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  • Post published:26/06/2021
  • Post last modified:26/06/2021

Samsung is still trying to strive in the midrange smartphone segment despite the intense pressure from Chinese brands. The Samsung Galaxy A52 is their latest bet in this price range.

Priced at Php18,990 (Php23,990 for the 5G model), Samsung tried to pack everything they can on a body that looks really clean to look at. But is it enough to survive in this competitive field? We find out in our Samsung Galaxy A52 4G review.

Samsung Galaxy A52 Specs

  • Android 11, Samsung One UI 3.1
  • Dual SIM, Dual standby, Hybrid
  • 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display, 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, 407ppi
  • 90Hz refresh rate / 120Hz refresh rate (5G model)
  • 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G octa-core processor
  • Adreno 618 GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB internal storage, expandable storage up to 1TB
  • 32-megapixel front camera
  • 64-megapixel (f/1.8, OIS) + 12-megapixel (f/2.2, ultra-wide) + 5-megapixel (macro) + 5-megapixel (depth sensor) rear cameras, LED flash
  • AKG-tuned stereo speakers
  • Dolby Atmos
  • In-display fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
  • 4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS, GALILEO, GLONASS, BDS
  • NFC
  • USB Type-C
  • Dimensions: 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4mm
  • Weight: 189g
  • Colors: Awesome Violet, Awesome Blue, Awesome Black, Awesome White
  • IP67 water resistant
  • 4,500mAh non-removable battery, 25W fast charging

Design and Build Quality

The Samsung Galaxy A52 4G shares the same new design that its siblings have. Samsung is sparing us from the usual shiny, reflective, and glassy look that others have. Instead of pretending it’s glass, Samsung embraced plastic on this one.

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It has a really soft finish that keeps it clean from fingerprint smudges and possibly scratches. Albeit, the Awesome White color of our review unit may attract stains over time. However, the plain white color makes it one of the cleanest devices around — if you can keep it that way.

But if you don’t trust yourself with it, the device is also available in Awesome Black and a more chic-looking Awesome Blue and Awesome Violet color.

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I also liked how seamless the camera placement is. The bump is almost unnoticeable. Similar materials surround the camera lenses for a spotless look.

The Galaxy A52 is not the curviest phone around, but it’s enough to be comfortable to hold. It’s not the lightest at 189g and the thinnest at 8.4mm but still feels easy in the hands.

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On the front, there’s a 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED screen. Thanks to the middle punch-hole, the bezels are ultra-thin. The chin also looks relatively thinner than other devices.

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There are two microphones on the top, and the SIM tray, which is an odd location for phones these days. Also, unlike the others, it has a hybrid setup. Meaning, the second slot can only house a secondary SIM or a microSD card for storage expansion (up to 1TB).

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The left side is clean, while on the right, we have the lock/power switch and volume controls. The physical buttons feel really well-made with a tactile feel and sound when pressed.

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At the bottom, there’s the 3.5mm headphone jack (thankfully), loudspeaker, primary microphone, and USB Type-C port.

Display and Sound Quality

The Samsung Galaxy A52 4G has all the right display specs that you might need. It has an ample size of 6.5-inches, a sharp FHD+ resolution, a vibrant Super AMOLED panel, and a smooth 90Hz refresh rate.

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You can play with the color settings, but it’s been set in Vivid by default for more vibrant colors. Screen brightness is also good for sunny-outdoor use.

I also like how they used layman’s term in the refresh rate settings. There’s a graphics that also shows the difference between Standard (60Hz) and High (90Hz) so you can choose wisely depending on your needs.

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At long last, stereo speakers are starting to come in mid-range Samsung phones. It has audible stereo separation with good loudness and sound balance. Dolby Atmos support and a headphone jack are also present.

Hardware and Performance

The Samsung Galaxy A52 utilizes a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G octa-core processor, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage. The chipset is fine in general but is not the most sound choice for the price.

Samsung Galaxy A52 4G benchmark scores

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LR: AnTuTu Benchmark | GeekBench | 3DMark | PCMark

Sadly, we’ve noticed a couple of random lags during our time with it. Some apps may take a second or two to launch, and just a couple of jitters along the way.

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Call of Duty Mobile on the Samsung Galaxy A52 4G

On the upside, the Adreno 618 GPU handles games well. We set the Call of Duty Mobile graphics settings to High and frame rate to Max, and it played smoothly with no noticeable frame drops.

Software and User Interface

Samsung phones may not have the best hardware for the price, but they sure get the software right. The Samsung Galaxy A52 4G runs on the latest Android 11-based One UI 3.1. Overall, it looks clean, straightforward, and easy to use. But hopefully, a couple of software updates will improve the smoothness a little bit more.

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The app switcher is clean and has a full-screen view of the tasks running. Navigation buttons are enabled out of the box. You can change the order of the back button, but that’s it. You can’t customize them on a deeper level. If you want, there’s an iOS-like gesture navigation option for you to use.

