If a $100 price range telephone is the fast-food greenback menu and a $1,000 flagship is a steakhouse dinner, then the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G sits comfortably midway between the 2: the laid-back all-day cafe with surprisingly tasty meals.

It’s good. Extra importantly, it’s good the place it issues. Positive, it’s important to order your meals on the counter and get your individual water refills, but it surely’s value it as a result of brunch is improbable and the costs are affordable.

The A52 5G is the highest-specced of the price range A-series Galaxy telephones we’ll see within the US this 12 months, providing all the fundamentals for its $499 price ticket together with a number of good extras. Its 6.5-inch display comes with a quick 120Hz refresh fee that’s scarce at this worth level. Its major digicam contains optical picture stabilization, one thing I missed once I used the dearer OnePlus 9. The A52 5G is rated IP67 waterproof for some further peace of thoughts. And hey, there’s nonetheless a headphone jack! On this financial system!

Nonetheless, this isn’t a flagship, and prices needed to be reduce someplace. The gadget’s body and again panel are plastic, and whereas I just like the matte end on the again, there’s a sure hollowness while you faucet on it that’s not very reassuring. There’s additionally no telephoto to enrich the huge and ultrawide cameras, simply digital zoom plus a depth sensor and macro digicam of doubtful usefulness.

The essential stuff is right here, although. Samsung has the A52 5G on its checklist for month-to-month OS updates at the moment, and it says it should supply three years of main Android OS updates and at the very least some safety assist for 4 years. That can go a good distance towards making essentially the most out of your funding on this telephone, and it’ll enable you to make the most of its headline characteristic: 5G — Sub-6GHz, particularly, with hardware-level assist for the C-band frequencies carriers will begin utilizing in 2022.

It’s getting extra widespread to see 5G supplied in midrange and price range telephones, however on this nation, it’ll be a pair extra years earlier than our 5G networks are actually good. Wholesome gadget assist for the following few years makes it extra doubtless that the A52 5G will truly final lengthy sufficient to make it to that 5G promised land.


The A52 5G presents strong on a regular basis efficiency with a Snapdragon 750G chipset and 6GB of RAM.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G efficiency and display

The A52 5G makes use of a Snapdragon 750G processor with 6GB of RAM, and the mix appears like a great match right here. You may definitely push it out of its consolation zone with heavier duties like webpages with JavaScript, and I observed it hesitating a second too lengthy when opening the digicam app from the lock display. However for day-to-day duties and social media scrolling, it retains up nicely.

As in final 12 months’s mannequin, the display is the place the A52 5G (and Samsung usually) actually stand out. It is a 6.5-inch 1080p OLED panel that’s wealthy, vibrant, and customarily beautiful to take a look at. Plus, it presents all the velvety smoothness that comes with its 120Hz refresh fee. Swiping between residence screens, opening apps, scrolling by way of Twitter — all of it simply feels nicer with a quick refresh fee.

Even contemplating the extra energy wanted for the 120Hz display, the A52 5G’s 4,500mAh battery persistently lasted nicely into the following day in my use. I managed to get two full days out of it once I forgot to cost it in a single day and determined to embrace chaos and simply plow by way of on the remaining cost. This was with mild to average use, and I used to be right down to low double-digit battery share by the tip of day two, however my gamble paid off.

One characteristic I proceed to combat a dropping battle with on the A52 5G is the in-display optical fingerprint sensor. I’ve been chastised by the telephone many occasions for not leaving my finger on the sensor lengthy sufficient, and I nearly all the time want at the very least two tries to get it to register. That hit fee goes down considerably exterior in vibrant mild.

These issues aren’t distinctive to this gadget, and you’ll simply choose to make use of (much less safe) facial recognition or a plain previous PIN to lock and unlock the telephone. However there are nicer in-display fingerprint readers in pricier telephones just like the OnePlus 9 and Samsung’s personal S21, so it’s a trade-off to concentrate on.

The Galaxy A52 5G ships with Android 11, which is nice. The much less excellent news is, as we noticed within the S21 gadgets earlier this 12 months, Samsung’s newest tackle the OS stuffs a variety of undesirable apps, advertisements, and basic muddle into the UI. I see sufficient advertisements all through my day as it’s, and I don’t respect seeing yet one more once I verify the climate on my telephone’s personal climate app.

