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Samsung Galaxy A52 Review: Good Design, Fluid Display But Some Performance Hiccups
Samsung has brought two new mid-range Galaxy smartphones to Indian shores-- the Galaxy A52 and the Galaxy A72. The new smartphones introduce flagship Galaxy phones' features to the mid-tier range segment. These include a refreshing new design with IP67 water-dust rating, higher refresh rate AMOLED panels, and OIS-enabled quad-lens cameras.
- Stylish Design
- Fluid 90Hz AMOLED Display
- OIS-Enabled Capable 64MP Quad-Camera
- 3.5mm Headphone & microSD Card Support
- IP67 Water-Dust Resistant Body
- Decent Battery Life
- Not Built For Power Users
- Excessive Bloatware & Spams
- Competition Offers 5G At Similar Price
Selling for Rs. 26,499, the 6GB variant of the Galaxy A52 takes on the widely-popular OnePlus Nord and even some sub-25K smartphones like the recently launched Redmi Note 10 Pro Max. Should you consider the new Galaxy A52 or settle down for a OnePlus or a Xiaomi mid-range smartphone? Let's find out.
Design- Plastic Body Covered In Vibrant Colors
The Galaxy A52 looks distinct with its vibrant pastel shades and minimal looks. The soft matte finish back panel with an almost flushed camera module is quite a head-turner. The phone doesn't feel very bulky or slippery, which is ideal for one-hand usage. And while the design looks stunning, the plastic build fails to give a premium in-hand feel. In comparison, the Redmi Note 10's Vintage Bronze variant looks and feels far more premium than the Galaxy A52.
IP67 Water-Dust Resistant
Moving on, the Galaxy A52 scores quite high on durability and also offers basic features such as a microSD card slot, stereo speakers, and the beloved 3.5mm headphone jack. The smartphone is IP67 water-dust resistant, a feature missing from the sub-25K smartphones. The Galaxy A52 can survive up to 1-meter water depth for up to 30 minutes while most smartphones only come with basic protection from water splashes.
Overall, Samsung has managed to create a refreshing new design for the new Galaxy-A series smartphones. The devices look good, feel a bit less premium for their price but get the basics right. The Galaxy A52 is available in four color options- Awesome Violet, Awesome Black, Awesome White, and Awesome Blue.
Display- 6.5-inch FHD+ sAMOLED Panel With 90Hz Refresh Rate
A higher refresh rate panel has been long-awaited on a mid-range Samsung Galaxy smartphone and the Galaxy A52 happens to break the stereotype. The phone boots up with a 90Hz set as the default refresh rate, but you can take it down to standard 60Hz to save some battery life. Scrolling your Facebook and Twitter timeline, web-browsing, or even the basic UI navigation feels fluid. But what disappointed us is the mediocre haptic feedback that spoils the user-experience. The haptic response on the Galaxy A52 is almost as bad as some of the sub-15k smartphones. Every time you type something on keybord or simply interact with the UI, you are reminded of poor haptics. As far as display durability is concerned, the Galaxy A52's AMOLED panel is protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 which isn't the latest one but seems justified for the price-point.
Good For Binge-Watching
We are very well familiar with the vividness of Samsung's well-known Super AMOLED panels, and the same can be experienced on the Galaxy A52. The mid-range handset comes across as a good device for binging your favorite movies/series on OTT apps. The contrast level and color reproduction on the Galaxy A52's AMOLED panel seems slightly better in comparison to the AMOLED panels on competition devices from Chinese brands.
However, the side bezels with a thick black border surrounding the AMOLED panel are just too broad for my liking and look glaring.
The Galaxy A52 sports a capable quad-camera setup that comprises a 64MP primary sensor with OIS, a 12MP ultra-wide lens, a 5MP macro lens, and a 5MP depth sensor. The 64MP OIS-enabled primary lens captures crisp images in daylight and also impresses in low-light. There's no annoying over-sharpening hampering the image output, usually seen in mid-range smartphones, especially from Xiaomi and Realme. Both 64MP high-res. and 16MP pixel-binned show lots of details, a wide dynamic range, and natural colors. The OIS helps in edging out unwanted blurry shots. The Galaxy A52 also records crisp 1080p 60fps and 4K 30fps videos. The colors look vivid, and the video footages show adequate sharpness and wide dynamic range. Though videos shot in low-light fail to impress.
Good HDR and Crisp 2x Shots
The HDR works well in creating well-exposed images even during bright daylight scenarios. The 2x zoom takes you closer to subjects and captures images with adequate sharpness and detailing. The phone also offers 10x digital zoom, but the results are not at all usable. I would recommend you capture a 64MP high-res. image and crop it to focus on a particular spot/subject in the frame. It will give you better results than the 10x digital zoom shots.
The 5MP depth sensor creates a pleasing bokeh effect for both human and non-human subjects. The edge-detection isn't always correct, but the overall results are compelling. The portraits also have a decent dynamic range and show lively colors. The camera app allows you to control the level of bokeh in real-time via a simple slider. You can also control skin smoothening while taking close-up shots of human subjects.
