• androidiosphone
  • 08/12/2022

iTWire - LAUNCH VIDEOS: Samsung's new A33, A53 and A73 5G smartphones seek to smash the iPhone SE and mid-range competitors

The Samsung A series of smartphones is its mid-range models, from the low-end right through to upper-mid-range. As research firm Counterpoint notes in an article about the new A Series, in looking at European sales, "The A Series is vital to Samsung’s leadership in Europe.

"Targeted at people who want flagship-like features but for a non-flagship price, the A Series finds a delicate balance between specs and cost and has seen great success in Europe since its inception in 2014. In 2021, A Series devices accounted for 59% of Samsung’s smartphone sales in Europe, more than double that of its flagship S Series."

So, with the A Series being more affordable, and with its A33 and A53 launch event (embedded below) firmly aimed at the youth market, especially given the entire event was presented in portrait mode, and not landscape, Samsung has put a lot of effort into ensuring the 2022 A Series models are as attractive as possible to as many people as possible, and that they have feature spec-sheets and a range of benefits that do as much as possible to out-do the just released iPhone SE 2022.

Notably, there is no stylus-equipped A Series model as yet - perhaps we'll see one of those arrive next year - and the launch event didn't make any mention of the upper-mid-range A73 model, and which it would appear isn't being launched in the US at all, although it is certainly arriving in Australia.

That said, the A33 and A53 models arrive locally on April 1, whereas the A73 arrives locally on April 22, so the focus is very much on getting as many sales of the A33 and A53 models as possible while having a brand new model to compete with the iPhone SE 2022 and various competing models from Oppo, Motorola, Realme, Nokia and everyone else.

There's also a pre-order offer for the Galaxy A53 5G for customers who order from the Samsung Online Store, participating Samsung partners and other participating retail stores, who will receive a pair of Galaxy Buds2, valued at $219, while those who pre-order from Telstra get a pair of Galaxy Buds Live valued at $249 - but obviously only during the pre-order period.

Prices, features, benefits and more are below, but first, here are two videos - the short 2 minute highlights video of the launch, which is in the more traditional landscape setting, followed by the 20 minute full A series launch:

Galaxy A Event 2022: Highlights | Samsung - 2 mins

Galaxy A Event 2022: Official Replay | Samsung - 20 mins

You'll find more videos about the A Series at Samsung's YouTube page here, including an official unboxing and plenty more.

Garry McGregor, the Vice President of Samsung's Mobile Experience Division in Australia said: "With the new A Series range we have a family of high-spec devices priced from just $329 to $799 RRP. There’s really no weak link in this family. And with the rise in a value-conscious mindset and customers who want a reliable and premium device without the premium price tag, A Series delivers.

“Quite simply, Galaxy A Series democratises innovation. We’ve seen consistent demand for the A Series segment since its launch in 2018, with over 1m units sold in 2021 and 2022 looks to be big too.

“A Series provides the Galaxy experience. One in four A Series’ customers join from other smartphone brands, and we’ve also seen consumers upgrading devices within the A Series range or leapfrogging to our premium S Series range after experiencing all that Galaxy has to offer.

“And let’s be frank: when you look at the market, A Series is one of the leaders in terms of innovation and specs per dollar. Take the new Galaxy A53 5G model as an example – retailing at just $699 RRP, is pound for pound one of the best mid-tier devices on the market.

“Consider the way we work with our partners to deliver value to consumers in Australia, it’s a truly compelling proposition. Customers can also be confident they are getting a quality device from a trusted innovator with an excellent customer experience.

“We are extremely proud of the features packed into the A Series family: customers will never have to compromise.”

Of course, if you wanted a telephoto lens with any of these new A Series models, you won't find one, but then that's why the S series exists at a higher price point with a faster processor, better cameras, higher water and dust resistance, and more - they are the flagship models, after all, and while you can certainly pack a stack of high-end features into mid-range models, as evidenced by the A Series range, you can't have it all at A Series prices, but you can have quite a lot of it.

Ok, so A for is for Awesome, and you'll hear that a lot - it's the theme of 2022's A Series range. Awesome cameras, awesome battery, awesome screen, even awesome pricing, where Samsung is betting that a rich set of features and benefits will sway iOS users and Android upgraders to the Samsung side of the force and fence.

While the iPhone SE 2022's battery capacity is not known, the 2020 version had an 1821mAh battery, and while Apple's tight integration of iOS, the top-of-the-line A15 Bionic processor and Apple's attention to battery chemistries promises a solid boost over the iPhone SE 2020 model, Samsung has put in nice, big batteries.

The A33, A53 and A73 come with a 5000mAh battery, which Samsung says is good for "up to 2 days" of battery life, and while there's no Qi wireless charging in the A Series models, and the iPhone SE 2022 does support Qi charging, not having wireless charging is not a deal-breaker for most people, especially with the 2022 A Series offering 25w fast wired charging - although you will have to supply your own 25w USB-C charger to charge this quickly, although fast chargers are widely available in stores.

Of course, the screens on the A Series devices are much bigger than the 4.7-inches of the iPhone SE with its 60Hz refresh rate, with the A33 having a 6.4-inch display with 90Hz refresh rate, the A53 with a 6.5-inch display and 120Hz refresh rate, and the A73 offering a 6.7-inch display, also with 120Hz refresh rate, but again, it is horses for courses. People upgrading from older iPhones are getting what they had before, except with stronger front facing glass, while Samsung users at this price point get these bigger screens.

iTWire - LAUNCH VIDEOS: Samsung's new A33, A53 and A73 5G smartphones seek to smash the iPhone SE and mid-range competitors

Where the iPhone SE 2022 comes with a single camera on the back, Samsung has packed in four cameras, offering higher megapixel ratings, along with a regular lens, ultra-wide lens, macro lens, and depth sensor, which is designed for those portrait photos. There's no telephone lens, but you do naturally have digital zoom, and with AI-enhanced photography, it's the price you need to pay - and the SE has no zoom lens either.

