Having unveiled the new Samsung Galaxy C5 and C7 in China recently, the Korean smartphone maker is preparing to launch the devices in India, according to distributor sources.
The C series phones were unveiled in China about three weeks ago, with the company starting preorders for the 5.2-inch C5. The 5.7-inch Galaxy C7 was not made available for order at the time, though its specs and details were announced.
The C series phones have practically no major differences from Samsung’s A series phones. Samsung, however, claims that unlike the A series, the C series is a more refined product from the build quality angle, and uses “seamless integration” on its metal body which offers a “skin-like silky feel”.
Most people, however, expected the C series to be exclusive to China as it was too close to the A series in pricing and placement.
However, our distributor sources are now indicating that the Korean company has set the ball in motion to introduce them to the Indian market as well.
Of the two, the 5.7-inch C7 is the more interesting candidate as it is perhaps the first “mid-range” smartphone to come with 14 nanometer chips.
14 nanometer chips, such as Snapdragon 820, consume about half the power that its equivalent chip made on 28 nm consumes.
As a result, the overall power draw of the phone is reduced by about 25-35% when the Snapdragon 615/617 (found in models like LYF Water and Galaxy A series) is replaced by the 625.
Due to the lower heat generated when using the technology, the processor is also able to run at a higher speed of 2 GHz compared to 1.5 GHz in the Snapdragon 615. This in turn increases performance — especially when all eight cores are firing.
As a result, the Snapdragon 625 is about 60% more powerful than the 615 when all eight cores are working, even though both use identical Cortex A53 cores.
Put another way, the Samsung Galaxy C7 has as much power as last year’s flagship smartphones, while consuming far less battery. Compared to this year’s flagships, however, the C7 is underpowered to the extent of around 60% in single-threaded applications and 20% in multi-core applications.
Another equally important aspect of the Galaxy C7 is its battery life.
With an AMOLED full-HD panel and a 3.3 Ah battery, the phone will have about twice the battery life compared to most high-end smartphones introduced last year.
To put this in perspective, if most flagships from last year gave you a screen-on time of around 4 hours, this one will give you a screen-on time of around 7 hours. A normal user could go without charging the C7 for 1.5-2.0 days.
The phone also supports multiple simultaneous 4G connection (also known as carrier aggregation) to double the download speed limit to 300 Mbps, and increase the upload speed to 150 Mbps compared to 150 Mbps and 50 Mbps for most existing 4G phones.
On the other hand, the Galaxy C5 is far less exciting, as it still comes with the older Snapdragon 617 chipset, which is practically the same as Snapdragon 615 except for some added battery-saving features. Like the SD 615, the 617 is also built on the old, less-efficient 28 nm technology. Its performance is in line with that of the SD 615.
Given these factors, the C5 is practically the same as the Galaxy A5 (2016 edition) except for the operating system, which has been updated to Android 6.
The effective price of the Galaxy C7 is in India is expected to be Rs 30,000 (MRP could be higher), while the C5, if introduced, will be available at around Rs 26,000, at which it will compete with the A5, which is selling at Rs 24,500.
VALUE FOR MONEY?
Now, we come to the question of whether the C7 is value for money.
As is usually the case, the latest model from Samsung fails on this often crucial criteria.
For example, the OnePlus 3, available on demand via Amazon, offers the more powerful Snapdragon 820 chipset, faster LTE, 50% more RAM (6 GB vs 4 GB) and double the storage memory at Rs 28,000.
The OnePlus 3 comes with a full-HD AMOLED display just like the C7. The only major visual difference is that while the OP3 has a 5.5-inch screen, the Korean smartphone has a 5.7-inch display.
However, the fact that Samsung prices its ‘mid-range’ phones at the same rate as other brands’ flagships and gets away with it indicates that there are people who buy these phones at these prices.
Most likely, people pay a premium for Samsung’s devices because of the company’s extensive service network and its reputation as a tried and tested brand.
Competitors like OnePlus and Xiaomi have been around only for a couple of years in India and are yet to build up the same credibility that the Koreans have.
Still, going by the rather solid experience with new Chinese brands, it is perhaps only a matter of time before the Korean and Japanese brands are replaced by the Chinese companies just like the Koreans replaced the US and European brands about seven-eight years ago.