When I received the new Samsung Galaxy A54 5G a few weeks ago, I was amazed at how it looks and feels like a flagship smartphone. I was thinking to myself, “This is not a mid range phone, this is a flagship!”. I’m not kidding. When it comes to mid-range smartphones, we will usually get those with plastic back panel and hard plastic shell but with the Galaxy A54, we get a solid shell with front and back Gorilla Glass protection. Awesome!
To me personally, the new Samsung Galaxy A54 5G can be considered as the flagship of the mid-rangers based on the design, the feel of it and its overall capabilities. And guess what? The main camera is the very same camera that can be found on the Galaxy S23 flagships. What can I say, I absolutely love it. But I will still give an honest review of the Galaxy A54 and I hope you can find the information you need in making a decision for a smartphone upgrade.
Look and Feel
First of all, the review unit that I received is in black colour, also known as Graphite. It has a stunning 6.4” Super AMOLED display, more or less the same type of display you will get in most Samsung’s flagship devices. It also comes with a 120Hz refresh rate for an extra smooth scrolling and swiping. Mind you, this is a mid-range device but it inherits some of the flagship features.
To add a zing to the stunning display, it also comes with HDR10+ feature to produce rich colours and deep contrast that looks gorgeous. Watching movies on the Galaxy A54? You will love it. The display is capable of firing up to 1000 nits brightness, so viewing the screen under a bright sunny day should be no problem. The 2340×1080 (1080P) display is pleasant to look at. Anything displayed on the screen looks super clear and sharp.
On top of the front display, there’s the front facing 32-MP selfie camera. Samsung is using the same camera sensor for the selfie camera but they have also optimised the software to enable sharper, clearer selfie shots. Right above the camera is the earpiece speaker that also acts as a front firing speaker. That’s right, this Galaxy A54 comes with a stereo speaker. There is also a fingerprint sensor under the display located near the bottom half of the front display. The accuracy and the responsiveness is good enough for a quick unlock.
Looking around the sides, the hard plastic chassis feels more like metal or aluminium. The obvious reason is because it feels really premium. The volume rocker is located on the right side with the power button sitting right below it. This is pretty much a standard button layout by Samsung except when it comes to the folding Galaxy variant.
However, the layout around the top and bottom varies. As for this Galaxy A54, the SIM tray is located at the top alongside one of the two microphones that is available on this device. The bottom is kept to a minimum with a USB-C charging port being in the middle and the bottom firing speaker on the right of it. The second microphone is right next to the USB-C port on the left side.
At the back, the Gorilla Glass back panel feels smooth. On the downside of it, it is a fingerprint magnet. Everyone now knows that anything shiny and smooth will leave fingerprint marks, all the time. If you’re an OCD type of person, you will frequently wipe the back panel, like me. And then there’s the triple camera setup. With one look, the Galaxy A54 here will look identical to the Galaxy S23. Not only does it look good, it will also make people think you’re holding Samsung’s flagship device. I mean, technically you are holding a flagship, but with a lower price tag. That’s a good thing right?
Holding the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G in my hands feels great. The size is not too big, nor is it too small. It is just the right size for me. I don’t quite fancy overly large devices anyway this feels just right for me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Performance and Daily Use
When it comes to performance, I would say that the Galaxy A54 does the job well. So well that I’m starting to seal my own words about the Galaxy A54 being a flagship of the mid-rangers. It is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 1380 chipset, an upgrade to last years’ Exynos 1280 on the Galaxy A53. The new Exynos 1380 is based on the same 5nm process but better enhancements in AI features. It really feels snappier and less heat when I use it for a long period of time.
To support the Exynos 1380 chipset, the Galaxy A54 is equipped with 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal storage. Of course you can expand the storage via the MicroSDXC card slot that shares the same slot as the secondary SIM. But from my experience of using the Galaxy A series, I never have to add any additional storage to the device. You can easily manage the files and automatically delete any duplicate photos or videos from the gallery app to save space.
The Galaxy A54 has been upgraded to the latest Android 13 right out-of-the-box with OneUI 5.1. To be honest, OneUI is my favourite customised Android “launcher” and it is definitely one of the best out there. The features are almost endless and you can fully customise how you want your device to work based on the personalisation features.
You can set the modes and routines to have it do a certain process at a certain time of day or location. Yet with all that advanced features available, it doesn’t need a steep learning curve to start using the device. Once you get it all fired up, you can start customising how you want it to look or work.
When it comes to your daily routines such as browsing the social media networks, communicating via the chat apps, checking emails, watching movies on Netflix or bingeing on YouTube, the Galaxy A54 does it flawlessly. Multitasking seems to be no problem, at least for me. While you watch a video on YouTube, you might receive a text message halfway through. You can use the small pop-out window that appears over the video (without exiting YouTube) and read the message immediately. This comes in handy when you need to retrieve your TAC code when you’re using the banking app. You no longer have to close (or minimise) one window to open another. It will simply pop-up and be easily dismissed once you’re done.
So having all those features, will it slow down the device? Nope, not during my 3 weeks experience of using it. I have also tested the device for benchmarking on Antutu 3D. I never had my hopes too high for it to score high but it was satisfactory for me. The Galaxy A54 scored 512307 points on Antutu which is slightly more than half to the flagship Galaxy S23 Ultra. Again, my hopes weren’t that high but I do expect it to score better than last years’ Galaxy A53.
