Review: Samsung's Galaxy A52 proves low cost is no barrier to quality

Samsung Galaxy A52 review on Newshub by Oskar Howell.
Photo credit: Newshub.

Samsung's latest foray into the budget smartphone market is the Galaxy A52 - a cheap, powerful phone punching well above its weight.

Launching in New Zealand with an RRP of $599, this model is over $1000 cheaper than its flash cousin the S21 Ultra or equivalents from rival brands like the iPhone 12 Pro and Find X3 Pro.

But what's the A52 missing that the more premium models have? Does that matter?

I've been using the Samsung Galaxy A52 for the last few weeks and here are my thoughts.

The good

What you get with this phone is nothing short of phenomenal for its conservative price tag.

With a respectable 6.5-inch, 90Hz FHD+ display, videos and games appear crisp and clear, if slightly oversaturated. Sure, the display isn't the same Dynamic AMOLED found in Samsung's premium devices, but it's definitely usable on a day-to-day basis.

Samsung Galaxy A52 New Zealand review.
Photo credit: Newshub.

Under the screen lies some pretty serious grunt for a lower-end phone, too. A Snapdragon 720G chipset, 8GB of RAM and a very chunky 128GB of storage make this a bit of a beast.

I was surprised to find the A52 offers expandable memory (up to 1TB on a microSD card) and can take a second SIM. Using that along with Android's user profiles feature presents this as an excellent low-cost work/personal hybrid phone.

The Galaxy A52 packs a pretty industry-standard camera and I have no complaints or compliments either way. A quad-lens array adorns the back, notably with a 64MP main lens, accompanied by a depth, macro and ultrawide lenses.

Samsung Galaxy A52 in violet.
Photo credit: Newshub.

iPhones have long held the crown for the aesthetically-pleasing smartphone, but the A52 might be a surprising contender from the lower ranks. 

The gorgeous pastel-purple caseback is marred only by the trypophobia-inspiring camera array, which I despise. But during the review period I got quite a few comments on this phone's look, with the general consensus being it looked far more premium than it actually is.

Somewhat ironically, the phone comes with a charger, something not offered in Samsung's higher end devices. That supplements a reasonable 4000mAh battery, which should be more than enough to last you the day.

Samsung A52 costs $600 but gives you a charger.
Photo credit: Newshub.

The bad

I've come to the grand conclusion that I simply do not like Samsung's voice assistant Bixby. It isn't a personal grudge: Bixby is activated by a button on the side of the phone, which realistically feels like a colossal waste of space.

I also found the fingerprint scanner and facial recognition to be clunky at best and a total lockout at worst. It would struggle to register my face or my fingerprint, which is a pain for someone used to instant gratification.

Surprisingly, I noticed the A52 suffering from screen tearing and frame drops at times, which indicates the phone's hardware is outperforming the display's refresh rate. At the risk of getting too technical, that's an unusual problem to have on a modern smartphone.

The screen and display of a Samsung Galaxy A52.
Photo credit: Newshub.

The verdict

So where does this leave the Galaxy A52 on the smartphone spectrum?

This cracking device is a worthy addition to Samsung's smartphone stable, and for its reasonable price tag punches well above its weight.

Think of it like a miniature Samsung Galaxy FE; low cost, well-specced, and an excellent daily companion.

Oskar was supplied a Samsung Galaxy A52 for this review.