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Samsung Galaxy A50 Review - One of Samsung's best mid-range phone yet

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In our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy A50, it impressed us with its build and specs for its price. How does it fare in real life though?
Prism reflection is beautiful

The Samsung Galaxy A50 features a 6.4-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display that is running on a 10 nm Exynos 9610 processor, Mali-G72 MP3 GPU, and 6GB RAM. It includes 128GB of internal storage and a 4,000mAh battery with Fast Charging via USB Type-C.

For our review part 1: Samsung Galaxy A50 First Impressions

We used the A50 as our daily driver for a few weeks to find out how it stacks up.

Display Quality

The Super AMOLED display of the A50
Super AMOLED display of the A50

One of the highlights of the A50 is its big and bright AMOLED display. As expected, it has one of the best displays in its price range. It gets bright while maintaining vibrant but close to accurate colors. It has an eye comfort mode and 10 points of touch as well.

Audio Quality

Single bottom firing speakers
Single bottom firing speakers

The A50 has a single bottom-firing speaker and an earpiece at the edge of the display that at max volume will be enough to fill a small room but will struggle with noisy environments. The sound quality at max volume though is good. There is very little distortion and it maintains decent clarity, separation, and depth.

There is no mention of whether or not the A50 has DAC support but it does have a 3.5mm headphone jack along with generic black earphones.

The stock earphones offer a better experience with superior sound quality in terms of clarity and separation while the sound stage isn't that large but is good enough.

It runs on Bluetooth 5.0 but it does not support the Dual Audio out a feature wherein you can connect to audio devices at the same time. When connected the audio signal is stable with almost no latency. 

The earpiece produces sound with a tingy sound at maximum volume but is able to produce good quality audio output in calls when coupled with the noise cancellation.

Battery

Battery score of Galaxy A50
Battery score of Galaxy A50

The A50 carries a large 4,000mAh battery with 15W adaptive fast charging through its USB-C port.

It was able to score a strong 11 hours and 26 minutes in our usual PCMark battery benchmark but in our real-world use with constant connection to WiFi and LTE, while texting, calling, e-mail writing, social media browsing, YouTube and Spotify streaming and Chrome web surfing, we were getting around 5 hours of on-screen time. 

We would unplug the A50 at 8AM in the morning and we would arrive home at 8PM with 5 to 10 percent battery left.

Even though it has a 4,000 mAh battery, the A50 was barely able to last through a full day. In short, the battery is great when LTE is used sparingly but may struggle a full workday when LTE is connected constantly.

The 15W adaptive fast charging is able to charge the A50 under 1 hour hour and 40 minutes from 0 to 100 percent. We hope Samsung is able to introduce a faster charging solution like VOOC from OPPO in this price range. 

It does not have wireless charging.

Camera

A50's rear triple cameras
A50's rear triple cameras

The A50 features a rear triple camera set up made up of a 25MP f/1.7 standard lens, a 8MP f/2.2 ultra wide-angle lens, and a 5MP depth sensor with autofocus and an LED flash.
Rear camera UI
Rear camera UI

It features several camera modes like Pro, Photo, Video, Live Focus, Super Slow-mo, Slow motion, Panorama and Hyper-lapse. Samsung's Scene Optimizer feature is carried over from Samsung's flagships.

HDR or Rich tone and Quick Launch is turned on by default and can be turned off in the settings menu. Beautification and filter effects can be turned on in Photo mode via the magic wand icon on the top left side. Beautification is somewhat limited with only up to 3 levels of intensity.

Above the different camera modes is the camera lens toggle which allows for switching between the ultra wide lens and the standard lens.

The images from the standard lens produces images with vibrant colors, good contrast and decently sharp images. This is consistent across the board from daylight to low light.

The ultra-wide lens is good with minor distortion, but there is a noticeable gap in quality compared to the standard lens. Don't get us wrong, the images are decently sharp with good contrast but the difference is noticeable when switching between lens.

We think the colors and white balance could use some tweaking as it tends to be darker and with lesser dynamic range.

Low light images do get increased grain and loss of sharpness from noise reduction that varies in intensity. There are situations where the noise reduction softening is negligible and there are situations where it softens the image too much.

It doesn't have a Bright Night mode unlike the competition for better low light shots though.

Rear Camera Samples

Standard rear camera daylight
Standard rear camera daylight
Ultra-wide rear camera daylight
Ultra-wide rear camera daylight
Standard rear camera Indoor
Standard rear camera Indoor
Ultra-wide rear camera Indoor
Standard rear close-up
Standard rear camera Live focus
Standard rear camera low light
Standard rear camera low light
Ultra-wide rear camera low light
Ultra-wide rear camera low light

The Samsung Galaxy A50 features a 25MP f/2.0 front facing camera with on screen flash. There are three modes: Photo, Video, and Live Focus.
Selfie camera UI
Selfie camera UI

Live focus mode on the A50 has 7 levels of Blur. There is no depth camera nor a time of flight camera to improve the edge detection. This is understandable given the price range. The result is an acceptable artificial bokeh though the edge detection could be improved.

The selfie images from the A50 have great color reproduction and deep contrast with decent sharpness in daylight. 

