Choosing a new mid-range smartphone for the budget conscious consumers can be very taxing due to the plethora of smartphones that are available today. Most phone makers are producing mid-range smartphones consistently, almost every once a month…at least. This creates confusion for new buyers who are looking to upgrade their basic smartphone but still want to keep within their extended budget range.
Now we have a new star in the Galaxy series. The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G is a capable mid-range smartphone that performs well under any stressful situation that you throw at it. The Galaxy A42 5G is obviously a 5G ready smartphone (hence the name) and will be one of those future proof device that you can get today.
I however, didn’t get to try the 5G connection speed because my telco provider don’t have 5G data yet. But I believe the 5G ability in the A42 will be great.
Now we have a look at what I honestly think of the new Samsung Galaxy A42 5G after 2 weeks of usage.
First Look & Design
The review device didn’t come with a box, so I’m not able to give a full unboxing review on it. At first glance, the Galaxy A42 5G has a similar coat on the plastic surface as the other latest A series that it shines differently under certain lighting angles, something like a prism. I received the Prism Dot Black colour that has four different tones creating a unique design on the back cover.
It felt quite thin while holding it on one hand and slightly lighter than the A50 variations. I can comfortably hold the A42 in one hand but it is a tad slippery in my opinion. I was a little worried that it might slip out of my hand any time.
On the front is a 6.6″ Super AMOLED display that produces sharp and vibrant colour. That is a trademark of a Samsung smartphone. AMOLED displays are simply stunning to look at. The screen resolution is quite low at 720 x 1600 with 20:9 ratio but that is not all bad. With lower screen resolution, you will have better battery life and more responsive display.
At the top of the display, sits the U shaped front camera notch. It’s good to note that the Galaxy A42 5G is capable of face recognition for unlocking the phone. I do prefer face recognition at some cases and the A42 process the facial recognition quickly and accurately.
Around the back, we can see the obvious four tone colour of the back cover. And another obvious thing we can see is the camera module. The Galaxy A42 comes with four camera that sits on an almost square camera platform. Unlike the flagship Galaxies, the A42 5G doesn’t have a zoom camera. We have the normal zoom camera, the ultra-wide angle camera, a depth sensor camera and a macro camera. I love the macro camera capabilities but more about that later. The LED flash sits outside the camera platform, right below the cameras.
On the right side, we have the usual volume rocker button and the power button. On the left side sits the micro SD and SIM slot while at the top is one of the two microphone hole. At the bottom you can find the USB type-C charger/data port and the bottom firing speaker, along with the second microphone hole. Having one at the top and one at the bottom enables the A42 to capture sound in stereo mode. The A42 5G also comes with a headphone jack, great for gamers and audiophiles alike.
Here are the full device specifications for the Galaxy A42 5G:
- SoC: Qualcomm SM7225 Snapdragon 750 5G (8 nm), Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Kryo 570 & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 570)
- GPU: Adreno 619
- OS: Android 10, One UI 2.5
- Memory: 128GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 8GB RAM
6.6 inches, 105.2 cm2 (~84.3% screen-to-body ratio)
720 x 1600 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~266 ppi density)
Li-Po 5000 mAh, non-removable
Fast charging 15W
48 MP, f/1.8, (wide), 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF
8 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)
5 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
5 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
- Selfie Camera:
20 MP, f/2.2, (wide)
- Sensors: Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
- Colours: Prism Dot Black, Prism Dot White, Prism Dot Gray
Performance & Usage
Using the Galaxy A42 5G for my daily use has been a pleasure. It is snappy and responsive no matter what task I throw at it. I received the 128GB + 4GB storage and memory variant. The 4GB RAM is more than capable to handle my usual routine. You can opt to go for the higher RAM too, depending on your budget.
I will always have my chat programs running in the background. I reply tons of emails from my phone as well. At the same time, I take lots of pictures, watch YouTube videos, stream music from Spotify and watch Netflix right before I went to bed. The A42 is able to handle all those tasks in one single charge. The 5,000mAh battery helps a lot. It also comes with 15W fast charging capability so getting from 10% to 100% took less than an hour. After that, my day went by smoothly without any lags or worry of running out of juice.
