We started this year with an avalanche of affordable Samsung Galaxy M and A series smartphones as part of the company's strategy to fight Xiaomi, Realme, and others. Samsung addressed pretty much every strategic price point between Rs. 8,000 and Rs. 20,000 in a very short space of time, sometimes with multiple options thanks to the sheer number of models and variants that were brought onto the market. It's been a while since the onslaught of starts is over and Samsung's competitors have refreshed all of their slates, so it was inevitable that we would see a few updated models of the Korean giant.
The brand new Samsung Galaxy A50s costs from SFr. 22,999, a slight increase in costs compared to the Galaxy A50 (test). Shortly after the launch of the high-profile Redmi K20 (review), it joins the party, and some other flagship phones have seen price cuts, which they also place in this segment. Which of these phones should you choose with a budget of around Rs. 25,000? We check the Samsung Galaxy A50s to find out.
Samsung Galaxy A50s design
Not much is new in terms of the appearance of the Samsung Galaxy A50s. When we tested the Galaxy M20 (Review), one of Samsung's first aggressive models, we noticed how general it felt and how it deviated from the company's earlier designs. Likewise, the Galaxy A50s could easily be confused with a number of today's major brands' phones, no matter what your perspective.
Pretty much the entire screen is on the front of the phone. At the top there is a small recess for the camera (Samsung calls this design "Infinity-U"). The corners of the screen are rounded and the chin is quite thick, while the sides and top edges are much narrower. The edges are very slightly curved, and we are interested to note that this is one of the few phones that we have reviewed recently and that did not come with a plastic screen protector that was already glued on, which we do not mind and that we do appreciate.
On the back we have the touch of personality that Samsung chose – an off-center geometric pattern of intersecting lines with different shades of color in each segment. There are three options: Prisma Crush Black, Prisma Crush White and Prisma Crush Purple – our review sample is the black version, but the colors on the back are different shades of gray.
Fortunately, this design is not as prone to stains and fingerprints as the mirror-like finish of the Galaxy A50, but it needs to be wiped several times a day to keep it looking good. There is still very little prismatic effect among some types of light, but it is far more subtle than the psychedelic reflections we saw on the predecessor of this phone.
There is a USB Type-C port on the bottom, as well as a 3.5 mm audio jack and a single speaker. The left compartment has space for two nano SIMs and a microSD card. The on / off and volume buttons are all on the right and the top is blank.
At 166 g and only 7.7 mm thick, the Galaxy A50 is surprisingly easy to use and handle. You may have to stretch a little to reach the top of the 6.4-inch screen, but otherwise we had no complaints. The build quality is pretty good too, although this phone still feels plastic and not very high quality. There is also no mention of what type of glass was used for the screen.
We didn't see any scratches or scratches on the frame or the back during the review period, but we used this phone with a plastic case. Fortunately, one is included in the sales packaging. Samsung also has a 10 W charger, a USB-C cable, a wired 3.5 mm headset, a SIM eject tool and a quick guide.
Samsung Galaxy A50s specifications and software
The first thing you'll notice about this phone when you turn it on is the crisp, bright Super AMOLED screen. It measures 6.4 inches in diameter, but that's trimmed to about 6.2 inches when you measure with the rounded corners. The resolution is Full HD + at 1080×2340. At the top is a notch for the front camera and an integrated fingerprint sensor that can be easily positioned.
Samsung used its own octa-core processor Exynos 9611, which appears to be a minor update to the Exynos 9610 on the Galaxy A50. You will receive four 1.74 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 cores and four 2.3 GHz Cortex-A73 cores as well as Mali G72 graphics. This chip has the same CPU, GPU and LTE functions as its predecessor, but supports higher camera resolutions.
This brings us to a great new function of this phone, its primary rear view camera with 48 megapixels / 2. An 8-megapixel wide-angle camera with 1: 2.2 and a 5-megapixel depth sensor complete the offer. The front camera was also equipped with a resolution of 32 megapixels and an aperture of 1: 2.
There are two variants of this phone, but both have 128 GB of storage space. The only difference is that you get either 4 GB for Rs. 22,999 or 6 GB RAM for Rs. 24,999. This is comparable to the Samsung Galaxy A50, and we consider it unnecessary to have two options that are so similar. You are unlikely to see a big difference if you don't run a lot of heavy apps and games.
The battery is quite large at 4000mAh and 15W quick charging is possible even though you have a 10W charger in the box. Dual band WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5, GPS, NFC and FM radio are available.
