If a $100 finances cellphone is a fast-food greenback menu and a $1,000 flagship is a steakhouse diner, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G sits comfortably between the 2: a comfortable all-day cafe with surprisingly scrumptious meals.

That is good. Extra importantly, it is good the place it issues. Positive, you may should order your meals on the counter and refill your water, but it surely’s value it as a result of the brunch is implausible and the costs are cheap.

The A52 5G is the highest-spec of the finances A-series Galaxy telephones we’ll see within the US this yr, providing all of the fundamentals together with some good extras for its $499 price ticket. Its 6.5-inch display screen comes with a quick 120Hz refresh fee which is uncommon at this value level. Its major digital camera 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, it is not a flagship, and the associated fee needed to be lower someplace. The body and again panel of the machine is plastic, and whereas I just like the matte end on the again, there is a sure hollowness once you faucet on it which is not very convincing. There’s additionally no telephoto to enrich the huge and ultrawide cameras, simply digital zoom plus a depth sensor and a macro digital camera of questionable utility.

The essential stuff is right here, although. Samsung presently has the A52 5G on its listing of month-to-month OS updates, and it says it’s going to present three years of main Android OS updates and not less than some safety assist for 4 years. This can go a good distance towards profiting from your funding on this cellphone, and it’ll make it easier to make the most of its headline function: 5G – Sub-6GHz, particularly, {hardware} for C-band frequency carriers Will begin utilizing in 2022 with -level assist.

It’s common to see 5G supplied in midrange and finances telephones, however on this nation, it’s going to take just a few extra years for our 5G networks to be actually good. Wholesome machine assist for the following few years makes it extra possible that the A52 5G will truly final lengthy sufficient to make that 5G promise land.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

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

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Show and Display

The A52 5G makes use of a Snapdragon 750G processor paired with 6GB of RAM, and the mixture looks as if match right here. You may definitely push this out of your consolation zone with heavy duties like webpages with JavaScript, and I observed a second of hesitation when opening the digital camera app from the lock display screen. However for day-to-day duties and social media scrolling, it stays high quality.

Like final yr’s mannequin, the display screen is the place the A52 5G (and Samsung basically) actually stands out. It is a 6.5-inch 1080p OLED panel that is wealthy, shiny, and customarily pretty to take a look at. Plus, it provides all of the velvety smoothness that comes with a 120Hz refresh fee. Swiping between house screens, opening apps, scrolling by means of Twitter – all of it feels nice with the quick refresh fee.

Contemplating the additional energy wanted for a 120Hz display screen, the A52 5G’s 4,500mAh battery lasted effectively into my use the following day persistently. I managed to get two full days out of it once I forgot to cost it in a single day and determined to embrace the chaos and simply plow on the remaining cost. That was with delicate to reasonable use, and I used to be right down to a low double-digit battery proportion by the top of day two, however my gamble paid off.

One function that continues to be a shedding battle over the A52 5G is the in-display optical fingerprint sensor. I have been punished by the cellphone a number of instances for not leaving my finger on the sensor, and it nearly at all times took not less than two tries for me to register it. In shiny gentle that hit fee goes down significantly.

These points aren’t distinctive to this machine, and you may select to make use of solely (much less safe) facial recognition or a plain outdated PIN to lock and unlock the cellphone. However costly telephones just like the OnePlus 9 and Samsung’s personal S21 have good in-display fingerprint readers, so it is a trade-off to concentrate on.

The Galaxy A52 5G comes with Android 11, which is nice. The much less excellent news is that, as we noticed in S21 units earlier this yr, Samsung’s newest tackle the OS fills numerous undesirable apps, adverts, and normal muddle into the UI. I watch sufficient adverts all through my day, and I do not respect seeing one other once I verify the climate on my cellphone’s climate app.

If there is a constructive manner to take a look at this case, it appears extra forgivable on a finances cellphone than a flagship over $1,000. However I will not have adverts in any respect. In the event you purchase the equally priced Pixel 4A 5G, you hand over many different options from the A52 5G, however you get an ad-free expertise.

