Samsung Galaxy A52s review: a pricey affair with a few tricks up its sleeve

The Galaxy A52s comes in as an upgraded version of the A52

Review Summary

Expert Rating3.5/5

Design
★★★★★
★★★★★
Display
★★★★★
★★★★★
Software
★★★★★
★★★★★
Camera
★★★★★
★★★★★
Performance
★★★★★
★★★★★
Battery
★★★★★
★★★★★

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Stunning display
  • Capable cameras
  • IP 67 rated

Cons

  • Pricey
  • 15W brick takes time to charge the phone
  • Bloatware

Samsung has an unwavering brand recall in India and the company’s smartphones sell like hotcakes in the country. Interestingly, the brand rarely gets into spec battles with competing devices from Xiaomi, Realme or OnePlus’ stables. Instead, Samsung plays to its strengths and tends to woo customers with, among other things, a tidy UI that offers baked-in niceties like Knox security, etc. Take the newly-launched Galaxy A52s for instance, which brings a 7-series Qualcomm chip to a segment that is otherwise dominated by the Snapdragon 888 processor. It goes without saying that the Galaxy A52s is not going to set any benchmarks on fire. However, that’s not to say that the device doesn’t make for a good daily driver. So, in this review, let’s see if you should or shouldn’t spend your bucks on the Samsung Galaxy A52s. 

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy A52s has some aces up its sleeve and features IP67 certification and a capable set of cameras. However, the handset is overshadowed by the likes of Realme GT and the iQOO 7 Legend in terms of pure performance in its price segment. 

Design

The Samsung Galaxy A52s is a fairly iterative offering. If you’re familiar with the design of the Galaxy A52 (review), then you’ll feel right at home with the A52s as well. Be it the vertically-stacked camera module or the frosted matte finish on the back, the A52s is a facsimile of its predecessor, the Galaxy A52. Heck, both the phones weigh the same at 189g too and offer similar dimensions as well. 

Now, you should know that I am a big advocate of Samsung’s design ethos for the Galaxy A-series. Much like the Galaxy A52 and A72 (review) models launched earlier this year, the A52s lets its colourway do all the talking. So, if you want a phone with an understated aesthetic – something that would be better suited to a boardroom setting – then you can pick up the device in the Awesome Black colourway. However, if you want to make a statement with your phone, then the Awesome Violet hue will do your bidding just fine. 

Coincidentally, I was sent the black colourway of the phone for review and I am more than satisfied with the spit and polish on offer here. Of course, I would’ve liked to see the company fiddle with more premium materials. However, the smartphone’s polycarbonate chassis feels superbly sturdy and the device also ships with IP67 certification, ensuring you don’t have to rush to a service centre on the off chance you drop it in a puddle of water. Worth mentioning that this particular feature is unmatched in this price segment and you’d be hard pressed to fine another phone that’s waterproof. The handset’s display comes layered with Corning’s Gorilla Glass v5 that should keep scratches and scuffs at bay. On the flip side, the device’s matte black back is prone to smudges so, you’ll have to give it a wipe every once in a while to keep it in pristine condition. 

Moving on, the Galaxy A52s is quite comfortable to grip, which can be accredited to its chamfered frame and rounded-off edges. The in-display fingerprint sensor has been positioned rather ergonomically too and the power button, as well as the volume rocker, were well within my thumb’s reach as well. Colour me impressed, for a phone with a massive screen, the Galaxy A52s feels superbly snug to use day in and day out. 

As for the I/O, the Samsung Galaxy A52s ships with a USB Type-C port at the bottom which is sandwiched between a speaker grille and a headphone jack. The smartphone offers a hybrid SIM tray up-top and as prefaced previously, touts an in-display fingerprint sensor which worked fine during my testing. You’ll also be able to unlock the device by means of facial recognition, though the feature is noticeably slower when compared to the phone’s fingerprint sensor, so make of that what you will. 

Display

The Galaxy A52s’ display has been slightly tweaked too and this time around, the smartphone offers a 120Hz screen as opposed to the A52’s 90Hz panel. What’s more, seeing how the phone is also backed by a more powerful SoC, you can expect the A52s’ display to sustain its high refresh rate at all times. As for the rest of the display specs, the panel boasts full HD+ resolution, touts a centrally-aligned punch hole notch and is backed by the company’s Super AMOLED technology. So, you can expect the display to deliver peppy, vibrant colours and reciprocate deep, dark black levels as well. The viewing angles were top-notch too and I didn’t notice any major discolouration when viewing the panel off-axis. 

Unfortunately, while the smartphone comes with WideVine L1 certification and can, in fact, stream shows in HD from OTT services, the Galaxy A52s doesn’t support HDR playback. That’s quite disappointing, especially when you factor in the handset’s pricing. Thankfully, the screen can get quite bright at 800 nits so, I doubt you’ll struggle to use the phone when it’s sunny outdoors. What’s more, the device offers a fantastic audio setup too and the unit’s dual-speakers should suffice for watching movies on the fly. 

Cameras

On to the cameras and here, the Samsung Galaxy A52s employs the same camera stack as seen on the Galaxy A52. To recap, the A52s features a 64MP main sensor that works alongside a 12MP wide-angle sensor, a 5MP depth sensor and a 5MP macro sensor. For selfies, the device gets a 32MP front-facing camera.

Of course, the A52s’ Snapdragon 778G processor brings a new ISP to the mix so, how does the camera fare against say, the iQOO 7 Legend, which happens to be one of the best camera phones under Rs 40K?

