• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G might have a different letter and number in its name to the Samsung Galaxy S21 range, but on paper it could almost be an S21 Lite.

From its 120Hz screen to its water resistance, 5G, quad-lens camera, and more, this a feature-packed handset, with many of those features being in line with – or even occasionally ahead of – the Samsung Galaxy S21.

That’s despite the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G being far more affordable. So is this quietly one of Samsung’s best phones? Well, as ever it depends on what you’re looking for, but for a lot of people it might just be.

Screen

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G has a 6.5-inch 1080 x 2400 Super AMOLED screen with 407 pixels per inch, plus a 120Hz refresh rate. That latter spec is often reserved for much pricier phones. In fact, outside of gaming phones that’s the highest refresh rate you’ll find on a handset at the time of writing.

It’s a measure of how many times the screen refreshes per second (120 in this case), and the higher the number the smoother interactions and animations can feel. The ‘standard’ amount is 60Hz, so this is double that.

As for the other screen specs – it’s fairly big, fairly high resolution, and uses AMOLED tech, which is typically seen as superior to LCD.

It’s also the same resolution and size as the Samsung Galaxy S21, but bigger. In fact, it’s closer to the 6.7-inch Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus, which also has the same resolution and refresh rate.

Does that mean the screen here is comparably good overall? Not quite, as the peak brightness of 800 nits isn’t as high (though it’s still reasonable), and there’s no HDR10+ support, which you do get on Samsung’s flagships.

The Galaxy A52 5G’s screen also uses Gorilla Glass 5, which while strong isn’t quite as tough as the Gorilla Glass Victus used on the Galaxy S21 range. But overall the screen comes remarkably close to matching those flagships, and at a much lower price.

Design

Samsung Galaxy A52 Design

One of the main compromises you make with the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is the design, as the bezels are a bit bigger than on a flagship and the back is plastic. However, it’s worth noting that the standard Samsung Galaxy S21 also has a plastic back, so once again the A52 5G finds itself not actually all that far behind.

You even get water resistance here. Not quite as much as on the S21 range, but its IP67 rating means it can endure water to depths of up to 1 metre for up to 30 minutes, so it should be able to survive a splash, spill, or the rain.

Coming in at 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4mm and 164g, it’s middling in terms of size and weight. It’s about what you’d expect for a phone with a 6.5-inch screen, and while certainly not compact, you’re unlikely to feel that it’s massive.

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G has a fairly plain look, and definitely doesn’t look or feel like a high-end handset, but it’s easily in line with its cost, and the water resistance is a nice bonus.

Power

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G has a Snapdragon 750G chipset, which is mid-range but offers generally solid performance, and also of course supports 5G.

It’s paired with a healthy 6GB of RAM, and allows for a smooth experience, even when gaming. This isn’t ever going to be as speedy as a top-end handset, but it’s in line with rivals and a significant upgrade on the Samsung Galaxy A51.

If you want more power on a budget though consider something like the OnePlus Nord, which has a slight edge over the A52 5G on that front.

Camera

Samsung Galaxy A52 Camera

In terms of sheer numbers, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G has the Samsung Galaxy S21 beat for cameras, as there are four on the back.

These include a 64MP f/1.8 main camera (with optical image stabilisation), a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, a 5MP f/2.4 macro camera, and a 5MP f/2.4 depth sensor.

It’s only really the first two of those that are up to much, and of course the camera performance overall isn’t as good as you’ll find on the Galaxy S21, but as with so many things here, for the money it’s very good indeed.

In good lighting conditions the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G can take great photos, and even in low-light it holds up reasonably well.

It can also record video in up to 4K quality at 30fps, and there’s a 32MP camera in a punch-hole on the front.

We’d have loved to see a telephoto lens, but we don’t expect that at this price, and that aside this is a strong camera setup.

Features

One feature worth highlighting is the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G’s in-screen fingerprint scanner, as while these are common at the high-end, cheaper phones often lack them. You also get a 3.5mm headphone port, which pricier phones often lack.

In terms of software, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G runs Android 11, which is the most up to date version of Android at the time of writing, and it’s overlaid with Samsung’s One UI – similar to what you’ll find on its Galaxy S flagship range.

Battery life, memory, and connectivity

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G has a 4,500mAh battery and supports reasonable 25W charging. That falls under the category of ‘fast charging’ but it’s well short of the fastest, with the OnePlus 9 for example charging at 65W.

That’s a pricier phone of course, but some cheap phones from the likes of Xiaomi and Realme also have the Galaxy A52 5G beat here. The Realme 8 Pro for example offers 50W charging and the same battery size at an even lower price.

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G also doesn’t offer wireless charging, but the most important factor here is how long the battery lasts, and on that front it does a solid job. While it’s no match for the likes of the Moto G9 Power with its 6,000mAh battery, the Galaxy A52 5G will comfortably last you a day, and for many users it won’t need a charge until lunchtime on day two.

Memory comes in at 128GB, plus a microSD card slot, and connectivity options include 5G, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is a phone that punches well above its weight, and might make you think twice about shelling out almost double on a Samsung Galaxy S21.

While it’s less powerful than that phone and has cutbacks in a few other areas too, it gets close in most of the ways that matter.

Looking at it in comparison to other phones in its own price bracket it also holds up well. It’s not the best at everything, with the OnePlus Nord offering more power and phones from Chinese brands often charging faster, for example, but from the screen to the cameras, battery, build and beyond, it’s at least as good as you could reasonably expect for the money, and in many ways better.

Specifications

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm): 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4
  • Weight (g): 189
  • Battery capacity (mAh): 4500
  • Colours: Awesome Black, Awesome Blue, Awesome Violet
  • Screen size (inches): 6.5
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2400
  • Pixels per inch (PPI): 405
  • Processor: Octa-core
  • Processor make: Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Internal storage: 128GB
  • Expandable storage up to: 1TB
  • Camera: 64MP, 12MP, 5MP and 5MP (32MP front-facing)
  • Operating System: Android 11

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