

In particular, the South Korean electronics giant loaded it with features that made the Galaxy S7 highly successful. The all new Galaxy A (2017) series is now packed with S7 and Note 7 mashed-up premium designed w/ IP68 water and dust resistance. On top of that, Samsung joins the selfie revolution with its inclusion of a 16 MP f/1.9 selfie camera w/ screen flash. 
Underwater selfies anyone?
For this review, we have the Galaxy A7 (2017) with bigger screen size and larger battery capacity. Let's start!

Disclaimer: This Galaxy A7 (2017) unit was borrowed from Samsung Electronics for this uncolored review.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) Specs

Display: 5.7 Inch FHD Super AMOLED 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ Gorilla Glass 4 protection at 386 ppi
CPU: 1.9 GHz 64 Bit Exynos 7880 octa core processor
GPU: Mali T830
ROM: 32 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 256 GB
Back Camera: 16 MP f/1.9 w/ AF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 16 MP f/1.9 w/ wide angle lens and screen flash
Battery: 3,600 mAh w/ fast charging
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow w/ TouchWiz UI
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth 4.2, LTE Cat 6, ANT+, NFC, GPS, A GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM
Others: Fingerprint sensor, USB Type C, IP68 rating, Colors: black sky, peach cloud
Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity, geomagnetic, rgb light, hall, barometer, orientation, sound, pressure, gyroscope
Dimensions: 156.8 x 77.6 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 186 g
Price: PHP 23,990

Note: We got our units barebones, but the actual retail unit of this handset should be packed with the fast charging USB wall charger, USB to Type C cable, and paper documentations.

Build Quality / Design

Beautiful pebble like sandwiched glass design at the back
Beautiful pebble like sandwiched glass design at the back

As expected, this device is packed with a premium design which reminds us of a much better Galaxy J7 Prime like curved metal frame and easy grip pebble like sandwiched glass design w/ Gorilla Glass 4 protection reminding us of the late Galaxy Note 7. In front, the 5.7 inch FHD screen w/ 2.5D curved glass also has Gorilla Glass 4 protection to prevent scratches.
It is truly waterproof!
It is truly waterproof!

Then like the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, this device is loaded with IP68 water and dust resistance where users can submerge the phone in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 mins. It's just very prone to fingerprint smudges, but that's just a minor complaint.
Below, there's a USB Type C port, microphone, and headphone slot
Below, there's a USB Type C port, microphone, and headphone slot
On top, a SIM / micro SD card tray and another microphone is visible
Power button and single speaker located at right
Power button and single speaker located at right
Volume rocker and nano SIM card slot are present at left
Volume rocker and nano SIM card slot are present at left
The device is beautiful and water resistant at the same time!
Design-wise, we liked the this is a handsome looking smartphone that's appealing for both men and women. It has pretty curves allover, slim at just 7.99 mm, and comes with engaging paint finish as well.

The phone is also very easy on the hands and has proper non-fatiguing heft. Buttons and ports aren't just found on your usual Android locations, so a slight learning curve will be needed to master where they are placed.

Initial findings

1. The phone is packed with one of those rare not overly saturated AMOLED panels that's very friendly in the eyes.
2. The 64 bit Exynos 7880 octa core processor is snappy. However, we fear that its use of just Mali T830 GPU won't be that gaming / or heavy graphics friendly. We are also used to seeing better chipsets at this price range.
3. The build and design is definitely gorgeous and amazing at the same time. It reminds us of just a slightly lower-end Galaxy Note 7. IP68 rating is a HUGE plus!
4. We have to fully test its cameras, but so far it works. We're glad to say that its 16 MP selfie camera can match most selfie camera centric phones out there with ease! We're excited to rest it even more.
5. USB Type C is present (the next standard), USB OTG works, and this phone has advanced connectivity and sensors. Just take a look at its spec sheet on top!

Camera teaser

Daylight shot (gloomy clouds)
Daylight shot (gloomy clouds)
Indoor shot, minimal light
Indoor shot, minimal light
Outdoor selfie
Outdoor selfie
Selfie screen flash test
Selfie screen flash test

As of the moment

We liked the fact that this handset continued most of the positive traits and features found with higher-end Samsung smartphones in a more affordable package. The design is stunning, the build is top-notch, waterproofing is a huge plus, the cameras are great, and the specs improved coming from its predecessors.

However, we wished that they could have used a higher-end chipset instead of Exynos 7880 octa core chip and weaker Mali T830 graphics unit at this price point. We'll check it out thoroughly before coming up with a conclusion though.

What do you think guys?
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