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Galaxy A90 5G hands-on: Like a Galaxy A70 with 5G and more power

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Last updated: September 6th, 2019 at 15:47 UTC+02:00

With the Galaxy A90 5G, Samsung is hoping to give consumers a cheaper point of entry into the 5G world. The Galaxy A90 5G is the Korean giant’s first non-flagship phone with a flagship processor – it is powered by the Snapdragon 855, the same chip that sits inside the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 (in markets where the Exynos variants aren’t available). We were able to go hands-on with the device at IFA 2019. What are our first impressions? Well, the Galaxy A90 5G feels like a Galaxy A70 on steroids, if we’re being honest.

Hands-on with the Galaxy A90 5G

And that shouldn’t surprise most people if they’ve seen the Galaxy A90 5G’s specs. It’s like Samsung simply added a Snapdragon 855 and 5G support to the A70 and renamed it. Which is fine, actually, since the Galaxy A70 had some excellent features – a beautiful 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display, big battery with 25W fast charging, and high-resolution cameras. What Samsung has also added to the A90 is glass on the back and a metal frame for a more premium look and feel, as befits a phone that’s going to cost €749. Sadly, it has also removed the headphone jack.

We have mixed opinions about that design pattern on the back of the phone. Samsung’s gone for a two-tone look, with half of the rear panel sporting a traditional plain shade of black or white and the other half featuring the gradient effect that we’ve seen on the Galaxy A70, Galaxy A50, and other new devices. There’s also a thin shiny strip running on the right side, and while the design looks unique, it’s not going to be to everyone’s liking. We’d much prefer the entire panel have the same finish from top to bottom.

Unfortunately, we were unable to put the phone’s titular 5G connectivity to the test, but we did get to play around with the phone a bit and noticed that it performs just as well as you would expect a phone with a Snapdragon 855 under the hood. On the software side, the Snapdragon 855 makes it possible to have Samsung DeX support, a first for a mid-range phone. However, we’ve not been told if the A90 5G supports running DeX on Windows and Mac with a USB-C cable, like the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+.

The A90 5G does come with some Note 10 features, like the ability to shoot bokeh videos and integration with Microsoft’s Your Phone app. That’s because it runs Android Pie with One UI 1.5. The device will get Android 10, naturally, but when that update will arrive is anyone’s guess. Android 10 and One UI 2.0 should bring the option to run DeX on Windows and Mac to the Galaxy A90 5G if it can’t already do so, as other Galaxy phones, including the Galaxy S9 and Note 9, are also expected to gain that functionality with the next version of Android.

Galaxy A70 + 5G + Snapdragon 855 equals Galaxy A90, more or less

All in all, the Galaxy A90 5G is an interesting device, and a necessary one for Samsung if the company wants to make 5G connectivity more accessible. We’ll be able to test it thoroughly once we have our hands on a review unit, although we can already say it will simply be faster at software performance and network speeds while offering the same experience in other aspects as the Galaxy A70, with a few Galaxy Note 10 software features thrown in.

What do you think about the Galaxy A90 5G?

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