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Samsung Galaxy A32 Review – Underpowered for 2021

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By Akhil Kapoor - 
8th May 2021
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Samsung Galaxy M32
Review Summary

When it comes to a verdict, I would say the Samsung Galaxy A32 LTE version is better than the 5G variant except that it doesn’t support 5G. Despite all odds, Samsung Galaxy A32 looks and feels premium but there are flaws that could act as a dealbreaker. Be it the chipset that could have been way better to buddy night mode or no 4K video recording, you end up getting a rough experience at times. It does have a wonderful display because it is Samsung (duh!) and the battery life is great as well. The price tag is a sweet spot with many smartphones available with more upgrades than Galaxy A32 can offer.

PROS
  • Immersive 90Hz refresh rate display
  • Excellent battery life
  • Interesting software experience
CONS
  • Cameras just right for the price
  • Less powerful chipset
Key Specs
Battery Capacity
Battery Capacity
5000 mAh
Operating System
Operating System
Android v11
Screen Size
Screen Size
6.4 inches
Highlights:
  • Yes
  • Corning Gorilla Glass v5
  • 5000 mAh
  • Android v11
Introduction

Samsung has a dedicated series for budget-friendly to midrange to flagship devices and luckily, Galaxy A32 falls in the midrange category. The Galaxy A32 has got some upgrades over its predecessors including a much better 90Hz FHD AMOLED panel, a high-resolution primary camera, and a selfie shooter among others. Priced at a cutthroat price range of sub Rs 20,000/-, Galaxy A32 will surely move many heads with its cool and chic looks, excellent battery, and overall better display although it has a flip side too.

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Here’s a detailed review that I have put up after testing the device for a while now.

Prices in India, Variants, Availability

Talking about the pricing, there’s only one variant available in India i.e. Samsung Galaxy A32 with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. You can choose from Awesome White, Awesome Black, Awesome Blue, and Awesome Violet colour variants with a price tag of Rs 21,999/- on the Samsung India website. There is a tonne of offers such as exchange offers up to Rs 21,999/- (i.e. the full amount of eligible smartphones). The price tags of Flipkart India are slightly lower at Rs 20,999/- across all colours except Awesome Violet which is available at Rs 21,999/- on Flipkart as well.

Box Contents

Here you get to see a familiar sight. A plain white box with a printed sleeve on it with the phone’s picture. Inside the box you see:

  • Samsung Galaxy A32 device
  • 15W Adaptive Fast Charger
  • USB Type C cable
  • User manual
Specs at a glance

Before we talk in detail about the Samsung Galaxy A32 let’s see what the on-paper specs look like?

  • Display: 16.26 cm (6.4-inch) Full HD+ AMOLED Display, 90Hz refresh rate
  • Processor: Mediatek Helio G80
  • Storage: 6GB/128GB
  • Software: OneUI 3.1 based on Android 11
  • Rear cameras: 64MP + 8MP + 5MP + 5MP
  • Battery: 5000 mAh
  • Weight: 184g
  • Dimensions: 158.9 x 73.6 x 8.4 mm
Premium Design and Feel

Samsung Galaxy A-series falls in the middle of M-series and S-series as mentioned above. Samsung has gone minimalist with its A-series smartphones this year and it clearly shows how Galaxy A32 has been designed to adapt the approach. Instead of having a giant camera island at the back, Samsung Galaxy A32 doesn’t have it at all. It’s just three giant camera sensors protruding above the back panel.

Adjoining the main camera stack lies two circular protrusions that include a camera sensor and a LED flash. That’s not, there’s no camera bump and neither a raised up section like Galaxy A52 which is kind of cool, to be honest.

The back is plastic with a frosted matte finish and the frame is plastic too with a glossy shine to it. The back might become a fingerprint magnet depending upon the colour you choose. Apparently, the opinion regarding the “premium-ness” of the overall design is different. Some would say it is not as premium-looking as Galaxy A52 and Galaxy A72. I personally feel the device looks good in the hand and has a weight of 184grams which makes it a tad bit heavier than Realme 8 Pro but lighter than Poco X3 Pro.

