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Samsung Galaxy A52, A52 5G Review - Best value A series for 2021?

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Huawei
We share our experience with the Samsung Galaxy A52 and A52 5G after a month of use. 
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G in Awesome Black and A52 in Awesome Blue colors

In 2020, the Samsung Galaxy A51 was the best-selling Android smartphone. A month ago, we got our hands on the Galaxy A52 and the A52 5G.

Let's see if Samsung is able to top the best-selling predecessor.

To recap, the Galaxy A52 and A52 5G features a large 6.5-inch Super AMOLED Infinity-O display with up to 800 nits of brightness. Inside both phones are 8GB, 256GB of storage, and a 4500mAh battery with 25W fast charging via USB-C inside an IP 67-rated body. 

The major difference between the two phones is the refresh rate (A52 4G - 90Hz, A52 5G 120Hz), and the SoC (A52 4G - Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, A52 5G Snapdragon 750G).


In the Philippines, the Galaxy A52 LTE 8GB/256GB is priced at PHP 18,990 while the A52 5G 8GB/256GB is priced at PHP 23,990.

Let's dive in!

Unboxing and Accessories

Box inclusions
Box inclusions

We received the Samsung Galaxy A52 in a retail box while we received the A52 5G as a unit only.

The A52's retail packaging is white with the render of the phone and Samsung branding and regulatory information.

Inside the box is the A52, USB Type-A to Type-C cable, 15W Adaptive Fast charger, SIM ejector tool, and documentation.

Multimedia Experience

Front panel
Front panel

As mentioned above, both phones feature a large 6.5-inch Super AMOLED Infinity-O display with up to 800 nits of brightness and 2400 x 1080 resolution. Both panels also feature an in-display fingerprint scanner.

The A52 LTE gets the 90Hz refresh rate panel while the A52 5G gets a faster 120Hz refresh rate.

Around the display are super slim side bezels and thin top and chin bezels. On the punch hole on top is the selfie camera. 
Netflix with the A52
Netflix with the A52

With the panel peaking at 800 nits, the display is bright with strong contrast. The AMOLED panel also produces colors that pop, the details are sharp and the text is crisp.

It produces colors that pop!

Lastly, the 10-point touch screen is quick, responsive, and accurate. We didn't notice any delay, misread taps or gestures.  We are satisfied with the display overall.
Top and bottom side
Top and bottom side

At the bottom of both phones are the speaker grill, USB Type-C, a microphone port, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

The earpiece is exclusively for calls only while the bottom-firing speaker produces a mono sound with decent maximum volume. The sound at maximum volume is distorted and is somewhat tingy. We recommend raising the volume to 80 percent for the best quality from both phones.

The microphone recording with the Samsung Galaxy A52 and A52 5G is good at up to a meter away from the phone. The noise cancellation is good enough that gives our callers little to complain about voice quality.

Cameras

Rear camera module
Rear camera module

At the back of the Samsung Galaxy A52 and A52 5G is a quad-rear camera module with 64MP f/1.8 main camera, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle, 5MP f/2.2 macro, 5MP f/2.2 depth sensor, and an LED flash.

The included camera app has the following modes: Photo, Video, Single Take,  Pro, Pro Video, Panorama, Food, Night, Macro, Portrait, AR Doodle, Super Slo-Mo, Slow Motion, Fun, and Hyperlapse.

Fun mode is a mode where it uses Snapchat-like filters that needs a constant data connection for it to work.

The Pro and Pro Video modes allow for control of ISO (50-3200), Shutter Speed (1/6000 to 10 secs), White Balance, exposure compensation (+-2 stops), and focus. There is no control for metering modes.

Good cameras!

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight 1x
Daylight 1x
Daylight 2x
Daylight 2x
Daylight 10x digital zoom
Daylight 10x digital zoom
Daylight ultra-wide
Daylight ultra-wide

In daylight, the images from the ultra-wide, 1x and 2x cameras produced sharped and detailed images with vibrant color. However, if you look closely, only the ultra-wide camera got the accurate white balance while the 1x and 2x produced a warmer image.

The digital 10X zoom is soft with noticeable noise reduction and washed-out colors. We don't recommend using the 10x digital zoom unless absolutely needed.
Shot with the Macro camera
Shot with the Macro camera

Most macro cameras on mid-range phones tend to be an afterthought with terrible performance.