Our device was shipped with version 1.5 of Samsung One UI software, which runs on Android 9 with the security update from August 2019. A user interface was primarily developed for large-screen phones. Although it looks clear and modern, we are not enthusiastic about the oversized symbols and the large distances. Fortunately, you can adjust the size and density of the home screens and app drawer through their settings.
There is a lot of space in the menus and it seems like the big screen is not being used optimally, especially in the notification shade and in the Settings app, where a lot has to be scrolled. That said, the ability to drag menus and controls down so that even the top lines to tap are within reach is very welcome. There are also a variety of features, including a secure folder, Samsung Pay, a children's playground, night mode, floating apps, and cloning dual messenger apps with independent contact lists.
The Bixby voice assistant is now called up by holding down the power button on the right. To turn off the phone, there is a small power button on the screen in the quick switch area that you can see when you swipe down from the top of the screen. On the left side of the first home screen there is also a Bixby home screen with some useful fields such as sports results and memories, but also numerous advertising content.
Bixby routines allow you to chain multiple commands with simple "if … then" conditions. For example, you can instruct the Galaxy A50 to change Wi-Fi and Bluetooth status, audio profile, display customizations, screen lock, accessibility settings, and certain actions, such as opening a website or sending an SMS perform. All of these things can happen all at once when you leave or enter a place, connect an accessory, open a specific app, answer a call, and / or connect to a specific Bluetooth device.
The Super AMOLED control panel provides an environment display, although the phone is set by default to require a single tap while the phone is in standby to display the time and status icons. You can choose to keep it visible all the time or only between set times.
You also have a lot of control over what content is displayed on the lock screen, as well as a choice of animated wallpapers or collections of images that are traversed. Lock Screen Stories are snippets of content, some of which contain advertisements, that appear every time you wake your phone from sleep. This can be disabled during the initial Android setup process.
Samsung also chose to implement the Edge Panels feature, which we have only seen on high-end phones with curved glass sides. This thin visible tab can be positioned on either side of the screen, and you swipe inward to bring up one or more vertical strips with links to contacts, apps, miniature tools, or content feeds. Additional edge panels can be downloaded from the Samsung Galaxy Store.
There are only a few pre-installed apps: Facebook, Netflix, OneDrive and Samsung's Galaxy Store and Game Launcher. When setting up this phone, we were told that apps would "hibernate" if they were not used for three days or more. This means that they are not updating their content and you may not receive notifications. This can be disabled in the battery settings, but please note that the default setting is unusual and can lead to unexpected notification delays.
Samsung Galaxy A50s performance and battery life
We were excited to see what Samsung changed on the Galaxy A50 compared to the Galaxy A50 to justify the price increase. We have found that there is generally not much new. Our experiences in testing the 6 GB RAM variant in everyday life were gratifying. Face recognition and the fingerprint sensor work well, but are not particularly fast.
We generally felt a bit unforeseen at first, but soon found that the problem with the default animated background image for the lock screen was there. We also found an option to reduce animation in the "Advanced" section of the "Settings" app, which has a big impact on the response time. OneUI may not be very cluttered, but it may require some performance tweaks on this phone.
The 6.4-inch full HD + super AMOLED screen is one of the main advantages of Samsung. It's bright and punchy without being over-saturated, and the viewing angles are excellent. We found the tone a bit too warm, but to set this up, we had to switch the color modes from natural to vivid, which was a bit overwhelming for our eyes. Otherwise, this is a great display for watching movies and games.
The single speaker is predictably not suitable for music, but is good enough if you want to hear dialogues in videos. The earphones of the included headset are made of hard plastic without rubber tips and are not only uncomfortable, but also hardly suitable for more than voice calls.
AnTuTu gave us a score of 1.55.120, while Geekbench 4's single and multi-core tests gave 1,684 and 5,468, respectively. We also have 1,415 in 3DMark Slingshot Extreme and 15,450 in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited. GFXBench's Manhattan 3.1 and T-Rex tests ran at 14 fps and 40 fps, respectively.
These results show that the Exynos 9611 processor hits the older Galaxy A50's Exynos 9610, but generally does a little better. Compared to the Redmi K20, which is also available in this price range and has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor, the performance of the Galaxy A50s is significantly lower.
PUBG Mobile was set to "High" by default, but after about 15 minutes we noticed that the top half of the back of this phone had become noticeably warm. It wasn't that bad at first, but it got uncomfortable after a long match. Asphalt 9: Legends also went very well and didn't seem to make the Galaxy A50s so warm.
