Introduction - Another Samsung Phone
Samsung Galaxy A52 is the successor to last year’s Galaxy A51 and offers some serious specifications for a premium mid-range device. The Galaxy A52 packs in a quirky 90Hz AMOLED display, it has a stylish design packed with a 64MP quad-camera, timely software updates as promised by Samsung, and a few more pros spread across the specs sheet. The mid-range device has an IP67 rating which is something a flagship phone released this year didn’t have (OnePlus 9) *coughs*. But even with that, you can’t just rely on a smartphone’s specs sheet after all, how it performs in real scenarios is crucial.
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Bingo, here’s a detailed hands-on review of the Samsung Galaxy A52 after testing the phone for more than a week.
Prices in India, Variants, Availability
Samsung Galaxy A52 is available on both Samsung India and Amazon India websites for purchase. The 6GB+128GB variant is available at Rs.26,499/- while the higher 8GB+128GB is priced at Rs.30,999/- (Without Offer).
Available colour options are Black, Violet, Blue, and White. There’s an exchange offer on Galaxy A52 with up to Rs 15,000/- off on eligible smartphones or you can go for “Without Exchange” pricing mentioned above. There’s No Cost EMI, EMI starting at Rs 1,247/mo, flat Rs 2000 discount on using HDFC Bank CC, and Rs 1,500 discount on HDFC Bank Debit Card that you can avail now. The device goes in stock on May 19, 2021.
Specs at a glance
Before we talk in detail about the Samsung Galaxy A52, let’s see what the on-paper specs look like?
- Display: 16.40 centimeters (6.5-inch) FHD+ Super AMOLED- Infinity O display
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G
- Storage: 6GB/128GB, 8GB/128GB
- Software: Android 11, OneUI 3.1
- Rear cameras: 64MP (F 1.8) main camera + 8MP (F2.2) Ultra wide camera 123˚, + 5MP (F2.4) depth camera + 5MP (2.4) Macro Camera
- Selfie camera: 20MP
- Battery: 4500 mAh with 25w fast charging
- Weight: 189g
- Dimensions: 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4 mm
Design and Build - Near To Awesome
Samsung never fails to impress the masses with the design aspect of its smartphones. Samsung Galaxy A52 is visually stunning and something that the Gen-Z crowd would actually love. Choose between four Awesome colour variants where I personally feel “Awesome White” looks fabulous but you can check for yourself.
Samsung Galaxy A52 has a plastic frame and a plastic back that looks premium because it doesn’t imitate glass back without compromising the look. The shape of the rear camera setup is what stands out. Instead of having a giant camera bump slapped on the back panel with a boundary at 90-degrees. The boundary of the camera setup nicely moulds into the back panel that looks sweet and nice and creates a smooth slope that looks appealing.
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The phone is 8.4mm thick, and trust me if you aren’t using a phone case, Galaxy A52 is slim and looks ergonomic and aesthetic. It’s just 189 grams in weight which tips it towards the heavier side although it is quite manageable.
Coming to the front, you get a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top for protection. A tiny punch-hole at the centre looks good. The bezels aren’t that slim compared to Galaxy A51 but that’s probably worth it since you are getting a stereo speaker setup. The earpiece doubles as a secondary speaker.
Talking about controls and ports, I found the SIM card tray on top with a secondary microphone. The bottom houses a 3.5mm headphone jack, a bottom-firing speaker, a USB Type C 2.0 port, and a primary microphone. Next up, the right frame has a power button and a volume rocker with a tactile feel to it and that’s about it.
Display - Crisp and Comfortable
What’s the first thing you’ll see on a smartphone? Probably it’s the display and luckily enough, Samsung Galaxy A52 doesn’t let you down. The display is a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED 90Hz panel with a 1080×2400 pixels resolution. The high smoothness at 60Hz does advocate in favour of Galaxy A52. The display lights up at 386 nits of typical brightness while you can go up to 794 nits on max auto setting. This is a significant improvement over last year’s A51 that rose up to 677. This makes the display comfortable for viewing even outdoors on a sunny day.
