If a $100 finances telephone is a fast-food greenback menu and a $1,000 flagship is a steakhouse diner, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G sits comfortably between the 2: a comfy all-day cafe with surprisingly scrumptious meals.

That is good. Extra importantly, it is good the place it issues. Certain, you will must order your meals on the counter and refill your water, but it surely’s value it as a result of the brunch is incredible and the costs are cheap.

The A52 5G is the highest-spec of the finances A-series Galaxy telephones we’ll see within the US this 12 months, providing all of the fundamentals together with some good extras for its $499 price ticket. Its 6.5-inch display screen comes with a quick 120Hz refresh price which is uncommon at this value level. Its major digicam consists of optical picture stabilization, one thing I missed once I used the costlier OnePlus 9. The A52 5G is rated IP67 waterproof for some additional peace of thoughts. And hey, there’s nonetheless a headphone jack! On this financial system!

Nonetheless, it is not a flagship, and the fee needed to be lower someplace. The body and again panel of the system is plastic, and whereas I just like the matte end on the again, there is a sure hollowness if you faucet on it which is not very convincing. There’s additionally no telephoto to enrich the vast and ultrawide cameras, simply digital zoom plus a depth sensor and a macro digicam of questionable utility.

The necessary stuff is right here, although. Samsung at the moment has the A52 5G on its record of month-to-month OS updates, and it says it can present three years of main Android OS updates and a minimum of some safety assist for 4 years. This may go a great distance towards benefiting from your funding on this telephone, and it’ll enable you to benefit from its headline function: 5G – Sub-6GHz, particularly, {hardware} for C-band frequency carriers Will begin utilizing in 2022 with -level assist.

It is not uncommon to see 5G supplied in midrange and finances telephones, however on this nation, it can take a number of extra years for our 5G networks to be actually good. Wholesome system assist for the following few years makes it extra probably that the A52 5G will really final lengthy sufficient to make that 5G promise land.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

The A52 5G provides strong on a regular basis efficiency with a Snapdragon 750G chipset and 6GB of RAM.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Show and Display screen

The A52 5G makes use of a Snapdragon 750G processor paired with 6GB of RAM, and the mixture looks like a very good match right here. You possibly can actually push this out of your consolation zone with heavy duties like webpages with JavaScript, and I seen a second of hesitation when opening the digicam app from the lock display screen. However for day-to-day duties and social media scrolling, it stays nice.

Like final 12 months’s mannequin, the display screen is the place the A52 5G (and Samsung generally) actually stands out. It is a 6.5-inch 1080p OLED panel that is wealthy, vivid, and usually beautiful to take a look at. Plus, it provides all of the velvety smoothness that comes with a 120Hz refresh price. Swiping between dwelling screens, opening apps, scrolling by Twitter – all of it feels nice with the quick refresh price.

Contemplating the additional energy wanted for a 120Hz display screen, the A52 5G’s 4,500mAh battery lasted effectively into my use the following day persistently. I managed to get two full days out of it once I forgot to cost it in a single day and determined to embrace the chaos and simply plow on the remaining cost. That was with gentle to average use, and I used to be right down to a low double-digit battery share by the tip of day two, however my gamble paid off.

One function that continues to be a dropping battle over the A52 5G is the in-display optical fingerprint sensor. I have been punished by the telephone a number of instances for not leaving my finger on the sensor, and it nearly all the time took a minimum of two tries for me to register it. In vivid mild that hit price goes down significantly.

These points aren’t distinctive to this system, and you’ll select to make use of solely (much less safe) facial recognition or a plain previous PIN to lock and unlock the telephone. However costly telephones just like the OnePlus 9 and Samsung’s personal S21 have good in-display fingerprint readers, so it is a trade-off to pay attention to.

The Galaxy A52 5G comes with Android 11, which is nice. The much less excellent news is that, as we noticed in S21 units earlier this 12 months, Samsung’s newest tackle the OS fills a variety of undesirable apps, advertisements, and basic litter into the UI. I watch sufficient advertisements all through my day, and I do not recognize seeing one other once I verify the climate on my telephone’s climate app.

If there is a optimistic means to take a look at this example, it appears extra forgivable on a finances telephone than a flagship over $1,000. However I will not have advertisements in any respect. In the event you purchase the equally priced Pixel 4A 5G, you surrender many different options from the A52 5G, however you get an ad-free expertise.

