Samsung Galaxy A53 5G hands-on review: A return to the mid-range

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G hands-on review: A return to the mid-range

The Galaxy S22, as impressive as it may be, is still a handset reserved for the plumpest of wallets. If you can’t stomach the price, but don’t want to scrimp on features, then Samsung may have addressed that particular problem with the launch of the Galaxy A53 5G.

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What already looks like a great-value alternative, the A53 5G joins the ranks of Samsung handsets costing half the price of its flagships. It’s still not the cheapest in its roster, but where it counts the A53 5G packs plenty of features for relatively little money.

Launching alongside the slightly cheaper A33 5G, this is Samsung’s first attempt at cracking the mid-range market in 2022. As far as specifications go, however, it’s just as well-equipped as any modern smartphone, with a handful of surprises dotted along the way as well.

To start with, the A53 5G’s design is a bit of an eye-catching one, although there are hints that it isn't quite as lavish as the Galaxy S22 on closer inspection. It’s a big handset, with a 6.5in display and narrow bezels, and I particularly liked the rear camera array’s sloped sides that blend in nicely with the rest of the phone. Despite the plastic construction, it doesn’t feel cheaply made, and it comes with IP67-rated water and dust protection, too.

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See related Samsung’s budget Galaxy A13 announcedSamsung Galaxy A33 5G hands-on review: Why spend more, when you can spend less?

The chrome-tinted edges are a nice touch, and the phone comes in four “Awesome” flavours: Awesome Black, Awesome White and the new Awesome Blue and Awesome Peach colours. A small hole punch notch sits at the top of the display, which houses the 32MP selfie camera, while the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner embedded under the screen can be used for unlocking the phone and authorising contactless payments.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G hands-on review: A return to the mid-range

As for the display itself, this is yet another Super AMOLED number, with an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz and an FHD+ resolution. According to Samsung, maximum brightness is rated at 800 nits, and the A53 5G’s Dolby Atmos-certified stereo speakers are louder than before, too.

Internally, Samsung’s mid-range Exynos 1280 makes its first appearance: this is an octa-core part built on a 5nm fabrication process with a maximum clock speed of 2.4GHz. Samsung says we should expect a multi-core processing improvement of up to 18% compared to the previous A52 5G, with GPU boosts up to 43%.

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The A53 5G also gets 6GB of RAM, with 128GB of internal storage that’s expandable up to a further 1TB via microSD. Samsung’s mid-ranger shares the S22’s ‘RAM Plus’ mode, too, which, when enabled, allocates either 2GB, 4GB or 6GB of onboard storage to be used as virtual memory. Supposedly, this should help improve multi-app performance and split-screen multitasking.

A chunky 5,000mAh battery keeps things ticking along, with a quoted two days of use and fast charging up to 50% from zero in around 30 minutes. The A53 5G also benefits from Samsung’s adaptive power-saving feature, which automatically switches on the power saving mode when charge falls below 50%.

Naturally, the A53 5G comes with Android 12 from the get-go, with Samsung’s OneUI 4.1 skin placed on top. New UI and settings additions for this year include extra themes and colour palettes, as well as new privacy controls – including a green indicator in the top-right corner of the screen whenever an app is using your camera or microphone.

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On that note, let’s talk cameras. The Galaxy A53 5G comes with a quad-camera array on the rear, which consists of a 64MP (f/1.8) main camera with OIS, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 5MP macro and 2MP depth sensor. The camera takes lower resolution tetra-binned images by default, and new multi-frame image processing combines 12 pictures into one. There are a handful of new portrait bokeh and lighting effects to play around with, too.

The Galaxy A53 5G is set to be a well-rounded rival to this year’s high-priced flagships. If your sights are set on the Galaxy S22 but you don’t have the funds required to buy one, then there’s a good chance that this year’s A53 5G will be the next best thing.

Of course, we’ll find out soon when I receive a handset for review. In the meantime, the Galaxy A53 5G is available from 1 April in the UK at a SIM-free price of £399.

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George Washington

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