On the front, you get a giant Infinity-U AMOLED panel and the bezels around it are thick, to be honest. Albeit it is probably on-point with the price tag but those who want slimmer bezels would not like it.

Anyways, the power button and the volume rocker made up of plastic with great tactile feedback are on the right, the dual SIM card slot is on the left. You will get a USB-C port, a loudspeaker, a primary mic, and a headphone jack at the bottom, and finally, a secondary mic on the top and that’s it.

Stunning Display

Samsung Galaxy A32 gets a 6.4-inch 90Hz FHD Super AMOLED panel which is better than the 720p 60Hz LCD panel mounted on its 5G variant. Anyways, talking about the 4G variant, the display has a resolution of 1080×2400 pixels and lets you use the phone in a 90Hz setting which is better than the standard 60Hz refresh rate. The display is huge and covers most of the front panel albeit with thick bezels and chin.

The display lights up at 814 nits in the Adaptive mode which is more than enough to view it under direct sunlight without any hassle. It dips down to 1.8nits which makes it comfortable for viewing at night without putting strain on the eyes. And yes, blacks are really blacks which go around to show just how infinite the contrast on the display really is. The display clocks to 400 nits as maximum brightness using the slider manually which gives it almost the same numbers as many other Samsung smartphones.

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I had no issues using the display at all. Its 90Hz refresh rate is buttery smooth and lets you glide across video players, the UI, and social media apps among others at its 90Hz HRR. This is 50 per cent better than what standard 60Hz transitions and animations look like. You can still go for a 60Hz standard refresh rate in case if you want to save the battery juice but perhaps using the 90Hz is such a pleasing experience. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get 60Hz on using the HRR settings, some of the apps/elements are still locked to 60Hz.

Unfortunately, there’s no HDR support on the device and thus, you can’t view HDR content on Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and others. But its sheer size, prowess as one of the best displays is something that will make you forget the odds.

Average Performance

Well, now the most crucial part of deciding if you would buy a smartphone or not. Galaxy A32 picks up a MediaTek Helio G80 processor with a 2+6 configuration clocked at 2.0GHz and 1.8GHz respectively. It has a Mali-G52 MC2 GPU taking on the post of graphic processing. Apparently, you don’t get storage options but a single 6GB+128GB variant which is still great since you have a microSD card slot (hybrid) to yank up the storage to 1TB.

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Talking about the performance, I very much don’t like the processor to be honest. It does make an upgrade over Samsung Galaxy A31 but lags quite behind almost all of its rivals including Vivo V20, Realme 7 Pro, Redmi Note 10 Pro to name a few.

Its single-core and multi-core tests on Geekbench 5 reveal the same story due to the underwhelming processor. Samsung could have used newer Dimensity chipsets or switched to better Snapdragon chipsets but it’s Samsung, it ships a flagship phone in India with Exynos chipset when its Snapdragon variant is many times better.

In any case, the phone does handle everything you throw at it although w.r.t its chipset’s capacity. You could notice some delay and lag here and there, missed frames while playing games and so on but overall, it performs decently. I would still stress it enough that having a Snapdragon chipset would have made quite an extensive difference.

Interactive Software

Samsung Galaxy A32 is powered by the latest Android 11-based OneUI 3.1. It is a combination of the best of two worlds and with that, Samsung is also offering 3 years of Android OS upgrades and 4 years of security upgrades as well. The OneUI 3.1 is a sweet UI that has made OnePlus follow the footsteps of diversifying the interactive and viewing areas for proper one-handed usage. OneI 3.1 is also one of the lightest UI with just a few bloatware, features like Chat Bubbles, Dark Mode, new media controls, fully integrated SmartThings platform, and more.

Cameras - Great for the Price

Specs-wise, the Samsung Galaxy A32 sports a quad-camera setup which includes a 64MP primary snapper with f/1.8 aperture, an 8MP ultrawide snapper with f/2.2 aperture, and 123-degrees FoV, a 5MP macro, and a 5MP depth sensor. The front has a 20MP primary shooter on-board.