If there’s a constructive approach to take a look at this case, it’s that it feels extra forgivable on a price range telephone than on a $1,000-plus flagship. However I’d somewhat not have the advertisements in any respect. In the event you purchase the equally priced Pixel 4A 5G, you quit a variety of different options from the A52 5G, however you get an ad-free expertise.


Housed within the rear digicam bump are a regular huge, ultrawide, macro, and depth sensor.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G digicam

The A52 5G contains three rear cameras, plus a 5-megapixel depth sensor. You get a 64-megapixel customary huge with OIS, 12-megapixel ultrawide, and the seemingly compulsory 5-megapixel macro digicam. There’s additionally a front-facing 32-megapixel selfie digicam.

The 64-megapixel major digicam produces 16-megapixel photographs in its customary picture mode which can be vibrant with the very saturated colours you’d anticipate from a Samsung telephone. Typically the look is nice, however as a rule, it’s a little bit a lot for my style. The excellent news is that this sensor is able to capturing plenty of nice element in good lighting, and it even does nicely in dim to very low-light situations.

I put its evening mode up towards the Google Pixel 4A, which continues to be the low-light champ within the midrange class. There’s extra noise seen within the A52 5G’s evening mode shot, and particulars have a watercolory look, however whereas the 4A hangs on to its title, the A52 5G is sort of shut behind.

Left: Galaxy A52 evening mode. Proper: Pixel 4A evening mode.

The Pixel 4A continues to be the higher digicam in good lighting, too, however the variations are extra subjective right here. The 4A goes for extra subdued coloration rendering, and the A52 5G’s photographs lack a little bit distinction compared.

Left: Galaxy A52 5G. Proper: Pixel 4A.

So the A52 5G can’t beat the generation-old imaging tech within the 4A, however that may say extra concerning the Pixel than the rest. Except for that, the A52 5G turns in good all-around digicam efficiency. Pictures from the ultrawide typically have a little bit cooler coloration solid however are usually good. The selfie digicam presents two zoom settings: a barely cropped-in customary huge view and an ever-so-slightly wider angle. The “focal size” distinction between the 2 is nearly laughably small.

At its default settings, the selfie digicam does a good quantity of face smoothing and brightening. I don’t suppose it fairly crosses the road into hamcam territory, but it surely definitely has that telltale “possibly it’s AI, possibly it’s Maybelline” smoothed look to it.

If you wish to go full hamcam, there’s a brand new mode simply labeled “enjoyable” within the digicam app with AR face filters dropped at you by Snapchat. There’s a unique collection of them day-after-day, and also you don’t want a Snapchat account to make use of or share them.

I’m tempted to dismiss them as “for the youths,” however possibly that is actually for the olds like me who would somewhat not be part of one other social platform if I can probably keep away from it, thanks very a lot. Ultimately, I can remodel my face into a bit of broccoli and share it with the world with out logging in to Snapchat — three years after the children have all moved on to one thing else. Anyway, it’s there, it really works, and you’ll certainly flip your face into broccoli.


Good {hardware} and wholesome software program assist make the A52 5G value spending a little bit extra on.

There’s lots that the Galaxy A52 5G will get proper. Possibly crucial characteristic is one which sounds a lot much less thrilling than cool headline specs: safety updates for at the very least the following few years. At $500, that is the upper finish of the price range market, however a number of further hundred {dollars} is probably going simpler to swallow if you already know you’ll get a pair extra years out of your funding.

Samsung has invested in {hardware} in all the precise locations: the 120Hz display makes for an elevated person expertise, battery life is nice, digicam efficiency is robust, and a wholesome processor / chipset mixture handles day by day duties nicely.

What I didn’t love — the cluttered software program, fussy fingerprint sensor, a bent towards oversaturated coloration in pictures — feels extra forgivable when the telephone will get the nonnegotiable stuff proper. The Pixel 4A 5G might be this gadget’s closest competitors, and it beats the A52 5G on digicam high quality and a cleaner UI, but it surely’s a smaller gadget with out a fancy quick refresh fee display. Relying on how you’re feeling about both of these issues, the 4A 5G is likely to be the higher decide for you.

In any case, the A52 5G is an effective midrange telephone right this moment. However simply as importantly, will probably be a great telephone a number of years from now. With strong {hardware} and a software program assist system to again it up, it is a pricier price range telephone that’s value budgeting a little bit further for.

Images by Allison Johnson / The Verge

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