The Galaxy A50 offers a solid, day-long battery life, but strangely, the Galaxy A50 has improved in the test. We could get through a day of relatively busy traffic, including plenty of photo and video recordings, a few rounds of popular games, and constant internet surfing, leaving about 25 percent late into the night. Our HD video loop test lasted 13 hours and 16 minutes, which was also shorter than the previous model. Fortunately, charging is fast and we got from zero to about 30 percent in half an hour.
Samsung Galaxy A50s cameras
As already mentioned, the most important innovation of this phone is the 48 megapixel rear view camera. Like most other companies, you get lower resolution photos by default, but you can switch to the full 48 megapixels. Unfortunately, this option is buried in a photo aspect ratio menu – you need to find the tiny icon labeled 4: 3H (for high resolution).
The camera app's user interface is pretty full with four rows of controls with icons or text captions above the main shutter. With a simple slider, you can switch between the standard and wide-angle cameras. However, it may be easy for you to lose track of which camera is active. Interestingly, you can hide some of the main camera modes such as super slow motion, food, or panorama, and rearrange those you want to keep in the carousel. This is useful because there are so many options.
Night mode is something we expect from smartphones today and that works by combining multiple exposures. There is also a Scene Optimizer switch, but it notices that there is no mention of AI to help the camera choose settings based on the detected subjects and shooting conditions.
The primary rear view camera took some great shots when there was a lot of light during the day. The textures were razor sharp and there was a natural depth of field for close-ups, even without the Live Focus effect. The colors were vivid and there were very good details in the focus area of most shots. The Galaxy A50 was also able to hold the focus quickly.
The live focus mode did not always deliver perfect pictures and sometimes led to loss of detail. You can adjust the level of background blur and add motion or a spot color effect after taking a picture, but you cannot adjust the focus point.
Unfortunately, the wide-angle camera produced jerky, distorted photos with a highly unrealistic perspective. Motifs in the middle of the frame, such as B. people seemed to be bruised, while strong barrel distortions occurred at the edges.
We were also a little overwhelmed by all the pictures we took that night. With the Galaxy A50, it often took a while for the focus to be locked, or it failed. There was a noticeable delay in the shutter and the photo quality was fine if we didn't zoom in to check the details. The wide-angle camera also performed much poorer at night. Night mode improved the brightness and tone of wide-angle shots a little, but didn't do much for close-ups, and the results were sometimes blotchy and unusable.
The front-facing 32-megapixel camera also takes binned pictures as standard, with the "4: 3H" option if you want to use the full resolution. The embellishment is set to Auto by default and Live Focus is available, but without the benefit of a hardware depth sensor. Selfies looked good, although we preferred to turn off the beautification.
The video recording reaches up to 4 kbps with the primary rear and front camera. However, when this resolution is selected, the wide-angle switcher disappears and a message is displayed that stabilization is not supported. There is also a 10 minute recording limit. You can switch between cameras only before recording a clip, not while recording.
Full HD video is decent and you can see the effect of electronic stabilization, but there is still a bit of jitter and focus hunt. At 4K, it's best to stay still while filming, but the video is definitely sharp and detailed. The wide-angle camera records Full HD videos of a rather low quality. At night, the detail suffers a lot and hand movements cause a lot of wobbling. It is best not to use the wide-angle camera for videos in low light conditions.
As far as the technical data and the general user experience are concerned, there is not much of a difference between the Galaxy A50 and its predecessor, the Galaxy A50 (test). There is nothing groundbreaking here and nothing that really stands out for a Sub-R. 25,000 phone today. That means everything works well enough and both the hardware and the software feel highly polished.
The only thing that's really new is the 48-megapixel rear-view camera, which can take some very good pictures during the day. Unfortunately, the supporting ultra-wide camera is far from the best we have ever seen, and this has become almost a standard feature for medium-range Android smartphones. The low light performance was consistently disappointing.
We can't help but compare this phone to Xiaomi's Redmi K20 (Review), which sells for less than the Galaxy A50, but a superior processor, lower resolution screen, longer battery life, better material quality and probably better cameras offers. There are also some of the latest generation of flagship phones that have dropped in price, like the Asus ZenFone 5z (Review).
If you have decided to buy this phone, you will be completely satisfied with the cheaper version with 4 GB RAM. It would only make sense to spend Rs. 2,000 more if you play a lot of heavy games or want to use this phone for many years. In this case, you will likely be looking for more powerful options for this price level anyway.