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Samsung Galaxy A54 5G review

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If there’s a bar for the options and efficiency that make a flagship telephone, nicely, flagshippy, then the midrange Samsung Galaxy A54 5G pushes proper up towards it. When this $449 system is sitting on a desk subsequent to the $999 Galaxy S23 Plus, I can barely inform the 2 aside till I’m shut sufficient to choose them up. 

There’s a noticeable distinction in how they’re constructed, naturally. The S23 Plus has all of the sleekness and sturdy steel body of a telephone that prices a thousand {dollars}. The A54 can’t match it on type factors. However in day-to-day use, they really feel surprisingly related. Studying e-mail, scrolling via Instagram, navigating throughout city — all of it feels about the identical. There’s only one side the place I actually really feel the distinction between the 2: the digicam. 

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It’s solely once I actually push the A54 that the variations grow to be apparent. As typical, you get what you pay for: on this case, a midrange Samsung house-made Exynos 1380 chipset moderately than the top-tier Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 within the S23 Plus. The Exynos does an admirable job, however it will possibly’t chew via rapid-fire portrait mode photographs or graphics-intensive video games the best way the Qualcomm chip can. 

So far as midrange telephones go, the A54 has all the proper stuff: an enormous 6.4-inch display, excellent battery life, a sturdy construct to resist water and mud, and a assist coverage promising safety updates for 5 years. If you happen to squint at that spec record, you may nearly see a thousand-dollar flagship telephone. Nearly.

The A54 5G’s design takes after the Galaxy S23 collection.

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G construct and display

Let’s begin with construct high quality: the Galaxy A54 has sturdy glass panels on the back and front. Loads of different midrange gadgets, together with the Google Pixel 6A, use composite plastic on the again panel, in order that’s a pleasant bonus. The A54’s exterior body, nevertheless, is plastic. That’s not a deal-breaker, however it actually feels much less fancy than the aluminum frames on the S23 and even the Pixel 6A. The A54 is significantly thicker, too, which, once more — not as glossy, however in the event you don’t care about all that, then it’s no huge deal. On the plus aspect, there’s an IP67 ranking for sturdy mud resistance and a few safety towards immersion in water, which isn’t all that widespread amongst price range telephones — even OnePlus’ pricier 11 5G is simply rated IP64.

What is form of fancy is the A54’s display. It’s an enormous 6.4-inch 1080p OLED panel with a high refresh fee of 120Hz. That’s larger and sooner than the Pixel 6A’s, which has a 6.1-inch OLED with a regular 60Hz refresh fee. That quick refresh fee goes an extended approach to making the A54 really feel dearer than it’s. Scrolling via web sites and homescreen pages is butter-smooth. The A54’s display additionally will get a bit brighter than the one on final 12 months’s mannequin, the Galaxy A53 5G — now it goes as much as 1000 nits in very brilliant out of doors gentle. It doesn’t get fairly as brilliant because the S23 Plus, however it’s adequate to maintain textual content in your display readable even in direct daylight.

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G battery and processor

The A54 comes up huge on the battery entrance, too, with a 5,000mAh cell. That’s about as huge as they arrive on smartphones at any worth today. Battery stamina is likewise excellent, although not bananas-good just like the Moto G Powers of the world. The A54’s display is extra power-hungry than most price range telephones’, so it wants that huge battery to compensate. It expenses at as much as 25W with the proper wired charger (bought individually, naturally) and doesn’t embrace wi-fi charging — a function that hasn’t really made it to the midrange class but.

Throughout my testing, I enabled the always-on show and saved the display refresh fee at its highest setting (it’s the default, anyway). Even once I put it via the wringer, the battery lasted a full day — that included a number of hours of cellular gaming on a knowledge connection, Google Maps navigation, and customarily dicking round on the web whereas I waited at jury responsibility (a contemporary American custom). The A54’s battery was within the single digits on the finish of the day, however it made it, even with over 4 hours of screen-on time and a few battery-intensive actions. On a average day, I had extra like 50 p.c left within the tank by nighttime.

The Galaxy A54 5G comes with an enormous 5,000mAh battery, however efficiency is simply common because of a power-hungry display.

As configured within the US, the A54 5G comes with 128GB of storage, which is nice sufficient for many of us to get by. It additionally has a wholesome 6GB of RAM, which retains apps from intently aggressively within the background and lets me transfer via my day-to-day duties freely. Its Exynos 1380 chipset is able to dealing with graphics-intensive gaming like Genshin Affect, with an occasional stutter right here and there however nothing that significantly impacted gameplay. My present favourite, Pocket Metropolis 2, is far much less demanding and a chunk of cake for the A54. 

