In our previous piece, we took a look at what came with the Samsung Galaxy A52 in its box for Malaysia and had a quick appraisal of its more salient features and aesthetics. This time around, we’re peeking under the hood and seeing how it actually performs in the field in our Galaxy A52 review.
Our prior feature covered the box contents, the overall aesthetics and design of the Galaxy A52. Now, we’re going to cover its actual performance under field conditions.
Galaxy A52 Review – Specifications
On top of its rather comprehensive set of features that blend together a veritable wish list of the most sought after features in a phone, the Galaxy A52 also has a surprisingly robust set of specifications.
You get a 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate up front with a decent 405ppi and 800 nits peak brightness while integrating Gorilla Glass 5 for protection. It also has an under-display fingerprint reader taking centrestage.
Here’s an overview of the Galaxy A52’s specifications
|Display||6.5-inch Super AMOLED FHD+ (1,080 x 2,400 pixels), 90Hz refresh rate|
|OS||Android 11 w/ One UI 3.1|
|Memory||8GB RAM/ 256GB storage + microSD card|
|Camera||64MP F/1.8 w/ OIS, 12MP F/2.2 ultrawide + 5MP macro + 5MP depth / 32MP F/2.2 front|
|Battery||4,500mAh w/ 25W fast charging (15W charger provided)|
|Size/Weight||159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4 mm/ 189g|
Running under the hood is Android 11 with Samsung’s latest One UI 3.1 firmware on a midrange Snapdragon 720G processor paired with an Adreno 618 graphics solution.
For Malaysia, the Galaxy A52 is configured to 8GB RAM and 256GB of expandable storage via an available dedicated microSD card slot. One thing to note is that the Galaxy A52 has no 5G connectivity, with that feature unique to the Galaxy A32 5G for this year and in this price range.
In terms of benchmarks, the Galaxy A52 scored the following:
|Wild Life Unlimited||1,050|
|3DMark Sling Shot Extreme ES 3.1||2,583|
|3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Unlimited – OpenGL ES 3.1||2,740|
|3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Vulkan||2,436|
|GeekBench 5 SIngle Core Score||543|
|GeekBench 5 Multi Core Score||1,617|
|PCMark Work 2.0||8,449|
This translates to decent performance for day to day tasks, helped in part by the generous 8GB RAM on the Galaxy A52. The Snapdragon 720G processor isn’t new by any means, seeing as it was launched last year but it’s a proven, reliable mainstay in its price range and has also seen service in other competing phones like the Vivo V20 and the OPPO Reno 4.
Gaming performance is reliable with smooth results in Asphalt 9 Legends and Call of Duty mobile on high settings with onscreen refresh rates running at 90Hz for the former and 60Hz for the latter.
The provided 90Hz AMOLED display is among the best in its price range with the screen offering silky smooth 90Hz scrolling and animations when going through websites and the menus. Brightness, clarity and colour rendition are excellent with good visibility under daylight conditions.
On testing, the refresh rate seems to be fixed at 90Hz, defaulting to a slower 60Hz when you’re using the camera and some games but it’s otherwise excellent. You can also dial the refresh rate down to 60Hz if you need to extend battery life and also tweak the vibrancy but on its default mode, the Super AMOLED panel is among the best there is.
On the audio front, the provided 3.5mm audio jack is a pleasant bonus while the bundled stereo speakers proved to be loud with a fair amount of detail.
Powering the phone is a 4,500mAh battery with 25W fast charging though the phone only ships with a standard 15W charger which easily offers slightly short of two days worth of average use on a single charge which is excellent by all accounts.
The provided 15W charger was able to charge the phone from dead zero in 2 hours and 30 minutes which is substantial time circa 2021. If you want it faster, you’ll need to chunk out for a faster 25W charger or alternatively get one of UGreen’s 65W GaN chargers.
The phone also ditches a few other niceties seen in the Galaxy S21 series like wireless charging and reverse wireless charging for other devices but this isn’t a major deal breaker seeing what you’re paying for.
Galaxy A52 Cameras
The Galaxy A52 has a rear quad camera that is built around a primary 64MP F/1.8 camera that also integrates optical image stabilisation (OIS) which is a rarity if not the first time OIS is seen on a camera in this price range. Adding OIS to the rear camera is a significant game changer, especially for a midrange camera as it ensures less shaky footage and stills.
This is complemented by a 12MP F/2.2 ultra wide angle camera as well as a 5MP F/2.4 macro camera and a 5MP depth sensor. This setup enables the phone to snag 16MP stills and up to 4K@30fps video. The front hosts a 32MP selfie camera that’s also capable of 4K@30fps video.
There’s no optical zoom in the rear camera but it does offer up to 10x digital zoom for stills and videos by cropping the feed off the main 64MP camera rather than actual zoom.
The 5MP macro camera only fires up if you kick in the dedicated Macro mode but it’s otherwise not used for other purposes. All this is a substantial upgrade over the older Galaxy A51 which had a smaller non-OIS 48MP primary camera.
Another particular feature of note that we discovered in our Galaxy A52 review is that it has a full fledged camera user interface akin to that in the higher end Galaxy S21 with the vast majority of available settings and menus. In earlier generations, this is typically a rarity in a midrange Galaxy A series phone.
This time around, you get Samsung’s popular SIngle Take mode, a Night mode and a Pro Video mode that lets you control ISO, aperture, white balance and more when taking videos.
There is also a Galaxy A series specific ‘Fun’ mode that adds in some whimsical AR filters when taking shots though this mode needs you to have data on for it to work.
Unfortunately, there is no option at present for you to pair up with a Galaxy Buds Pro or Buds Live to use it as a lavalier mic in its Pro Video but that’s not a deal breaker.
In terms of performance, the rear cameras of the Galaxy A52 are an improvement over its predecessor the A51 and offer slightly better low light performance on account of a brighter F/1.8 aperture and improved Night mode.
The provision of OIS also means hasty shots off the cuff are way more forgiving and captured videos, especially if you’re walking or panning look smoother too.
Shots with the main camera offer vibrant colours with a good amount of detail under daylight and shots between the ultra wide and main camera offer consistent colours with minimal disparity between them though shots from the ultra wide are a bit softer when it comes to detail.
Zoomed in shots work best at 2x for stills and video but beyond that, things start to get more grainy and footage starts looking a lot softer too.
Low light performance is decent, bordering on good for a mid range phone, with better results achieved with Night mode turned on though you need a bit of a longer delay to get a shot. With Night mode on, you get a decent amount of dynamic range though details understandably remain a bit soft.
Overall, it’s a bunch of modest quality of life improvements that ensures the cameras offer more consistent and reliable shots and video under a wider range of scenarios.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy A52?
The Samsung Galaxy A52 is a midrange phone with very few compromises, packing as it does a veritable wish list of desirable features and solid performance that enable it to offer truly exceptional value.
If you’re looking for one, if not currently the best midrange phone under RM1,500 that money can buy, the Galaxy A52 is it.
Galaxy A52 Review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia. Available for purchase online at https://www.samsung.com/my/smartphones/galaxy-a/galaxy-a52-awesome-violet-256gb-sm-a525flvixme/
Samsung Galaxy A52
Samsung Galaxy A52
The Samsung Galaxy A52 is one of the most full featured smartphones that money can buy with minimal compromises. This phone combines good build quality, a great camera, features galore and an outstanding performance to price ratio. If you want a value packed phone, this comes highly recommended.
Gorgeous 90Hz AMOLED display
Main rear camera with OIS
3.5mm audio jack
Good build quality
Runs One UI 3.1
No bundled casing
Feels a bit plasticky