Our Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) is the dual-SIM model, but single-SIM versions are available too. The SIM card manager allows you to pick a preferred SIM for voice, text and data.
This is a dual-standby phone - if you get a call on SIM1, SIM2 will be out of reach for anyone who tries to call you. However, you can optionally have the calls to the out-of-reach card forwarded to the active card.
The Samsung dialer shows two dial keys (if you have two SIMs) so you can easily dial with either card. The call log can be filtered by SIM1 and SIM2, also by missed or rejected calls.
The Do Not Disturb mode can be put on an automated schedule. When it's on, only priority notifications can get through and you decide what's a priority - you can set anything from calls from select contacts to reminders from key apps.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) and its singular loudspeaker scored a Below Average mark on our loudspeaker test. It has plenty of company down there - the iPhone and HTC One A9 to name a few. It performs evenly across the tests (speech, music, ringtones), but neither is particularly loud.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
The Galaxy A5 (2016) uses an updated version of the Samsung Keyboard. It's quite feature-packed, with a dedicated numbers row, a row above that for word suggestions and additional characters on each key (accessible via long-press).
If that seems too tall, you can scale the keyboard down (or up, if you want bigger keys). We don't like that the Space key is quite short, though.
Additional typing tools include swipe input, My Hot Keys (predefined phrases that can be typed by long-pressing a number key) and voice dictation.
Samsung continues to bundle the Microsoft app package, that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Skype. Note that these are just icons, you have to download each app from Galaxy Apps before you can use them (this way they don't take up storage if you don't want them).
Google's Drive is pre-installed, however, the actual document editors are not (they are a free download, though).
The Samsung-customized web browser features Web sign in - a feature that works as a password manager secured by your fingerprint. This makes log-ins as simple as unlocking the phone.
S Health is on board though without the advanced sensors (heart rate, blood oxygen) its functionality is more limited. It can still track walking/running/cycling and you can manually input water and coffee intake and so on.
Smart Manager is a hub that controls several key areas - battery, RAM, Storage and Device security. This gives you tools to track down apps that drain the battery, use too much RAM and clean-up unnecessary files.
The Device Security tab lets you activate KNOX (protects the phone and OS from attacks but adds a second to boot time) and scan for malware. The My KNOX app lets you separate work and personal apps by creating a secure, isolated space on the phone.
The My Files app is the default file browser. It features Google Drive integration. You can ZIP folders to make them easier to share as a single file.
Smart Switch you'll probably use just once, but it's still handy. It lets you import your content from your old Android, iOS or BlackBerry device. For iOS it pulls data from iCloud, for the other platforms, the transfer happens either wirelessly or via USB (which is faster).
Finally, there's Galaxy Apps, Samsung's own app store. Galaxy Essentials is a good place to find great tools (like Kids Mode), but for general app shopping, you would probably be better off with Google Play.