Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review: a good deal gets better

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review: a good deal gets better

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How bash you marque a bully midrange telephone better? If you’re Samsung, you swap successful a house-made processor, bump up the artillery capacity, ditch the in-box charger, and little the terms by $50. Follow that look and you get the $449 Galaxy A53 5G.

Samsung besides followed the cardinal regularisation of not fixing what wasn’t broken. The cameras, screen, and plan are each unchanged from past year’s model. Performance is astir the same, too, adjacent with the power from a Snapdragon processor to a new, unproven Exynos chipset. Losing the antecedently included charging ceramic is simply a bummer, but it was going to hap eventually.

Even amended than the insignificant spec upgrades, Samsung has improved its already beardown bundle enactment policy. The A53 5G volition get 4 years of Android OS level updates and 5 years of information updates. That’s arsenic agelong arsenic Google supports its flagship Pixel 6 phones with information updates. Don’t expect to get frequent updates toward the extremity of its lifespan, but getting immoderate benignant of update 5 years aft motorboat is fantastic for a midrange Android device.

Samsung has addressed immoderate of our bundle complaints, too. The A53 5G ships with Android 12-based One UI 4.1, which is simply a small tidier than the mentation that came earlier it. It is inactive a Samsung device, though, and Samsung inactive desperately wants you to unrecorded successful its satellite with its ain app store, virtual assistant, and constellation of pre-downloaded apps.

If you’re blessed surviving successful Samsung’s world, oregon astatine slightest don’t caput putting up with it, past the Galaxy A53 5G should reward you with an fantabulous instrumentality connected your investment.

The A53 includes a 6.5-inch OLED with 120Hz refresh rate, with affluent opposition and creaseless animations.

The Galaxy A53 5G is the archetypal Samsung telephone sold successful the US to usage an Exynos chipset since 2015. Samsung has continued utilizing its own-brand chips successful planetary versions of its phones (and they’ve shown up successful caller wearables). But successful the US, it’s been each Qualcomm oregon MediaTek starting with the Galaxy S7. The A53 5G and A33 5G are the archetypal devices anyplace to usage this peculiar 1280 Exynos processor. It’s paired with 6GB of RAM, which is much than you’ll find connected astir different midrange phones.

Performance seems to beryllium astir connected par with the A52 5G. Using them broadside by side, sometimes there’s a somewhat longer lag aft tapping connected the hunt barroom earlier the keyboard pops up connected the A53. But conscionable arsenic often, the A53 volition unfastened an app faster than the A52. In applicable use, I’d telephone it a toss-up betwixt the two. I announcement flimsy hesitations present and determination passim my regular use, but each wrong the mean scope for a midrange telephone and thing I couldn’t unrecorded with. It volition adjacent tally Genshin Impact, albeit with immoderate predominant stutters erstwhile there’s a batch happening connected screen. I’d expect wide show to clasp up reasonably well, adjacent aft 3 oregon 4 years of bundle updates, too.

Whether you bargain the telephone unlocked oregon done a bearer successful the US, you’ll person 1 prime of retention options: 128GB. That’s a steadfast magnitude for this terms range, and if you tally retired of abstraction aft a fewer years, there’s a microSD slot for further storage.

The A53 5G features a 6.5-inch OLED with a 120Hz refresh rate, and it offers a bully level of item with 1080p resolution. It tin beryllium a small tricky to spot successful precise agleam outdoor conditions, but successful each different situations, it’s a rich, vibrant display, and the accelerated refresh complaint keeps things looking smooth. At this terms point, it’s astir the champion you tin expect from a telephone screen.

There’s an in-display fingerprint scanner for biometric unlocking. Samsung says it’s the aforesaid 1 utilized successful the A52 5G, and I judge them. But I’m having an easier clip with it than I did successful the erstwhile model, and I consciousness similar I’m getting less prompts to retry. Maybe the bundle got better. Maybe I person much patience now. Who tin say? It’s a bushed slower than the very champion optical fingerprint sensors successful flagships, similar the OnePlus 10 Pro, but it’s mostly close and speedy capable not to origin immoderate large vexation time to day.

The A53 5G features IP67 particulate and h2o resistance, which is inactive uncommon successful this class. That means the A53 5G should basal up to splashes, spills, and immoderate h2o submersion. If you’ve ever seen a telephone dice a watery decease aft an accidental driblet successful a assemblage of h2o (let’s not speech astir what happened astatine West Seattle Summer Fest 2019), past you cognize however invaluable that h2o absorption is.

The different cardinal spec betterment is the upgrade from a 4,500mAh artillery to a 5,000mAh capacity. Samsung claims the caller artillery volition get you done 2 afloat days of use, and if you’re a airy idiosyncratic oregon connected Wi-Fi astir of the time, past that’s a just claim. I tin get done a afloat time nary problem, adjacent streaming immoderate video and spending astir of my clip connected 5G, but not rather 2 days. I did propulsion it beauteous hard connected time 2 by downloading Genshin Impact, but I lone got to astir 2PM erstwhile I started getting prompts to complaint the phone. Light users tin expect to get done 2 days connected a charge, but if you’re a mean oregon dense user, it mightiness beryllium champion to recharge overnight to debar dipping into the single-digit percentages.

There’s nary charging ceramic included successful the A53’s box, and not adjacent a USB-C cablegram is included. The headphone jack that the A52 included is gone, too, due to the fact that each bully things indispensable end. These are a mates of flagship features trickling down to the A53, and I privation they hadn’t.

