awesome A decent mid-range phone, but not for gamers available in Dhaka, Bangladesh
The Galaxy A52s has been a popular mid-range phone and Samsung has rehashed it as the Galaxy A53 5G with a new 5nm Exynos 1280 chipset. The phone has an appealing design, an AMOLED display, a beefier 5000mAh battery, and comes with an assurance of 4 major software updates!
So, is the Galaxy A53 5G the ultimate Samsung mid-range phone that you should buy? How much better is the Galaxy A53 as compared to the Galaxy A52s, iQOO 9 SE or OnePlus Nord 2? Let’s answer those questions and more in our Galaxy A53 review.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Price and Specifications
- Display: 6.5-inch 2400×1080 (20:9) 120Hz AMOLED, Gorilla Glass 5 protection
- Dimensions: 159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1mm; 189g
- Chipset: 5nm Exynos 1280 (2 x 2.40GHz Cortex A78 + 6 x 2.0GHz Cortex A55), Mali-G68 GPU
- RAM: 6GB/ 8GB
- Storage: 128GB, MicroSD card slot
- Rear camera: 64MP (f/1.8), OIS, 4K@30fps + 12MP (f/2.2) wide-angle camera + 5MP (f/2.4) macro + 5MP (f/2.4) depth sensor
- Front camera: 32MP (f/2.2), 4k@30fps
- Battery: 5000mAh, 25W fast charging (Charging adapter not included in the box)
- Software: Android 12-based OneUI 4.1 (4 major updates promised)
- Connectivity: 5G Sub-6, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, USB Type-C (2.0)
- Others: IP67 water-resistant, Optical in-display fingerprint sensor, Stereo speakers
- Price in India: Rs 34,499 (6GB + 128GB), Rs 35,499 (8GB + 128GB)
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Review: Design and Build
Samsung sticks to the same design as the Galaxy A52s which in turn was similar to the Galaxy A52. So, yes, Samsung has left the design part untouched for a while and if you ask me that’s only a problem if you are upgrading from any of these two predecessors launched within the last year (which is not very likely).
Nevertheless, the Galaxy A53 is a good looking phone with simple and serene colour options. It has a polycarbonate back, but a polycarbonate back done right. The smoky matte finish feels luxurious and can resist finger grease better than most glass back phones. The Galaxy A53 is also IP67 dust and water-resistant.
The good thing is that Samsung has managed to house a bigger battery without increasing the heft of the phone – 189 grams is pretty modest by modern standards and the weight also feels reasonably well balanced. All buttons and ports are easily accessible and so is the optical in-display fingerprint sensor underneath the display. The fingerprint reader is not particularly snappy but it still proved quite reliable at unlocking our phone.
The phone has stereo speakers and together they can get really loud. The audio jack didn’t make the cut and that’s hardly surprising in a phone that has already advanced to the next phase and ditched the charging adapter.
Another peeve point is that Samsung doesn’t bundle a pre-applied screen protector on the screen. This seems like a minor thing to crib about but the pre-applied options from OEMs often fair better and have proper oleophobic coating as compared to what most mid-range phone buyers will end up with and that ultimately impacts the consumer experience.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Review: Display
The Galaxy A53 has a 6.5-inch Full HD display that’s advertised to go up to 800 nits bright. It is a good quality AMOLED panel with high contrast and an option for a relatively colour-accurate sRGB profile (Natural mode). The colour accuracy in the sRGB profile is excellent with an average Delta E less than 3 as measured using Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter and Calman Ultimate software. Whites still have a slight blue bias. The Vivid profile targets DCI-P3 colour space and here too the average Delta E remains under 3.
The display constantly refreshes at 120 Hz (save for in gaming apps) if you choose the ‘High’ motion smoothness preset. There is no adaptive refresh rate option here, but we didn’t miss it because battery mileage is pretty good.