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Dark Mode is also here to take advantage of the AMOLED panel. Besides giving a more stealthy look, it’s also good for battery consumption. However, it lacks a comprehensive customization setting, unlike other interfaces in the Android space.

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Samsung’s signature Edge panels are also here. You can swipe on the far left of the screen to launch a panel with quick access to whatever you need. You can decide what items you want to store on it: apps, contacts, smart select, tasks, etc.

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The camera app is easy to use. It then has Samsung Keyboard that is packed with features and quick access to things. Plus, it’s easy to type on and get used to.

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Security

Thanks to its AMOLED screen, the Samsung Galaxy A52 4G gets an in-display fingerprint scanner. Honestly, we prefer the less-fancy but faster and more reliable physical sensor, but this would do.

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Face unlock is also present, which utilizes the selfie camera. No IR sensor, so a light source is needed for it to work. But thanks to the bright display, it should work fine even in dark environments.

Other security features are also present, such as Samsung Pass, Secure Folder for sensitive files, Find my Mobile, Private Share, Samsung Blockchain Keystore, Encrypt SD card, and more are still present.

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Camera

Other than the stereo speaker setup, the Samsung Galaxy A52 4G gets to have optical image stabilization (OIS), something that its predecessors lack. It’s sitting on a 64-megapixel main camera with a bright f/1.8 aperture.

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Next to the main camera is a 12-megapixel ultra-wide, a little sharper than the 8-megapixel sensors we’re seeing. It also has a sharper 5-megapixel macro lens and 5-megapixel depth sensor.

On the front, we also have pixel-dense 32-megapixel selfie camera.

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The images from the 64-megapixel main camera, after a couple of software updates, got better. The colors are vibrant without becoming too oversaturated, the contrast is deep, and the details are sharp. Low-light images lose a bit of those detail but still usable. Night Mode can help but lags behind the competition.

Bear in mind, though, that the Vivid display setting can make images appear more colorful than what they really are. If color quality is critical, switch the display setting to Neutral.

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64-megapixel
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64-megapixel
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64-megapixel
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64-megapixel| Low-light
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64-megapixel | Night Mode

The colors and overall quality from the 12-megapixel ultra-wide are far from the main one but are still good nonetheless. Edge distortion is inevitable but barely noticeable on this device.

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12-megapixel ultra-wide

What’s surprising here is the 5-megapixel macro camera, which has a bearable focus distance and range, unlike other devices. And since it’s sharper than most 2-megapixel macro shooters, it can capture more details than everyone else.

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5-megapixel macro

The sharp 5-megapixel depth sensor also gave the device more details to work with to make the edge detection clean, creating a believable DSLR-like look.

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5-megapixel depth sensor

On the front, the 32-megapixel camera has a Quad Bayer module and also uses pixel-binning to create a better 8-megapixel image. It also takes narrow and wide images — but not too wide as it lacks a dedicated ultra-wide camera.

With that, you can take really great selfies from this device. Skin tone is quite realistic, contrast, and dynamic range is clean too. The face beauty modes are not as exaggerated as other devices for a still-believable look.

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32-megapixel front camera
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32-megapixel front camera | Face Beauty On

Battery

Unlike most mid-range phones, the Samsung Galaxy A52 4G only has a 4,500mAh battery instead of 5,000mAh. Honestly, with its respectable thinness, we think Samsung could’ve fit a larger battery on this one.

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With that, the battery life on this thing is just fine — not too good, but not too bad either. It got a screen-on time of 11 hours and 7 minutes on PCMark’s loop of synthetic workload with WiFi and Bluetooth off and screen brightness and volume at 50%.

Don’t expect to get two days of battery out of this unless you’re really conservative with usage. Chances are, you’d be charging it every night, or even before the day ends if you’re a heavy user.

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What’s disappointing is the included 15W charger, even though it has support for 25W. The review unit that we have doesn’t come with a charger so that we couldn’t test that out. Still, we don’t expect impressive results from it.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy A52 4G is a complete smartphone. It has a clean but oddly unique design, a vibrant and fast display that you can enjoy with its stereo speakers, good and flexible cameras, and a clean UI that’s rare on Android smartphones.

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But is it your best option for the price? Obviously not. Many competing devices offer a more powerful processor, faster charging, and even 5G connectivity for the same, or even cheaper, price tag.

Samsung Galaxy A52 4G pricing and availability in the Philippines.

The Samsung Galaxy A52 4G has been available in the Philippines since April for a price of Php18,990. If you want a more futureproof device, a 5G model is also available.

Pros

  • Unique and clean design
  • Colorful and smooth display
  • Stereo speakers
  • Clean interface
  • Good, flexible cameras

Cons

  • Disappointing processor choice for the price
  • Slower 25W charging support than competition, only 15W charger included
  • Battery could be bigger

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