If you bargain the A53 done AT&T, T-Mobile, oregon unlocked, you’ll get a mentation of the instrumentality that’s compatible lone with low- and mid-band 5G — nary superfast high-band millimeter question (mmWave). This is good — mmWave is hard to find anyway. The mentation of the telephone sold done Verizon does connection mmWave enactment and costs $50 more.

If you’re buying your telephone done Verizon, you are apt paying for it connected your monthly measure alternatively than astatine the afloat retail terms — successful which lawsuit the mmWave mentation is your lone choice. If you bash person the enactment of buying the telephone unlocked, spell up and prevention yourself $50 and conscionable bargain it without mmWave adjacent if you’re connected Verizon. You won’t miss it, and your wireless program mightiness not adjacent see it to statesman with.

Photos from the A53 are punchy and saturated.

The Galaxy A53 5G borrows its predecessor’s camera system, headlined by a 64-megapixel f/1.8 modular wide. It features optical stabilization, which is simply a uncommon and invited diagnostic successful the midrange class. (You’re much apt to get a crisp changeable successful mean lighting conditions.) There’s besides a 12-megapixel ultrawide, on with 5-megapixel macro and extent sensors.

Expect bully prime photos successful agleam light, with punchy, saturated colors. The main camera holds its ain successful dim and adjacent precise debased light, with a nighttime mode that brings retired a bully magnitude of item provided your taxable isn’t moving much. Portrait mode photos are serviceable, too, particularly erstwhile there’s plentifulness of light, but not arsenic awesome arsenic we saw connected the Galaxy S22. There’s besides nary telephoto lens here, truthful your lone enactment for portraits is the wider presumption of the modular camera.

Video signaling tops retired astatine 4K / 30p, with 30 and 60p options successful 1080 resolution. Video clips look fine; the camera’s autofocus hunts a small spot successful debased light. There’s further stabilization disposable successful 1080 / 30p mode, but it’s champion suited for agleam outdoor light. (Clips successful mean and debased airy with this diagnostic enabled look acheronian and noisy.)

Altogether, it’s a camera strategy that’s bully for the price. You’d surely get amended from a flagship — including a telephoto lens — but it does an capable job. The A53 doesn’t rather measurement up to the midrange people leader: the Google Pixel 5A. Portraits and debased airy photos look conscionable a small amended from the Pixel, and colors are a small little saturated. There are bully reasons to opt for the Samsung implicit the Pixel 5A (more connected that successful a bit), but if it’s axenic camera prime you’re after, the 5A is inactive the champion you tin bash for nether $500.

The A53 5G’s hardware leaves maine with precise small to kick about; it does conscionable astir everything you could reasonably expect a $450 telephone to do. But I can find immoderate nits to prime successful Samsung’s bundle — chiefly that it’s Samsung software.

If Samsung has its way, you’ll upwind up with a full clump of Samsung apps downloaded connected your telephone erstwhile you commencement utilizing it. Thankfully, you tin opt retired of downloading a batch of these during setup. Still, you’ll person an other app store and an other dependable adjunct connected your phone, whether you privation them oregon not. Bixby, I learned, has a inclination to mishear definite vigor DJs saying “KEXP” arsenic its ain name. This is simply a precise Pacific Northwest problem, but I was already irritated with Bixby, and this hasn’t helped things.

To beryllium fair, Samsung has done a small cleanup since One UI 3.0, similar removing the ads astatine the apical of the upwind app. You tin fell each of the superfluous Samsung apps successful a folder, and it’s imaginable to usage the telephone without ever creating a Samsung relationship if you privation to unrecorded your beingness without an other login. Just cognize that you whitethorn 1 time determine to change the font connected your phone and observe that you’ll request a Samsung relationship to download 1 from the Galaxy Store. Win some, suffer some.

With a steadfast enactment argumentation and IP67 rating, the A53 5G should past for galore years to come. Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

The Galaxy A53 5G is an casual prime if you unrecorded successful the US and you’re looking to walk little than $500 connected an Android phone. The Google Pixel 5A is fundamentally the phone’s lone competition, but it’s apt to beryllium replaced soon and has a shorter support beingness astatine this constituent with lone a mates much OS updates headed to it. You’d get a amended camera and amended bundle without each of the Samsung duplicates, but it’s not sold done immoderate carriers if you’re looking to subsidize it with your wireless plan.

Aside from waiting for the Google Pixel 6A, the different enactment would beryllium to walk much and go for the Pixel 6. Google seems to person addressed immoderate aboriginal bugs with Android 12 information patches, and for $599, it’s a fantastic instrumentality with an fantabulous camera and beauteous software. But it’s importantly much costly — an other $150. If you’re not picky astir getting the precise champion representation prime and you similar (or astatine slightest don’t mind) Samsung’s mentation of Android 12, past determination truly isn’t a compelling lawsuit for spending the other money.

Samsung offers a batch of A-series fund phones, and they’re mostly among the champion options successful their respective terms brackets. The A53 5G is the Samsung A-series astatine its precise best. It keeps up with day-to-day tasks present and should past good into the adjacent 4 oregon 5 years if you instrumentality attraction of it. The A52 was a bully bargain for $50 more, and the A53 volition springiness you an adjacent amended instrumentality connected your concern — adjacent if you person to bring your ain charger now.

Photography by Allison Johnson / The Verge