Samsung Galaxy A52 Review – Well-Rounded for the Price
The Samsung Galaxy A52 is one of three new midrange smartphones by the Korean giant, packing a Snapdragon chipset and features typically found in their flagship devices. Is it worth your money? Let's find out.
+ Great value for the price
+ 4 years of guaranteed software support
+ Decent build quality
+ Punchy colours on display
+ 90Hz refresh rate
+ Stereo speakers and headphone jack
+ Good cameras
+ Good battery life
- Bezels could be thinner
- Fingerprint reader could be faster
- Stereo speakers aren't balanced in terms of volume
Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy A52
Let’s start our Samsung Galaxy A52 with the unboxing. Unlike the recent Samsung Galaxy S21 series, this one follows a more traditional box design as they didn’t omit the charger, among other items. Inside the box, you get a complete set of accessories. This includes the:
- 15W power brick
- USB-C to USB-C cable
- User guide
- Warranty card
- Samsung Pay leaflet
- SIM Ejector tool
The Samsung Galaxy A52 is one of the three new midrange smartphones by the Korean giant. The design looks kind of like a cross between the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21 in various areas, although it doesn’t use the contour-cut camera look. Looking at the front, you have a 6.5-inch display with a dot notch otherwise known as the Infinity-O display. The earpiece is located discreetly above the notch. Bezels are noticeable but they’re still very thin on all four sides.
There’s nothing that can be found on the left side but on the right side, you have the power button and volume rocker. Over on the top, you have the SIM tray slot and a microphone hole. Lastly on the bottom, you have a 3.5mm headphone jack, another microphone hole, the USB-C port, and a speaker grille.
Moving over to the back, you get a feel of the plastic build with a matte black finish. In case you’re wondering, this is the Awesome Black colour variant. You have the Samsung logo towards the bottom and the quad-camera setup on the top-left corner. It’s worth noting that there is a slight bump where the camera modules are, but it’s not as apparent as their flagship devices.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy A52 looks like a flagship device and feels pretty good when held as well. It’s not a premium build quality by any means, but it’s definitely adequate given the price tag. If this colour doesn’t strike your fancy, you still do have 3 other colour options; Awesome White, Awesome Blue, and Awesome Violet. Personally, Awesome Violet is my favourite colour for this smartphone, but nothing wrong with picking the other colours.
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G
2 x Kryo 470 @ 2.3GHz + 6 x Kryo 470 @1.8GHz
|GPU||Adreno 618 + 15% boost|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
GPS, Glonass, BeiDou, Galileo
|Storage||256GB UFS 2.1
Up to 1TB expandable storage (MicroSD)
|Display||6.5″ FHD+ (2400 x 1080) Super AMOLED Display
Eye Comfort Shield
Corning Gorilla Glass
Up to 90Hz Refresh Rate
|Rear Camera||64MP f/1.8 wide angle camera, OIS AF
12MP f/2.2 ultrawide camera, 123°
5MP f/2.4 macro
5MP f/2.4 depth
4K Video Snap, Tetra Binning, Night, LED flash, HDR, panorama
4K@30fps, 1080p@30/120fps, gyro-EIS
|Selfie Camera||32MP f/2.2 wide-angle selfie cam, HDR
25W Fast Charging
|OS||One UI 3.1
|Dimensions||75.1 x 159.9 x 8.4 mm
Starting off with Antutu v8, the Samsung Galaxy A52 performed well enough. The Snapdragon 732G is better than the Snapdragon 678 and 720G and noticeably lower than the flagship-level Snapdragon 855. This shouldn’t be a surprise given the chipset’s target market.
In Geekbench 5 on the other hand, I find it interesting that the multi-core score is the same as Exynos 990, although the single core score is lower. It’s the reverse if you compare it to the Snapdragon 845 OC powering the POCO F1. Nonetheless, it’s a good showing by the Samsung Galaxy A52.
Moving on to 3DMark, you can see that the scores are noticeably lower compared to most of the other devices but that’s because most of the devices listed are flagship-level SoCs. Comparing it to a midrange Snapdragon 678, the Samsung Galaxy A52 performed better in all three tests. The performance is pretty much what we expected so if you’re not looking to run anything graphically intensive, it should be perfectly fine.
Then on PCMark’s Work 2.0 benchmark, the Snapdragon 732G powering the Samsung Galaxy A52 performed well. The difference in performance compared to Snapdragon 865 devices isn’t far, which is a good sign that it can perform more than adequately for daily use.
