Review

Galaxy A52 hands-on: Samsung has a winner on its hands

The Galaxy A51 was the best-selling mid-range phone from Samsung last year, thanks to a perfect blend of pricing and specs that attracted customers worldwide. Now, one year later, Samsung has launched the Galaxy A52, which has a dizzying array of upgrades on offer, such as stereo speakers, a 90Hz display, water and dust resistance, a bigger battery and faster charging, and the Snapdragon 720G chipset.

We have had a Galaxy A52 in our possession these last few days, and while we can’t say if the phone’s real-life experience matches its spec sheet without thoroughly putting it through its paces, we do have a few initial impressions to share. Let’s dive right into it, shall we?

Design

The Galaxy A52, like every mid-range Galaxy phone, comes wrapped in plastic at the back and sides, but the rear design has been simplified this year. There are no intricate patterns to be seen – you simply get a plain version of whatever color option you will choose. And we like this new direction, if we’re being honest. The camera cutout in particular looks very appealing as it is now the same color as the rest of the body. A body that’s water and dust resistant, as mentioned earlier.

Display and sound

Of course, the biggest change is over on the front side of the phone. The 6.5-inch Infinity-O Super AMOLED panel boasts a 90Hz refresh rate, and in our testing, the phone is able to handle the high refresh rate really well. We haven’t noticed any major lag or stutter yet, though that could change once the phone has been used for a longer period. And while 90Hz isn’t as high as 120Hz, you will still feel the smoother animations and scrolling.

The Galaxy A52 also features stereo speakers, and our initial impressions are positive. They get noticeably louder and sound better, though we will only be able to say how they match up to the stereo speakers on Samsung’s flagships in our full review.

Performance

The Snapdragon 720G is a good chip on paper, and it seems perfectly capable of driving the high refresh rate screen in our experience. Of course, if you own a Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 FE, or Galaxy S21, the A52 won’t feel as fast – the A52 5G, which uses the Snapdragon 750G, probably won’t, either. But thanks to the newer chip and the 90Hz screen, the A52 should easily trump its predecessors in day-to-day performance and perceived smoothness. Gaming performance should also be better, thanks to a considerably more powerful GPU on the Snapdragon 720G compared to the one on the Exynos 9610/Exynos 9611 that powered the A50 and A51.

Cameras

The Galaxy A52’s main camera is a 64MP unit that is optically stabilized, which is perhaps the one big upgrade in the imaging department here. The other three cameras are unchanged from the A52: A 12MP ultra-wide camera, a 5MP depth-sensing camera, and a 5MP macro camera. Having a 3x telephoto camera like the Galaxy A72 would have been much better, but we can’t dock too many points here considering the price tag Samsung is targeting with the A52.

The camera app on the Galaxy A52 (and the A72) comes with a dedicated Fun mode, which is a first for any Galaxy smartphone. The Fun mode integrates a number of Snapchat lenses and AR effects right into the native camera app; it’s a smart move on Samsung’s part considering Snapchat’s popularity (despite apps like Instagram now offering similar functionality). And the effects work great for the most part. The only limitation we noticed is that some of them don’t work with more than one face in the frame even though they do it just fine in the Snapchat app.

Battery

For the first time, the Galaxy A5x lineup is getting a battery upgrade. There’s a 4,500 mAh battery inside the Galaxy A52, and while can’t really say anything about battery life yet since we haven’t had the phone in our possession for long, it should be able to offer better endurance than the A50 and A51 with and without the high refresh rate enabled.

Charging will be considerably faster as well, at least if you purchase Samsung’s 25W charger. You only get a 15W charger in the box, so you will have to purchase the 25W charger and a USB-C to USB-C cable if you don’t already have one if you want to take advantage of 25W charging. We really wish Samsung had just provided the faster charger in the box, but we guess getting slower or no chargers in the box is going to be a theme across Samsung’s smartphone lineups going forward.

Software

The Galaxy A52 comes with Android 11 and One UI 3.1 out of the box. We will take a deeper dive into the software in our review – for now, we can say that most of the new features are available on this phone, including all the Google integration that debuted with the Galaxy S21 lineup. And, yes, Samsung has confirmed that the A52, A52 5G and A72 will get three major OS upgrades and security updates for four years, which instantly makes these phones better value than a lot of what the competition is offering.

Conclusion

On paper, the Galaxy A52 is a fantastic phone, with a plethora of high-end features one could only dream of seeing on Samsung’s mid-range devices until last year. Just how well those specs come together in practice is something we will tell you in our full review in the next couple of days, but we think we can say with absolute certainty that Samsung has another winner of a mid-range phone in its hands, one that could outsell both the Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A51 combined.

  • Model: SM-A525F
  • Dimensions: Bar: 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4 mm
  • Display: 6.5 inch / 165.10 mm Super AMOLED Display
  • CPU: Snapdragon 720G
  • Camera: 64MP
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