To put the Galaxy A54 on further test, I have to give it a go with gaming. My usual go-to game will be PUBG Mobile because that is the game I have been playing to test all the devices I received for review. It is easier to test it this way as I know the game well and how things render. After I installed PUBG Mobile, it prompted a recommendation to use high graphics settings which I quickly agreed to. And once I have everything loaded and the (additional) files installed, it’s time to play.
The game loads a little slower than usual. It shows a slight lag when the graphics kicks in but smoothen out after everything is loaded. From here onwards, the whole gameplay was smooth. The screen responded well to every touch and swipe while the sensitivity felt great. It does show very little stutter during high intensity battle but not enough to make me lose the game. Overall gaming performance with the Galaxy A54 is a 8/10 for me.
I can really play this game for hours. Speaking of which, the battery on the Galaxy A54 is 5000mAh and I can push to play the game from 100% battery capacity before leaving about 20% battery capacity after 3 hours of gaming. That is rather impressive given that PUBG Mobile tends to use a lot of power. Charging it up to 100% is pretty fast with a 40W charger brick that I happen to have. It can go from 10% to 50% in 20 minutes or less. And that 50% can last me a whole day if I use it normally without gaming or YouTube (or TikTok).
Camera and Photography
First, lets recap on the camera specs:
- 50 MP, f/1.8, (wide), 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS
- 12 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide), 1.12µm
- 5 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
- 32 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/2.8″, 0.8µm
As I said earlier, the main camera is the same as the one on Samsung Galaxy S23 series (except Ultra). Seems like the rest of the cameras are still using the same as its predecessor. Be wary of the 50-MP main shooter because that is a flagship camera. It has a larger sensor so it absorbs more light and produces punchier colours due to the larger sensor size.
There are many fun things you can play around with the native camera app. For instance, there’s the filter. You can choose from a plethora of available filters to apply to your photo. You can even download some new ones from the Galaxy app. I find that some of the filters work great. Well, at least it helps to bring the nostalgic look with some of the classic and lomography filters.
Since I praised the Galaxy A54’s triple camera setup, it is time to put it to the test. The main camera sensor has been upgraded to use the flagship 50-MP sensor. It is a larger sensor, that means it can capture and absorb more light. This also means that it can shoot better in low light conditions. As I’ve been witnessing, the main camera is a joy to use.
But will the Galaxy A54 prove the camera capabilities? I am about to show some sample shots that I have captured with the Galaxy A54. Most of the photos are taken candidly so that I can get a more natural shot rather than a constructed shot.
Shooting outdoors is a no brainer. Focus is on point and colours are great. The white balance is extremely well balaced. HDR worked well here too with the dark placed can still be seen and the bright areas are not overexposed at all. Very well executed by the main camera here.
The same can be said while being indoors. It is hard to tell whether the photos are taken with a smartphone or a professional camera. Again, it is well executed all around.
Getting some shots in low light and at night is a hit and miss. When it just in low light areas, it turns out really good as if it’s day time. But in really low light areas, I can see some (minor) noise in the dark areas unless I switch to use the Pro mode on the camera and set the ISO low and exposure time to 1 second. Other than that, the image still turned up to be good.
Getting up close to a subject is no problem at all. Most of the time it will automatically select the Macro mode to capture clearer image. Other times it works just fine with the main camera. Actually, the main camera works well all the time.
Front facing camera for selfies is just as good as the main camera. Capturing selfie shots in bright areas will have good details and colour but in low light areas, it still look just as good.
Somehow, I love the portrait mode with the main camera the most. The results never fail to amaze me. The subject remains in focus thanks to the auto-tracking feature and the background is blurred seamlessly. Capturing children being active is not an easy task but the Galaxy A54 5G manage to do it well.
There is so much to love with the Galaxy A54 5G’s camera. It uses the same camera as the flagship S23 models to ensure that we as users can capture great photos all the time. It is well proven in my own experience while testing it. And I am very sure to continue using it from here onwards, until the A55 comes out.
Clearly I am on the good side with the new Samsung Galaxy A54 5G here. It is a very promising mid-range smartphone that I personally think feels like a flagship. I love the design, I love the OneUI OS, I love the stereo speakers which I think have a good deep bass to it and most of all, I think the camera performance has vastly improved from last year.
The only concern I have is the chipset capabilities in the long run. The Exynos 1380 is superb but it doesn’t seem to shine like it was supposed to. Keep in mind that Samsung’s own latest chipset is supposedly considered as a flagship mid-range chipset but it is still trying to play the catch up game. Crossing the 500k mark on Antutu is a big leap forward but some of the other mid-range chipsets have crossed the 600k mark. Nevertheless, the Exynos chipset proved to be very stable and powerful. Gaming feels great without any hiccups and the battery endurance is good.
It is also good to note that the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G is IP67 certified for dust and water resistant for up to 1 metre for 30 minutes. Now that is something that most other mid-rangers don’t have. Now you don’t have to worry about splashes or dropping your phone in the toilet bowl.
If you’re thinking of an upgrade or simply wanting to buy a new Android device, you should consider giving the Galaxy A54 a go. The phone itself looks and feels like a premium flagship device without the hefty price tag. The powerful camera setup is also something you can lean into consideration. The camera features continue to impress me although I sort of use it on a daily basis. There’s always something new to learn especially when I use the manual function of the camera.
There’s no turning back now. If you’re reading this review up until this point, it means that you are very much intrigued with the Galaxy A54. I don’t blame you. It is a fine smartphone with all the pros outweighs the cons. It is suitable for working adults, corporate users and also for those who want to have a premium looking device without breaking the bank. The new Samsung Galaxy A54 5G is now in retail for RM1,899.00 on Samsung’s official web store.