It’s not often that I review a phone and fall in love with it almost immediately. This is exactly what happened with the new Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G. I received the device last month in October before its official release and I have been using it ever since. I mentioned in my preview of the device that it could be the best mid-range contender and I’m about to confirm it in this full review.
After a whole month of testing and using the Galaxy A52s as my daily driver, I find that it is, in my opinion, better than the flagship Galaxy S21 (which I also own). And for that reason, I ditched my Galaxy S21 and now I’m 100% on the Galaxy A52s.
Even my best friend thinks I’m crazy to ditch the more premium flagship but I find that the Galaxy A52s feels better. With that being said, why not have a further read on my full review and find out why I love the Galaxy A52s so much.
Design and First Look
The overall design is basically the same as the Galaxy A52 variant (without the “s”) and a little smaller than the Galaxy A72. Even the rear camera bump looks exactly the same. Although it is about 20 grams heavier on paper than the Galaxy S21, it doesn’t feel any heavier in my hand. I would say that it weighs almost the same.
The large 6.5” Super AMOLED display comes with 120Hz refresh rate to give the smooth navigation and scrolling experience. It is so smooth that it feels premium at times. I often mistaken it for my S21. It gives the same performance and experience as its flagship sibling. The screen shines bright up to 800 nits which is good enough for me.
There is also a punch hole 32MP selfie camera right at the top center and an under display optical fingerprint sensor near the bottom.
Looking at the back, there are 4 cameras sitting on a smooth camera bump that seamlessly protrudes from the back panel. If you’re looking at it from afar, you wouldn’t notice the camera bump. Perhaps it’s because I’m having the Awesome White version of the phone that made the bump look a little less obvious.
The Galaxy A52s is surrounded by a stainless steel body that adds quality in the aesthetic department. On the right side of the body, there’s the usual volume rocker and the power button right below it. There’s nothing on the left side. The dual SIM and MicroSD card tray is now located at the top of the phone along with one of the two stereo microphones.
At the bottom, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack (thank God), a second microphone, a USB type-C data and charging port, and a bottom firing speaker grille. Speaking of speakers, the Galaxy A52s comes with a stereo speaker with the ear-piece doubles up as a loudspeaker as well.
As I said, the Galaxy A52s looks exactly the same as the Galaxy A52 so you won’t have much problems looking for a phone casing or tempered glass for an additional protection.
Daily Use and Performance
This is where things get interesting. And this is probably the reason why I ditched my S21 (temporarily maybe?).
The Galaxy A52s is powered by Snapdragon 778G SoC which to me, is just a little less powerful than the flagship Snapdragon 888. It is supported by 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. Of course, I can expand the storage via a MicroSD card but 256GB is more than enough for me.
Using the Galaxy A52s is really fun. The device responded well to any tasks that I threw at it. Multitasking is a breeze. I don’t usually leave many apps opened at any given time but I don’t worry about that on the Galaxy A52s. I’m sure most of you will discard any older apps that are opened to keep your phone at optimum performance. I do that too. But not that often with the Galaxy A52s.
With more than 10 opened apps, I can still breeze through the phone and did heavy loads of graphical tasks without any hiccups. I do lots of photo editing on my phone. Also some video editing as well. But the Galaxy A52s just kept going without breaking a sweat. Best of all, it doesn’t heat up.
To power the phone up, the Galaxy A52s comes with a Li-Po 4500mAh battery that can last me a day and a half on heavy use that includes gaming. That is really good battery endurance if you ask me. If you want to save more juice, you can also turn off the dynamic screen refresh rate and only use the 60hz refresh rate. That will add another hour or two to your battery life.
As for the OS, the Galaxy A52s comes with Android 11 and One UI 3.1 out-of-the-box. Good news is, the One UI 4 based on Android 12 is just around the corner and the Galaxy A52s will receive that update once it rolls out. Now I am very excited for that upcoming update.
There are many ways to unlock the Galaxy A52s. You can use the under display fingerprint sensor, face recognition or with an old-skool pin number input. I’ve set mine to use both under display fingerprint sensor and facial recognition. The fingerprint sensor is very quick and accurate. The facial recognition is even quicker. It unlocks the phone as soon as I press the power button, except when I’m wearing a face mask. And it can still unlock with facial recognition even when I have the phone 1 meter away from my face. Thumbs up for that.
Performance wise, it is beyond my expectations. If you’re familiar with my usual performance test, then you’ll know I will test its full potential with gaming. So how does a Snapdragon 778G device perform with my favourite game of PUBG Mobile? Spectacular!
I loaded up PUBG Mobile on the Galaxy A52s and I knew I would be able to set the graphics to the highest framerate and settings. Of course, I turn on the 120Hz screen refresh rate as well to maximize the whole gaming experience and push it as far as I can. I even paired the Galaxy A52s with the new Galaxy Buds2 for an amazing surround sound. Before that, be sure to turn on Game Mode on the Galaxy Buds2 settings for low latency connection.
The overall gaming experience is way above my expectations. The gameplay is super smooth, zero lags and low heat. I am loving the smoothness in the overall graphic rendering throughout the whole gameplay. The screen is highly responsive and the super AMOLED display is simply gorgeous to look at.
Can I get nauseous because the whole gaming experience is too damn smooth? Yes I can. That happened to me after long hours of gaming. But I’m kinda used to that so that’s fine with me. But yeah, the whole gaming experience is just too good. And the Galaxy Buds2 doesn’t disappoint as well. And also with Dolby Atmos turned on. Just wow.
