The upcoming Samsung Galaxy A53 5G — which launches on March 31 on T-Mobile and Verizon and everywhere else the next day — gives you more for less. Announced at Samsung’s Galaxy A event, the mid-range phone has a larger battery, improved camera functionality, a new processor, an extra year of guaranteed operating system updates, and costs $50 less than the previous model.Contents
But does that make it better than the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G? Last year’s A-series phone is a great midrange phone, and with the new version out, you could pick it up at a bargain price. Or, if you’re using last year’s model, is it worth upgrading to this year’s? We took a look at both phones to answer those questions.
|Samsung Galaxy A53 5G||Samsung Galaxy A52 5G|
|Size||2.94 x 6.28 x 0.32 inches (74.8 x 159.6 x 8.1mm)||2.95 x 6.29 x 0.33 inches (75.1 x 159.9 x 8.4mm)|
|Weight||189 grams||189 grams|
|Screen size||6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display||6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED, Infinity-O Display|
|Screen resolution||2400 x 1080 pixels (407 pixels per inch)||2400 x 1080 pixels (407 pixels per inch)|
|Operating system||Android 12||Android 11|
|Storage space||128GB||128GB, 256GB|
|MicroSD card slot||Yes||Yes|
|Tap-to-pay services||Samsung Pay||Samsung Pay|
|Processor||Samsung Exynos 1280 (Octa-core 5-nanometer processor)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G|
|Camera||64-megapixel wide, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP depth, 5MP macro rear. 32MP front.||64MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP depth, 5MP macro rear. 32MP front.|
|Video||Up to 4K at 30 frames-per-second||Up to 4K at 30 fps|
|Bluetooth version||Bluetooth 5.1||Bluetooth 5.1|
25W fast charging
|App marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Network support||All major carriers||All major carriers|
|Colors||Black, White, Blue, Orange||Black, White, Blue, Purple|
|Review score||Hands-on review||4.5 out of 5 stars|
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is very similar to the A52 5G, so it’s hard to distinguish between them at a casual glance. The minimal tweaks made to the camera housing on the back does give the newer A53 5G a more subtle and streamlined look than the Galaxy A52, as the lens edges blend pleasingly into the back.
The A52’s matte back panel has a soft, glass-like finish that provides a reasonable degree of grip, and the chassis has a shiny chrome finish. No, it’s not metal and the back panel isn’t glass, but it’s hard to tell from a distance. The A53’s textured rear panel also provides plenty of grip, and has a pleasing tactile quality. The A53 features a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED Full HD+ display, with a 120Hz refresh rate, which is the same as on the Galaxy A52. There’s plenty of brightness and responsiveness to go around.
These are both chunky phones at 8.1mm thick, and they feel substantial in the hand. Both are comparatively light at 189 grams so neither feels awkward, but users with smaller hands may have problems operating these phones with one hand. Both phones have an IP67 water resistance rating.
Since both are of similar size and composition, with only the slightest of tweaks, this round is a tie.
There’s not much difference between the two models, but there is some. Both support 25W fast charging, neither supports wireless charging. Both should have a good battery lifespan. However, in terms of battery capacity, the Galaxy A53 5G has a higher capacity 5,000mAh cell while the A52 5G has a 4,500mAh battery. That doesn’t always mean a stronger battery life, but with the similarities between the two models, we’re currently willing to bet on the Galaxy A53 having the longer battery life. We’ll have to wait for our review to come out to be sure, though.
Packed into the A53 is a Samsung processor, the octa-core Exynos 1280, with 6GB of RAM. In contrast, the A52 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor and 6GB of RAM. The chip on the newer model was built using a 5nm process, which will probably mean better performance — even if it may not translate to much difference in real-life performance.
Just going by the numbers, we give this round to the newer model for now. Once we’ve had more time with the newer Galaxy A53, we’ll be able to offer a better analysis.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G and A53 5G come with the same camera setup on the outside: A 64-megapixel main lens with optical image stabilization, a 12MP ultrawide lens, a 5MP depth lens, and a 5MP macro lens. Both phones offer solid camera performance from the main and ultra-wide cameras, plus there’s a Night mode and Samsung’s Single Take mode. The Galaxy A53 and Galaxy A52 both feature a 32MP front lens.
For the A52, we found that on bright days the camera colors stay true and show a pleasing palette with some pop. The camera app is quick to change modes and react to the shutter button, and indoor photos look bright and colorful. However, sometimes the camera highlights green colors too much, resulting in a slightly unnatural look, mostly from the wide-angle camera. There is also too little consistency between the main and wide-angle camera, and some may find the HDR effect a bit much. Portrait mode is decent and finds its subject well.
The new Galaxy A53 5G’s camera appears identical to the Galaxy A52 5G’s, but Samsung claims that the A53 5G has an upgraded AI-powered main 64MP camera sensor that enhances the phone’s photo processing capabilities to deliver better detail and color and improved low-light performance. A new “intelligent algorithm” ensures the display is visible in detail, even outside in the sun, and an enhanced Portrait mode promises to better capture depth and subject outlines. Fun mode adds an assortment of filters, Photo Remaster restores old and low-quality images, and Object eraser removes background distractions. For videos, the camera automatically adapts its frame rate to light conditions.
That’s a big feature list — but will it make a huge difference? Possibly, though we won’t be sure until we’ve had more time to play with the new phone. Until then, we’re giving this to the newer phone, but we’ll change that if it turns out to be disappointing.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
Samsung offers its latest OneUI 4.1 user interface with Android 12, and it includes four years of major Android update support and five years of security updates. This is a huge benefit for Android. The OneUI 4.1 is easy to learn and customizable. The Galaxy A52 has received the update to Android 12 (and OneUI 4.1), but it won’t get quite as many years of software updates as the A53 5G.
This level of software support elevates the Galaxy A53 5G into a stronger, reasonably priced phone that will last for years.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
There are few special features on either phone, but where there are some — such as a microSD card slot to further increase internal storage space, 5G, support for Samsung Pay, and an in-display fingerprint sensor — they apply to both phones equally. One thing missing on the newer A53 5G is a headphone jack, which is available on the A52 5G. We’re pretty sure many folks would be happy for a headphone jack and pretty bummed to see it disappear, so we’re going to give this round to the older model.
Winner: Samsung A52 5G
The Galaxy A53 5G costs $450 and will be released on April 1 through Samsung’s online store, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Pre-orders start on March 17 and you’ll get a pair of Galaxy Buds Live with the phone if you order early.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 is currently available from Amazon as a “renewed” product ranging in price from $335 to $420. It’s also available brand new from Best Buy for $500 and BrandSmart for $500. Of course, both can also be ordered directly from Samsung.
While there’s not an enormous distinction between the year-old Samsung Galaxy A52 5G and the brand new Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, the design has been tweaked slightly alongside processor, battery, and camera upgrades that, rolled together, are perhaps more significant than they first appear. The $50 price drop for the new phone is extra added goodness.
If you’re considering an upgrade from the A52 5G, save your money. The differences aren’t big enough to justify the upgrade. But if the choice is between the 2021 and 2022 models, then the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is the better deal, hands down.