This is the most balanced phone I’ve reviewed for a price of Php 18,990. And that’s the 8/256 version, which is the highest this phone can offer.
It’s been a long time since I’ve used a Samsung phone. The last I used was the Samsung Galaxy S5 and that phone was terrible for a flagship. Its buggy UI called TouchWiz made the experience worse. It’s also clunky as hell and the back was made of plasters. Samsung didn’t have taste back then. Now I’m again using a Samsung, the Samsung Galaxy A52 4G and boy, did they come far.
We bought the 4G version instead of the 5G edition for a few reasons. The main reason is that here in the Philippines, 5G is still limited and is not yet mature, so this phone has a lifespan similar to 5G phones released here recently. Second, 4G LTE is still blazing fast here and is still used by a majority of Filipinos nationwide. And finally, my dad’s budget couldn’t make it for the Galaxy A52s 5G and he badly needed to replace his old Oppo A9 already.
This is currently the best that I can suggest as there are no other phones I am aware of with a similar price tag that offers IP67 water-resistance rating and OIS for the main camera, which are the phone’s main features.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 4G is not even a year old. It was only released in March 2021. Sure it may not have the best midrange processor anymore, having only used the Snapdragon 720G, it’s still competitive when compared to phones released just recently.
Before we begin with the review proper, here are the specs of the Samsung Galaxy A52 4G!
- 6.5in. FHD+ SAMOLED, 90Hz
- Corning Gorilla Glass 5 Protection
- IP67 water/dust resistance
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G (8nm)
- Android 11, One UI 3.1
- 64mp (main), f/1.8, 26mm, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS
- 12mp (ultrawide), f/2.2, 123°
- 5mp (macro), f/2.4
- 5mp (depth), f/2.4
- FRONT: 32mp, f/2.2, 26mm, 0.8µm
- 4500mAh, 25W fast charging
- In-display Fingerprint Sensor, 4G LTE services, Dual SIM
- MicroSD Expandable (shared slot, Hybrid SIM)
- OUR UNIT PRICE:
- 8/256: Php 18,990
- Awesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Blue, Awesome Violet
IN THE BOX:
This phone was actually sealed open when we bought it in MobileWorld, a local distributor of smartphones here in the Philippines. This was done to check the contents of the box. That means this phone has been partially set up already, but I’m going to reiterate the contents of it anyway.
The box is as simple as it can be. It’s a white box with the device name on top as well as the phone itself. This image can differ depending on the colour of the phone you have purchased.
Inside the box is the phone itself, the Samsung Care insert, a flip case, the 15W charging brick and cable, a SIM ejector tool, a quick start-up guide, and finally, the warranty card. Like most phones released today, there are no headphones inside the box.
DESIGN, SOFTWARE, INTERFACE:
It’s been a while since I’ve used a Samsung phone. The last I’ve used intensively was the Samsung Galaxy S5 with the horrible TouchWiz UI that lags to death because it was unoptimized. As the years passed, Samsung would have heard people’s voices and started improving their user interface, right?
The answer is YES! The development of Samsung’s UI was a long journey. It went from TouchWiz, to Experience, and now OneUI, which I fairly like because they finally made a UI that isn’t an eyesore nor is it irritating. In fact, OneUI has become one of my favourite UIs because even if it’s loaded with possibly unnecessary features, the UI is smooth and optimized. Samsung learned.
Speaking of features, OneUI is loaded with so many things such as extra gestures, the taskbar, various productivity, and support apps, the ability to change the UI’s looks and themes, and on. There’s just too many to talk about that my recording took 15 minutes just for the UI alone.
First I like how Samsung retained the app drawer. It’s very similar to stock Android in that you have to scroll up from your home screen to view it. In addition, you can hide/unhide apps that you don’t need as well as change the number of rows and columns each section would have. You can also have the option to disable/enable the app drawer. That is, if you want to create a clone of the iPhone or literally any Chinese UI out there, you can do it. Also, if you don’t like the positions of the on-screen buttons, you can switch the position of the menu and back key as well.
Samsung is also very keen on a friendly computer-to-phone environment that allow you to seamlessly cast your phone to your PC with a push of a button. You can also double your phone or your computer as a second screen. If you happen to own a Samsung laptop, then this process is a lot simpler.
Every company has to design a phone that stands out as well as fit the price and the branding. Since the A series is Samsung’s best-selling series, it HAS to be really good. For a price of Php20,000, one would assume that Samsung has done a premium look and feel for the Galaxy A52 4G.
AND THEY DID! The phone comes in four colours: Awesome Black, Blue, White, and Violet. The unit we purchased is the Awesome Black colour and I let me say, I like the vinyl and metallic finish the phone gives. I also love how there’s little to no camera bump so you can put down the phone on a flat surface with little to no wobble. Samsung has been using the word “Awesome” as a marketing tool for a while, and I believe the Galaxy A52 4G deserves it just for the colour alone. There’s also the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for added protection against scratches. This is rare outside of more expensive handsets and flagships.
