REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A52 is a capable midranger in a crowded field

Art Fuentes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2021 07:08 AM

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A52 is a capable midranger in a crowded field 1
The Samsung Galaxy A52 midrange phone

MANILA - Samsung’s Galaxy A52 is a good-looking midranger with lots of power, features and storage. However it faces a slew of new contenders that offer comparable specs and then some. So will Samsung’s storied brand be enough to carry this device ahead of its rivals in this segment? 

According to industry trackers, midrange phones have been dominating sales around the world since at least 2019. With near-flagship features and more wallet-friendly price tags, the middle of the pack seems to be the sweet spot for sales.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A52 is a capable midranger in a crowded field 2
Samsung Galaxy A52 features a plastic back

The A52 is priced at P17,990, and curiously enough takes the middle spot in Samsung’s midrange A-series, with the A22 at the lower end and the A72 at the top end. So you could say it’s the midranger of the company's midrangers. 

For under P18K you get a pretty powerful phone, with decent specs and a very interesting design. Our review unit came in the ”Awesome White” colorway, with a plastic back and an aluminum frame. 

On the left are the volume and power buttons, and at the bottom is the charging port, the speaker grills, and surprisingly, an audio jack!

The A52 has a 6.5 inch super AMOLED screen with a 1080 x 2400 pixels featuring a 90 Hz refresh rate in a 20:9 form factor. 

Like a lot of AMOLED phones, the A52 can be unlocked using an onscreen fingerprint scanner, although facial recognition is also available.

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The Samsung Galaxy A52's super wide 0.5x zoom is great for tight spaces
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The Samsung Galaxy A52 takes great close up shots of flowers

Under the hood, you get a decently powerful Snapdragon 720G 2.3GHz processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage which is still expandable with a microSD card. 

Our review unit however was spec’d with just 4GBs of memory and 128GBs of storage, but this didn’t seem to really affect the performance much in everyday use cases. 

For snapshots and selfies, the A52 also boasts of 4 cameras in the rear and a punch-hole shooter up front. 

The main camera features a 64 megapixel f1.8 wide lens with optical image stabilization. The three other rear cameras are a 12 MP ultrawide, a 5 MP macro and an extra 5 MP lens for calculating depth. 

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Samsung Galaxy A52 takes decent landscape shots

For selfies and groupies, there’s a 32 MP wide angle shooter that can adjust its range to focus on you, or take a wider shot for including friends or interesting backgrounds in the pic.

Powering all of this is a decent 4500 mAh battery. 

You definitely won’t mistake this for a Samsung flagship based on looks, but the design is actually pretty interesting. While other phone vendors have jumped on the bandwagon of shiny, slick, gradient colorways, Samsung took a different approach and went with solid colors, 2 of which are pastel-like. 

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The Samsung Galaxy A52 takes pretty good selfies

Besides the white variant, the A52 also comes in the Awesome Blue, Awesome Violet, and Awesome Black colorways. Yup, everything is awesome.

While the plastic back doesn’t exactly scream premium, it kinda grows on you. I liked the fact that it stood out when placed in a pile of similar-looking shiny gradient bricks. And the matte finish on the back means it doesn’t collect fingerprints as eagerly as its peers. 

Samsung is known for the excellence of its displays, and the A52’s screen doesn’t disappoint. It’s bright and clear, and the refresh rate makes scrolling, animations and games smoother than most phones in this price point. 

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The Samsung Galaxy A52's colors don't overdo saturation

Shooting on the A52 was also a pleasant surprise. The ultrawide (0.5x) camera really comes in handy when shooting in tight spaces or trying to capture vast landscapes. The main camera takes pretty good photos, and can even do a 10x digital zoom that’s not as shaky as other comparable zooms. It also does a good job in portrait mode of artificially blurring the background. 

The colors by default don’t seem to “pop” as much as in Samsung’s flagships, but they also don’t look as artificial either. 

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The Samsung Galaxy A52 takes decent night shots. But don't expect the astrophotography capabilities of a flagship

Night shots aren’t as striking as on Samsung’s flagship phones, but they are good enough for most things except amateur astrophotography. 

This phone can also take 4K video at 30 frames per second.

As you can expect from a name-brand vendor, this phone breezes through the most common tasks and even performs reasonably well on more demanding apps like games. 

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The Samsung Galaxy A52 takes great super wide shots
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The same scene zoomed 10x reveals Mt. Banahaw and Cristobal in the distance, but the details are what you might expect from a phone at this price range

It’s worth pointing out though that other phones at this price range now come with 5G connectivity. While Samsung offers an A52 5G, the faster connectivity will set you back an extra P6,000 as it is priced at P23,990. 

However, it is also worth pointing out that the vendors of some of these cheaper 5G phones also cut a few corners to reach their price point. A friend pointed out that a P12,000 5G phone she tested had sucky camera performance. 

Samsung also has a more affordable 5G A-series phone, the A22 5G which costs P13,990, if you really need to hit those speeds. 

It’s strange though why Samsung chose to spec the A52 with a 4,500 mAh battery when the A22 5G has a beefier 5,000 mAh power pack. 

But all in all, this is still a pretty good performer.