We are happy to report that the Macro camera on the Galaxy A52 and A52 5G is quite good. It is sharp with good color and contrast. If Samsung had added a larger MP sensor, it could have been better.
Indoor 1x
Indoor 1x
Indoor 2x
Indoor 2x
Indoor ultra-wide
Indoor ultra-wide

Indoors, all three cameras are consistently sharp and detailed with vibrant color and strong contrast. White balance across all three are also accurate. 
Low light 1x
Low light 1x
Low light 2x
Low light 2x
Low light ultra-wide
Low light ultra-wide

In low-light, all three rear cameras of the Galaxy A52 produced sharp and detailed images with vibrant color and strong contrast. It does have some noise and grain but is minimal. When comparing with other similarly priced smartphones, this is one of the better low light performance on a mid-range phone in a while.
Night mode 1x
Night mode 1x
Night mode 2x
Night mode 2x
Night mode ultra-wide

Night mode is available for the 1x, 2x, and ultra-wide cameras. Samsung's Night mode continues to improve. In all three cameras, the noise and grain have been drastically reduced while retaining color, sharpness, detail, and contrast.

It is worth noting that the Night mode in 2x produced the more unnatural sharpening than the 1x and ultra-wide images did.
selfie camera
selfie camera

The 32MP f/2.2 selfie camera is located on the punch hole and can use Photo, Video, Single Take, Fun, Portrait, and Night modes.

The camera app also features a screen flash feature if the user wants to improve the low light selfies.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie with portrait mode
Daylight selfie with portrait mode
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie
Low light selfie
Low light selfie
The front-facing camera is able to produce sharp and vibrant selfies in daylight, indoors, and in low light. The phone's colors and quality are consistent across all three cameras. It is only in low light that the noise and grain appear.

Otherwise, it is a good-performing selfie camera.

The rear and front-facing camera can capture up to 4K at 30fps and 1080p 60fps without stabilization or up to 1080p 30fps with stabilization. Users can switch between the main, ultra-wide, and 2x digital zoom in both photo and video modes. 

Both the rear and front-facing cameras produce decently sharp and color-accurate video footage for its price. Our main concern is that stabilization is only available for 1080p 30fps for the main camera. The 4K 30fps and 1080p 60fps per second are noticeably shakier and have more grain in low light. 

Given its price, the video footage from the front and rear cameras is good in both stills and videos. We just wish that next time Samsung can offer 1080p at 60fps with stabilization on both the rear and front-facing cameras.

Performance

AnTuTu Benchmark

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, Adreno 618, 8GB RAM, 256GB of storage in the A52 LTE managed to score 310,954 while the Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 8GB RAM, 256GB of storage managed to score 303,493 in AnTuTu. 

In this situation, the A52 LTE managed to outscore the 5G model. This may be because the Snapdragon 750G is relatively a new processor and Samsung's One UI may not yet be optimized for it.
GeekBench 5.3.2 Benchmark

In GeekBench 5.3.2, the Galaxy A52 5G scored 415 in single-core and 1492 in multi-core tests while the A52 LTE scored 536 in single-core and 1582 in multi-core tests.
3D Mark Wild Life
3D Mark Wild Life

In the new 3D Mark Wild Life benchmark, Galaxy A52 5G scored 635 with a 3.8 average fps while the A52 LTE scored 1043 with a 6.2 average fps.
Genshin Impact at low graphics quality
Genshin Impact at low graphics quality

With the latest games like Genshin Impact, the Snapdragon 678 pushed the graphics settings to low but it is smooth and playable. We experience stuttering and frame rate drops when there are a lot of enemies and animations happening on screen. Graphics has noticeable tearing in some scenes.

Otherwise, Genshin Impact is playable on the Galaxy A52 and A52 5G. The back of the phone gets warm after around 60 to 90 minutes of continuous play.
Call of Duty: Mobile on Galaxy A52 5G
Call of Duty: Mobile on Galaxy A52 5G

In older games like NBA 2K20, the graphics and frame rate can be pushed high. While in Call of Duty: Mobile, the user can either push the frame rate to Max but be limited to Very High graphics only.

We recommend tweaking it to your needs. Our recommendation is Medium Graphics and Max frame rate for consistent 120 fps.
Battery benchmark and battery usage
Battery benchmark and battery usage

Inside both phones is a large 4,500mAh battery with support for up to 25W Adaptive Fast Charging via USB-C port. There is no wireless charging support.

The Galaxy A52 5G scored 9 hours and 41 minutes in our usual PC Mark Battery test. While in our real-world use where we used the phone as our daily driver we got over 7 hours of on-screen time with 16 percent of battery left.

This endurance is impressive as we were constantly connected to WiFi and LTE. We would be doing our routine tasks where we use the phone to call, text, web surf, e-mail, stream music, and video, play games, and navigate with Waze. The Phone was consistently performing well in the month we were using it as our daily driver.

