Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

How do you make a superb midrange cellphone higher? When you’re Samsung, you swap in a house-made processor, bump up the battery capability, ditch the in-box charger, and decrease the worth by $50. Comply with that recipe and also you get the $449 Galaxy A53 5G.

Samsung additionally adopted the cardinal rule of not fixing what wasn’t damaged. The cameras, display screen, and design are all unchanged from final yr’s mannequin. Efficiency is about the identical, too, even with the swap from a Snapdragon processor to a brand new, unproven Exynos chipset. Dropping the beforehand included charging brick is a bummer, however it was going to occur ultimately.

Even higher than the minor spec upgrades, Samsung has improved its already robust software program assist coverage. The A53 5G will get 4 years of Android OS platform updates and 5 years of safety updates. That’s so long as Google helps its flagship Pixel 6 telephones with safety updates. Don’t anticipate to get frequent updates towards the tip of its lifespan, however getting any form of replace 5 years after launch is improbable for a midrange Android system.

Samsung has addressed a few of our software program complaints, too. The A53 5G ships with Android 12-based One UI 4.1, which is just a little tidier than the model that got here earlier than it. It’s nonetheless a Samsung system, although, and Samsung nonetheless desperately needs you to dwell in its world with its personal app retailer, digital assistant, and constellation of pre-downloaded apps.

When you’re comfortable dwelling in Samsung’s world, or at the least don’t thoughts placing up with it, then the Galaxy A53 5G ought to reward you with a superb return in your funding.

The A53 features a 6.5-inch OLED with 120Hz refresh price, with wealthy distinction and clean animations.

The Galaxy A53 5G is the primary Samsung cellphone bought within the US to make use of an Exynos chipset since 2015. Samsung has continued utilizing its own-brand chips in worldwide variations of its telephones (and so they’ve shown up in recent wearables). However within the US, it’s been all Qualcomm or MediaTek beginning with the Galaxy S7. The A53 5G and A33 5G are the primary units wherever to make use of this explicit 1280 Exynos processor. It’s paired with 6GB of RAM, which is greater than you’ll discover on most different midrange telephones.

Efficiency appears to be about on par with the A52 5G. Utilizing them facet by facet, typically there’s a barely longer lag after tapping on the search bar earlier than the keyboard pops up on the A53. However simply as usually, the A53 will open an app quicker than the A52. In sensible use, I’d name it a toss-up between the 2. I discover slight hesitations right here and there all through my day by day use, however all inside the regular vary for a midrange cellphone and nothing I couldn’t dwell with. It’s going to even run Genshin Influence, albeit with some frequent stutters when there’s rather a lot taking place on display screen. I’d anticipate total efficiency to carry up moderately properly, even after three or 4 years of software program updates, too.

Whether or not you purchase the cellphone unlocked or via a service within the US, you’ll have one alternative of storage choices: 128GB. That’s a wholesome quantity for this worth vary, and when you run out of area after a couple of years, there’s a microSD slot for added storage.

The A53 5G incorporates a 6.5-inch OLED with a 120Hz refresh price, and it affords a superb degree of element with 1080p decision. It may be just a little tough to see in very vivid outside situations, however in all different conditions, it’s a wealthy, vibrant show, and the quick refresh price retains issues wanting clean. At this worth level, it’s about the most effective you may anticipate from a cellphone display screen.

There’s an in-display fingerprint scanner for biometric unlocking. Samsung says it’s the identical one used within the A52 5G, and I imagine them. However I’m having a better time with it than I did within the earlier mannequin, and I really feel like I’m getting fewer prompts to retry. Possibly the software program bought higher. Possibly I’ve extra persistence now. Who can say? It’s a beat slower than the very finest optical fingerprint sensors in flagships, just like the OnePlus 10 Professional, however it’s usually correct and fast sufficient to not trigger any main frustration daily.

The A53 5G options IP67 mud and water resistance, which remains to be uncommon on this class. Meaning the A53 5G ought to stand as much as splashes, spills, and a few water submersion. When you’ve ever seen a cellphone die a watery dying after an unintentional drop in a physique of water (let’s not speak about what occurred at West Seattle Summer time Fest 2019), then you know the way priceless that water resistance is.

The opposite key spec enchancment is the improve from a 4,500mAh battery to a 5,000mAh capability. Samsung claims the brand new battery will get you thru two full days of use, and when you’re a light-weight person or on Wi-Fi more often than not, then that’s a good declare. I can get via a full day no drawback, even streaming some video and spending most of my time on 5G, however not fairly two days. I did push it fairly arduous on day two by downloading Genshin Influence, however I solely bought to about 2PM after I began getting prompts to cost the cellphone. Gentle customers can anticipate to get via two days on a cost, however when you’re a reasonable or heavy person, it could be finest to recharge in a single day to keep away from dipping into the single-digit percentages.

There’s no charging brick included within the A53’s field, and never even a USB-C cable is included. The headphone jack that the A52 included is gone, too, as a result of all good issues should finish. These are a few flagship options trickling right down to the A53, and I want they hadn’t.

