Samsung Galaxy A41 review: A compact mid-range phone done right
All of Samsung’s new mid-range Galaxy A series phones have plenty to offer for all kinds of users, but the Galaxy A41 has a unique purpose. Like last year’s Galaxy A40, the Galaxy A41 is for those who don’t like big phones, but Samsung also has to make sure that the spec sheet isn’t sacrificed too much in its effort to make the device compact.
The Galaxy A40 was a fine balancing act in that regard, and Samsung has made just enough changes with the Galaxy A40 to justify calling it an upgrade. You get a slightly larger display, a fingerprint sensor buried underneath the screen instead of being located at the back, more rear cameras, a battery with around 17% higher capacity, and the latest Samsung One UI software.
As you would expect, the price has gone up as well, and our review will tell you if the Galaxy A41 is worth its weight in gold, as the saying goes.
Galaxy A41 design and display
The Galaxy A41 is like a smaller version of the Galaxy A51. It’s got the same beautiful plastic back, with criss-cross lines that reflect light beautifully without going overboard. The plastic doesn’t feel cheap and fits right in in the A41’s price segment. Thanks to its 6.1-inch screen, the Galaxy A41 is taller than the Galaxy A40, but don’t worry, this is still a compact phone, and it’s also quite comfortable to hold.
The Super AMOLED display, which has a resolution of 2400 by 1080 pixels, is as good as it gets for a sub-€300 phone. Lively colors, excellent brightness levels, and deep blacks make for a great viewing experience. The only thing that’s missing here is the more modern Infinity-O display you find on the Galaxy A51, but that may actually be a blessing for some, as the waterdrop notch tends to be less distracting than a hole in the screen.
It’s also impressive that Samsung is now offering in-display fingerprint readers at lower prices. The optical in-display sensors Samsung was using last year were terrible and made us wish the company had stuck to physical readers instead. That’s not the case now. The A41’s fingerprint reader is fast and accurate, and none of us here at SamMobile have any complaints.
Galaxy A41 cameras
The Galaxy A41 has three rear cameras: A 48MP primary camera, an 8MP ultra-wide camera, and a 5MP depth sensor. The front camera Both the camera resolutions and the number of sensors has increased here, although the front camera is still a single 25MP sensor. How is the image quality? Well, the main camera is the same sensor that’s used in the Galaxy A51, and photos taken outdoors during the day have good dynamic range and detail and fairly natural colors.
Nighttime pictures with sufficient artificial lighting are also good, but low-light performance leaves something to be desired. It doesn’t help that there is no dedicated Night mode on the A41, so you have to make do with what you get in the automatic shooting mode, which is usually a lot of noise and a notable lack of detail. The camera also misses out on slow motion, super slow-mo, and hyperlapse mode, just like the Galaxy A31, and I can only hope Samsung will stop being so stingy and bring those features to these devices with a software update.
The ultra-wide camera is adequate for the task on hand, which is capturing a wider scene. The colors are usually warmer than those in photos taken with the main camera, something we also noticed on the Galaxy A51. As for the 5MP depth camera, all it does is allow you to capture bokeh photos using the Live Focus mode. The blurring of the background is usually spot on, with only some issues around a person’s hair, as is the case with bokeh photos taken with even costlier phones.
Selfies have solid detail and pleasant colors, at least outdoors. Detail isn’t great when you take selfies indoors in artificial lighting, and low-light results are rather noisy and soft. Nothing surprising here – this is what you get in the lower mid-range segment when it comes to front camera performance. Video recording quality, meanwhile, is satisfactory at best, serviceable at worst. Video resolution maxes out at Full HD for both front and rear cameras, and there’s no 60 fps option, either.
Galaxy A41 performance, audio quality
The Galaxy A41, like the Galaxy A31, is powered by the MediaTek Helio P65 chipset. In regular use, the processor can keep things running smoothly for the most part, but apps usually take a tad longer than I’d like to open, especially when they weren’t already active in the background. Animations can also stutter from time to time, but overall performance while navigating through menus or using the browser is comparable to the Galaxy A51.
However, gaming is a different matter altogether. As we said in our Galaxy A31 review, this MediaTek chip is only good for simple games. Playing PUBG or Call of Duty is not a great experience. At the default graphics settings, these heavy titles are playable, but the frame rate dips often enough that one would rather not play them at all. Look elsewhere if playing demanding games is your thing.
The Galaxy A41 has a single speaker at the bottom that never distorts but also doesn’t get very loud, so it evens out. The earphones provided in the box are the cheapest ones Samsung has to offer (yes, this phone has a headphone jack), and you will need to opt for third-party alternatives for decent sound. Dolby Atmos support is present and adds notable stereo separation and depth, but it only works with wired and Bluetooth audio.
Galaxy A41 software
The Galaxy A41 is one of many new Galaxy phones to launch with Android 10 and One UI 2.1 out of the box. The software experience is more or less similar to the Galaxy A31’s, so you can read up on our A31 review to get an idea of what you’re getting with the Galaxy A41. Needless to say, these phones don’t have all of the features Samsung offers on its flagship phones and even the Galaxy A51 or A71 (for example, you don’t get a screen recorder or Bixby Routines), but it’s still a pretty impeccable package for the asking price.
Galaxy A41 battery life
Battery capacity is one specification that is almost always compromised when a manufacturer sets out to make a compact phone. The Galaxy A40’s 3,100 mAh battery was inadequate for heavy users, and the A41 is only slightly better in that regard. However, with light to moderate use on Wi-Fi, the 3,500 mAh battery inside the A41 can usually last till the end of the day. Power users will need to find the charger by early evening, especially if there’s a lot of gaming and mobile data use involved. The A41 supports 15W fast charging, and it takes around 80 minutes for the battery to go from 0 to 100 percent.
Galaxy A41 verdict
The Galaxy A41 is an excellent compact mid-ranger, and if you don’t like big phones and don’t wish to spend on the flagship Galaxy S20 or last year’s Galaxy S10e, the A41 will serve you well. The beautiful AMOLED display is easy to handle with one hand, the performance is good as long as you don’t intend to play heavy games, the battery can often last a full day, and you get the latest Samsung software. It’s not perfect, but if a compact and affordable phone is what you’re after, the Galaxy A41 comes pretty close.
|Excellent Super AMOLED display gets balance right between screen size and compactness||Poor performance in heavy games like PUBG and Call of Duty|
|Looks great from the back||Camera lacks shooting modes like Night and slow-motion|
|Good battery life||Battery life not good for power users|
|Android 10 and One UI 2.1 out of the box||Cheap earphones in the box, speaker not very loud|
|Fast and accurate optical in-display fingerprint reader|
|Good non-gaming performance for the price|