Samsung Galaxy A Phones: What You Need to Know

History and details of each release

The Samsung Galaxy A smartphones are a mid-range answer to their flagship Galaxy S line. The A-series has solid features and specs at a lower price than the S phones. Like other Samsung smartphone lines, the A series releases new models each year.

The Samsung A series wasn't available in the United States until 2020.

Samsung Galaxy A (Series 2021)

Samsung Galaxy A52

Display: 6.5", HD+ TFT Infinity-V - 6.7", FHD+ Super AMOLED Infinity-O
Resolution: 720x1600 @ 270ppi - 1080x2400 @ 393ppi
Front camera: 5 MP - 32 MP
Rear camera: 13 MP/2 MP - 64 MP/8 MP/12 MP/2 MP
Charger type: microUSB 2.0 - USB-C
Initial Android version: 10.0
Release Date: January 2021 - March 2021

The Galaxy A 2021 series was announced in September 2020 and featured various hardware improvements but no major design overhaul. The line includes improved RAM and storage options, larger displays, improved battery life, some camera upgrades, and 5G compatibility on many available models. Samsung also adopted Qualcomm and MediaTek processors, as opposed to the Exynos chips on older devices.

This series includes nine smartphones, ranging from the Galaxy A02 to the Galaxy A72.

Samsung Galaxy A (Series 2020)

Samsung Galaxy A51 5G

Lifewire / Andrew Hayward

Display: 5.7", PLS TFT LCD - 6.7", Super AMOLED Plus
Resolution: 720x1520 @ 295ppi - 1080x2400 @ 393ppi
Front camera: 5 MP - 32 MP
Rear camera: 13 MP/2 MP - 64 MP/12 MP/5 MP/5 MP
Charger type: microUSB 2.0 - USB-C
Initial Android version: 10.0
Release Date: December 2019 - July 2020

In 2020, Samsung introduced various new features with a range of extras and add-ons, depending on your budget. The line includes a unique geometric design, faster SoCs (system-on-a-chip), and a hole-punch display on some models, which "punches" the camera lens into the display rather than in a notch.

At the higher end, with the Galaxy A51 and A71, Samsung offers an Infinity-O display and L-shaped quad cameras. The series includes 11 smartphones in all.

Samsung Galaxy A10-A90 (Series 2019)

Samsung Galaxy A20

Lifewire / Andrew Hayward

Display: 6.2", IPS LCD - 6.7", Super AMOLED
Resolution: 4128x3096 @ 271ppi - 8000x6000 @ 393ppi
Front camera: 5 MP - 32 MP
Rear camera: 13 MP - 48 MP/12 MP/5 MP
Charger type: microUSB 2.0 - USB-C
Initial Android version: 9.0 Pie
Release Date: February 2019 - September 2019

The 2019 line of Samsung Galaxy A series phones included several improvements on previous models. Among these were the new "waterdrop" notch display, better battery life, and more extensive memory storage. Except for the A2 Core, all feature the Samsung One UI interface and video stabilization.

The 2019 line features 18 models in all—the most numerous such line of Galaxy A phones. Storage capacities are likewise varied, ranging from 32 GB in the A10 to 128 GB in the A90.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2018)

The Galaxy A7 and A9 from the back in blue and green.

 Samsung

Display: 6.3-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 1080x2220 @ 392ppi
Front camera: 24 MP
Rear camera: Quad 24 MP/10 MP/8 MP/5 MP
Charger type: USB-C
Initial Android version: 8.0 Oreo
Release Date: November 2018

The Galaxy A9 (2018) is the first smartphone with a quad camera. The primary camera has 24 megapixels, the second a telephoto lens with 2X optical zoom, the third a 120-degree wide-angle lens, and the fourth with a small aperture of f2.2 to control how much of the photo is in focus. The camera also has an AI-powered scene optimizer feature.

Storage-wise, the smartphone has 128 GB onboard and can accept cards as large as 512 GB. The phone also ships with Bixby, the Samsung virtual assistant, Samsung Pay, and Samsung Health.

Samsung Galaxy A8 and A8+ (2018)

Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone, front view, in orchid grey color

Samsung

Display: 5.6-in Super AMOLED (A8); 6.0-in Super AMOLED (A8+)
Resolution: 1080x2220 @ 441ppi
Front camera: Dual 16 MP
Rear camera: 16 MP
Charger type: USB-C
Initial Android version: 7.0 Nougat
Release Date: January 2018

The Samsung Galaxy A8 and A8+ are mid-range smartphones that the company showcased at CES 2018, and their design and feature-set are close to the S series of high-end phones. The main difference between the two is that the phablet-sized A8+ has a larger, 6-inch display. Both the Galaxy A8 and A8+ have ultra-thin bezels (the S8 and S8+ have curved screens with no bezels) and use Samsung Infinity Display technology to make the most of the screen real estate.