Unfortunately, both the A52 LTE and A52 5G come with the 15W charger only even though it supports up to 15W chargers. With the 15W charger, it takes around 90 minutes to fully charge either phone while the 25W charger takes around 65 minutes to fully charge either the A52 LTE or the A52 5G.
Samsung's One UI 3.0
Samsung's One UI 3.1

For software, it uses the Android 11-based One UI 3.1 on top. As we mentioned before, we enjoy the major improvements of One UI over the years. It has become easier to use and less cluttered than TouchWiz. Version 3.1 continues to refine the visual and the practicality of the UI. Navigation feels faster and it is easier to find the apps and settings you are looking for. But because Samsung continues to keep adding new features each year, the number of features can be overwhelming for newcomers.

The Snapdragon SoCs in both phones can handle One UI 3.1 without a hitch. Navigating thru the OS is fast and opening apps is instantaneous. 

Both the face unlock and the in-display fingerprint scanner set-up process is fast and straightforward. The face-unlock tech quickly detects my face and unlocks the phone as soon as the display is active. It is also able to detect my face even if I take off my glasses. It does struggle when you are trying to face unlock in a dim environment or when the user is wearing a mask.

The display brightens up to be able to compensate for this. It would be great if the Face Unlock has an alternative look feature for when the user is wearing a mask. While the optical in-display fingerprint scanner detects our finger as soon as it hits the scanner. It then unlocks the phone instantaneously.

WiFi, Bluetooth, 5G, and LTE connections are stable. We've never experienced forced disconnections or the like while the GPS acquires our locations immediately and accurately
.
Pros - Eye-catching colors with minimalist design, lightweight, super long battery life, versatile cameras, 5G for the 5G version
Cons - Does not come with 25W charger in the box, mono speaker, no 5G for the 5G variant

Samsung Galaxy A52 4G Specs

Display: 6.5-inch 2.5D curved AMOLED screen w/ 90Hz refresh rate, FHD+ 2400 x 1080 resolution at 405 ppi
CPU: 2.3GHz 8nm Snapdragon 720G octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 618
RAM: 8GB
ROM: 256GB expandable via microSD card up to 1TB
Back Camera: 64MP f/1.8 w/ OIS + 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle + 5MP f/2.2 macro + 5MP f/2/2 depth + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 32MP f/2.2
Battery: 4,500mAh w/ 25W fast charging
OS: Android 11 w/ One UI 3.1
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, OTG, GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, IP67 water and dust resistance, AKG stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos, USB-C, Colors: Awesome Blue, Awesome Violet, Awesome Black, Awesome White
Dimensions: 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4 mm
Weight: 189 g
Price: PHP 18,990

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Specs

Display: 6.5-inch 2.5D curved AMOLED screen w/ 120Hz refresh rate, FHD+ 2400 x 1080 resolution at 405 ppi
CPU: 2.2GHz 8nm Snapdragon 750G octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 619
RAM: 8GB
ROM: 256GB expandable via microSD card up to 1TB
Back Camera: 64MP f/1.8 w/ OIS + 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle + 5MP f/2.2 macro + 5MP f/2/2 depth + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 32MP f/2.2
Battery: 4,500mAh w/ 25W fast charging
OS: Android 11 w/ One UI 3.1
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 5G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, OTG, GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, IP67 water and dust resistance, AKG stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos, USB-C, Colors: Awesome Blue, Awesome Violet, Awesome Black, Awesome White
Dimensions: 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4 mm
Weight: 189 g
Price: PHP 23,990

Verdict

Samsung web browser
Samsung web browser

At either phone's SRP, both the Galaxy A52 LTE and A52 5G are among the best value Samsung A-series phones on the market in 2021.

In fact, it is quite competitive given that it has an eye-catching, minimalist, and unique design while being solid and lightweight.

Aside from that, both phones also have 8GB RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 4,500mAh battery with 25W Adaptive Fast charging.

What we liked most about the A52 LTE and A52 5G is the inclusion of the 90Hz and 120Hz refresh rate display along with the surprisingly decent rear Macro camera.

The rear cameras perform well but when we compared the macro camera of the A52 LTE and A52 5G from the competition, the A52 LTE and A52 5G's macro camera completely outperformed them.

We highly recommend either the A52 LTE and the A52 5G for people who are budget-minded but want and/or need the refined and polished Samsung experience.

What do you guys think?

Build/Design - 4.25
Multimedia Experience - 4.25
Cameras - 4
Performance - 4.25
Average - 4.125/5
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