The Galaxy A42 5G runs on the Android 10 with One UI 2.5. The functions and usability of the whole Android system is good, with clean interface all around. I always preferred the dark mode enabled, especially when I use a Samsung smartphone simply because of the AMOLED display. This is there you can see that black is actually black. And with the dark mode on, everything looks pretty darn good.
The Galaxy A42 5G has an under display fingerprint sensor. I didn’t use that because I prefer the facial recognition method. It unlocks really quick, so using the A42 made everything seems quicker. So much things can be done with the A42. The powerful new SoC, the Snapdragon 750 5G manage to perform well and with gaming, it gets better.
I obviously installed PUBG Mobile on this device. This is where I gauge the full potential of the phone’s graphic abilities with long gaming hours. I am able to set the graphics to the highest settings and I didn’t see any lags. And having an AMOLED display, it made everything look so good.
I spent about an hour a day in PUBG. And every time I use the A42, I tend to play a little longer. The graphics are smoothly rendered. But it does run a little warm after long heavy use. But that is pretty normal for any devices when under hard stress. It’s just warm, not hot, so it’s fine.
Antutu 3D benchmark result is not that bad either. At 303283, it is considered a mid-range score. Most of the new flagships already surpassed the 600k mark, so getting above 300k mark for a mid-range device is considered good. I previously reviewed other mid-range smartphones that scored 200k+ and still performed well on daily use and gaming. So my opinion is that 300k is the new benchmark for mid-range chipsets like the Snapdragon 750.
One of the most important feature on a new smartphone for me to try is the camera abilities. To recap on the Galaxy A42 5G’s camera setup, we go through the specs again. It comes with 4 cameras at the back. A 48MP, f/1.8, (wide angle), an 8MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide), a 5MP, f/2.4, (macro) and a 5MP, f/2.4, (depth sensor).
I mostly use the normal wide angle camera on the A42. To me, it takes a better quality picture than the rest of the setup, thanks to the large 48MP sensor. But with the macro camera, I can say it’s good too.
Now I shall let the photos do the talking.
Shooting outdoors for the main camera is a no brainer. Photos turns out clean, vibrant and well focused. There are no apparent flaws with this shot. If you’re looking for simple yet stunning photos, just use the main camera.
For indoors, the main camera shoots well too. In a well lit area, the photo came out with good details and still maintain good vibrant colours and clarity. Under low light area, you can see some “noise” around the dark spots but it is well managed by the camera’s post processing function to keep the noise at minimum. Night mode worked well too. You can get some extra detail in the dark when you turn on this function. Not bad in my opinion.
As for the ultra-wide angle, the shot is well focused in the center of the image while there are slight distortion around the edges but it’s not that bad. The focus is good and clear unlike some of the lower end devices. The ultra-wide angle shots are surprisingly nice to look at and I use it quite often.
Indoor shots with the ultra-wide angle camera isn’t bad too. It still managed to capture sharp images with only a slight distortion around the edges. Colours are not as accurate with the indoor shots especially when dealing with warm colour around the surrounding area. But that can be edited with a 3rd party app.
For macro shots, the A42 performed really well. I enjoyed shooting with the macro setup and most of the shots are well focused with good clarity. If you love getting close to your subjects, you will enjoy the macro setting. Food photography is awesome too. The auto scene selection is able to detect food photos and adjust the saturation + brightness to suit the subject. Food always turns out looking extra delicious with this camera.
Have a look at the photos below for more samples.
I am happy with this phone. The new Samsung Galaxy A42 5G is a very capable phone for those who are looking for an upgrade. The powerful Snapdragon 750 chipset that work seamlessly with up to 8GB of RAM will get you through your day with ease. Also not forgetting the large 5000mAh battery that guarantees long lasting use on a single charge.
There are a few things that I find to be flawed. One thing is that it being slippery when I held it in one hand. Another thing is it being a fingerprint magnet. I don’t remember how many times I had to do a wipe down on the A42. Other than that, it’s a badass phone.
So, would I recommend the new Galaxy A42 5G to anyone? Yes. Get it if you’re looking for an upgrade. Get it if you’re into gaming too. Another reason to get it is because of the 5G. This is the future network speed so I consider this phone to be future proof. But we just have to wait for the 5G to be fully launched here in Malaysia.
You can now purchase the new Samsung Galaxy A42 5G from the official Samsung Malaysia online store for RM1,599.00.