If there’s one thing I digress about this is that the back is a smudge magnet. Luckily though, the fingerprint is inside the screen so just slapping a case on it would solve this problem (maybe wiping the back too beforehand).
On the right side of the phone are the volume rockers and power button that also function as a mildly irritating Bixby button. The left side is clean (so, where’s the SIM Card Slot?). The top is where the hybrid SIM Card slot is located along with a microphone. The bottom is a little busy as this is where the USB-C port, single-firing speaker as well as headphone jack is located. There’s also another microphone sitting next to the USB-C port for noise-cancellation purposes.
Unlike other phones I’ve reviewed and tested, the Samsung Galaxy A52 4G comes with a 6.5in. 90Hz SAMOLED panel that’s quite bright and colourful. This type of display also allows for the inclusion of the in-display fingerprint scanner as well as the Always-on Display. The former negates the worry for smudges. The AOD can be customised through Samsung’s theme store. Although take note some of them require payment.
You can also switch between 60Hz or 90Hz refresh rates. If you’re observant, you can see the difference between the two refresh rates while scrolling. 90Hz appears to scroll smoother and with lesser delay while 60Hz feels slow. Once you use 90Hz refresh rate, the 60Hz refresh rate will feel primal, outdated, and slow. Even when it isn’t.
In addition to the refresh rates, you can also adjust the colour of your screen through a preset or manually. You can make the screen warmer, cooler, or adjust the RGB scale depending on your liking. Also, in case you’re asking, there’s a night mode and a dark mode setup for the Galaxy A52 4G.
Indoors, it’s definitely no question that, with good enough lighting, the screen is bright and the colours truly shine. Thanks to its FHD+ resolution, there’s little to no pixelation seen on the icons on close-up. Images also look vivid and lively. That’s quite expected from a high-end SAMOLED panel from the manufacturer itself.
Outside, so as long you’re not viewing directly below sunlight, the screen is still viewable and is bright enough for the eyes to see, though the screen is now a little darker and colours are now a little less vibrant, but still is good enough to be considered “SAMOLED” standards. If you’re outdoors on a hot sunny day, turn the brightness up but remember, turning the brightness up for prolonged periods of time can damage the screen and potentially cause screen burn-in or retention that’s hard to fix especially if it’s on the hardware side of things.
As we mentioned before, one of the primary reasons we bought the Galaxy A52 is the camera. It is one of the few phones at its price point to have OIS on its main camera that is quite useful when you’re vlogging on the go as this prevents shaking. Samsung calls this feature “super steady” mode.
The phone has a 64mp main camera (second camera, middlemost), a 12mp ultrawide (topmost), a 5mp macro camera (small fourth camera), and finally a 5mp depth sensor (third camera, below main camera). Up front is a 32mp selfie camera on a dot notch. I’m glad to see Samsung actually increased the resolution of the macro and depth cameras even by a little. At least they are somewhat usable.
The phone can record in 4K@30fps, as well as FHD+ @30 or 60fps. Super steady mode is only available to 1080p video at 30fps. The phone can also record in 720p@30fps.
The camera has several options and modes to pick and play. There’s also an integration with Snapchat that helps in adding multiple filters.
The camera app comes with a lot of features including the “Fun” mode which is where all the special filters live. They are integrated from Snapchat and the mode would pop a small window asking you to agree to Snapchat’s terms and conditions.
There’s also a mode called “Single Take” which takes multiple types of photos at once as a collage to store your favourite memories. In the Single Take mode, a short video would also be taken, but you can stop the taking prematurely if you wish. Other modes available include Pro mode, AR Doodle, Food, Night, Macro, Portrait, Slow Motion, and others.
The “Pro Mode” is versatile considering it has a lot of options for you to play with. The Pro mode is also versatile enough for astrophotography shots. You have the ISO that ranges from 50 to 3200, Shutter speeds from 1/6000 up to 10s (sadly though it can never reach 30s), a manually adjustable white balance setting from 2300K to 10,000K, and finally, exposure compensation that’s -2.0/+2.0, as well as spot metering and manual focus. Focus peaking is enabled by default, it’s the green line that fades when the subject or background is out of focus and appears more if the subject or background is in focus. You can also change the lenses, from the standard lens to the macro lens.
You can also manually adjust the video through a separate mode called “Pro Video”. Settings are almost identical as the Pro mode for photos.
While Google Assistant is available, Samsung insists you use Bixby, their own voice assistant. In the camera app, you can access Bixby Vision which works similarly to Google Lens. Take a picture and Bixby would help you search for that image online. It can also translate the picture if you ask it to.
Also in the camera mode you can access a neat feature called AR zone that allows you to create AR-related imagery such as your own facemoji, which is something Apple had presented from the iPhone X. And speaking of Augmented Reality, there’s a mode called AR doodle that allows you to doodle and draw virtually and see them move as if it was drawn in real life.
Going to the front camera, the resolution as mentioned is 16mp and can also record in 4K@30fps (although, OIS is not available for the front camera. There’s no EIS either). The aforementioned Fun and Single Take modes are also available for the front camera.
Please visit the next page for our thoughts on the camera performance!