Samsung Galaxy A71 review: Pretty alright, and powerful enough

Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 10 2020 01:17 PM | Updated as of Feb 11 2020 01:34 PM

Samsung Galaxy A71 review: Pretty alright, and powerful enough 1
Samsung Galaxy A71 review: Pretty alright, and powerful enough 2
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Samsung's Galaxy A71 is shown in photo.ABS-CBN News

Samsung's Galaxy A71 is shown in photo.ABS-CBN News

Samsung's Galaxy A71 is shown in photo.ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Samsung is announcing the 11th edition Galaxy S flagship on Wednesday (rumored to be named the S20), but going on sale at the end of the week is a device that promises premium feel at a much lower cost.

The Galaxy A71, the newest in the South Korean tech giant's mid range line, looks and feels like an expensive phone and we took it for a spin to find out where it excels and where Samsung cut corners.

EXPENSIVE LOOKS

From the front, the A71 looks like a slimmed down Note 10+ without the curved screen. The plastic build feels sturdy enough, though lacking the reassuring heft of glass-backed phones. The frame looks metallic and is color matched to the handset.

The "prism crush blue" variant on our review unit looks like the mint green hue on the iPhone 11. The rectangular camera module on the upper left corner looks similar to leaked renders of the S20 line (if that's what it will be called).

The slimmer frame makes the A71 easier to hold than the Note 10+. The star or the device is the 6.71-inch Full HD screen with 1080 x 2400 resolution. It's bright with vivid colors that can stand side by side with higher priced Samsung phones.

The small, circular cutout at the top of the screen for the selfie camera adds to the premium feel. Some reviewers hate it, but we got used to having a peppercorn on one side of the screen. It really doesn't take away much from viewing videos in landscape mode.

The A71 has a 64 megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide, a 5-megapixel live focus camera for background blur and a 5-megapixel macro lens.

It has a 32-megapixel front camera. Live focus or adjustable blur and macro are reserved mostly for Samsung phones on the flagship price tier. The A71 also has a dedicated night mode. We found it difficult to focus on macro subjects such as flowers in our tests.

Photos were clear and bright with punchy colors. Our gripe: it takes about a second to switch to ultra-wide. It's a noticeable lag especially when you're coming from the Note 10 or S10 lines.

Here are some test shots we took around BGC using the Galaxy A71:

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Overcast skies above Fort Bonifacio, taken from the 38th floor, is shown in this test shot using the Samsung Galaxy A71. ABS-CBN News
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Skyscrapers in Fort Bonifacio are shown using the wide angle camera of the Samsung Galaxy A71. ABS-CBN News
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A plate of food is shown in this test shot using the Samsung Galaxy A71. ABS-CBN News
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A fruit tray is shown in this test shot using the Samsung Galaxy A71. ABS-CBN News
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An Android Pacman mural at the Google Philippines HQ is shown in this test shot using the Samsung Galaxy A71. ABS-CBN News
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The pantry at Google Philippines HQ is shown in this test shot using the Samsung Galaxy A71. ABS-CBN News
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A flower is shot using macro mode on the Samsung Galaxy A71. ABS-CBN News

ALL DAY POWER

The Galaxy A71 has a 4,500 mAh battery, more than enough to last a day and the 25-watt fast-charging allows for quick top-ups in case you forget to charge overnight.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G octa-core processor got us through a typical day of browsing, typing and streaming with ease. However, don't expect blistering performance from Qualcomm's current top of the line chip, the 855 or the upcoming 865.

The A71 has a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack for wireless holdouts. The bottom firing speaker is loud enough, but gets distorted at maximum volume.

The in-display is a tad slower than the S10 or the Note 10, which are not the best to begin with. You'll have time to see the animation before the device unlocks. Face unlock is available, but is not as secure as the 3D-based facial recognition on the iPhone.

As expected of mid-range phones, the A71 lacks wireless charging, water resistance and the vibration motor is underwhelming.

ENOUGH PREMIUM FOR THE PRICE

The A71 has enough looks to feel like a flagship, with a large screen, a capable camera and all-day battery. It's the best of the basics for P22,990.

What it lacks though is blistering speed, water resistance, wireless charging and stereo speakers.

The Samsung Galaxy A71 will be available starting Feb. 15. Pre-orders are ongoing until Feb. 14.