Should you buy in 2021?


Samsung has so many budget phones that it’s hard to keep track of them all. One of the company’s latest releases is the Galaxy A11, a budget device with a suggested retail price of $ 179.99. However, the sub-$ 200 price point is very competitive and the Galaxy A11 is battling the new Moto E, Nokia 2.3, and even other Samsung phones for your hard earned cash.

The Galaxy A11 sits at the bottom of Samsung’s US phone lineup, alongside last year’s Galaxy A10e and Galaxy A01. It’s a capable smartphone, but depending on what features you need, there are better options.

Design, fittings, what’s in the box

Samsung’s budget phones mostly look the same, and the Galaxy A11 is no exception. The device has a plastic case with a glossy finish, which easily attracts stains and dirt. I understand that the idea is to mimic the look of glass, but I would prefer a simple matte finish.

The back cover attracts fingerprints and dust very easily

The back of the phone also has a fingerprint sensor at the top, which worked great in my tests. There are also three rear cameras, including a 13MP main lens, a 5MP wide-angle camera and a 2MP depth sensor. The flash is located to the right of the camera array.

The Galaxy A11 has a 3.5mm audio jack at the top, which is (thankfully) common in phones at this price point, but what not common is the modern USB Type-C port in the A11 for charging. There are still plenty of sub- $ 200 phones in the United States that use the older microUSB connector, so Samsung gets little points there.

The 6.4-inch Galaxy A11 screen is slightly larger than the Galaxy S20 (6.2-inch) screen, but smaller than the Galaxy S20 + (6.7-inch) screen. While the A11’s panel is not Full HD, it is only 1560×720 pixels in size, but when watching YouTube videos and browsing social media, the screen looks decent enough. No massive camera notch like the Galaxy A10e or A01 – just a hole in the upper left corner of the display.

The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 450 chipset paired with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. It’s not much memory to work with, and the Snapdragon 450 is now three years old. Although the chipset can run in 64-bit mode, Android on the Galaxy A11 runs in 32-bit mode to reduce memory usage. This means no Pokémon Go.

The Galaxy A11 also lacks NFC, so you can’t use Google Pay, Samsung Pay, or any other contactless payment apps. In the US, phones under $ 200 still rarely have NFC support, but that doesn’t make the omission any less frustrating. IN Google Nexus S of 10 years ago there was NFC – now it should be the basic functionality in every smartphone.

Software, performance, battery

The Galaxy A11 ships with Samsung’s custom version of Android 10, also known as One UI 2.1. This means that the software is pretty similar to what you get on the flagship Galaxy S and Note smartphones, except for features that require certain hardware. There are all the usual Android 10 features (full-screen navigation, improved notifications, system-wide dark theme, etc.), as well as features that Samsung is adding on top.

If you’ve ever used a Samsung phone in the past few years, you’ll feel right at home with the Galaxy A11. Samsung still makes duplicate Google apps that you can’t completely uninstall (or even disable in some cases), and you can’t use third-party launchers with the new gesture navigation, but overall I don’t have many complaints. Unified interface.

However, if you are buying a Galaxy A11 from a carrier, get ready to lot malware. My review device was sourced from Boost Mobile and over 15 third party apps were automatically installed out of the box. Some of them, for example FastNEWS app by Boosteven sent spam push notifications.

The performance of the Galaxy A11 is what you’d expect from a cheap phone. It can take a few seconds for apps to launch, and when the phone wakes up, the speed slows down, but everyday use isn’t that terrible. Battery life is excellent at least – a large 4000mAh battery will last two days for most people.

Camera samples

The Galaxy A11 has three rear cameras: a 13MP f / 1.8 main camera, a 5MP f / 2.2 wide-angle camera, and a 2MP f / 2.4 depth camera. You can get decent enough photos from the main camera in sufficient lighting, although Samsung’s image processing can sometimes blur details and create unrealistic colors. However, the 5MP wide-angle lens simply does not have a high enough resolution to produce acceptable photographs. Don’t use it if you don’t like the look of digital camera images from ten years ago.

I wish Samsung would take the cost of a wide-angle lens and put it somewhere else (like a better chipset), but it looks like 2020 budget phones require a crappy wide-angle or macro lens.

Should you buy this?

Only if you get it with a big discount. The Galaxy A11 has a MSRP of $ 179.99. absolutely too much money for this phone. The new Moto E costs $ 150 significantly less and has an even faster chipset than the Galaxy A11. There is also Moto G7 Play for $ 130 consider which uses the faster Moto E chipset, although it has yet to receive Android 10 in the United States.

However, like the new car, the Galaxy A11 doesn’t seem to stick to its suggested retail price. Boost Mobile already sells the phone for $ 130 and US Cellular for up to $ 99. At around $ 100, the Galaxy A11 is a much better value – hardly any (new) phones in this price range have a USB Type-C port or a fingerprint sensor.

Buy if:

  • You get the phone for about $ 100.
  • You really want a cheap One UI phone from Samsung.

Do not buy if:

  • You need support for contactless payments.
  • You are looking for a phone with a great camera.

Should you still buy the A11?

Last year, we decided the A11 would be a good buy if you can get it at a discount. In the light recently announced A12, should you at least take a look at the A11?

IN Galaxy A12 is a very similar phone, occupying the same niche, but wins in a few notable places. First, you get a much newer ARM chip in the 12nm Helio P35. It’s a MediaTek chip, but it should be able to miss everything in the Snadragon 400 series when it comes to sheer performance. The A12 also gets an extra gigabyte of RAM, an additional 1000mAh battery capacity, and a slightly larger display. The bottom bezel of the A12 has also shrunk noticeably.

Samsung has been updating its flagship and more expensive A series phones for four years, but cheap phones like the A11 and A12 are not getting the same treatment. You can expect quarterly updates, and not very long. The A11 is now a year old and Samsung will likely stop ignoring this budget phone soon. The A12 is new and will receive timely updates for a little longer before Samsung leaves.

With a suggested retail price of $ 180, the A11 didn’t have much room to pass up. Depending on where you look, you can find it for around $ 100 from various carriers with prepaid or all the way up to full price (Samsung). An unlocked phone costs $ 159. on Amazon… We told you not to pay full price last year, and this is even more true now. If you can get the A11 for $ 99 or less from your preferred carrier, this is still an acceptable deal. Otherwise, you must scrape up another seventy or eighty dollars for a new phone.

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