When was the last time you see a large screen triple camera with hole punch front selfie camera (not the notch type) entry level phone? Don’t know? Neither do I. But we are going back to basics today with the new entry level device by Samsung – the Galaxy A11.
Typically when it comes to entry level smartphones, I can only think of the low specs and mediocre screen size with low resolution blurry display. But in recent times, there are entry level devices that are using mid-range specs from 2 years ago. And the new Samsung Galaxy A11 is definitely one of them.
I kept my mind open when I received this device for the review. I don’t want to have too high hopes for it and neither do I want to look down on it. So this will be me honest review on this new entry level A Series smartphone by Samsung.
First Look & Design
First thing I notice is the large 6.4″ display on this entry level device. It is almost very seldom that I see a large screen on any entry level smartphones from up to a year ago. The largest that I have reviewed was a 6″ screen size. So I have no complaints here. The display is a PLS TFT capacitive touchscreen with 16M colors at 720 x 1560 pixels resolution (~268 ppi density). The display itself is bright. But because of the resolution, it misses out on the punchy colours. But still look good for normal use.
On the top left of the screen, is a little punch hole that contains the 8MP front selfie camera. I’m glad that the Galaxy A11 doesn’t come with a notch like most other entry level phones. So this will be a big plus point for the A11 to stand out from the large entry level crowd.
Moving on to the rear, the obvious triple camera setup sits at the top left while the fingerprint sensor sits right in the middle, slightly towards to top. The camera bump is obvious but it has become a norm that no one is bothered by it nowadays. That includes me. I just have to slap on a thick phone case to protect the back surface and the camera bump.
The volume rocker and the power button sits on the right side of the phone while the SIM/MicroSD slot is on the left. The layout and design for this is pretty much standard for the A Series. At the top, there is a small mic hole while at the bottom, you can see the USB type-C port, an audio jack and the bottom firing speaker.
The body is made of plastic as well as the frame. On the rear side, the plastic feels really soft that when I pressed in the center part, the plastic would bend inwards. That is what you will get for an entry level device like this. But that isn’t bad. With that kind of plastic material, this Galaxy A11 feels really light.
Here are the full specification of the new Samsung Galaxy A11
- SoC: Octa-core 1.8 GHz (rumoured to be Snapdragon 450)
- GPU: Unknown
- OS: Android 10
- Memory: 32GB 2GB RAM, 32GB 3GB RAM
PLS TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
6.4 inches, 100.5 cm2 (~81.6% screen-to-body ratio)
720 x 1560 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~268 ppi density)
- Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 4000 mAh battery, Fast charging 15W
13 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), AF
5 MP, f/2.2, 115˚ (ultrawide)
2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
- Selfie Camera: 8 MP, f/2.0
- Sensors: Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, proximity
- Colours: Black, White, Blue, Red
Performance & Usage
I’m going to talk more on the day to day use of this phone rather than it not being a gaming phone. The unit that I was using comes with minimum specifications which is the 32GB + 2GB of RAM version. So I wasn’t expecting to be playing any hardcore games with this one such as PUBG Mobile or any similar to that. But I did tryout some normal type of games like Subway Surfers and Hill Climb 2. Those two games works really well for lower end devices and it certainly plays very smoothly on the Galaxy A11.
Since I know I won’t be able to test out my usual game on this phone, I do most of the normal stuffs instead. Normal here means browsing the net with the browser, chat on WhatsApp and Messenger, some social media use and editing some photos with Snapseed.
The battery capacity is 4,000mAh. And with the basic setup and low powered SoC, this Galaxy A11 was able to last a whole day of usage plus a few hours to spare before I plug in the charger. The battery supports fast charging up to 15W and it takes less than 1 hour to power it from 10% to full.
The fingerprint sensor at the back works quickly and accurately. The phone will be unlocked as soon as I touch the sensor, so that is a good point to note as well. Until now, I still prefer to have the fingerprint sensor located at the back rather than on the front or at the side. That’s just my preference. Some people I know don’t like having the sensor at the back.
It is also good to note that the installed OS is updated to Android 10. When I got the phone, there was a security update ready to be installed so I hit the update button. The entire OS operates smoothly on the A11 so I guess this will be a good option for a cheap and basic phone.
Camera & Photography
Last time, I will always worry when it comes to reviewing low end phones’ camera quality and its abilities. When you’re getting low end phones, you will be getting low end cameras too I suppose. I do hope that I don’t get too disappointed with the camera’s abilities.
So let the photos do the talking from here onward.
Taking photos with the normal wide angle setup is a little washed out and the outer areas are a little bit out of focus. But details are good in the middle.
At the same location with the ultrawide angle camera looks very blurry on the outer edges.
The path looks better when in good lighting area. Details are good but lacks the colour vibrancy.
Again, certain areas are out of focus when taken with the ultrawide angle camera. But colours are vibrant.
Photo details are good but still lacks the oomph.
More with ultrawide angle.
Closing up to a subject tends to get clear in the middle but blurry around the corners.
Photos with the ultrawide angle camera is just okay especially with this budget device.
But when you’re thinking of being a little artistic by placing the phone near to the ground, it looks nice.
Indoor shots are slightly better from what I’m seeing here. The blurry background are from the bokeh effect that was produced by the camera. Somehow it looks fine. Colours are a little washed out.
Food photography looks okay, but still have slight blur around the corners.
However, selfies are quite good with the Galaxy A11. It can be better but in my opinion, it performs better than the main rear camera. Although we see a little over exposed shots from the front camera, it still managed to capture good details. And the Live Focus effect gives a good smooth bokeh effect in the last photo.
When it comes to the camera department, the Galaxy A11 will give you a hit and miss situation. Sometimes it can produce a good and clear photos, but at other times it will have a little miss on something. It can be a miss on focal point, colours or exposure. But it you are not bothered about having a good camera on a phone, then you’re all good. Don’t expect it to produce flagship like photos. But it still able to capture some good shots along the way.
Cheap and basic smartphones don’t get much attention nowadays. Most of the lower end specs are obsolete especially when it only comes with 2GB of RAM. Three years ago, I would agree that having 2GB of RAM is minimum for any lower end smartphones. Again, that was three years ago. By today’s standard, we need at least 3GB of RAM as the basic to start with. 32GB of storage is fine by me as long as we can add in a MicroSD card to expand the total storage.
Despite the low memory specs, the Galaxy A11 is able to perform well in normal usage conditions for daily use. Scrolling through social media was a breeze, basic games works well, watching movies or listening to music on its bottom firing speaker is fine and the battery will last you the whole day.
Just don’t expect to get all the bells and whistles of the higher version of A Series from this Galaxy A11. But at the same time, don’t look down on it. The A11 is still a very capable device to have and at its price point, it will be a good contender in the low end mini battle.
If you’re looking for a cheap and affordable design that won’t break your piggy bank but still have a device that is more than capable to handle your daily needs, this Galaxy A11 is a good option. Or if you’re looking for a second phone to have around, this is a good companion too. Or better yet, as your child’s first phone.
The Samsung Galaxy A11 is available for purchase from Samsung’s online store at only RM599.