samsung galaxy a52s 5g review: a mid-range phone that feels like a flagship killer on the inside

© Carlsen Martin Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G Review: A mid-range phone that feels like a flagship killer on the inside

Samsung recently launched a new 5G smartphone in its A series. The Galaxy A52s 5G succeeds the 4G version of the Galaxy A52 in India and brings a major chipset upgrade as well as a smoother display. The Galaxy A52s 5G features a starting price of Rs 35,999 for the 6GB/128GB model and Rs 37,499 for the 8GB/128GB variant. So, without any further delays, let’s take a brief look at the Galaxy A52s 5G.

Design

Straight off the bat, nothing much has changed in terms of design and build. The phone has a plastic back and Gorilla Glass protection on the front. The build quality is unapologetically plastic and isn’t trying to mask itself as glass or metal. The device is offered in a Black, Light Violet, and White finish. Our model arrived in the White colour with a matte finish, which keeps fingerprints at bay quite easily.

On the back, there’s a rectangular camera module on the top that looks similar to that of the Galaxy A52. It also has a hole-punch camera cutout on the screen, while the rear panel has ‘Samsung’ engraved on the bottom. The volume rocker and power button of the device are situated on the right, while the SIM tray sits on the top. Additionally, the USB Type-C port, speaker grille, and headphone jack are located on the bottom.

One of the best parts of the Galaxy A52s 5G is the fact that it comes with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, which is quite a rarity at this price point. The A52s 5G also comes with stereo speakers that pump out surprisingly good audio. Overall, the Galaxy A52s 5G has a nice design, which isn’t just comfortable to use but features a nice minimalist look. Moreover, the A52s 5G

Display

The Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G sports a 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Unfortunately, the display only switches between 60Hz and 120Hz. The screen gets plenty bright, even under direct sunlight. The phone also boasts an in-display fingerprint reader, which is quite fast and reliable. The display pumps out bright, punchy, and vivid colours.

The high refresh rate makes scrolling through the display quite smooth. Additionally, the screen also had excellent viewing angles for watching movies. The one thing missing on this display is HDR playback, which is quite a shame considering the device’s price, but you do get WideVine L1 certification to stream shows on HD from OTT services. The display on the A52s 5G may not be flagship-grade, but is quite good and offers a lot to work with.

Performance

For performance, the Galaxy A52s 5G is powered by the Snapdragon 778G SoC chipset paired with 6GB or 8GB of RAM. The device also comes with 128GB of storage that is expandable via a shared microSD card slot. When it comes to performance, the Snapdragon 778G may not be flagship-grade, but it is certainly the next best thing. In Call of Duty: Mobile, the phone delivered smooth and fluid gameplay with the settings tuned to the max.

Asphalt 9: Legends ran without a hitch and this continued to be the case with all games I threw at the chip. The Snapdragon 778G did show its legs in benchmarking tests against the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 and Snapdragon 888 SoC. Additionally, opening apps were not as snappy as it felt on the iQOO 7 Legend. However, I will admit that it can be quite difficult to see the difference, making the overall user experience quite satisfying.

Cameras

The camera setup on the Galaxy A52s 5G includes a 64 MP primary sensor, a 12 MP ultrawide shooter, a 5 MP depth sensor, and a 5 MP macro unit. On the front, the device opts for a 32 MP selfie shooter. The Galaxy A52s 5G can record 4K UHD video at 30fps on both the rear and front cameras. But how do these cameras perform in terms of real-world usage?

The main camera does an excellent job when taking indoor and outdoor shots in bright light, capturing images with natural colours, crips details, and good dynamic range. The camera doesn’t always do a good job dealing with noise, particularly in the background, but textures are very well represented.

Photos taken on the ultrawide push out consistent colours as compared to the wide camera. Dynamic range and sharpness on the ultrawide are quite decent, although there is visible softening on the edges. You also get a macro camera that does a fairly decent job of capturing close-up photos of smaller subjects, so long as you have sufficient light.

You tend to see a little more noise creeping in when shooting in lowlight scenes. However, I found the night mode to be quite reliable in restoring parts of overblown highlights, cleaning noise, and fixing some details in shadows. The 12 MP ultrawide shooter can also do a decent job at night with decent colour saturation and exposure. The 32 MP selfie camera takes detailed portrait selfies as well as photos with natural-looking skin tones.

You can also capture 4K video at 30fps on both the front and rear cameras. Both the wide and ultrawide cameras on the back can record 4K video at 30fps. The main camera does feature OIS for good stabilization when capturing 1080p video. The main camera reproduces accurate colours, excellent contrast, and good dynamic range while capturing video in 4K resolution, particularly on the main camera. Overall, both the front and rear cameras on the Galaxy A52s 5G are quite reliable in most scenarios and even excel in some instances.

Battery Life

In terms of battery life, the Galaxy A52s 5G packs a 4,500 mAh battery, which can easily get you through a full day of average use. Even with the refresh rate set to 120Hz, the battery was more than adequate to get through an entire day with some power left to take into day two. The one downfall here is the fact that Samsung only offers a 15W charger in the box despite the phone’s 25W fast-charging support. But it is better than nothing when you consider flagship Galaxy S series devices don’t offer one at all.

Software

The Galaxy A52s 5G runs One UI 3.1 based on Android 11, which is just about as good as it gets in terms of Android skins. One UI 3.1 has no shortage of features and customization, although the interface is a little heavy on unwanted first-party apps. The Galaxy A52s 5G promises three years of guaranteed Android updates and four years of security patches.

Apart from the pre-installed bloatware, you won’t have too many complaints about the software, One UI 3.1 is arguably one of the most feature-rich third-party skin and brings better integration with Google services than previous versions of the software. It is worth noting that I was able to remove most third-party pre-installed apps.

Verdict

When it comes to mid-range smartphones, the Galaxy A52s 5G can go toe-to-toe with some of the best phones in the market, including the OnePlus Nord 2, the Reno6 Pro, and the Vivo X60. It has solid cameras, a massive and much-needed chipset upgrade, a smooth and vibrant display, good software, and above-average battery life. The A52s 5G pretty much ticks all the boxes, making it one of the best mid-range smartphones in India. However, with a starting price of Rs 35,999, it actually comes too close for comfort to some flagship killers like the Mi 11X Pro (Review) and iQOO 7 Legend (Review), both of which use a flagship Snapdragon 888 chip and come with marginally better cameras and displays.

But the A52s 5G still manages to gain a leg up on both of them with its very reliable software and IP67 rating. Despite the mid-range chip, there was nothing I couldn't do on this phone that I could on the iQOO 7 Legend. It isn’t hard to recommend the Galaxy A52s 5G, especially considering the various offers on the device. While the Galaxy S21 series and Galaxy foldables were the big stars for Samsung in 2021, the Galaxy A series just keeps getting better with every new device. And the A52s 5G is yet another example of it.

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