Ditching the Snapdragon and is now powered by in-house Exynos 1280, can the new Galaxy A53 become the champion of mid-rangers?
Have you ever wondered, what makes a mid-range phone good? My answer would be, when the spec sheet has been bumped up a lot, then it’s good. Mostly I am referring to the hardware specs such as the chipset and memory. So technically, the new Galaxy A53 is getting there. But how good is it? Let’s dive in deeper.
First look at the Galaxy A53 5G
First of all, the look and feel of the new Galaxy A53 5G is the same as the previous Galaxy A52s and A52 before that. The only thing that has changed is the internal hardware, in this case, the brain of the device. It has the same camera system too, with the 64MP main shooter being the star of the show.
But this time around you won’t get the charger brick. The only items you will get in the box are the A53 device and a USB-C charging cable. That’s about it. So if you’re a new user getting your hands on the new Galaxy A53, make sure you spend a little more on a charging brick. Otherwise, you can still use your old one.
The front display is a gorgeous Super AMOLED 6.5” panel with up to 120Hz refresh rate for that super smooth scrolling and up to 800 nits brightness that can almost blind you momentarily in the dark. But that’s a good thing when viewing the screen under direct sunlight. You can never go wrong with Samsung’s AMOLED display. They are simply the best.
Around the back, is the same camera bump with three same camera systems as its predecessor. But those who have used an A52s before this, will notice a slight difference on the camera bump. It is now slightly more tapered and “lower”. I don’t know how to describe it but you’ll see the difference if you compare them side by side. But that’s just about the only difference you’ll see.
Same goes with the button and port placements. Every single button such as the power and volume rocker are in the same position. With this, most Samsung users will feel at home and able to get it up and running immediately. As for the under display fingerprint sensor, that works just as well as its flagship counterparts. Unlocking the device is very fast. I don’t actually need to rescan by fingerprint more than once. It managed to read with just one touch and it did it fast. Quite impressive if you ask me.
If you’re the clumsy type and always dropping your phone in a body of water or in the kitchen sink, fret not, the Galaxy A53 is an IP67 rated for dust and water resistance up to 1m depth for 30 minutes. But I wouldn’t want to purposely submerge the phone underwater or take it for a swim. For that kind of activity, you’ll need an IP68 rated device.
So the aesthetic differences are very minimal. But what made the Galaxy A53 a better buy is all about the software. Samsung has recently announced that all new Galaxy devices, whether it’s a flagship or the A series, will receive up to 4 years of major OS updates, including security updates. That means the Galaxy A53 and other latest A series will be able to get up to Android 16, if everything goes well. That is a very welcoming news among Android users and we shall see how that goes.
Daily User Experience
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is a fun device for me. Not many mid-range devices out there that have dual speaker setup with Dolby Atmos feature. But the Galaxy A53 has all that. Listening to music is pleasant, audio quality is good and it is loud enough to acoustically fill up a medium sized room.
If you’re into gaming like me, you will truly enjoy the immersive audio while playing games like Genshin Impact and PUBG Mobile. Since the Galaxy A53 does not come with a 3.5mm audio jack, you will either need a Galaxy Buds Pro for the best sound quality with low latency or simply play it using the dual speakers. I use both. Of course, using the Buds is so much better but listening to the in-game audio with the dual speakers is good too. Watching videos? It’s just as good.
Previously, the Galaxy A series has been powered either by a Snapdragon chipset, or by MediaTek. But the new A series line-up is now using Samsung’s own (and unannounced) Exynos 1280 chipset that uses a 5nm EUV process and low-power design. It is a surprise to me. First, they are using an Exynos chip after a long hiatus on any A series. Second, none of us tech bloggers ever heard of this chipset until the launch of the new A series.
However, within the duration of my review, I found that the new chipset performed just as good as the one on Galaxy A52s that uses a Snapdragon 778G. My findings are based on my daily use such as multitasking, chatting, watching movies, photography and video editing. I don’t seem to find any faults or lags when going through all the normal day to day tasks. Having an 8GB of RAM with 256GB of storage does help a lot in terms of performance. But the difference can be found while gaming and going through the Antutu benchmark test.
Having said that, gaming on the Galaxy A53 is still smooth but the lag and stutters only occurs during the start of the game. Once everything is loaded up, the overall gameplay is above average to me. It’s not excellent, but it’s not bad as well. Games like PUBG Mobile can be played smoothly with high graphic settings at 60fps. Genshin Impact is smooth too but I do notice some stutters during the load or during a fight scene when there’s a lot of characters running around on the screen. But it’s only a slight lag. That means you can still win the game easily.