Even after 2 hours of continuous gaming on PUBG Mobile, I still have about 20% of battery left. Take note, all these are with 120Hz screen refresh rate turned on and with wireless earbuds connected to the phone. That is good battery endurance. Think I’ve said this already.
As for Antutu Benchmark, the Galaxy A52s scored a rather impressive 492188, which is considered above average and good for heavy gaming.
So in terms of overall performance, I dare to say that the Galaxy A52s surpassed the performance of Galaxy S21 by a good margin. But in terms of build quality and exclusivity, the S21 is better. I forgot to mention that my Galaxy S21 is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 2100 SoC, not the SD888 version.
Just too bad that we still don’t have a publicly available 5G network connection to try out the 5G speed performance yet. I’m pretty sure there will be a significant improvement in its overall performance while we’re out and about. So we just have to wait for that.
The Galaxy A52s is also IP67 rated for dust and water resistance up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. That is another plus point that you can consider.
Let’s check out the camera specifications:
- 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.7″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS
- 12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)
- 5 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
- 5 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
- 32 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide)
Now, the Galaxy A52s camera system is exactly the same as the one on Galaxy A52. It also has the same layout and megapixel counts. But there will be a slight difference between the two because of the different chipset. AI post-processing will be different and any software updates will process the photos differently too. So let’s see some of the results taken by the Galaxy A52s camera.
Outdoor shots are easy. The Galaxy A52s managed to capture good details with good clarity and colour balance.
Details on the building photo above is good. Highlights from the sky is well balanced with the dark areas around the trees. But HDR could’ve worked better to brighten up the dark areas a little bit. Of course, sunset shots are always pretty to look at.
When shooting in the dark, the Galaxy A52s managed to keep the noise at minimum. In fact, I don’t see much of the noise in the photo above. The details are actually good.
Again, when there’s enough light, the Galaxy A52s is able to capture good details and well balanced colours.
When it comes to food, I know many of us love to take photos of your meal before you eat for your social media post, right? Let me tell you that the Galaxy A52s will not disappoint you with great punchy colours and superb details. It will make your food too darn good to eat. The camera’s AI will automatically select the “food” mode when it detect the food subject. With this, the phone will enhance the image to make it all look better.
When it comes to selfies, it may be a hit and miss. But most of the time I got a hit. Outdoor selfies are good most of the time. If you’re indoors, make sure you have some sort of light source nearby to get a good detail on your face. But it still managed to get an okay shots in near dark areas. But you may have to stay motionless to get a good shot when it’s dark.
When shooting a product or a small subject like I did above, it’s good to know that the normal zoom managed to capture near perfect photo without any flaws. The colours are good, details are there and overall, it’s just good. Zooming in 2x, it still managed to get a good clear shot. But then using the ultrawide angle mode, the image tends to get blurry near the corners. I hope the next software update can resolve this minor issue. Macro mode is good. You can go as minimum as 3 cm away from the subject to get a clear shot.
Here’s another sample taken with the macro mode. Like I said, details are good. The foreground grass blades are blurred nicely for that bokeh effect and I’m happy with this shot.
Probably the best mode of all. I only managed to get one clear shot of mini me because he wouldn’t sit still even for a few seconds but the result is really good. Background is blurred seamlessly for that bokeh effect and it doesn’t look artificial. Colours, details and clarity are on point.
The Galaxy A52s performed above average in the camera department. I won’t say it’s the best, but 95% of the photos in my gallery are usable and came out beautifully. Some night shots are blurry, probably because the “shutter” takes longer to capture enough light. I prefer to use the portrait mode when I have a human subject in front of me but most of the times I simply use the normal 64MP main shooter because it’s easy and can’t go wrong with it.
By far, this is the best mid-range Galaxy series that I’ve tested. My previous best was the mid-high range Galaxy A72 which I also liked. Now the throne has gone to this Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G. Keep in mind that I’m only comparing it between all the Galaxy series. I’ve yet to try the latest M Series, so that will compare nicely between all the Galaxy ranges.
Having said all that, I am very pleased with the Galaxy A52s and I will continue to use it until the next best mid-range comes around. The performance for daily usage is up there. I’ve used some other mid-ranges weeks before this but those were just okay in my opinion. I have always loved the gorgeous AMOLED display. I love the size and it’s very pocketable.
Another thing that I love is the battery endurance. A full 100% charge can last me close to two days if I turn the dynamic screen refresh rate off. But even when it’s on, it can still last me the whole day without needing to plug in the charger. And no, I don’t need to carry a powerbank when I have this phone with me.
So if you’re looking for an upgrade from an older Galaxy A series, I will highly recommend that you get this Galaxy A52s. It is future proofed, thanks to the 5G network ready. Or if you’re looking to level up your gaming experience, this will be it as well. The stereo speakers sound amazing while gaming or watching any movies. It’s a pleasure to use, definitely.
The new Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G is available now and you can make your purchase at Samsung’s official website for RM1,899.00.
Samsung Galaxy A52s Specifications:
- SoC: Qualcomm SM7325 Snapdragon 778G 5G (6 nm), Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Kryo 670 & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo 670)
- GPU: Adreno 642L
- OS: Android 11, One UI 3.1
- Memory: 128GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 6GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM
Super AMOLED, 120Hz, 800 nits
6.5 inches, 102.0 cm2 (~84.9% screen-to-body ratio)
1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~405 ppi density)
- Build: Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), plastic back, Stainless steel frame
- Battery: Li-Po 4500 mAh, non-removable, Fast charging 25W
64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.7″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS
12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)
5 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
5 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
- Selfie Camera: 32 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/2.8″, 0.8µm
- Sensors: Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
- Colours: Awesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Purple, Awesome Mint