technology

Come for the price, stay for updates

 

Samsung’s A series phones have become famous: they are good, reasonably priced devices aimed at people who might not care what processor their phone has, or even know what RAM is. But as the gap between mid-range and flagship tiers shrinks, less expensive options like Galaxy A52 keep getting better and better – you don’t have to give up almost as much to save money as you used to. In fact, the A52 is so durable that I wouldn’t mind using it all the time – at least if it weren’t for a couple of sore spots.

Design, fittings, what’s in the box

In my opinion, the A52 is a revelation for Samsung’s mid-range. Last year’s A51 was a decent phone, but its rainbow pattern and glossy plastic finish really screamed. budget. In contrast, the A52 is a smooth, monolithic plastic plate with a pleasant eggshell. Internationally, it’s available in several trendy pastel colors, but here in the US we’re sticking with black for now (Stunning Black, officially). It’s a shame we’re missing out on the fun, but the black version has a bit of an elegant, faux high-end, I don’t mind at all – although the hand oil shows up more in it than in the lighter tones, which is a bummer.

The camera bump is made from the same piece of plastic as the back, and such a cool look would not have been possible if the phone was made of glass. The frame is covered with glossy mirror plastic along the edges. Looks good, but since it is plastic, I would prefer it to be the same as the back of the phone.

Around the front is a 6.5-inch OLED panel with 1080p resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. Everything about him is better than I expected. Colors and viewing angles are excellent, and the 120Hz frequency is completely unexpected for a regular $ 500 phone. On the other hand, the under-display optical fingerprint reader looks pretty budget-friendly. This is relatively accurate, but only requires Little work too long to feel liquid.

Great screen, mediocre fingerprint reader.

No surprises in the box: phone, normal literature, 15W power supply, and USB-C to USB-A cable.

Software, performance and battery life

The Galaxy A52 runs One UI 3.1 on top of Android 11 and I have to say I loved Samsung’s software. A lot of his apps still suck – ads and all – but hey, you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to. Inevitable elements like navigation and menus are easy to use and harmless, even by my finicky standards. Additional features like the Edge panel menu, while not necessarily my type, are there if you need them, and they’re easy to remove if you don’t. Samsung has also pledged to release three OS version updates and four years of security patches for the A52, which is the best software support you’ll get for almost any phone that wasn’t made by Apple.

The performance is also more than adequate. Powered by a Snapdragon 750G chipset (with 5G support) and six gigabytes of RAM, the A52 isn’t aggressive. fast like the Snapdragon 888 phone, but it’s not hard to use either. It will handle any ordinary smartphone task you throw at it without complaint, just don’t expect to easily edit a huge spreadsheet while playing a boring 3D game at the same time.

Battery life is good too. I was never scientific enough to keep track of lifespan, but with casual use, I easily got the A52 up to a second day with the display set to 120Hz – if you dial it back to 60 it will obviously last even longer. There is no wireless charging, but the 4500mAh battery can handle up to 25W of wired power.

Cameras

The cameras on the A52 are in a difficult position. They’re not bad, but I still can’t help but feel a little dissatisfied.

With enough light, photos from the main sensor are good – and should be, considering this is an optically stabilized 64MP shooter. The flexibility of a wide angle lens is something you really can’t take for granted in this price range. But two of the four cameras are rough – 5MP depth and macro sensors – and all sensors seem to struggle with exposure in less than ideal conditions. I often got images that were significantly darker or lighter than I expected. The details can get a little strange if you cut them too.

The macro camera, if you haven’t guessed it, doesn’t make much sense. In my experience, the results are usually no better than cropping a shot from the main sensor.

Macr-oh no. Please stop this Samsung.

It’s almost unfair to compare other mid-range phones to the Pixel 4a when it comes to image quality, but Google does eat a photo lunch for everyone in the sub-flagship space (the $ 500 4a 5G even has an ultra-wide lens). I was hoping that this phone, which costs $ 150 more than the base model 4a, from the same company that made one of the best camera phones this year, will only have small there is more to offer, but be that as it may, his cameras are fine.

Should you buy this?

Sure. The A52 is $ 100 more expensive than it was when the A51 was launched. For that $ 100, you get an updated design, a better processor, more RAM, a faster display, and IP67 water resistance (the A51 didn’t have an official rating). This is a big improvement.

Following the great tradition of the A series, the A52 is another competent mid-range Samsung phone in Samsung’s long line of competent mid-range phones. But I’d like to see some tweaks to either lower the price or allocate more budget to the A52’s weaker sides – for example, ditch the two useless camera modules and replace the 120Hz panel with a 90Hz panel.

And for $ 500, the A52 has a Pixel 4a 5G to contend with. Compared to this phone, this one has worse cameras and a slower processor, but also a better display, expandable memory, larger battery, rated water resistance, and longer software support.

Unless you really want the best photos that 4a 5G takes, there is nothing here that would make me hesitate to recommend the A52. Want a nice, big device for about $ 500? This is what. Knock yourself out.

Buy if:

  • Display quality and long-term software support are at the top of your list.
  • You just need a big, decent phone that you won’t have to think about for a few more years.

Do not buy if:

  • You need top quality photos. Consider the Pixel 4a 5G.
  • You can save longer. The S20 FE is constantly on sale, while the Galaxy S21 was only $ 650.

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