Good For Landscape Photography
The Galaxy A52 is also a good camera device for landscape photography. The 12MP wide-angle lens manages to impress with details and dynamic range. There's some distortion around the corners, but that can be fine-tuned to some extent if you shoot in full-screen aspect ratio.
Impressive Macros And Detailed Selfies
I am also quite impressed with the 5MP macro sensor. While it fails to capture realistic colors, detailing in macros is worth appreciating and makes for good overall close-up shots of leaves, flower petals, insects, and other tiny objects. As for selfies, the 32MP front camera captures high-resolution selfies with vivid colors and plenty of details. In a nutshell, I am impressed with the camera performance on the Galaxy A52. The versatile OIS-enabled 64MP camera is probably the best-in-class at this price-point.
Hardware Performance- Slightly Disappointing Response
It's been a while I have tested a Samsung phone which isn't powered by the brands' in-house Exynos chipset. For the Galaxy A52, Samsung has used Qualcomm's Snapdragon 720 G SoC, the same chipset found on popular mid-range smartphones like the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max, Poco M2 Pro, and the Realme 7 Pro. The SD720G has been paired with 6GB or 8GB RAM to handle multitasking, and the combination gets the job done for most of the part. The 8nm SoC along with ample RAM can handle day-to-day tasks with ease. We faced no major issues while using the camera, web browsing, scrolling through menus, and switching between multiple apps during multitasking.
Not Built For Power-Users
It is worth mentioning that the Galaxy A52 feels a tad slower in responding to commands. There's a certain millisecond delay in response that shouldn't be there on a phone priced at Rs. 25,000. I had to tweak the windows animation scale to get a quick response out of the UI. Similarly priced smartphones from Chinese brands feel much snappier than the Galaxy A52 in the overall performance.
Moving on, you can play light to heavy games on the Galaxy A52 but don't expect lag-free performance with graphics-intensive games such as COD Mobile and Asphalt 9. We played some COD and Asphalt 9 sessions and noticed frequent frame drops.
In this regard, the OnePlus Nord comes across as a better overall smartphone. It feels more powerful, offers much better haptics feedback, and is a future-proof 5G phone at the same price-point. You can also consider the Realme X7 Pro if you are willing to spend somewhere around Rs. 30K. Powered by the 7nm MediaTek Dimensity 1000+ 5G chipset, the Realme X7 Pro also feels much faster and snappier than the Galaxy A52.
As far as the software is concerned, the Galaxy A52 runs on OneUI 3.1 based on Android 11 out-of-the-box. The OneUI 3.1 is quite feature-rich and visually pleasing; however, Samsung should stop putting bloatware (ShareChat, Candy Crush Saga, Mx Takatak, Moj, Samsung Shop, Samsung Max, etc.) and unwanted ads, and notifications that hamper the overall software user-experience. Thankfully, you can uninstall most of these apps but ideally, these shouldn't come pre-installed on the handsets. Also, Samsung Shop shows annoying recommendations now and then, even when you haven't signed up on the app.
The Galaxy A52 is powered by a modest 4,500mAh battery unit and is capable of 25W fast charging. Going purely by the specs, this isn't the best offer at this price-point, but the real-life performance is quite satisfactory. The 4,500mAh battery lasted for a full-day, even with moderate to heavy usage. Sadly, the bundled 15W charger feels slow and dated. It takes around 95 minutes to refuel the battery from flat to 100% that is noticeably slower than what the competition is offering in today's time.
Audio Performance And Connectivity
Moving on, the Galaxy A52's stereo speakers produce powerful audio but the lack of clarity and detailing is a bummer. While you can enjoy some gaming sessions and stream music on-the-go, you would still need a pair of headphones to enjoy multimedia to its fullest. Thankfully, the Galaxy A52 comes equipped with the beloved 3.5mm headphone jack that makes things easier in day-to-day use.
For connectivity, the Galaxy A52 offers a Type-C charging port and a hybrid-SIM card tray that means you can either use two active 4G SIM cards or one SIM card and a microSD card to expand the phone's storage to up to 1TB. The phone supports Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, and NFC.
We did face some call connectivity issues on the Galaxy A52, but that's mostly due to the pathetic coverage network by Airtel in the Delhi-NCR region.
The Galaxy A52 is a good generational upgrade with lots of improvements in the design, display, and camera department. Where the phone falters is the hardware performance due to the SD720G chipset, which isn't a bad SoC, but this price-point deserves a bit more firepower to justify users' requirements from a mid-range handset.
Besides, the respective price-point now offers 5G-enabled phones, which is another deal-breaker if you plan to keep a smartphone for two to three years. If you want to explore the market, here are your options- the Realme X7/X7 Pro, OnePlus Nord, Redmi Note 10 Pro Max (4G Only), and the Moto G 5G. If you aren't concerned about 5G (only if you change phones frequently), the Galaxy A52 isn't a bad deal at a starting price of Rs. 26,499 for the 6GB+128GB.