There’s 5G, in fact, and the telephone is licensed on all three main US carriers. The model bought unlocked by Samsung and at T-Cellular and AT&T prices $449 and doesn’t embrace mmWave 5G. Verizon, alternatively, sells a $500 mannequin that features mmWave. (That is the very quick 5G taste you may often encounter within the wild, however the vary is extraordinarily restricted, and it’s not all that helpful in actuality.) 

Way more essential than its means to make use of hard-to-find 5G frequencies: the A54 5G comes with a powerful software program assist coverage. Samsung guarantees as much as 4 OS model updates and as much as 5 years of safety patches. That’s among the best insurance policies on Android for a telephone at any worth — even Google’s Pixel 7 flagships are solely promised three OS updates and 5 years of safety assist. The speed of these safety patches will seemingly gradual manner down towards the top of its lifespan, maybe only twice a year, however that’s sufficient to deal with safety loopholes and maintain your telephone protected to make use of nicely into the long run. This can be a huge, brilliant checkmark within the A54’s “professional” column. 

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G digicam

The A54’s most important digicam comes with optical stabilization, which will help with low gentle photographs.

The Galaxy A54 exceeds my expectations for a midrange telephone, however the digicam is the place it begins to look rather more common. The telephone is supplied with a 50-megapixel F/1.8 most important rear digicam with optical stabilization, just like what the S23 and S23 Plus provide. Stabilization, particularly, is nice to have within the mid tier because it helps the digicam use longer shutter speeds in dim circumstances for cleaner pictures. Different cameras on the A54: a 32-megapixel selfie digicam of middling high quality, a 12-megapixel ultrawide that’s advantageous, and a largely ineffective 5-megapixel macro. 

Images from the principle digicam in good gentle look advantageous, however that’s true for just about each smartphone made after 2018. Samsung’s processing leans into punchy colours that may not go well with everybody’s style, however the impact isn’t sturdy sufficient to spoil your pictures. Video clips are advantageous too, with recording out there as much as 4K/30p. There’s a useful mode for further stabilization, however you’ll must be recording at 1080/30p to make use of it.

However once I push the A54’s digicam system in more difficult circumstances, it doesn’t maintain up. In average lighting, portrait mode has a tougher time holding on to a topic than the S23 Plus, and the topic isolation isn’t anyplace close to pretty much as good.

Outdoors of portrait mode, there’s a succesful evening mode for very low gentle, which is an choice in case your topic isn’t shifting. But when your topic is shifting, you’ll have a tougher time. The digicam struggles to maintain shutter speeds sooner than 1/twentieth of a second, which simply isn’t quick sufficient in case your topic is, like, alive. That guidelines out sharp photographs of youngsters or pets operating round your kitchen, which, to be honest, is a problem for many telephone cameras to some extent. 

However! In the identical circumstances, the Pixel 6A does noticeably higher. It’s extra prone to maintain the shutter velocity up round 1/a hundred and twentieth of a second so you’ve got a significantly better likelihood of freezing movement. Even when each cameras get a pointy shot, there’s rather more advantageous element within the 6A’s pictures. You don’t even have to zoom in near see the distinction. The 6A doesn’t even have the newest Pixel digicam {hardware} — simply numerous good picture processing, because of the corporate’s Tensor chipset, that the A54 can’t match.

As a complete bundle, the A54 5G is midrange telephone that’s exhausting to beat.

There’s a easy equation for figuring out whether or not or not the Galaxy A54 is the best choice on this worth vary. If you happen to care extra about creature comforts, then it’s best to go together with the Samsung moderately than the Pixel 6A. You get a much bigger display with a quick high refresh fee, plus the fanciness of a rear glass panel. If you happen to care extra about photograph high quality than getting probably the most display on your greenback, then it’s best to go together with the Pixel 6A (or wait a couple of weeks, after we will seemingly see the Pixel 7A debut). It’s hands-down higher in low gentle and nonetheless unmatched within the midrange class, even nearly a 12 months after its launch. And there are nonetheless good causes to pay extra for one thing just like the S23 Plus, like higher digicam processing and a sleeker construct, however not as many as you may assume.

In any other case, the A54 has rather a lot going for it. The display is outstanding for this class, day-to-day efficiency is reliable, and the IP67 ranking mixed with a powerful assist coverage make its prospects for long-term possession excellent. However no matter upgrades the Pixel 7A will provide, the A54 checks extra containers than Google’s midranger, so long as digicam high quality isn’t your major concern. It’s even a bit of bit fancy.

Pictures by Allison Johnson / The Verge

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