The front facing camera is higher quality than the iPhone SE, too, and with the aforementioned AI smarts used with the rear cameras to deliver better photos, Samsung A Series users should be very happy with the capabilities on offer. There are also "fun modes" that can place an animal's head or other effects over your head and body, while the Object Eraser feature is also handily built-in, and while you'll find apps that can do the same thing on any smartphone appstore, it's nice to have the feature built in.

The text chat bubbles are blue on Samsung's devices, and with RCS messaging are much friendlier to iOS Messages users, while there's Gorilla Glass 5 for the screen and the promise of a stronger body and IP67 slash, water and dust resistance.

A 5nm processor is within - a mid-range Samsung Exynos 1280 octa-core processor for the A33 and A53, while the A73 features an upper mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G.

Samsung also spoke of being able to use some of the storage memory on the A53 as additional RAM if required, something Windows PC were doing back in the Windows 95 days with memory doubling apps, although today's storage tech is vastly faster in 2022, making this a nifty way to add RAM space when needed.

Samsung is also promising four years of OS updates and five years of security updates, making Samsung one of the companies working hardest to match Apple's extremely long OS update support, beaten only by Google whose Pixel range is the fastest to get Android OS updates, while still being slower than Apple, which launches OS updates for all compatible phones on the same day.

There's also the Link to PC features that let you run Android apps on your Windows PC, and integrate Samsung devices with Windows closely, much like iOS devices work synchronise perfectly with Macs.

Android makers such as Motorola have likewise done a great job with their "ReadyFor" capabilities that can link Motorola's Edge smartphones with PCs, while Huawei's ecosystem of interoperability between smartphones, tablets and PCs is also very advanced, and would be even more so were it still able to use Google Play services.

There's plenty more - Samsung's A53 page has all the details on this particular model, while the 20 minute video above is definitely worth watching to see how Samsung is positioning the A33 and A53, the market it hopes to attract, and the features and benefits it thinks are most important for the price points on offer.

You'll find the specs of all the other A series models here.

Pre-orders begin from 18 March for the Galaxy A53 5G only. Further pricing and on sale information below:

This compares with the 64GB iPhone SE 2022 at $719, the 128GB model for $799, and the 256GB model for $969.

Early conclusion:

So, which is better - the Samsung A Series or the iPhone SE 2022, or some other iPhone?

It really all depends on which ecosystem you're currently in. If you're an Android user, then upgrading to a Samsung device is simple and easy, and Samsung has done the best it can in packing in as many features as possible.

Android competitors will now work as hard as possible to match or beat Samsung's A Series, which shows how incredibly competitive the mid-range space is.

iOS users have plenty of choice, too, with the iPhone SE 2022, through to the 11, 12 and 13 models officially on sale, while there's also a wide range of refurbished models out there, with the lowest price I could see at Kogan for an iPhone 8 64GB model in admittedly B grade condition for $259, although I'd spend a bit more to get one in better condition.

There are great prices on refurbished Samsung devices, too, so every price point is covered, but when brand new Samsungs are available at great prices, which you can pay off over a couple of years very affordably, buying new is what many people do, whether outright or on a plan. Who doesn't love a brand new phone if it's within their budget?

It really comes down to what you want your smartphone to do. An iPhone SE is supremely capable, but so too are the new Samsung A Series models. Samsung is clearly banking on younger people wanting a bigger screen, more camera capabilities, the tight integration with Windows, tons of apps, its best user interface with UI 4.1, a 5000mAh battery and more to win over both Android users on competing models, and those with older Samsung devices, while Apple is banking on familiarity, the fastest processor it offers, 5G and the most affordable way to get a new iPhone in the iOS ecosystem.

The A53 5G at launch feels smooth - I got a hands-on at a session Samsung held for the Australian media - as does the A73 and A33. What things might be like in a year with Android 13 and whatever else, who knows, but I don't expect people to have a bad experience with any of these models.

For iPhone users on an older iPhone 5, 6, 7, 8 or SE who prefer the home button, Touch ID and smaller size, but want the blisteringly fast performance of the top-of-the-line A15 processor, the iPhone SE 2022 is a great upgrade - there's nothing new to learn but the experience will be much smoother and faster, even if there are no 120Hz displays for the iPhone SE at this price point.

So - what you ultimately decide will be up to you. There's a cost to switch between iOS and Android and back in terms of paid apps, but all the main free apps are there aplenty on both platforms. If you switch either way, you'll have to learn a new user interface, but this is no problem for most people, and Android 12 allows you to switch on the same type of gesture interface you find on the iPhone X and above.

Whatever you choose, you will be happy. Samsung is banking on your being happier with its larger screen, lower price, better cameras and more, and they are sure to sell a LOT of A Series models this year as they have in years past, but Apple remains extremely popular for good reason, too, and while the iPhone SE 2022's design is an oldie, it's still very much a goodie - and for those used to that interface, it's just right - even if Apple also offers all the bigger screens and added cameras you want it its 11, 12 and 13 models.

The hearts, minds and wallets of consumers is what consumer electronics companies vie for, and no-one company can please everyone. We're certainly lucky that we have such incredible choice, even in a world depressed by ongoing COVID infections and delays, ever higher petrol prices, war between Russia and Ukraine, and even the threat of WWIII.

But at the same time, despite all of this, unless we blow ourselves up in a nuclear, financial, environmental or medical catastrophe first, the best is yet to come, and especially if you're an existing Samsung user sporting an older Samsung model, or have an older Android of any brand, the A Series beckons you as brightly as it can to see the "awesome" Samsung is delivering.