comscore Samsung Galaxy A52 review: Solid camera, unique styling
Review

Samsung Galaxy A52 review: Solid camera, unique styling

Galaxy A52, the new mid-ranger from Samsung comes with improved hardware, solid cameras, modern design, but can it grab the best-selling Android phone title this year?

Galaxy A52 header

3.5 5
BGR Rating :
3.5/5

Samsung made some serious enhancement to its mid-range Galaxy A-series in recent years. While previous A-series models used to be bulky and sluggish, the South Korean tech giant has upped the game to compete with the arch-rivals. Carrying forward the tradition, the new Galaxy A52 shines bright among its siblings with its revamped design (specifically the back cover), a high-refresh-rate display, and 64MP quad-camera with OIS.  While Android fragmentation was once a major issue (with Samsung being one of the brands to get plagued by it), Samsung had shifted its gears with OneUI. The company is now committed to providing incremental Android updates not just to premium smartphones but the mid-range lineup as well. Also Read - Top camera phones under Rs 25,000 in September 2021

Speaking of the Galaxy A52, the phone no doubt has an appealing design, and the specs look good on paper, but will it be able to grab the ‘best-selling Android phone’ like its older sibling Galaxy A51? Here’s our review. Also Read - Samsung Galaxy A52 price increased by Rs 1,000; now starts at Rs 27,499

Galaxy A52 specs: 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display | 90Hz refresh rate | Snapdragon 720G SoC | up to 8GB RAM | 128GB internal storage | OneUI 3.1 based Android 11 | 4,500mAh battery | 25W fast charge support Also Read - Phones with a headphone jack? They still exist: 5 best phones that bring 3.5mm headphone in the wireless world

Samsung Galaxy A52 price in India

6GB RAM/128GB storage: Rs 26,499

8GB RAM/128GB storage: Rs 27,999

Design

Samsung has made a major overhaul on the Galaxy A52 design aesthetics this time. The phone has a solid build quality. Although the phone is built out of plastic, thankfully Samsung didn’t opt for ‘glasstic.’ It doesn’t feel premium, but the phone offers good ergonomics and feels durable. While the front fascia appears similar to any mid-range phone you will find in the market (the punch-hole display spiel), the rear panel recites a different story altogether. The back cover flaunts a smooth finish with a unique colour coating. The Blue unit we received is quite flamboyant and manages to turn heads (especially when the phone is stuck to the ear).

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The middle frame is made of plastic and has a glossy finish. While the rear panel keeps the smudges at bay courtesy of the soft matte finish, you will find the crime scene happening around the frame with fingerprints laying comfortably in those areas where you usually hold the phone. Speaking of the camera module, it has a similar colour ascent as the rest of the back panel. The volume keys and the power button sit on the right edge while the left side of the frame is undisturbed. At the top, you will find the hybrid tray, while the bottom gets all the necessary ports and a mono-speaker. The audio quality is decent, and the earpiece doubles up as the second audio channel.  It did sound a bit pitchy out of the box, but with Dolby Atmos turned on it could deliver pretty decent surround sound. Another good thing about the Galaxy A52 is that you get an IP67 ingress protection rating which isn’t that easy to find in the mid-range segment.

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Display

As with any Samsung mid-range phone, the Galaxy A52 gets a vivid AMOLED panel. The phone features a wide 6.5-inch FHD+ Infinity-O Super AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate. The screen is layered with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for added protection. The 90Hz refresh rate offers a fluid experience when scrolling through the interface or while playing games. Binging content on the vibrant display was a pleasing experience. The software includes two colour profiles- Vivid and Natural, with the former rendering vibrant colours, while the latter shifting to true-to-life colours with a cool tint. There is Eye Comfort Shield which is basically Blue Light Filter that reduces eye strain by limiting blue light emission from the screen. You get an adaptive setting as well that automatically adjusts the screen’s colours throughout the day. Alternately, you can use the Custom setting and schedule the time.

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That said, the display on the Galaxy A52 is significantly bright, meaning, you won’t have any difficulty reading content or watching videos under direct sunlight. While all these sound good, word’s won’t do justice unless we talk about the elephant in the room. Samsung has no doubt upgraded the refresh rate, but it has somehow forgotten to add variable refresh rate on the Galaxy A52. If you choose the high smoothness option under Motion Smoothness you are stuck with 90Hz refresh rate mode. While variable refresh rate helps in saving battery drainage, the Galaxy A52 rather demands to do the task manually. You can either go to settings and pick the Standard smoothness mode or turn on Power saving mode to pull down the refresh rate to 60Hz. That aside, the phone has an optical in-display fingerprint reader which is quick, accurate and unlocks the device within 0.30 seconds.

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Software, performance

The Galaxy A52 runs custom One UI 3.1 based Android 11 OS. While the previous-gen proprietary OS (TouchWiz) wasn’t that good enough even for moderate users, Samsung has stepped up the game and brought a coherent version of Android. The OneUI is a feature-rich user interface that brings in handy customization and a host of enhancements. On top of that Samsung has committed to providing a minimum of three years of software upgrade and four years of security updates for the Galaxy A52 (Surprised?).

Along with the improvements, Samsung has made some notable changes to the OneUI, like the notification shade when pulled down covers the home screen. There’s a quick app access menu you will find on the right edge of the display that allows you to add seven apps of your choice. You can customize the side key (aka power button) and launch the camera by double-pressing the button. The UI also has standard navigation gestures. Samsung has integrated the Always-On display (AOD) on its Galaxy A-series phone which can be customized (clock styles and the font colour). You can even customize the call screen layout and add a background image for that screen.

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Although the UI now has a clean design and is well-optimised, it includes a ton of bloatware (MX Takatak, Moj, ShareChat, DailyHunt) some of which you can’t get rid of.

