Samsung generally doesn't disappoint when it comes to panels across pretty much its entire lineup. Going for a mid-ranger, like the new Galaxy C5 or the C7, guarantees you will get one of the Korean giant's own excellent Super AMOLED units. High contrast and punchy colors are a given with these.
5.2 inches definitely come very close to the proverbial "sweet spot" for most current smartphone users. It is a far cry from the Galaxy C7 and its phablet-territory 5.7-inch diagonal, but that is kind of the point. The 1080p FullHD resolution ensures a quite good for a midranger pixel density of 424ppi. You can rest assured everything looks exceptionally sharp and punchy.
As far as performance goes, the panel on the Galaxy C5 appears to be almost identical to the one in its bigger sibling and does quite alright. It has deep blacks and the benefit of infinite contrast.
At 100% brightness level, it maxes out at 424 nits, which is pretty close to what Samsung's current flagship devices, like the Galaxy S7 and Note7 are capable of.
When presented with a bright external light source, the C5 can burn up to 625nits in Max Auto mode, so using it outdoors is trouble-free, even on the brightest of days.
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Interestingly enough, the C5 does show a measurable, albeit hardly noticeable with bare eyes increase in maximum brightness, compared to the older Galaxy A5 (2016). Since both are equipped with panels identical in size, it is a pretty fair comparison and serves as a good indication that Samsung is still actively upgrading its displays, materials and finishes.
Color accuracy is impressive as well, even a bit better than that of the Galaxy C7. This could either be considered an indication that the C5 uses a slightly different panel, or perhaps Samsung did a better job with the factory color calibration. In either case, you still have to enable Basic mode to enjoy the most accurate color reproduction. In it the average delta E is only 1.7 and the max deviation reading is the impressively low DeltaE 3.3. But if you would rather enjoy the punchy colors the AMOLED technology has to offer, you can just leave the C5 in Adaptive mode, where reds tend to deviate as far off as DeltaE of 11.8.
Overall, the Galaxy C5 display is excellent, save for the slight color shift when looking at it from an angle, which is quite often visible with AMOLED screens.
The Samsung Galaxy C5 is equipped with a total of two nano SIM slots. It's a hybrid slot so one of the card positions is to be used with either a SIM card or a Micro SD card, so you do have to choose. It is pretty much the same deal with the C7 as well.
Another unfortunate parallel between the two has to do with network speed. Again, it is capped to only Cat.4 or 150 Mbps, despite the fact that the X8 modem inside the Snapdragon 617 is rated for up to Cat.7. Again, this is bound to be a market decision, but does put the C5 at a weird disadvantage compared to the Galaxy A5 (2016) in this one single respect.
Other Internet connectivity options include Wi-Fi a/b/g/n. Sadly, no 802.11ac support is present. Local connectivity includes Bluetooth 4.2 complete with ANT+ support, so Samsung has made sure to keep the hardware up to date in this department. NFC is also on board, and it is compatible with Samsung Pay.
The microUSB 2.0 port handles charging and data, but it also supports USB OTG so you can hook up external hardware to the phone.
You do get FM radio as well - as a more old-school source of music and entertainment. It is full-featured as well and includes RDS and recording.
Battery endurance was the area where the Samsung Galaxy C7 definitely shined the brightest when we reviewed it thanks to awesome combination of a power-efficient AMOLED panel and a mid-range SoC, made on a 14nm process. That got it a whopping 100 hours in our endurance test.
Sadly, the Galaxy C5 doesn't really get to participate in this new power-efficient movement due to the downgrade in chipset - it has to make do with the Snapdragon 617, which is made using a 28nm process, which is not as power efficient.
Still, an endurance rating of 75 hours in single SIM config and a 73-hour rating in dual mode is not a bad score at all. The call test seems to be its Achilles' heel. Other than that, software-dependent tasks like web browsing and video playback seem to be well optimized.
Still, we have to wonder whether Samsung would have been better off relying on its own 14nm Exynos 7870 Octa chip. The latter is an option on the lower-end Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016), which we already reviewed as well.
The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare to each other under your own choice of usage pattern.