Talking about the primary sensor, it snags 16MP binned shots using 4-in-1 pixel binning technology. It does capture better shots but you will get higher details at its full resolution of 64MP. The sensor controls the noise on both the modes although as the shadows draw into the frame, the noise becomes somewhat apparent and that is why a Night Mode comes to the rescue. I liked how the sensor was able to take daylight shots. Although it isn’t a Pixel or an iPhone, Galaxy A32 has one of the best camera setups in this price range.

Using the ultra-wide camera lets you take a wider field of view at 123-degrees. The shots are natural during the daytime and the sensor was able to capture a good amount of details. But as you zoom in, the lack of details becomes apparent.

It goes without saying, Samsung has been using a low resolution of macro sensors ever so often. It lacks autofocus and something that many other reviewers have already approved as true. The depth sensor, on the other hand, does a great job of capturing depth-related data that the primary sensor used for the bokeh effect. The edge detection on the sensor is a bit off although you will still get quality shots using the primary plus depth pair.

Flip the phone and you get a 20MP shooter housed in an Infinity-U notch. Daytime photography using the 20MP sensor is great since it retains all the details and captures skin tones as accurately as possible. But when it comes to low-light selfies, it suffers a bit. You can still use the screen flash to light up the shot at night using the front camera or you can check out the Night Mode although the results are almost the same with or without using it.

The front sensor can record videos at FHD resolution at 30fps. The rear camera setup can capture videos at FHD resolution at 30fps so there’s no 4K recording here. This could be a dent in your decision to buy Galaxy A32 or not because many of its competitors have 4K video recording capability.

Excellent Battery

Samsung Galaxy A32 arrives with a modest 5,000 mAh battery which goes in line with the price tag. This should provide a battery backup for an entire day or moderate and mixed usage while if you use it for light to moderate use cases, it should definitely wake you up as well. The device has an FHD panel with 90hz which is intensive to the battery while the underpowered chipset offsets it that should work in your favour.

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The device is supplied with a 15W charger that takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes to juice up the battery to its capacity. Now, I would have suggested using a faster-charging tech would have meant a lot for people buying a Rs 20,999/- smartphone.

Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics

As is the case with any other mid-ranger, you get a single bottom-firing loudspeaker with Samsung Galaxy A32. Unfortunately, it has a below-average loudness score of -30.3 LUFS which is way lower than its rival Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro at -25.7 LUFS while the Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC has a -25.3 LUFS score. That doesn’t mean the speaker setup is awful, it is average but you won’t have issues watching movies and so with the speaker on or via the headphone jack.

The array of connectivity features includes a 3.55mm headphone jack (a must-have). The device supports Wi-Fi 5 dual-band, Bluetooth v5.0 with LE and A2Dp along with GPS support to Galileo, BDS, Glonass, and A-GPS navigation systems. The device has a market-dependent NFC and comes with a USB Type-C 2.0 for data transfer and charging.

When it comes to authentication on Galaxy A32, it has a sway of options to try. First, you can always pick up either PIN or Pattern lock as per your will. If not, try the under-the-display fingerprint scanner that Galaxy A32 offers onboard thanks to the AMOLED panel.

I tried it for a while and it does unlock the phone but with a slight delay and it is so much that you won’t even feel it when you aren’t looking at it. The moment you hold your thumb against the sensor and watch the FPS go live, you’ll feel it is slightly slower but way secure than the software-backed facial unlocking feature.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Immersive 90Hz refresh rate display
  • Excellent battery life
  • Interesting software experience

Cons

  • Cameras just right for the price
  • Less powerful chipset
Verdict
When it comes to a verdict, I would say the Samsung Galaxy A32 LTE version is better than the 5G variant except that it doesn’t support 5G. Despite all odds, Samsung Galaxy A32 looks and feels premium but there are flaws that could act as a dealbreaker. Be it the chipset that could have been way better to buddy night mode or no 4K video recording, you end up getting a rough experience at times. It does have a wonderful display because it is Samsung (duh!) and the battery life is great as well. The price tag is a sweet spot with many smartphones available with more upgrades than Galaxy A32 can offer. The Poco X3 Pro has a flagship-grade chipset with a 120Hz LCD panel while the Realme 8 Pro packs in a Snapdragon 720G with 4K video recording capabilities. Similarly, Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro or Pro Max has HRR with a powerful chipset, an overall better camera, and more than makes it alluring.


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