09
Mar
2017

The Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 – Introduction and overview

Well my venerable Asus Zenfone 2 died on me. The failure mode was quite interesting: the battery was reading about 5% when I plugged it in one day, and the charge immediately shot up to 50% and stayed there. I left it charging for a while but it never budged. I used it as normal and eventually it shut off. No “Low Battery” or “Android is shutting down” messages, just straight to black.

RIP 🙁

So I plugged it back in and left it to charge. I have a USB current meter that proved to be useful in determining the charge rate, and I knew it was charged when the current dropped to zero (there was no charge LED). All attempts at powering the phone up were fruitless. I can get it to vibrate once but the screen won’t come on. The phone will then sit for a bit and vibrate again, and after about 2 minutes it’ll vibrate again – like it’s in some weird boot loop. I have disassembled the phone, disconnected and reconnected the battery buy no dice. The phone seems to get fairly warm whilst its doing this boot loop stuff – so I reckon there is a glimmer of life.

I could also get it to show up in Linux as an Intel device connected over USB, but it continuously disconnects and reconnects. It does not mount any storage over the USB, so I have lost all the stuff that was on the phone (which is okay, because the lot of it is on Google Drive).

Anyway, if other people have any ideas/fixes I am keen to hear them!

Obviously, being a 23-year-old, I cannot function without a smartphone. Sad, I know, but there it is. I had to switch back to my Sony Xperia U, which was a painful process. Going from a 5.5 inch screen with an Intel Quad Core 4GB RAM to a 3.5 inch screen with a dual core ARM 512MB RAM is not a pleasant experience.

I thought this used to be a big phone back in the day

I was on Pay-As-You-Go with Three for a while, and I decided it was time to just get a contract phone. I decided to go with the recently released Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 since the online reviews were strongly positive. And I gotta say – it’s entirely deserved.

This is a seriously slick phone. Very glossy, which is very nice to look at – but it seems to pick up fingerprints very easily and can be a bit slippery to hold. Also, I would advise against putting this in a pocket with your keys (I am not sure on the scratch resistance).

Above you can see how glossy the device is (sorry for the grainy photos – I was using my tablet in low light).

The screen on the phone is an AMOLED display. It is, in a word, stunning. I don’t think I have ever seen another screen quite like this. It is 1080p with a pixel density of 424ppi – plenty for my needs. It’s sharp, and with the infinite contrast ratio, I get fooled into thinking the screen is off between scenes in films and TV shows. Each pixel provides its own source of light – this eliminates the need for a backlight. This leads to some incredible battery life and a neat feature where the screen can stay on, only displaying the clock and your notifications without killing the battery.

So it’s getting into the evening – I unplugged the phone at about 8am and did not plug it in at all today. I used it as a GPS twice (to work and back), whilst also using it occasionally for emails. Even with a heavy day, I have not yet managed to completely drain the battery. The supplied charger is a 9V fast charger too – it can take the phone from 10% to 90% in about 45 minutes. Awesome stuff!

As for the camera – well you can be the judge:

The rear and front cameras are both 16MP and can both record at 1080p (no 4K or slomo unfortunately). The great camera quality and screen really do make the images look awesome. Also pictured are some parts for my upcoming Ryzen build… sooooooooooon

This is just a short(ish) look into the Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 – so far I am very pleased with the device. I will be writing more about the performance and software in the upcoming weeks!

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AMD Ryzen is here!

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