The display is huge and wraps around the front side of the device leaving reduced bezels only. In fact, Samsung has incorporated a tiny punch-hole cut-out at the centre that isn’t cumbersome or eats a lot of screen real estate. Overall, the display is crisp with good viewing angles and large enough to accommodate a few people around you on a movie night as it also comes paired with a stereo speaker setup.
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Samsung displays are among the best and I couldn’t stress that enough. The high smoothness 90Hz locks on most of the time if you are visiting apps like Gmail, Google Photos, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and so on. In fact, most of the apps I used were supporting 90Hz with just a few locked at 60Hz including camera apps and apps that have Maps components.
The high refresh rate also promises a stutter-free and lag-free experience especially in gaming although you have to bear that many games are locked at 60Hz. You can tweak between 60Hz standard and 60Hz high-smoothness screen where the former takes away the prize when it comes to preserving the crucial battery life.
Performance - Price Cannot Justify
This is the section where Samsung could have done more upgrades. The Snapdragon 720G used on Galaxy A52 is although powerful but the price tag the phone arrives at makes it compete with the likes of Realme X3 SuperZoom and others that have better processors. I ran benchmarking tests on Galaxy A52 and found out it scores just above half of what Realme X3 SuperZoom with SD855+ SoC managed to score which is mind-boggling. For context, the phone did perform well on AnTuTu when compared to its predecessor, Xiaomi Mi 10T and a bunch of other Galaxy A-series smartphones.
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In fact, even the Galaxy F62 available at Rs.23,999/- brings out a better performance than the steeply-priced Galaxy A52. Note that it doesn’t mean the Snapdragon 720G is not competent. It does bring quality output in usual tasks such as switching between apps and playing games. The high smoothness refresh rate on Galaxy A52 aids this as well, however, I feel it is slow compared to the rivals with better processors.
Software - With Promised Updates
Samsung does know it needs better-optimized software to keep up with the daily tasks on a smartphone. The OneUI 3.1 based on Android 11 is apparently the latest and the best software for Galaxy A52. With that being said, Samsung has promised three years of major Android OS upgrades and 4 years of security patches which makes Galaxy A52 immune till 2024 at least. The OneUI 3.1 offers a lot of features such as simplified Always-On Display Settings, Notification History, Chat Bubbles, Smart Pop-up view, Conversations feature, and more.
Cameras - As You Expect Them To Be
For starters, the Samsung Galaxy A52 sports a quad-camera setup. It has a 64MP primary snapper with OIS, a 12MP ultrawide snapper, a 5MP macro, and a 5MP depth sensor. It pairs with a 32MP selfie shooter mounted in a punch-hole cut-out. That’s all paper but how does it fare when tested on the ground?
Let’s talk about daylight photography on Samsung Galaxy A52. All the shots that I captured had a wide dynamic range with lively colours and details. Samsung’s Scene Optimizer is in place to grab quality shoots but it could be a hit and a miss at times. The primary sensor uses Quad-Bayer technology to bring 16MP shots by default but you can extend to full 64MP mode as well. I found out that HDR shots using the full 64MP mode are better for some reason than the binned 16MP shots.
You can use 2X zoom if you want the subject to be closed although some softness is quite visible. You can still go to 10x zoom by pinching on the screen although the shots aren’t that favourable so you might as well take a shot and crop it later.
Next up, we have an ultrawide snapper that can capture shots that look better. However, there’s some softness on the edges of the shots and the colours aren’t that lively when compared to the primary sensor. It fails to get the colour science right at times.
When it comes to low-light photography, Galaxy A52 is fairly average. It does snag quality shots with a night mode attached to it retaining details although with noise. The night mode lightens up the scene although it does suffer some inconsistencies lighting up the highlights. The 2x shots using night mode are usable and anything beyond that is not worth it.
Next up, there’s a 5MP macro sensor which is bigger than many of its rivals. It does snag quality shots retaining most of the details which are good and you don’t even have to take it up close to objects to get a perfect macro shot.
