You are probably eyeing a flagship smartphone for months but have no budget to spend Rs 80,000 on a phone, especially during the pandemic. Truth be told, there isn’t a need to spend a ridiculous amount on a smartphone when you get a much capable phone for way less. Samsung’s new Galaxy A52 offers pretty much every feature you would want in a high-end phone, including a high refresh rate display, IP67 dust and water resistance, and even stereo speakers. With the Galaxy A52 starting at Rs 26,499, this smartphone sets a benchmark for premium mid-range devices.
I have been using the Galaxy A52 for the past week, and here’s my take on a device that I call Samsung’s best value phone in years.
Samsung Galaxy A52 specifications (as reviewed): 6.5-inch AMOLED 2400 x 1080 pixels display, 90Hz refresh rate|Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, 6GB/8GB RAM, 128GB storage (micrSD support)|4500mAh battery|64MP (Quad camera), 32MP front camera|Android 11, Samsung OneUI
Samsung Galaxy A52 review price: Rs 26,499
Samsung Galaxy A52 review: What’s new?
The Galaxy A52 takes design cues from the Galaxy S21 – Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S21 – with a large glass panel with minimal bezels as well as a central front-camera hole-punch design. The back, however, is made of polycarbonate plastic. It isn’t glossy like the Galaxy M62, but the plastic is smooth and untextured. I’d say the Galaxy A52 feels sturdier and the matte plastic shell feels very solid in the hand. Despite having a large 6.5-inch display, the Galaxy A52 feels manageable in just one hand. The Galaxy A52 is also very lightweight at 189 grams. I got the Galaxy A52 in Awesome Blue which is visually appealing.
I really liked the camera array on the Galaxy A52. Unlike the new camera layout on the Galaxy S21 which is on the side frame of the device, the camera array on the Galaxy A52 blends with the design, which features four different lenses. The bottom side of the phone has a USB Type-C port, a headphone jack, and a speaker (the other speaker is the earpiece). There’s also a microSD card slot for expandable storage (up to 1TB) available at the top. The phone has power and volume keys on the right side.
Not only the Galaxy A52 is well-built and solidly designed, but it’s also water-resistant up to one meter for 30 minutes (IP67). I have not seen any smartphone at this price range to have IP67 dust and water-resistant rating.
Samsung Galaxy A52 review: What’s good?
Samsung has opted for a 6.5-inch FullHD+ Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy A52. In terms of quality, the AMOLED display isn’t different from the screen on the Galaxy M51 or M62. The screen seems super bright, rich, and colourful. There will always be an added advantage of owning a Samsung smartphone over the competition, thanks to the superb display. For a change, though, the Galaxy A52 has a high-refresh display. The 90Hz means everything zips around instantaneously. That being said, other phones like the Redmi Note 10 Pro which are much cheaper than the Galaxy A52 are outfitted with a 120Hz panel.
The Galaxy A52 has a Snapdragon 720G processor with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM (I tested the 8GB RAM/128GB model). Although I have not seen a major difference in performance when compared to Samsung’s own Exynos SoC, games run smoothly on the Galaxy A52. In day-to-day usage, I did not face any issues with this phone. Apps load faster, the camera takes shots much quickly, and even using photo editing apps is a delight on the Galaxy A52.
The phone doesn’t have 5G, but 5G isn’t making a huge difference to a lot of people right now, especially in India where the service is not operational. The Galaxy A52, however, has dual-SIM support which allows users to select two SIMs: one for home and one for work.
The Galaxy A52 lasts a full day on a single charge, making it from 7 am on day one until 8 pm on day two. So basically, the 4500mAh battery is strong. Charging the Galaxy A52 with the included 15W isn’t necessarily slow, but I wish Samsung had packed a 25W charger in the box itself. The wireless charging support, however, is missing from the Galaxy A52.
An optical fingerprint sensor is fine, though I found the in-display fingerprint scanner on the latest Galaxy S21+ more reliable. On the audio side of things, the Galaxy 52 comes with stereo speakers, which is a welcome improvement. They get really loud, so playing games or watching a movie on the Galaxy A52 is a joy.
The camera on the Galaxy A52 is impressive for a phone that starts at Rs 26,499. The phone comes with a quad-camera setup, headlined by a 64MP camera with OIS (optical image stabilization) for steady video recording at up to 4K resolution, a 12MP ultra-wide sensor, a 5MP macro camera, and a 5MP depth sensor.
In general, the Galaxy A52’s camera is a capable shooter. In good lighting conditions, the 64MP camera takes pleasant shots. Images are well-balanced, full of details and bright colours. The main lens is getting better on phones in this price range, and I believe the camera capability on premium mid-range phones will continue to get better over time. See the below camera sample that will give you some idea about what to expect from the Galaxy A52 camera.
I was equally impressed by the 12MP ultra-wide lens, though I didn’t like the depth sensor as well as the macro lens (the 2MP sensor is useless) much. I am not saying the portrait mode is disappointing but the blurred effect is less smooth around the edges of the subject. The 32MP front-facing camera is very good, and so is the phone’s ability to record videos. The main camera has optical image stabilization for video. Then there is a night mode too on the Galaxy A52. These shots (below) tell you why your next smartphone should have a dedicated night mode.
Samsung Galaxy A52 review: What’s not good?
The Galaxy A52 comes out of the box with Android 11-based One UI 3.1, the same version of OneUI running on Samsung’s expensive Galaxy S21 series. Over the past few months, Samsung’s One UI has improved a lot, but I can still see bloatware and ads on my Galaxy A52. The problem with excessive bloatware is that the phone starts getting slow as time passes.
Samsung Galaxy A52 review: Should you buy it?
If you look at this segment closely, you will get more choices than ever. Samsung too offers a number of fantastic smartphones in this price segment. I think the Galaxy A52 is for those who are looking to get locked into Samsung’s ecosystem but aren’t quite ready to spend a much higher price on the Galaxy S21+. Who would like the Galaxy A52? Honestly, this phone will appeal to everyone. The Galaxy A52 is lightweight, and has all the features I would wish for in today’s smartphone.