Samsung Galaxy A7, arguably the most value-for-money high-end handset from the Korean player, will launch in India next month at a price of around Rs 35,000, according to sources, and will face off against the HTC Desire 826.
Despite being practically identical to the A7, the HTC Desire 826 will be priced around the Rs 30,000 mark and also launched next month. However, the Desire 826 will not have an AMOLED display and will come with a normal LCD screen.
The Galaxy A7 will be Samsung’s fourth A series phone after the recent launch of the A3 (Rs 20k) and A5 (Rs 25k).
In many ways, the LTE-enabled phone is better value for money that Samsung’s own flagship S5, which is priced at Rs 50,000 in the Indian market.
In fact, specifications-wise, there is practically no difference between the S5 LTE and the Samsung Galaxy A7. Both come with AMOLED full-HD displays, LTE connectivity, and in terms of looks, the Galaxy A7 is far ahead of the S5.
Similarly, in terms of specs, the A7 will be far ahead of the original Galaxy Alpha that comes with a 720p HD display and is still priced at Rs 38,000.
The A7 also has nearly the exact same specifications as the upcoming HTC 826, which will be launched in early February and will come with a full HD, 5.5-inch display.
SAMSUNG’S NEW STRATEGY
There is, of course, a reason why the Galaxy A7, despite having similar specs as the S5, is priced 30% cheaper – it comes with a cheaper chipset.
To keep costs low, Samsung relied on Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 410 platform for the A3 and A5. As a result, the phones are priced in the Rs 20,000-25,000 bracket in India.
The A7 is also Samsung’s attempt to respond to widespread criticism that its products are overpriced, especially for markets like India.
However, the price-gap between the A5 and the A7 will around Rs 10,000, said the source, adding that a final price has not been fixed.
However, the A7 is still cheap by Samsung’s standards, and that is because of the Snapdragon 615 chipset. Samsung has used the cheaper 615 instead of the high-end Snapdragon 810, which is the platform meant for true ‘high-end’ phones like the S series.
If you are wondering what this Snapdragon 615 platform is, remember that the Yureka, the LTE phone from Micromax Yu, comes with the same chipset and is priced at Rs 8,999.
All that Samsung has done with the Galaxy A7 is basically take a mid-to-high-range LTE-enabled chipset and add a well-designed body, a full HD AMOLED display and the typical high-end features.
A price of Rs 35,000 for the 5.5-inch Galaxy A7 would make it an attractive, possibly irresistible, option for those on the look-out for a value-for-money high-end phone.
The Snapdragon 615 is also behind the HTC Desire 820, priced Rs 25,000, and the upcoming 5.5-inch HTC Desire 826.
HTC 826 vs SAMSUNG GALAXY A7 vs OTHERS
The new launches, including the A3 and A5, will also help Samsung resist allegations that it overprices its phones.
For example, Motorola (owned by Lenovo) prices its Moto X2 at Rs 30,000, and the X2 is very, very similar to the Samsung Galaxy A7 in terms of specifications, and also comes with a full HD AMOLED display.
The only major difference is that the X2 comes with the Snapdragon 8xx series, while the A7 comes with the Snapdragon 6xx.
Though this may sound like the A7 is less powerful, in actual practice it is not so for the simple reason that the 615 is 64-bit platform, while the 801 is a 32-bit system.
Till the 810-based phones come out, expected by March 2015, the 615 will be considered a very good option for high-end phones.
The only other miss, in terms of specifications, for the Samsung Galaxy A7 is the display resolution, which is not quad HD. Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro, which has a quad-HD display, is priced at just Rs 33,000 in India.
However, given Samsung’s superior brand value, the Galaxy A7 will offer its competitors in India a good run for their money. The only immediate threat to the A7 will be the HTC 826, which will come with practically the same configuration – Snapdragon 615, full HD display, LTE – but cost only Rs 30,000.
In addition, while the A7 will come with Android KitKat, the Desire 826 will ship with Lolipop.
Of course, there is an emerging threat in the form of the Xiaomi Mi4, which will be priced at around Rs 16,000 and will offer very similar specifications to the A7 – including a full HD display, LTE etc.. The only shortcoming, if it be so, is the fact that Xiaomi Mi4 is a smaller piece – 5 inches vs 5.5 inches for the Samsung Galaxy A7.
However, availability has been an issue with Xiaomi phones, and the company is unlikely to be able to cater to the demand for its Mi4 phones as well. Many may go for the Galaxy A7, especially if the price dips to the Rs 32,000-33,000 soon after launch.