Benchmarking on Antutu however, reveals the true score of the Galaxy A53. However, it scored within the same range as the SD778G powered Galaxy A52s, with only a slightly lower score. The Galaxy A53 scored 432951 points on my review device. To be honest, I’m quite happy that it breached the 400k mark, noting that it is a very capable mid-range device with a brand new chipset to show-off. The Galaxy A52s however, scored 492188 points that closes the gap towards 500k points.
Hopefully with the new upcoming OS updates, some of the performance lags can be addressed with some software patches or better OS system upgrade as a whole. It is currently running on Android 12 with One UI 4.1. And most of us have experienced that Android 12 definitely “feels” lighter. So I’m looking forward and hoping that the future OS updates will make it even lighter and easier to use with improved UI and UX.
Battery capacity has been bumped up to 5000mAh from 4500mAh in the previous version. I can vouch for the battery endurance here. When I fully charged the Galaxy A53 to 100% on a Monday morning, it took me until Wednesday night to plug in the charger again. That includes a lot of multitasking, YouTube bingeing but with only a few gaming sessions slipped in. But there are nights when I had the battery up to 100%, I went on full gaming mode. It goes down to 60% after 2 hours of PUBG Mobile, which is impressive to me.
About Camera and Photography
Earlier on when I said that there are many similarities between the Galaxy A53 and its predecessor, I do mean it. It still uses the same camera system with 64MP as the main shooter, a 12MP for the ultrawide angle, 5MP macro setup and another 5MP depth camera. The main 64MP shooter comes with an Optical Image Stabiliser (OIS) which is a great additional feature for a mid-range device. But it’s nothing new.
The 12MP ultrawide camera is also a welcome feature. I do prefer to have an ultrawide setup rather than a telephoto camera. And since I love landscape photography, I use this camera quite often. As for the macro camera, I only use it when I need to get close-up shots of something. Most of the time, I use it to capture photos of another phone’s buttons and ports. It looks better with a macro camera somehow.
Shooting photos with the Galaxy A53 is fun. In bright areas or outdoors, do expect some clean and vibrant looking photos in your gallery. Portrait photos are truly a joy to use. If you have someone as your subject, be sure to turn on the Portrait Mode for that special bokeh effect. You can adjust the amount of blur for the background, while retaining the clarity of your subject. I often use this mode while taking photos of my son. And he loves to pose as well.
On videos however, there is a quick option to shoot with a standard HD quality at 30fps or bump it all the way up to UHD at 30fps. You will only have the 60fps option while shooting at FHD mode, which is the mode I use most often. It takes up about 80MB of your storage for a 25-second video duration in MP4 format, which is not that bad. I can further reduce the file size by recording in HEVC format but not all apps or websites are compatible with it.
There are many other modes you can choose under the “More” option in the camera app. From there, you can choose the Pro camera or video, Single Take (which is also fun to use), Night mode, Food mode, Panorama, Macro, Super Slow-Mo (720fps), Normal Slow-Mo and Hyperlapse. That is a lot of additional modes to choose from on a mid-range device.
I will then show you some sample photos that I managed to capture with the Galaxy A53 recently, each with its own caption to describe the shots. Enjoy.
The new Samsung Galaxy A53 is one of my favourite phones this year. With the White colour variant that I received, it looks like a minimalist phone from the back. The clean look made it very pleasant to look at. Everything is kept almost “hidden” to give it a minimal look. Hence why I like it.
When it comes to performance, I have no doubt that it will perform well whenever it is needed. The new Exynos 1280 is a capable chipset and it is able to keep up with my multitasking sessions as well as my gaming hours. Although some occasional stutters happened, it still manages to push through and keep up with the load quite well. The 8GB of RAM does help out in this area. And it’s a good thing it comes as a standard nowadays.
The biggest plus point I’d give is for the promise of software updates by Samsung. I am looking forward to seeing the Galaxy A53 receiving an Android 15 or 16 update a few years from now. That alone will be able to draw in new crowds into Samsung’s ecosystem for mobile devices.
Would I recommend the Samsung Galaxy A53 to new users? Heck yes. If those new users want something that can perform well for daily use or gaming, or wish to buy a device that can last them a few years, why not a Galaxy A53? It has everything a typical Android user needs. A reliable OS, large memory and storage, new chipset and good camera. It checks all the basic boxes.
The new Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is now on sale at Samsung’s office website and it’s retailing for RM1,849.00.