As for battery life, the 4500mAh battery capacity juicing up the Samsung Galaxy A52 definitely has a great showing. It lasted 12 hours and 33 minutes (753 minutes) when its set to 60Hz but on 90Hz, it lasts 11 hours (660 minutes). With my typical use of light phone calls, social media, semi-heavy texting and a little bit of YouTube videos, I find myself needing to charge it at least once a day, but it can easily last a full day’s worth of use. Some days, I only charge it once every two days.
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The Samsung Galaxy A52 uses a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display at Full HD+ resolution. While it may not look as good as the Dynamic AMOLED 2X displays used in their flagships, you still get great colours with good contrast. Brightness is also more than adequate which means viewing it under direct sunlight is pretty okay. What’s great here is that it does have a high refresh rate option, 90Hz, and it looks great. It’s not adaptive so it will be running at a constant 90Hz but it doesn’t affect the battery life too much, which is a plus. It also comes with Eye Comfort Shield to reduce strain and fatigue.
One thing I really like about the design of this smartphone is the matte finish. This means its a lot less susceptible to fingerprints and, in my opinion, makes it look better on its own. Moreover, it’s easier to hold, which is a plus if you don’t plan on using a protective case. I would still recommend getting a protective case anyway just for that added bit of reassurance.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 is one of the first to use One UI 3.1 based on Android 11. It does look slightly different from One UI 2.5 based on Android 10 but for the most part, navigating around is about the same. Some of the most notable changes is how notifications are displayed as they are grouped together, like Conversations for messages across multiple apps, so it can show all of them to you in a more simplified manner.
In case you didn’t know about it before, Samsung Free is a new aggregator that differs from Samsung Daily and Bixby Home. In this iteration, it focuses more on news and app suggestions that cater to you. There a number of categories for you to choose from for the news section, and I personally see it as a more streamlined interface for accessing the latest news and apps.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 uses an under-display fingerprint scanner. It doesn’t work as fast as the recent Galaxy S21 series which I personally reviewed, but it does work reliably. I personally don’t have any complaints about it as it only takes half a second at most anyway.
While using the smartphone, I’ve only had it heat up on me during the initial setup and when I play mobile games on it. For the most part, it works pretty cool and even when it does heat up, it’s just lukewarm at best.
The camera UI on the Samsung Galaxy A52 is nothing different from the usual. It’s user-friendly so most consumers won’t have trouble with it, and it’s more viable for mobile photographers and videographers who want more control of what they capture with the Pro mode. There’s a new Fun mode, which essentially adds Snapchat filters automatically based on what the AI detects from what you’re shooting. It’s interesting if you want to capture something out of the usual without editing it yourself.
The Single Take feature is here and is improved. For those of you who aren’t aware, you simply move the device around and it will take take photos, record a short video, and even edit the footage for you. This time, you can adjust the duration of Single Take from anywhere between 5 seconds to 15 seconds, which makes it even more handy. Just like before however, the results can vary so for a more consistent experience, it’s still best to capture it yourself. At least you have a quick and hassle-free tool if you ever need it.
As you can see above here, the Samsung Galaxy A52 can take some pretty good photos, better with lighting and decent in low lights. I’m sure many underestimated it given its midrange status but it did pretty good so far with good details, vivid colours and Auto HDR being rather reliable. It’s worth noting that the selfie camera is a little aggressive on beautification. The other cameras within the system may not be as good but they can still produce great results nonetheless.
Samsung Galaxy A52 Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy A52 is quite an interesting smartphone. For RM1,499, you get 4 years of guaranteed software support, an experience that is typically reserved for their more premium smartphones. You get decent build quality, punchy colours on the display, 90Hz refresh rate, a good camera system, IP67, stereo speakers, headphone jack is included, and a pretty solid battery life.
If there was anything it could truly improve on, is to have thinner bezels, the stereo speakers could be more balanced, and the fingerprint scanner could be faster. Sure, you can find smartphones with better performance or better cameras around the price range but to get both, you will need to spend a premium. At RM1,499, it’s hard to find a relatively complete package like this. At the end of our Samsung Galaxy A52 review, I award this smartphone with our coveted Gold Pokdeward.
Big thanks to Samsung Malaysia for sending us this smartphone for the purposes of this review.