There’s a normal vast, ultrawide, macro and depth sensor situated within the rear digicam bump.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Digital camera

The A52 5G consists of three rear cameras, in addition to a 5-megapixel depth sensor. You get a 64-megapixel commonplace vast, 12-megapixel ultrawide, and the seemingly obligatory 5-megapixel macro digicam with OIS. There may be additionally a front-facing 32-megapixel selfie digicam.

The 64-megapixel major digicam in its commonplace picture mode produces 16-megapixel pictures which might be simply as vivid with the very saturated colours you’d anticipate from a Samsung telephone. Typically the look is nice, however as a rule, it is just a little an excessive amount of for my style. The excellent news is that this sensor is able to capturing a variety of nice particulars in good mild, and it does effectively in dim to very low mild situations as effectively.

I pitted its Evening Mode in opposition to the Google Pixel 4A, which continues to be the low-light champion within the midrange class. The A52 5G’s Evening Mode shot exhibits extra noise, and particulars have a watercolor look, however whereas the 4A hangs on to its title, the A52 5G lags far behind.

Left: Galaxy A52 Evening Mode. Proper: Pixel 4A Evening Mode.

The Pixel 4A continues to be the higher digicam even in good lighting, however the variations are extra subjective right here. The 4A tends to have a extra dim colour rendition, and the A52 has a slight distinction in comparison with the 5G’s pictures.

Left: Galaxy A52 5G. Proper: Pixel 4a.

So the A52 cannot beat the generation-old imaging expertise within the 5G 4A, however it may say extra in regards to the Pixel than anything. Moreover, the A52 5G turns in good all-around digicam efficiency. Photographs from ultrawide generally have a little bit of cool colour however are typically good. The selfie digicam provides two zoom settings: a barely cropped-in commonplace vast view and an ever-so-slightly vast angle. The “focal size” distinction between the 2 is sort of ridiculously small.

At its default settings, the selfie digicam does a good quantity of face smoothing and brightening. I do not assume it fairly crosses the road in hamcam territory, but it surely actually has that telltale “perhaps it is AI, perhaps it is Maybelline” take a look at it easily.

If you wish to go full hamcam, there is a new mode within the digicam app labeled “Enjoyable” with AR face filters dropped at you by Snapchat. There is a totally different choice of them daily, and you do not want a Snapchat account to make use of or share them.

I am tempted to dismiss them as “for the youth” but it surely’s most likely actually only for the aged like me who would not be a part of another social platform if I might probably keep away from it, thanks very a lot . Lastly, I can flip my face into a chunk of broccoli and share it with the world with out logging into Snapchat — three years after the children have moved on to one thing else. Anyway, there it’s, it really works, and you’ll really flip your face into broccoli.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Good {hardware} and wholesome software program assist make the A52 5G value spending just a little extra on.

There’s a lot that the Galaxy A52 5G will get proper. Maybe crucial function is one which appears far much less thrilling than the cool title specs: safety updates, a minimum of for the following few years. At $500, it is the excessive finish of the finances market, however a number of additional hundred {dollars} is straightforward to swallow if you already know you will get a number of extra years out of your funding.

Samsung has invested in {hardware} in all the suitable locations: the 120Hz display screen makes for an enhanced consumer expertise, battery life is nice, digicam efficiency is robust, and a wholesome processor/chipset mixture handles day by day duties effectively.

What I did not like—clunky software program, fussy fingerprint sensor, tending towards oversaturated colour in photographs—feels extra forgivable when the telephone will get the nonchalant stuff proper. The Pixel 4A 5G might be this system’s closest competitors, and it beats out the A52 5G on digicam high quality and a cleaner UI, but it surely’s a smaller system and not using a fancy quick refresh price display screen. Relying on how you’re feeling about any of this stuff, 4A 5G stands out as the higher choice for you.

Regardless of the case, the A52 5G is an efficient midrange telephone in the present day. However simply as importantly, will probably be a very good telephone a number of years from now. With strong {hardware} and a software program assist system to again it up, it is an costly finances telephone that is value paying just a little additional for.

Pictures by Alison Johnson / The Verge


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