There’s a regular huge, ultrawide, macro and depth sensor positioned within the rear digital camera bump.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Digital camera

The A52 5G contains three rear cameras, in addition to a 5-megapixel depth sensor. You get a 64-megapixel normal huge, 12-megapixel ultrawide, and the seemingly necessary 5-megapixel macro digital camera with OIS. There may be additionally a front-facing 32-megapixel selfie digital camera.

The 64-megapixel major digital camera in its normal picture mode produces 16-megapixel photographs which might be simply as shiny with the very saturated colours you’d anticipate from a Samsung cellphone. Typically the look is nice, however as a rule, it is a bit an excessive amount of for my style. The excellent news is that this sensor is able to capturing numerous high quality particulars in good gentle, and it does effectively in dim to very low gentle situations as effectively.

I pitted its Night time Mode towards the Google Pixel 4A, which remains to be the low-light champion within the midrange class. The A52 5G’s Night time Mode shot reveals extra noise, and particulars have a watercolor look, however whereas the 4A hangs on to its title, the A52 5G lags far behind.

Left: Galaxy A52 Night time Mode. Proper: Pixel 4A Night time Mode.

The Pixel 4A remains to be the higher digital camera even in good lighting, however the variations are extra subjective right here. The 4A tends to have a extra dim shade rendition, and the A52 has a slight distinction in comparison with the 5G’s photographs.

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

So the A52 cannot beat the generation-old imaging know-how within the 5G 4A, however it could say extra concerning the Pixel than anything. Moreover, the A52 5G turns in good all-around digital camera efficiency. Pictures from ultrawide generally have a little bit of cool shade however are typically good. The selfie digital camera provides two zoom settings: a barely cropped-in normal huge view and an ever-so-slightly huge angle. The “focal size” distinction between the 2 is sort of ridiculously small.

At its default settings, the selfie digital camera does a good quantity of face smoothing and brightening. I do not assume it fairly crosses the road in hamcam territory, but it surely definitely has that telltale “perhaps it is AI, perhaps it is Maybelline” take a look at it easily.

If you wish to go full hamcam, there is a new mode within the digital camera app labeled “Enjoyable” with AR face filters dropped at you by Snapchat. There is a completely different collection of them each day, and you do not want a Snapchat account to make use of or share them.

I am tempted to dismiss them as “for the youth” but it surely’s most likely actually only for the aged like me who would not be part of some other social platform if I might presumably keep away from it, thanks very a lot . Lastly, I can flip my face into a bit of broccoli and share it with the world with out logging into Snapchat — three years after the youngsters have moved on to one thing else. Anyway, there it’s, it really works, and you may truly flip your face into broccoli.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

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

There’s a lot that the Galaxy A52 5G will get proper. Maybe an important function is one which appears far much less thrilling than the cool title specs: safety updates, not less than for the following few years. At $500, it is the excessive finish of the finances market, however just a few further hundred {dollars} is straightforward to swallow if you realize you may get just a few extra years out of your funding.

Samsung has invested in {hardware} in all the correct locations: the 120Hz display screen makes for an enhanced person expertise, battery life is sweet, digital camera efficiency is powerful, and a wholesome processor/chipset mixture handles day by day duties effectively.

What I did not like—clunky software program, fussy fingerprint sensor, tending towards oversaturated shade in photographs—feels extra forgivable when the cellphone will get the nonchalant stuff proper. The Pixel 4A 5G might be this machine’s closest competitors, and it beats out the A52 5G on digital camera high quality and a cleaner UI, but it surely’s a smaller machine and not using a fancy quick refresh fee display screen. Relying on how you are feeling about any of these items, 4A 5G stands out as the higher choice for you.

Regardless of the case, the A52 5G is an efficient midrange cellphone at this time. However simply as importantly, it will likely be cellphone just a few years from now. With stable {hardware} and a software program assist system to again it up, it is an costly finances cellphone that is value paying a bit further for.

Images by Alison Johnson / The Verge

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