Finally, Samsung is releasing a phone that has the potential to take on cheap, and often LTE-enabled phones like the Xiaomi Mi4, Huawei Honor 6, HTC 620g and HTC 820.
UPDATE: The Samsung Galaxy A5 is available on eBay without company warranty at Rs 27,000, while the A3 is available for prebooking for Rs 21,000 in certain stores.
A five-inch Samsung Galaxy Alpha LTE (possibly the A5), priced around Rs 25,000, will be released in the first week of January, according to distributor sources.
“We are not sure about the pricing. It’s possible that Samsung could surprise by pricing it nearer to 20,000 or even below that,” noted a distributor.
Just ten days ago, Micromax Yu had launched the Yureka, which has almost the same specifications as this phone, for a price of just Rs 8,999 in India, taking everyone by surprise. That phone is currently the best value-for-money mid-range offering from any brand in India.
The Samsung A5 was released overseas in early November, which makes us suspect that it is the same phone that is going to be released in India as well.
The Alpha series, including the A7, will help Samsung compete better for two reasons: a) unlike the flagship S series, the A series are cheaper, and b) the Alpha series are more iPhoneseque in their design.
Another phone that will be launched in the second half of January is the first in Samsung’s J series phones, and possibly new E series phones that are cheaper than A series, but costlier than J series.
The first J series phone from Samsung will be a 4.5-inch model with LTE that will be priced at Rs 8,000. The display resolution of the phone will be 800 x 480 with a pixel density of 207 PPI.
It will have a 64-bit Quad-Core Marvell PXA1908 CPU clocked at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM and storage of 4 GB. The J series will come with Android Kitkat, while the E series is likely to come with Android Lolipop. The J series phone will also have a 5 MP rear and 2 MP front camera.
Now back to the Alpha series, whose design language, in many ways, will be similar to that of the Xiaomi Mi4, which will also be launched in India in January. Of course, the Mi4 faces legal uncertainties till Jan 8, and a final call on when to launch the phone is likely to be taken only after that day. The LTE version of the Mi4 is likely to be priced around Rs 16,000, while the 3G only version will come at around Rs 14,000.
On Jan 8, the Delhi High Court will hold the next hearing on the ban imposed on Xiaomi’s phones being sold in India.
Meanwhile, it is Samsung’s chance to put up some sort of competition to the Mi4 and the Honor 6, both of which look somewhat similar.
Like the Xiaomi Mi4 being prepped for launch in India (and unlike the Honor 6), the Samsung A5 will have a 5 inch display and come with LTE.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 has a 5-inch 720p HD Super Amoled display, while the A3 has a rather humble quarter-HD display, though this too is based on Super Amoled technology, which should make the colors more vivid.
As you might have guessed, the specifications are not outstanding. For example, quarter HD displays are almost out of the Indian market right now, and are found only in phones costing less than Rs 7,500 or so.
Samsung A3, which comes with the qHD display, is going to be priced between Rs 15,000-20,000.
The first Alpha that the Korean company launched a couple of months ago was priced at Rs 41,000. The Rs 41,000-model also has a 720p display, though it has an octa-core processor.
In contrast, both the A3 and the A5 have relatively modest 1.2 GHz quad-core processors, which betrays their placement as lower-price devices.
“The Galaxy A5 and A3 offer a beautifully crafted full metal unibody, slim design, superior hardware and the best possible social media experience,” said JK Shin, CEO and Head of IT & Mobile Communication at Samsung Electronics. “These devices make our advanced Galaxy experience even more accessible to young and trend conscious consumers.”
The Galaxy A5 will come with 2 GB of RAM, while the A3 will have 1 GB of RAM. Internal memory in both cases is 16 GB, and both models come with Android KitKat out of the box.
The A3 has a 1.9 Ah battery while the A5 has a 2.3 Ah battery. Similarly, the smaller phone comes with an 8 MP camera at the back and the A5 with a 13 MP camera. Front cameras in both cases are 5 MP.
“The Galaxy A5 and A3 are Samsung’s slimmest smartphones to date, featuring refined full metal unibody designs that are 6.7mm and 6.9mm thin, respectively,” Samsung added.
Frankly, we believe the two phones are likely to make sense at slightly lower price points. However, those who are willing to shell out around Rs 18,000 or so for buying Grand, can consider spending an extra Rs 7,000 or so for the superior looks.
However, we believe the price of both phones should decline to the Rs 18,000 and Rs 25,000 marks without too much delay after launch.
At present, the phones are not available in any stores in India. It is expected to be available in online and offline stores by the middle of this month.