Samsung Galaxy C5 Review
Samsung’s take of inspiration from Apple is far from over. This is the Samsung Galaxy C5, a midrange Android smartphone to catch the attention of consumers who wants a mixture of iPhone and Samsung Galaxy. Is it any good on its own? Here’s our review.
Design and Construction
The handset is fairly sized with a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display with a Full HD resolution protected by a smooth glass that curves towards the edges. An 8MP front-facing camera, the earpiece, and a couple of sensors sit atop while the usual Samsung setup of the navigation buttons is present below. The physical home button houses a fingerprint scanner.
Going to the right, we have the power/lock button and the ejectable hybrid SIM card tray for either two micro SIM cards, or a microSD card for storage expansion.
To the left are two separate buttons for volume up and volume down.
Up top, we just have a secondary mic for noise canceling and a small sticker label for having a Qualcomm 4G radio inside.
The bottom end has the micro-USB port, 3.5mm headphone jack, loudspeaker, and the main microphone.
Checking out the back of the Galaxy C5 puts a smile on our face as it reminded us of a more popular Android smartphone, the OnePlus 3. Anyhow, there’s a main 16MP shooter encased in a square hump with a dual-tone LED flash on the side. A shiny Samsung logo is placed just below it.
Overall build quality of the device is commendable as it feels solid and pleasing on the hand. Handling it does remind us of the iPhone 6 is a lot of ways. If there’s anything that’s copied from the iPhone to the Galaxy C5 that we are happy about is the material used.
Display and Multimedia
The 5.2-inch panel of the handset is Samsung’s own Super AMOLED display with a Full HD resolution or 1080 x 1920 pixels. Those numbers give a crisp 424ppi of pixel density which is more than adequate for everyday usage or even multimedia consumption. A common trait of an AMOLED panel is its high saturation and deep blacks. But, if you find the colors to be over-saturated, you can choose from four different modes in the settings. Viewing angles are wide although there’s a slight shift when viewed at extreme sides.
The speaker down below is mono but packs a few punch in loudness. It will suffice for watching YouTube although nothing stellar with music playback. The included in-ear headphones can take on the job if you don’t have your own pair to use.
OS, Apps, and UI
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow runs on the Galaxy C5 skinned with Samsung’s own UI, TouchWiz, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on the user’s preference. By default, the app drawer is omitted with all the app icons placed on your home screen ala iOS but this could be changed in the settings. Props to Samsung for keeping TouchWiz familiar for their loyal users while at the same time, making the UX fresh and interesting to tweak. Storage-wise you can opt for either 32GB or 64GB. For our unit, a 32GB model, available storage is at 25.3GB. You can opt to expand via a microSD card.
The unit comes from China and like all similar shipped phones, it’s side loaded with Google Play Store by the seller. Some of the services don’t work in the country like Samsung Pay but not a big deal. You may download your chosen services through the Play Store without hassle. We do find the lack of sync with Google’s database for our personal contacts a bit cumbersome but there are solutions to it.
Samsung Knox is onboard for separating your personal storage from work apps and documents. It’s also designed to add more security for sensitive office files. If you wish to know more about Knox, you can read about it here.
Onboard the Galaxy C5 are two capable sensors, both front and back, with a bright f/1.9 lens. The camera software by Samsung is straightforward with a number of shooting options from Pro, which basically lets you adjust a few settings, to Beauty face mode.
The rear sensor is a 16MP shooter with autofocus and dual-tone LED flash. Images captured have good details thanks to the high megapixel count as long as there’s broad daylight available. Artificial lighting can make the stills a bit smudgy and less likable. The front camera, on the other hand, are one of the good ones out there — not the best, but far from being bad. Here are few samples:
When it comes to video recording, you can take up to 1080p @ 30fps. Frame-rate is steady and the video itself is good with automatic exposure compensation, continuous autofocus, and stereo audio. The lack of optical image stabilization (OIS) is a feature we miss though from high-end devices, and even electronic stabilization is nowhere to found.
If you’re buying the device for its camera, at least we can say it’s not shabby. But, the low-light performance has left a lot to be desired even though it has a bright f/1.9 aperture.
Performance and Benchmarks
The Galaxy C5 is a midrange device having a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 chipset. It has 8 Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.5GHz each with an Adreno 405 GPU. There’s a spacious 4GB of RAM and two expandable storage options — either 32GB or 64GB. One can expect pretty good performance out of the handset and it does deliver. Everything is snappy and switching in between apps is a breeze. Gaming is not a problem but you might want to tone down the settings a bit to have smoother frame rates depending on the title.
The fingerprint scanner built into the home button seems accurate during initial setup but it became slow after. It’s basically useless if you wish to unlock your phone quickly. We recommend using a pattern or a pin instead of the fingerprint lock.
Going to a more objective benchmarking, here are the numbers of the tests we did:
- AnTuTu — 41766
- Quadrant Standard — 21241
- Vellamo — 1348 (Multicore), 1242 (Metal), 2063 (Internet Browser)
- PCMark — 4296 (Work), 4045 (Storage)
- 3D Mark — 382 (Sling Shot using ES 3.1)
Call Quality and Connectivity
Phone calls are child’s play for the handset. Call quality is top-notch with a clear sounding earpiece and noise-cancelling microphones. Although, we observed that reception is a bit weak when compared to other phones in the same area.
As for the radios, everything is onboard aside from an IR blaster. There’s 4G LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, and even NFC. The NFC chip is placed on the back in the part of the camera module — just so you know where to tap.
The battery sealed inside the aluminum chassis of the Galaxy C5 is a 2600mAh Li-Ion cell. That’s low for a device with a screen size above 5 inches but the 6.7mm waistline is a tough space to fit to. With our traditional battery test of looping a 1080p clip under airplane mode with 50% brightness and volume through a pair of earphones, it was able to last for 9 hours and 5 minutes. While PCMark battery test just gave it a feeble endurance of 5 hours and 40 minutes.
In the end of the day, the phone is still a Samsung running Android and that’s not bad, it’s actually a great thing. Why? Android is still preferred by most users and you get an iPhone-like build (and inspiration) for a fraction of the price. The Samsung Galaxy C5 is being sold by Widget City for Php17,990 for the 32GB variant and Php19,990 for 64GB (see listing here).
As for alternatives, the iPhone SE is not far in terms of pricing especially if you really want Apple’s ecosystem as it’s the cheapest offering in the family. Also, the OnePlus 3 is similarly priced but you’re getting the best specs available for now.
Samsung Galaxy C5 specs:
5.2-inch FHD sAMOLED display @ 1080 x 1920 px, 424ppi
1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor
32GB/64GB internal storage
expandable up to 128GB via hybrid microSD card slot
16 MP f/1.9 rear camera with dual LED Flash
8MP f/1.9 front camera
Dual SIM (Micro, Hybrid)
4G LTE, 3G HSPA+
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
GPS, GLONASS, BDS
Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
145.9 x 72 x 6.7 mm
What we liked about it:
- Good build
- Great AMOLED display
- 4GB of RAM
What we didn’t:
- Short battery life
- Not officially available in PH
- Slow fingerprint scanner