In addition, the App Cloud Service constantly pop-up notification to complete the set up of the device. Tapping on the notification takes you to the ‘IronSource’ app store (just marketing) which asks permission to install ‘great apps’ from their list. You can neither bypass this part nor can uninstall it, the only workaround you can do is go to SettingsAppCloud and turn off the ‘Show notifications’ option.

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As far as performance goes, the Snapdragon 720G chipset onboard is capable enough to drive multi-tasks. In terms of gaming, the phone could run graphics-intensive Call of Duty: Mobile, Infinity Ops without any lag, although I would recommend users to try these games in medium graphics settings for an enhanced experience.

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While the Galaxy A52 managed to handle heavy-duty tasks with ease, I observed occasional stutter when switching between apps. The lags even extended to the camera software especially while using the 64MP mode, it took a good few second to process the image. But as I mentioned, these hiccups occur occasionally, and it didn’t impede the casual day-to-day operations.

Galaxy A52 Benchmark test scores-

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Camera

Samsung Galaxy A52 has a surprisingly capable quad-camera system. The phone has a 64-megapixel primary camera that is assisted by optical image stabilization (OIS). The sensor takes 16-megapixel photos by default. There is a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor which is accompanied by a 5-megapixel macro camera and a depth sensor. Speaking of the camera performance, the OIS does a decent job with low-light shots and reduces blurriness to an extent with moderate shaking. The camera software bags the usual Samsung features with Scene optimizer toggle in the corner, shutter button at the centre and mode carousel on the right side.

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You can create AR Doodle and take short clips with the Single Take feature. Samsung has added a Fun mode as well that basically brings Snapchat filters in the native camera app (pretty much Gen-Z bits and bobs). The mode can be triggered on both photos and videos, but you will be needing a good network connection to apply the fun to your footage.  There is a Pro mode as well for those users who prefer testing the camera’s core functions individually (ISO, shutter speed, focus). There is a Standard option under Pro mode that allows adjusting contrast, highlights, shadows, and tint. While the functionality isn’t that aggressive, these nifty features come in handy while capturing photos in varied lighting conditions.

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Coming to daylight performance, the cameras on the Galaxy A52 manages to retain plenty of details with vibrant colours and a wide dynamic range. While the primary sensor captures photos at 16MP by default, the UI offers the option to switch to 64MP. That said, switching to the 64MP mode did yield some impressive results in the daytime. It manages to fill in extra details to the shots with decent sharpness around the edges. The ultra-wide sensor tends to soften the images but manages to render good colour reproduction. There is Portrait mode and Macro mode as well which you can access under the More section.

Speaking of the portrait mode, it was quite accurate at detecting the edges of the subject. You can increase the intensity level and try different blur effects as well. The macro mode meanwhile requires you to stand 3-5cm away from the subject. To get a well-detailed image you will require precision or simply to say wait under the sun for a good 5-6 seconds to capture the perfect shot. The cameras on the Galaxy A52 surprisingly renders bright images in low-lighting condition. The UI has a Night mode integrated, but even without the mode, the cameras produce shots with a good amount of exposure. The Night mode no doubt improves colour accuracy, but quick snaps won’t turn out that bad as it happens in most mid-range phones.

Flip over, and you will get a 32-megapixel selfie camera. The Quad-Bayer sensor shoots selfies in a default 8MP mode.  The UI offers a single and a wide mode. The front camera does a respectable job be it in daylight or low-lighting condition. The cameras retain a good amount of detail and you get the scene optimizer for selfies as well. The only blemish you will find is in the skin tones that often look pale. As for videos, the Galaxy A52 can record 1080p footage at up to 60fps and 4K videos at 30 fps. During the camera test, the primary camera could reproduce clips with a fair amount of detail, punchy colours and a wide dynamic range. Both in stills and videos, the autofocus was on spot and I could barely have to use AF-lock.

Camera samples

Galaxy A52 photo samples

Battery

Unlike previous Galaxy A-series models that used to ship with mammoth-sized battery, the Galaxy A52 packs a decent 4,500mAh battery. During my usage, I could get a day’s worth of juice, which included binging content on Netflix, replying to emails, calling colleagues, playing games in between, and clicking photos most part of the time. In the video loop test, the phone managed a run time of nearly 16 hours. The Galaxy A52 support 25W fast charging technology, however, it bundles a 15W charger in the retail box. With the dedicated charger, the phone takes nearly one hour and 34 minutes to charge from 0-100 percent. That’s an uphill work!!

Verdict

Samsung’s Galaxy A-series have come a long way from giving a bulky tablet-esque feel to a compact design. The Galaxy A52 flaunts an eye-catching back cover with a unique-coloured satin finish which is mostly aimed for (not for GenX) Gen-Z. Besides the appealing design, the vibrant AMOLED panel, and rear cameras (OIS on the primary sensor) are two strong points of the new Galaxy A-series phone. The clean UI and the capable Snapdragon 720G brings improved experience to the table.

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Moreover, you get IP67 rated water and dust resistance which isn’t easy to find at this price point. While the modern design, 90Hz smooth, vivid display, good stereo speakers, solid cameras, does sound a good value proposition, but it brings down the question as to who should buy the new Galaxy A52. If you are among those users who prefer design over specs, then this Samsung phone would surely fulfil the criteria. However, if performance is what matters for you the most, then there are a few slightly low-priced mid-rangers available in the market that offer better specs. For instance, the Poco X3 Pro comes with flagship-grade hardware, a 120Hz refresh rate display, and a bigger battery. And you get all of these for a price under Rs 20,000.

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  • Published Date: April 10, 2021 11:41 AM IST
  • Updated Date: April 10, 2021 11:46 AM IST


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