The Galaxy A5 (2016) retail package comes with all the bells and whistles. This includes a Fast Charger (15W) and a microUSB 2.0 cable.
There's also Samsung's usual in-ear headset with a three-button remote.
The Galaxy A5 (2016) measures 144.8 x 71 x 7.3mm and weighs 155g. That makes it bigger and heavier than the Galaxy S6, most notable is the difference in weight (138g for the S6). You do get 0.1" more screen, though, a tiny 4% bump in surface area.
What's the favorite snack of a premium phone? A glass and metal sandwich! Okay, okay, we won't quit our day jobs to pursue a career in stand-up comedy, but this is the most popular combo with the occasional all-metal phone or one that relies on durable plastic.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) is one of the best executions of the familiar recipe, though, with beveled Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and back and a metal frame shaped just like the S6 frame.
The metal sides are chamfered with small bumps at each of the four corners, which improve grip and give you a more secure hold on the otherwise slippery glass and metal exterior.
The bezels around the screen are pretty average, but Samsung designers created the illusion of very thin bezels. The black glass border on the left and right of the screen is very thin indeed and the sloping metal sides hide the additional thickness.
The Galaxy A5 (2016) feels quite substantial in the hand, we had gotten used to phones of this size being lighter. That's neither a negative nor a positive, it's more of a personal preference.
Two big changes grace the front of the new A5 compared to the 2014 model. First, the screen is much sharper, jumping from 720p to 1080p (slight bump in size too). Second, the Home key is now a fingerprint reader.
The key is flanked by the capacitive App Switcher and Back keys, which seem to have lost the option for longer backlight timeout. Above the screen is a 5MP selfie camera with a wider aperture than before (from f/2.2 to f/1.9, should help with night selfies).
The beveled Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and back creates a nice curve that continues into the metal frame. This is a lot more pronounced than on the Galaxy S6 and the phone feels better for it.
Around the sides is the standard affair. The Power key and card slots are on the right, both cards (nanoSIM and microSD) go on the same tray. On the left are the Volume keys.
The metal frame is not very thick to begin with and the chamfering leaves even less spare room for the side buttons, so on the Galaxy A5 (2016) they are fairly narrow. Worse, they don't have much travel either.
In case you missed it, yes, the Galaxy A5 (2016) has a microSD slot. It only comes with 16GB storage though (and you only get 11GB or less available to you, it changes by the region). Android 6.0 Marshmallow has the option of virtually merging the internal storage with the microSD card, we're yet to see if TouchWiz will adopt that.
Our review unit is the DualSIM variety. Do note that this is a hybrid slot, meaning you can put two cards at most - it can be two SIMs or SIM+microSD, but you can't have a microSD if you're going to use the A5 as a dual-SIM phone. Note that there's a version of the phone, SM-510FD, where SIM1+microSD go on one tray and SIM2 is on a separate tray. That solves this issue, but not all Galaxy A5 (2016) dual-SIMs have two trays, so watch out.
The back is pretty interesting as the glass covers a lightly textured surface. The back is available in Black, White, Gold and Pink while the front is almost always painted black (aside from the White version). The metal on the sides matches the back.
The 13MP camera may not have the S6's sensor, but it does have its wide f/1.9 aperture and OIS. And it doesn't stick out as much. It has a single LED for a flash. There is no heart rate/SpO2 sensor alongside it as there is on the S6.
The bottom of the phone houses the microUSB 2.0 port and the loudspeaker (hidden behind a grill of drilled holes). There's a mic on the top and on the bottom - the couple is used for noise cancelation and stereo sound recording.
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) is a very well made phone - for some reason we find it more attractive than the Galaxy S6.