Samsung launches Galaxy A3, A5, A7; mid-range phones with some high-end features

Samsung continues to upgrade its non-flagship phone line with new Galaxy A models starting around $350. The company makes more profit on lower-costing smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy A7.jpg

Samsung is wasting no time in announcing phones for 2016: On Wednesday, the company introduced a trio of Galaxy A handsets that launch this month in China and later around the world with a starting price under $350.

Although the Galaxy A3, A5 and A7 share many components, the biggest difference between them may be in the sizes. Samsung wants to offer a choice for the product line and it shows immediately in the displays.

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The A3 uses a 4.7-inch 1280 X 720 screen, for example, while the A5 jumps to a 5.2-inch 1920 X 1080 display. The larger A7 has a 5.5-inch screen, also with 1920 X 1080 resolution. All three use Samsung's Super AMOLED display technology.

Samsung Exynos processors power all three devices with the A3 getting a 1.5 GHz quad-core chip. The two larger handsets each run on a 1.6 GHz octo-core processor. All three have a different memory configuration: 1.5 GB of RAM in the A3, 2 GB in the A5 and 3 GB of memory in the largest model. Each comes with 16 GB of internal storage and - unlike the flagship Galaxy S line - a microSD card slot.

All three will have a dual-SIM option, support for Samsung's S-Voice and Samsung KNOX security features. If you want Samsung Pay, however, you'll have to opt for the Galaxy A5 or A7. Mobile broadband connectivity comes from the LTE Cat. 6 radio for the two larger phones while the Galaxy A3 uses a Cat. 4 modem.

Samsung Galaxy A5.jpg

Samsung is sharing camera components across the trio as well. Each has a 13 megapixel rear camera with f/1.9 aperture and a 5 megapixel front-facing sensor with the same aperture. Optical image stabilization is present on the A5 and A7 phones.

Samsung didn't announce official prices in its news release but did share them with SamMobile. Expect the Galaxy A3 to retail for €329 (US $348.50) and the Galaxy A5 to cost €399 (US $422.52). SamMobile expects the larger Galaxy A7 price to be €469, but that's not yet confirmed.

While the Galaxy S phones get much attention, Samsung makes more of its smartphone profits on lower-priced handsets.

The Galaxy J line makes up a big chunk of that segment, outselling the A and S lines. But Samsung can't completely abandon the mid- and high-range markets; owners of the lower priced phones may want to move up the chain for more features, better pictures and faster performance.