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Samsung Galaxy C5 review: Safe Ride

Introduction

Navigating through Samsung’s ever-growing handset lineup seem to be increasing in difficulty year on year. The fresh new “On” and “C” families are a testament to that. But, like the saying goes, never judge a book by its covers and after we already took the bigger Galaxy C7 through its paces in an in-depth review, we can safely approach the C5 with a bit less doubt and a more hopeful predisposition.

Samsung Galaxy C5 review

The fact of the matter is that the former proved to be a quite impressive and interesting offer. One that sort of fills a pre-existing gap for a proper Samsung phablet that is not a “Note” and most importantly, one that comes on a budget.

The midrange specs and slim all-metal bodies of the new Galaxy C models bring about another quite obvious parallel with the company’s “A” family. We used the A7 (2016) and the A9 (2016) extensively as points of comparison for the C7. With the C5 the obvious go-to parallel is definitely the A5 (2016) – a much closer match. At 5.2 inches, the Galaxy C5 looks like a spruced up version of the A5 (2016), bringing about a few notable hardware improvements.

Samsung Galaxy C5 key features
145.9 x 72 x 6.7 mm, 143g body
5.2″ 1080 x 1920px Super AMOLED of 424 ppi; 2.5D scratch-resistant glass
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 chipset, octa-core 4×1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 and 4×1.2 GHz Cortex-A53; Adreno 405 GPU; 4GB RAM
16MP, f/1.9 camera; 1080p@30fps video recording and Dual-LED flash
32GB or 64GB of built-in storage and a hybrid microSD card slot
Dual-SIM connectivity
LTE Cat.4 (150Mbps); Dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n; GPS/GLONASS/BDS (region dependent) receiver, Bluetooth v4.2, FM radio with RDS, NFC compatible with Samsung Pay
Fingerprint reader in the home button
Active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic
2,600mAh non-removable battery; Fast charging support
Main shortcomings
No OIS for the camera
No phase detection, laser or other advanced autofocus technology
No 4K video recording
LTE speed cap

The Galaxy C5 and Galaxy C7 share most of their hardware. The same will likely be true for the alleged C9 as well, if and when it gets released.

Design-wise, the Galaxy C5 and C7 are identical and the only feature that has been scaled down (outside of the obvious screen and body size reduction) is the chipset. The Snapdragon 617 is definitely a step down from the Snapdragon 625 used in the Galaxy C7.

Other than that, both phones have 4GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of expandable storage, mostly identical connectivity options and the same camera setup including a 16MP main unit and an 8MP front-facer.

Samsung’s excellent Super AMOLED screen tech is also present and if panel size is anything to go by when making parallels in Samsung’s portfolio, the C5 match in the A series has got to be the Galaxy A5 (2016). And while the Galaxy C7 slotted in between existing A-series models in terms of screen size (the A8 2016 was only announced today), the C5 and A5 (2016) appear to be direct competitors. Of course, there is nothing bad about some sibling rivalry.

Samsung Galaxy C5 in official photos - Samsung Galaxy C5 review
Samsung Galaxy C5 in official photos - Samsung Galaxy C5 review
Samsung Galaxy C5 in official photos - Samsung Galaxy C5 review
Samsung Galaxy C5 in official photos - Samsung Galaxy C5 review

Samsung Galaxy C5 in official photos

It is worth noting that both the Galaxy C5 and C7 were originally announced back in May as models exclusive to the Chinese and Hong-Kong markets. They have since made it to the stores internationally but their availability on the Old Continent is by no mean as wide as that of the A-series smartphones.

So the slight hardware advantage that the C5 has over the A5 (2016) makes us wonder how exactly does the C5 fit in Samsung’s product strategy. Is this move incidental? Is there a change in portfolio ranks brewing? Is there more to the C5 than meets the eye?

Follow along as we take a closer look at it on the next pages.