When you purchase the A53 via AT&T, T-Cell, or unlocked, you’ll get a model of the system that’s appropriate solely with low- and mid-band 5G — no superfast high-band millimeter wave (mmWave). That is positive — mmWave is tough to search out anyway. The model of the cellphone bought via Verizon does provide mmWave assist and prices $50 extra.

When you’re shopping for your cellphone via Verizon, you might be seemingly paying for it in your month-to-month invoice quite than on the full retail worth — during which case the mmWave model is your solely alternative. When you do have the choice of shopping for the cellphone unlocked, go forward and save your self $50 and simply purchase it with out mmWave even when you’re on Verizon. You gained’t miss it, and your wireless plan might not even include it to start with.

Pictures from the A53 are punchy and saturated.

The Galaxy A53 5G borrows its predecessor’s digicam system, headlined by a 64-megapixel f/1.8 normal extensive. It options optical stabilization, which is a uncommon and welcome characteristic within the midrange class. (You’re extra more likely to get a pointy shot in reasonable lighting situations.) There’s additionally a 12-megapixel ultrawide, together with 5-megapixel macro and depth sensors.

Count on good high quality pictures in vivid gentle, with punchy, saturated colours. The primary digicam holds its personal in dim and even very low gentle, with an evening mode that brings out a superb quantity of element offered your topic isn’t shifting a lot. Portrait mode pictures are serviceable, too, particularly when there’s loads of gentle, however not as spectacular as we noticed on the Galaxy S22. There’s additionally no telephoto lens right here, so your solely possibility for portraits is the broader view of the usual digicam.

Video recording tops out at 4K / 30p, with 30 and 60p choices in 1080 decision. Video clips look positive; the digicam’s autofocus hunts just a little bit in low gentle. There’s further stabilization accessible in 1080 / 30p mode, however it’s finest suited to vivid outside gentle. (Clips in reasonable and low gentle with this characteristic enabled look darkish and noisy.)

Altogether, it’s a digicam system that’s good for the worth. You’d definitely get higher from a flagship — together with a telephoto lens — however it does an enough job. The A53 doesn’t fairly measure as much as the midrange class chief: the Google Pixel 5A. Portraits and low gentle pictures look just a bit higher from the Pixel, and colours are rather less saturated. There are good causes to go for the Samsung over the Pixel 5A (extra on that in a bit), but when it’s pure digicam high quality you’re after, the 5A remains to be the most effective you are able to do for below $500.

The A53 5G’s {hardware} leaves me with little or no to complain about; it does nearly every little thing you would moderately anticipate a $450 cellphone to do. However I can discover some nits to select in Samsung’s software program — primarily that it’s Samsung software program.

If Samsung has its means, you’ll wind up with a complete bunch of Samsung apps downloaded in your cellphone once you begin utilizing it. Fortunately, you may decide out of downloading a whole lot of these throughout setup. Nonetheless, you’ll have an additional app retailer and an additional voice assistant in your cellphone, whether or not you need them or not. Bixby, I discovered, tends to mishear sure radio DJs saying “KEXP” as its personal identify. This can be a very Pacific Northwest drawback, however I used to be already irritated with Bixby, and this hasn’t helped issues.

To be truthful, Samsung has achieved just a little cleanup since One UI 3.0, like eradicating the advertisements on the prime of the climate app. You possibly can disguise the entire superfluous Samsung apps in a folder, and it’s doable to make use of the cellphone with out ever making a Samsung account if you wish to dwell your life with out an additional login. Simply know that you could be someday resolve to change the font on your phone and uncover that you simply’ll want a Samsung account to obtain one from the Galaxy Retailer. Win some, lose some.

With a wholesome assist coverage and IP67 ranking, the A53 5G ought to final for a few years to come back.
Photograph by Allison Johnson / The Verge

The Galaxy A53 5G is a straightforward choose when you dwell within the US and also you’re seeking to spend lower than $500 on an Android cellphone. The Google Pixel 5A is principally the cellphone’s solely competitors, however it’s seemingly to get replaced quickly and has a shorter shelf life at this level with solely a pair extra OS updates headed to it. You’d get a greater digicam and higher software program with out the entire Samsung duplicates, however it’s not bought via any carriers when you’re seeking to subsidize it together with your wi-fi plan.

Apart from ready for the Google Pixel 6A, the opposite possibility could be to spend extra and go for the Pixel 6. Google appears to have addressed some early bugs with Android 12 safety patches, and for $599, it’s a improbable system with a superb digicam and beautiful software program. However it’s considerably dearer — an additional $150. When you’re not choosy about getting the perfect picture high quality and you want (or at the least don’t thoughts) Samsung’s model of Android 12, then there actually isn’t a compelling case for spending the additional cash.

Samsung affords a whole lot of A-series funds telephones, and so they’re usually among the many finest choices of their respective worth brackets. The A53 5G is the Samsung A-series at its highest. It retains up with day-to-day duties now and may final properly into the following 4 or 5 years when you deal with it. The A52 was a superb purchase for $50 extra, and the A53 gives you a fair higher return in your funding — even when it’s important to deliver your individual charger now.

Images by Allison Johnson / The Verge

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Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

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