There’s a 5MP depth sensor on-board Galaxy A52 which is average. The subject separation may not be on point every time especially when shooting with complex backgrounds but it is still usable.
We get a 32MP primary front camera with Quad-Bayer technology. It rolls out 8MP stills maxing at 3264×2448 pixels resolution. I would say that selfies on Galaxy A52 are good quality. It is solid and the camera manages to retain most details with decent noise suppression. The Scene Optimizer works in your favour as well. The bokeh effect on Galaxy A52 is on-point as well. You can try FUN Mode with Galaxy A52 to add a zing to the shots.
Battery - A Slight Upgrade Here
I like Samsung devices because of their humongous battery sizes. As an upgrade from a 4,000 mAh battery on Galaxy A51, the Galaxy A52 sports a 4,500 mAh battery capable of keeping the device afloat for more than a day. In fact, I managed to take it to the next level clocking more than a day and a half on a single charge with some juice left to squeeze some more time. Toggling from 60Hz to 90Hz does increase the power consumption but it is very little so I would bet compromising on it for smoothness.
The device is paired with a 15W charging brick out-of-the-box that takes around an hour to charge up to 65 per cent. Give it around 100 minutes and it will charge fully. Although it is slow, the phone supports a faster 25W charging speed too.
Audio, Connectivity, Biometrics
The earpiece on the Samsung Galaxy A52 produces quality sound during calls. It is free from issues with the proximity sensor that many other smartphones from Xiaomi are riddled from. The earpiece acts as a secondary channel in conjunction with the bottom-firing loudspeaker to create a stereo speakers setup. I didn’t have issues with the setup although it isn’t the best but definitely a much-wanted raise from the Galaxy A51.
It comes calibrated with Dolby Atmos that lowers its maximum volume by a bit. There’s also Dolby Atmos for gaming that amplifies certain sound effects to give you an edge over others. Plus, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack which is like a cherry on a cake.
When it comes to connectivity features, Galaxy A52 is packed with lots. It has Bluetooth v5.0 with LE and A2DP support as well as Wi-Fi 5 dual-band, NFC, GPS support including BDS, Galileo, Glonass, and A-GPS navigation systems. You get a USB Type-C 2.0 port at the bottom and a most-wanted 3.5mm headphone jack is available too.
When it comes to its security aspect, the device has an under-the-display fingerprint scanner embedded in the bottom of the screen as usual. It does unlock the phone quickly but has a half-second delay to it which I guess goes without saying because it is a mid-range smartphone. A number of factors could be causing the minuscule delay as well as the hit rate that dips with the surrounding is brightly lit such as a sunny day.
You can still use PIN or Pattern lock if you want to check out the facial recognition system which is a bit less secure than the FPS.
Pros & Cons
- 6.47-inch Super AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate
- IP67 dust and water resistance
- 64MP quad-rear camera setup
- 32MP selfie camera
- No wireless charging
- Only 15W charger in the box
- No 5G variant in India
I personally loved the awesomeness of the Samsung Galaxy A52 although it doesn’t get everything right. Galaxy A52 is also an affordable smartphone from its 5G variant as well as Galaxy A72 4G launched alongside.
The IP67 certification, the 90Hz display, a bright AMOLED panel, a 64MP primary quad-camera with OIS, a humongous battery are a few of the pros of the device. However, Samsung could have included a faster chipset (probably an SD750G or SD765G or others). This means that you will still end up getting smartphones with faster chipsets at the price of a Galaxy A52 (as mentioned in the alternatives posted below). The 15W basic charger doesn’t impress as well even though the phone supports 25W. With all that, it depends on what you prefer and what compromises you can make to get your hands on Galaxy A52. Meanwhile, here’s some of the alternatives to try.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 certainly has many alternatives to choose from that may or may not outpace some or almost all the specs of the former. This includes Poco G3 which has a powerful Snapdragon 870 SoC while the Redmi K40 Oro gets a blazing-fast Snapdragon 888. The Poco X3 is a value for money although with slight downgrades while OnePlus Nord is an upgrade over Galaxy A52.