These Samsung Galaxy A smartphones have glass and metal bodies but a cheaper-looking finish than the S series. Each selfie camera has dual lenses to create the popular blurred background (bokeh) effect using a Samsung feature called Live Focus, but neither camera has optical image stabilization.

The fingerprint scanner is on the phone's back, under the camera lens, rather than on the home button like older Galaxy A phones. Both Samsung phones have headphone jacks and microSD card slots, are dust and water-resistant and support fast charging but not wireless charging.

Samsung Galaxy A8 and A8+ Features

  • Virtual Reality: The A8 and A8+ were the first in the Galaxy A series to support the now-discontinued Samsung Gear VR headset.
  • Dual Messenger Mode: You can run two instances of a chatting app simultaneously if you have more than one account, for example, one for work and one for friends.
  • Face Recognition Unlock: You can unlock these A smartphones using facial recognition, which works best in good lighting.
  • Time Lapse Videos: A feature called Hyperlapse lets you create time-lapse videos at various speeds.
  • Samsung Bixby: The Samsung virtual assistant, Bixby, is built into both phones and works similarly to Siri and Google Assistant.
  • 18.5:9 display ratio: Like the Galaxy S8, the A8 and A8+ have an unusual aspect ratio to accommodate the Infinity Display technology. You may experience some black bars on videos, which typically use the 16:9 aspect ratio.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) smartphone in black

Samsung

Display: 5.7-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 1080x1920 @ 386ppi
Front camera: 16 MP
Rear camera: 16 MP
Charger type: USB-C
Initial Android version: 6.0 Marshmallow
Release Date: January 2017

The Samsung Galaxy A7 looks a lot like the premium Galaxy S7, with a large phablet-sized display. It has up to 22 hours of battery life and supports fast charging technology. It has a metal and curved glass build, slim bezel, and is water and dust resistant.

The A7 has a fingerprint sensor on the home button, a headphone jack, and a dual SIM card slot. The 32 GB Samsung smartphone has a microSD card slot that accepts cards up to 256 GB. A Smart Stay feature keeps the screen awake while you're looking at it, and there's a handy shortcut in which you can turn the camera on by double-tapping the home button.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) smartphone in beige

Samsung

Display: 5.2-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 1080x1920 @ 424ppi
Front camera: 16 MP
Rear camera: 16 MP
Charger type: USB-C
Initial Android version: 6.0 Marshmallow
Release Date: January 2017

The Samsung Galaxy A5 has a higher resolution camera (16 vs. 12 MP) than the flagship Galaxy S7, which came out in 2016 (12 MP). Still, the image quality is not as good, partly due to the lack of optical image stabilization. It also has the same size battery as the S7, but since it has a lower resolution screen, it doesn't use as much power and lasts longer. The phone also comes with a fast charger that should fill up the battery in about an hour.

Storage-wise, the phone has 32 GB built-in and a microSD card slot so that you can expand it by up to 256 GB. The Galaxy A5 fingerprint scanner is below the screen but not integrated with the home button. Like the Galaxy A7 (2017), the A5 is water and dust-resistant. 

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) in grey

Samsung

Display: 4.7-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 720x1280 @ 312ppi
Front camera: 13 MP
Rear camera: 8 MP
Charger type: USB-C
Initial Android version: 7.0 Nougat
Release Date: January 2017

The Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) is the first in the Galaxy A series to adopt the USB-C standard, which adds fast charging technology and the end of inserting the cable upside down. Like the A5 and A7 released the same year, it resembles the S7, with a metal rim, glass back, shimmery bezel, and water and dust resistance. There's a fingerprint scanner in the home button for unlocking the smartphone and making mobile payments.

The interface features a lighter version of Samsung's TouchWiz than in previous phones in the series, which means less sluggishness. The A3 has only 16 GB storage, but it will accept microSD cards up to 256 GB. Its battery is said to last through about two days of regular usage, likely due to its lower resolution (720p) display.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro 2016 front angle

Samsung

Display: 6.0-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 1080x1920 @ 367ppi
Front camera: 16 MP
Rear camera: 8 MP
Charger type: micro USB
Initial Android version: 6.0 Marshmallow
Release Date: May 2016

The Galaxy A9 Pro phablet comes with a premium glass and metal design, like the S7 and S7 Edge. Its body is not as thin as the flagship phones, but its added bulk contains a much larger 5,000 mAh battery that promises to last up to 33 hours of talk time over 3G and 22.5 days on standby.

Like many Galaxy A models, this phone has a dual SIM card slot and a MicroSD slot that can expand the internal 32 GB of memory by up to 256 GB. The home button on the front contains a fingerprint scanner. The A9 Pro's camera has optical image stabilization and an LED flash.

Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A9 2016 front angle

Samsung

Display: 6.0-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 1080x1920 @ 367ppi
Front camera: 13 MP
Rear camera: 8 MP
Charger type: micro USB
Initial Android version: 5.0 Lollipop
Release Date: January 2016

Like the Galaxy A8+ and A9 Pro, the Galaxy A9 phablet has a 6-inch display, and unlike the Samsung Galaxy S6 released the same year, it has a microSD card slot to supplement its 32 GB of internal memory (up to 128 GB). The 4,000 mAh battery can last up to two days with regular use, and it's compatible with the Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology for fast charging when you're out of power.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A7 2016 front and back views overlapping

Samsung

Display: 5.5-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 1080x1920 @ 401ppi
Front camera: 13 MP
Rear camera: 5 MP
Charger type: micro USB
Initial Android version: 5.0 Lollipop
Release Date: December 2015

The Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016) is a step-up from its predecessors regarding design, looking more like the Galaxy S series than the Galaxy A-line's previous phones. It sports a dual SIM card slot, memory card slot, headphone jack, and a home button with a built-in fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy A7 (2016) and Galaxy A5 (2016) are the Galaxy A line's first smartphones to support Samsung Pay.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A5 2016, front, back, and closeup angles

Samsung

Display: 5.2-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 1080x1920 @ 424ppi
Front camera: 13 MP
Rear camera: 5 MP
Charger type: micro USB
Initial Android version: 5.0 Lollipop
Release Date: December 2015

The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) is similar to the 2017 A5 in many respects, including screen size and resolution, and processor, but the newer model has more internal RAM (3 GB vs. 2 GB) and storage (32 GB vs. 16 GB). It looks similar to the flagship Galaxy S6, but unlike that model, the A5 has a memory card slot and a fingerprint scanner.

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016)

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 back angle

 Samsung

Display: 4.7-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 720x1280 @ 312ppi
Front camera: 13 MP
Rear camera: 5 MP
Charger type: micro USB
Initial Android version: 5.0 Lollipop
Release Date: December 2015

The Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016) has a shiny glass surface that looks premium but tends to be slippery. The Samsung TouchWiz overlay includes motion and gesture controls as well as a robust power-saving feature. It has only 16 GB of internal storage, but it has a microSD card slot.

The water-resistant Galaxy A3 (2016) has a dual-SIM slot, but one of them doubles as a memory card slot when you do not need the second SIM card. The A3 has a fingerprint scanner and a headphone jack.

Samsung Galaxy A8 (2015)

Samsung Galaxy A8 2015 smartphone front

Samsung

Display: 5.7-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 1080x1920 @ 386ppi
Front camera: 5 MP
Rear camera: 16 MP
Charger type: micro USB
Initial Android version: 5.0 Lollipop
Release Date: August 2015

The Galaxy A8 has the largest screen of the 2015 series, pushing it into phablet territory. It's also the first in the A series to get a fingerprint scanner for unlocking. The A8 (2015) has a dual-SIM card slot (great for frequent travelers), microSD card slot (accepts cards up to 128 GB), and headphone jack.

The 16-megapixel camera is also an improvement and has several modes, such as panorama and Pro, and other modes are available for download. The Samsung TouchWiz overlay contains less bloatware and adds interface theme options so that users can customize colors and other elements.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2015)

Samsung Galaxy A7 2015 front, back angles

Samsung

Display: 5.5-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 1080x1920 @ 401ppi
Front camera: 5 MP
Rear camera: 13 MP
Charger type: micro USB
Initial Android version: 4.4 KitKat
Release Date: February 2015

With a larger screen and 1080p resolution, the Galaxy A7 (2015) one-ups its predecessors, though it shares the same camera specs with the 2015 A5 model. It also features a faster processor, and like the A5 and A3, it includes a microSD slot and a headphone jack.

Samsung Galaxy A5 (2015)

Samsung Galaxy A5 2015 from above, angled

Samsung

Display: 5-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 720x1280 @ 294ppi
Front camera: 5 MP
Rear camera: 13 MP
Charger type: micro USB
Initial Android version: Android 4.4 KitKat
Release Date: December 2014

The first Galaxy A5 is a slight upgrade over the A3 released simultaneously, with a higher resolution primary camera and screen. The display is also a bit larger, as is the battery. Like the A3 (2015), the A5 has a headphone jack and microSD slot but not a removable battery.

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2015)

Samsung Galaxy A3 2015 front angle

Samsung

Display: 4.5-in Super AMOLED
Resolution: 960x540 @ 245ppi
Front camera: 5 MP
Rear camera: 8 MP
Charger type: micro USB
Initial Android version: 4.4 KitKat
Release Date: December 2014

The original Galaxy A3 eschews the plastic construction that many earlier mid-range Galaxy smartphones sported in exchange for a metal unibody design. It also drops the LED notification light, which blinked in various colors to indicate whether it was a text, reminder, or another type of alert. It retains the headphone jack and microSD card slot, which in this case accepts up to 64 GB cards to add to the 16 GB of internal storage.

Was this page helpful?