In indoor and low light, the sharpness is okay but will lose to the competition. However, it does retain color accuracy and pops even when under dark situations. These issues can be fixed via software update given that the selfie camera is 25MP

We hope Samsung improves upon this soon.

Selfie Camera Samples

Selfie daylight
Selfie daylight
Selfie daylight beauty mode
Selfie indoor
Selfie indoor
Selfie indoor live focus
Selfie indoor Live Focus
Selfie low light
Selfie low light

The Galaxy A50 can shoot up to 2336 x 1080 with HDR turned from both the rear and front-facing cameras. There is no option to select frame rates nor is there an option for stabilization. What's interesting is that there is an option for HEVC recording which means it can record higher-quality video footage but at the cost of compatibility with legacy devices.

The video footage from both cameras are nearly identical. They produce sharp images that have great color and good contrast.

Our concern is the lack of frame rate control and the lack of EIS or OIS to stabilize the footage which is apparent when hand holding the phone with shaky hands or when recording while riding a vehicle. The faster frame rate could also smoothen the footage a little bit more.

Video Samples


Performance

Benchmark scores
Benchmark scores

The Philippine model of the A50 is running on the 2.3GHz 64-bit Exynos 9610 octa-core processor. This makes it one of the few 10nm phones in its price range though this chipset isn't as powerful as the competition.

In our usual benchmarks, it scored 143K in AnTuTu. In GeekBench, the A50 scored 1712 in single-core tests and 5550 in multi-core tests which when compared to the 12nm MediaTek P70, the Exynos 9610 loses by a considerable margin. This doesn't mean that the A50 is bad when playing games or running heavy tasks, it isn't the best in the market.


When playing games like PUBG or NBA, we can play games at high with decent frame rates. The A50 was able to run mostly high settings in NBA 2K19 with cloth simulation turned off.

You will need to go down to medium to have consistent 60+ fps though. The A50 also gets somewhat warm after an extended play session. It never gets alarmingly hot though.

The UI

OneUI based on Android 9.0 Pie
OneUI based on Android 9.0 Pie

All of the phones that Samsung has released in 2019 will be running on One UI. This includes the A50 with One UI version 1.1 based on Android 9.0 Pie. We reviewed version 1.0 on our Galaxy Note9 that you can read here.

The experience is mostly the same but without the flagship features. Otherwise, the look and the experience is a big improvement over the previous Samsung Experience UI based on Android 8.0 Oreo. It is easier to navigate through the OS and one-handed use is better because UI elements can be reached easily. 

Like in the S10, when a Galaxy Buds is nearby with an open lid, a pop-up to connect to the Galaxy Buds will appear. 

Surprisingly there is no Bixby hardware button but Bixby features can be accessed on the home screen by swiping all the way to the left and by turning Bixby vision on the camera app. Otherwise, it gets out of your way quite nicely.

Other features

Biometric features
Biometric features

The A50 comes with an optical in-display fingerprint sensor with up to 3 fingerprints saved in the device. The fingerprint scanning performance is a mixed bag. There are times wherein it would register our fingerprints within a second but there also times wherein it takes under 3 seconds for it to scan, register and unlock the device. This became too frequent that I just turned off the fingerprint unlock and used Face Unlock with the old Pattern unlock.

A firmware update has been released to address the slow fingerprint scanner but we have yet to receive it for our review unit. We will update this section once we get it. 

The Exynos 9610 comes with LTE Cat12/13 which allows for fast, stable and reliable GSM, 3G and 4G connection depending on your telco's coverage area. The processor also carries the latest Bluetooth 5.0 which makes it fast, stable and seamless to set-up with other Bluetooth devices.

It comes with WiFi, gyroscope, orientation sensor and GPS that all work well. We didn't have problems with signal stability or speed.

Pros - Beautiful build and design, ultra-wide lens is versatile, one of the best display in the price range, Stereo speakers is good, lightweight, One UI is a big improvement
Cons - Battery life is decent but loses to competition, limited camera app controls, In-Display fingerprint scanner could be faster

Samsung Galaxy A50 Specs

Display: 6.4-inch 2.5D Super AMOLED screen w/ FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 403 ppi
CPU: 2.3GHz 64-bit Exynos 9610 octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-G72 MP3
RAM: 6GB
ROM: 128GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 512GB
Back Camera: 25MP f/1.7 + 8MP f/2.2 ultra wide-angle lens + 5MP depth sensor w/ AF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 25MP f/2.0
Battery: 4,000mAh w/ 15W fast charging
OS: Android 9.0 Pie w/ One UI
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5, FM Radio, GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, face unlock, USB-C, Colors: blue, white, black Dimensions: 158.5 x 74.7 x 7.7 mm
Weight: 166 g
Price: PHP 17,990

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy A50 is one of the best mid-range phones the Korean giant has ever produced.

The Super AMOLED display and the ultra-wide angle cameras are some of the best implementations in its price range.

The majority of our concerns with the fingerprint scanner, camera performance, and battery efficiency can all be addressed by software, so if Samsung does release firmware updates, this could be an even better phone after it is released.

We recommend the A50 if you can live with its many strengths and minor concerns.

Build/Design - 4
Display - 4.25
Audio - 4
Battery - 4
Camera - 4
Performance - 3.75
Average - 4/5
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