This is not an HDR compliant display panel and thus users don’t have the option to watch HDR content on YouTube and Netflix. In my opinion, the lack of HDR support is still not a deal-breaker on mid-range mobile phones, but it is still something many consumers would expect for the price.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Review: Performance, Gaming and Software
The Galaxy A53s is the first phone in India to be powered by Exynos 1280. The 5nm process based SoC has two Cortex-A72 performance cores paired with four Cortex-A55 efficiency cores and replaces the Snapdragon 778 on the Galaxy A52s. Unfortunately, the SoC turned out to be a downgrade on benchmark platforms and in practical gaming performance.
The phone holds rather well will regular tasks like web browsing, multimedia consumption, and social media surfing, but we did encounter random stutters every now and then. Performance gaps begin to show when going gets tough. For instance, in Call of Duty: Mobile, the phone defaults to ‘Low’ graphics and ‘Very High’ frame rate and even at these settings, FPS stability wasn’t up to the mark.
Currently, the Galaxy A52s offers practically the same experience with a faster Snapdragon 778 chipset (the same SoC that Samsung also employs on the higher-end Galaxy A73 this generation). Even though it won’t get software updates for another 4 major versions, it remains a better option for anyone who isn’t a basic user.
When it comes to software, Samsung is a very solid place today. Stock Android or near-stock Android experience is no longer a consumer fancy or rather a viable option, and amidst a sea of heavily customized interfaces, OneUI is one of the few options that seem in good taste. Numerous customization options, seamless integration with Your Phone app on Windows, and Samsung Pay are some of the highlights to look forward to. Samsung has been great with software updates lately and it assures 4 major OS version upgrades for the Galaxy A53! On the downside, the Indian unit ships with a number of pre-installed apps but most of these can be uninstalled.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Review: Camera Performance
Once again Samsung continues with the same camera specs as on the Galaxy A52 and Galaxy A52s. The quartet on the rear is led by a 64MP primary sensor, 12MP ultra-wide camera, 5MP macro camera, and 5MP depth sensor.
The Galaxy A53 does quite well in proper daylight. This is not a camera for purists since the colours and exposures are willfully tweaked and boosted. Most consumers are likely to appreciate the pleasantly oversaturated tones, even if the processing often results in unnatural skylines.
We see some improvement in the way red tones are handled. Details are also quite impressive in proper daylight shots.
In low light, the image quality takes a hit but the Galaxy A53 still manages to perform better than expected. The camera is quite deft with metering but over-processing adds noise and gains and the lack of details is more apparent when you zoom in or examine the images on your PC. The images you’d get will still suffice for social media purposes.
The night mode helps keep the shutter open a wee-bit longer. More often than not, there isn’t much difference between the shots clicked using auto mode and night mode.
The Galaxy A53 also performs great when it comes to selfies and portraits. The software can intelligently detect subject edges and the background blur feels quite natural. The app also has some fun portrait effects that you can experiment with.
The customary 5 MP macro camera and the 12MP wide-angle shooter complete the quartet and these aren’t sensors that you’d be using very frequently. They still do a decent job when compared to what you’d get on other mid-range options.
The handset also has OIS and you can shoot 1080p videos at up to 60fps and UHD videos at 30fps.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Review: Battery and Charging
The Exynos 1280 chipset is based on a 5 nm process and proved quite power efficient. With moderate to heavy use, we could consistently manage more than one day of backup. We managed a screen on time of approximately 6.5 hours on a full charge.
The 5000 mAh battery takes around 2 hours to refill if you use a 25W USB PD charger or the thunderbolt port of your laptop. So, even if you manage to lay your hands on a fast charger, charging speeds are quite slower than what the competition has on offer.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy A53?
The Galaxy A53 is everything we expect of a Samsung mid-range phone. The experience is quite pacifying, mostly thanks to the palatable software and good-quality display, but it’s also let down by a mediocre chipset. If you are into gaming, phones like the OnePlus 9R, OnePlus Nord 2, iQOO 9 SE or perhaps even Galaxy A52s should offer better value.
The Galaxy A53 is an allrounder with a lot to look forward to. It has an appealing design, offers decent camera performance for the price, and assures a reliable battery backup. At the same time, the mid-range Exynos chip hampers the experience. The lack of a charging adaptor in the box and slow charging speeds are other peeve points.