To cut a long story short, the A52s is no slouch in the photography department. As an example, if you look at this first comparison shot of my apartment complex, then you’ll notice that at a 100 percent crop, Samsung’s offering tends to bring out more information from the shadows which is evident if you look at the shrubs near the brick wall.

That said, the handset introduces quite a lot of noise in the frame too. On the flip side, the iQOO 7 Legend’s composition is void of any noise and the colours represented in the scene are truer to life as well. However, the smartphone has glossed over the detailing around the shrubs.



Here’s another example highlighting the Galaxy A52s’ camera prowess. If you zoom into the next set of images, then you’ll notice that the A52s has retained the texture of the blue barrel, as well as that of the brick wall adjacent to it. However, in doing so, the smartphone has also introduced a lot of noise in the frame. On the other hand, the iQOO 7 Legend’s shot has better colours and less noise albeit not as many details, especially near the darkened areas in the frame. 



What’s more, the A52s’ wide-angle sensor net similarly pleasing results as the iQOO 7 Legend’s wide-angle camera too. As you can see from the slider attached above, both the photos offer similar sharpness and the same amount of corner details as well. That said, the iQOO 7 Legend resolves the colour red much better. The same is evident if you look at the shot of the red flower and here, the Galaxy A52s has struggled to map the details around the petals. 



As for lowlight, the Samsung Galaxy A52s can click quality images after the sun has set. However, the iQOO 7 Legend’s lowlight images are a notch above, netting less noise and more details in the frame.

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The 32MP selfie camera, however, will not disappoint you. The sensor snaps detailed self-portraits with acceptable skin tones and the bokeh mode creates a convincing blur effect around the subject’s face too.

Performance and Software

Coming to the meat of the matter, the Samsung Galaxy A52s employs Qualcomm’s brand-new Snapdragon 778G processor which works alongside 128GB of storage and either 6GB or 8GB of RAM. The processor in question is actually fairly capable and I was quite satisfied with it when I reviewed the Realme GT Master Edition. That said, I’ll be the first to admit that the SoC is a tad underpowered for the Rs 35K – Rs 40K price bracket. Rest assured, if you want a phone that can run the latest games at the best possible graphics settings, or one that can stand the test of time, then might I suggest you check out our reviews of the iQOO 7 Legend and the Mi 11X Pro instead?

However, if your heart is sold on the Galaxy A52s, then you should know that the smartphone performs reasonably well. The handset can run most games at decent graphics and frame rate settings and is competent enough to chew through your usual set of apps as well. As such, I didn’t face any major performance hassles when using the phone as my daily driver either.

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Of course, the app load times weren’t as snappy as what I’d experienced with the Realme GT (review) or the iQOO 7 Legend, but whatever I could achieve with an SD 888-backed phone, I could on the A52s as well – and that’s without succumbing to facepalms or compromising my end-user experience.

Clearly, the Galaxy A52s isn’t going to lure you with its specs so, let’s take a look at the software on offer to see if the phone can even things out. To that note, the smartphone ships with the company’s OneUI 3.1 that has been layered on top of Android 11. Contrary to popular belief, Samsung bundles an awful lot of bloatware with its budget and mid-range devices and the Galaxy A52s is no different. I even disabled app recommendations and skipped downloading a bunch of bloatware when I was setting up the phone, but to no avail. Now, credit where credit’s due – you can uninstall most, if not all of the apps on the phone. Heck, you can even delete Samsung’s own apps, like the internet browser that comes with the phone. 

Moreover, Samsung’s take on how Android should look and feel has come a long way too and those with a keen eye will undoubtedly appreciate the elegantly styled menus and other customisation niceties that come bundled with the phone, including support for Good Lock utility, etc. You’ll also get a bunch of useful features with the custom skin like support for call recording, custom actions for the power button, an Always-on Display and dual messenger, which lets you use two separate accounts on your favourite social media apps. If anything, I would’ve liked to see support for third-party icon packs. But, on the whole, Samsung hits more than it misses with the latest iteration of One UI. 

Battery life and Connectivity 

While the handset’s 4,500mAh cell offers a full day’s worth of battery backup even with the display set to refresh at 120Hz (provided you don’t game on the phone), the company has bundled a measly 15W charging brick with the phone. Ergo, you’ll have to sit and wait for almost two hours to charge the phone completely. Now, you can opt for a 25W brick to charge the phone quicker, provided you have money to burn. But, even then, the handset’s charging speeds would pale in comparison to what you’d get with say, the Realme GT or the iQOO 7 Legend.

There is an upside to buying the Galaxy A52s though, and it’s one you might’ve seen plastered on various social media portals. I am, of course, talking about the handset’s connectivity chops. For one, the A52s supports 12 5G bands ensuring you’re ready for the upcoming 5G boom. What’s more, I didn’t face any problems on my 4G Airtel postpaid SIM either and the handset offered stellar download and upload speeds, as well as dependable and drop-free calling.

Final Verdict 

The Samsung Galaxy A52s costs Rs 35,999 for the 6GB RAM variant and Rs 37,499 for the 8GB RAM variant respectively. For the price, the handset brings a stylish design, capable cameras and reliable performance to the mix. The smartphone’s software experience is quite gratifying too, and that IP67 rating is still something most rivals can’t offer. However, it’s hard to turn a blind eye to competing devices like the Realme GT, the iQOO 7 Legend etc, which offer better performance, faster charging speeds and more premium designs. Don’t get me wrong, the Galaxy A52s is a serviceable daily driver, however, the brand should’ve priced it a tad more aggressively. 

Editor’s rating : 3.5 / 5 

Pros: 

  • Stylish design 
  • Capable cameras 
  • Stunning display 
  • IP67 rated

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • 15W brick takes time to charge the phone 
  • Bloatware