The Galaxy A series is the middle child of the Galaxy lineup, sitting right between the overachieving Galaxy S series and the value-for-money Galaxy M series. The A series has had some good-looking phones in the past but they sometimes fall short in terms of performance compared to others at the same prices. The latest models to launch are the Galaxy A52 and the Galaxy A72. These new smartphones definitely look good, but has Samsung worked on improving performance? I put the Galaxy A52 through its paces to find out.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 is available in two variants, one with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage priced at Rs. 26,499, and the other with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage priced at Rs. 27,999. There are four colour options, namely Awesome Blue, Awesome Violet, Awesome Black, and Awesome White.
Design is one of the strongest points of the Galaxy A52, it looks different from most other smartphones. The first thing that caught my attention on the Galaxy A52 was the colour of my review unit. Finished in ‘Awesome Blue', the Galaxy A52 draws a lot of attention. The finish is matte which also helps reduce fingerprints on the back. The Awesome Blue and Awesome Violet options are flashy while the Awesome Black and Awesome White variants look more subtle.
The Galaxy A52 has a big 6.5-inch full-HD+ display with a hole-punch display. It has thin bezels on the sides while the chin is marginally thicker. The frame of the smartphone is made of plastic and doesn't feel as premium as it looks. You have the power and the volume buttons on the right. The power button is convenient to hit, but the volume buttons need a slight stretch to reach. The left side of the Galaxy A52 does not have any buttons or slots. The SIM tray is at the top along with the secondary microphone. The Galaxy A52 is IP67 rated and you will find a rubber seal around the SIM tray to help keep water and dust out. At the bottom, the Galaxy A52 has the USB Type-C port, the loudspeaker, and the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Tipping the scales at 189g and measuring 8.4mm in thickness, the Galaxy A52 is manageable for single-handed use. The frame is curved to make it comfortable to hold. At the back, the Galaxy A52 sports a quad-camera module that protrudes slightly but has the same colour finish as the body, which helps it blend in.
Samsung has packed in a 4,500mAh battery which is a decent capacity considering that the Galaxy A52 isn't too thick or heavy. The battery is capable of fast charging at 25W but you only get a 15W charger in the box.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a full-HD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. The screen is set to 90Hz by default but you can turn it down to 60Hz for better battery life. The Galaxy A52 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor and seems underpowered compared to some of the other smartphones in this price range. Samsung offers 6GB and 8GB RAM variants but the storage remains unchanged at 128GB. I had the base variant for this review, which is priced at Rs. 26,499.
The Galaxy A52 is a dual-SIM device with a hybrid slot, so storage expansion does come at the cost of the second SIM. There is support for Bluetooth 5, dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, and four satellite navigation systems.
Samsung ships the Galaxy A52 with OneUI 3.1 which is the same experience you get on the Samsung Galaxy S21 (Review) series. OneUI 3.1 is based on Android 11 which is the latest you can get. My unit also had the March Android security patch which is fairly recent. The UI is easy to use and I did not face any issues finding my way around it. You have the three-button navigation layout enabled by default but you can opt for swipe-based gesture input instead.
The Galaxy A52 does have a fair amount of bloatware pre-installed including Dailyhunt, PhonePe, Prime Video, Snapchat, ShareChat, MX TakaTak, and Moj. I found Dailyhunt and Samsung's own My Galaxy App to be spammy, as they kept pushing notifications. If you aren't keen on using the preinstalled apps, I would recommend uninstalling them right away.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 packs in enough performance to deliver smooth performance. Its higher refresh rate display also improved the overall experience. The Super AMOLED display is crisp, has good viewing angles, and is bright enough when outdoors. The stereo speakers are a good addition as they make video watching more engaging.
While the Galaxy A52 will not disappoint, other smartphones at the same price point pack better processors and deliver better performance. I ran benchmarks on the Galaxy A52 to see how it fares against some of the competition. It managed 275,686 points in AnTuTu and 8,401 points in PCMark Work 2,0. The Realme X3 SuperZoom (Review), which is slightly more expensive than the Galaxy A52, scored 508,491 and 11,756 in the same tests thanks to its Snapdragon 855+ SoC. The Galaxy A52 performed decently in graphics benchmarks, returning 65fps and 25fps in GFXBench's T-Rex and Manhattan 3.1 scenes. Samsung's own Galaxy F62 (Review) scores better in graphics benchmarks, and is almost on par with the Galaxy A52 in terms of CPU benchmarks. Surprisingly the Galaxy F62 is priced lower than the Galaxy A52, starting at Rs. 23,999.
The Galaxy A52 could run Call of Duty Mobile at the high settings for graphics and frame rate. The game was playable at these settings without any lag or stutter. I played for 10 minutes and noticed a three percent battery drop. The phone was barely warm to the touch after playing.
The Galaxy A52 has a 4500mAh battery which managed to last over a day and a half with my usage. In our HD video loop test, the phone managed to go on for 17 hours and 47 minutes which is a good score. The Galaxy A52 comes with a 15W charger in the box, which is capable of charging the phone to 32 percent in 30 minutes and 65 percent in an hour. The device is however capable of 25W charging so you can use your own adapter for faster charging.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 has a quad-camera setup at the back. This is comprised of a 64-megapixel primary camera, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera, a 5-megapixel macro camera, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. For selfies, it has a 32-megapixel front shooter. The camera app is similar to what you'll get on most other Samsung smartphones, and finding the setting you are looking for isn't that hard. There is a Scene optimiser that detects what the camera is pointed towards and helps to set the scene up. It worked quickly rarely failed to recognise the scene I was shooting. The camera was also quick to lock focus and never needed manual intervention at any point.
Daylight shots taken with the Galaxy A52 were average. These photos were good to look at on the Super AMOLED display of the Galaxy A52 but they weren't as detailed when seen magnified on a big screen. Detail was poorer with the ultra-wide angle camera. Thankfully, there is no barrel distortion in the output.
Close-up shots taken with the Galaxy A52 turned out well as the phone managed to capture good details. The scene optimiser did enhance contrast in the output and it wasn't too aggressive. If you get very close to a subject, the phone does suggest switching to the macro camera. Even with the macro camera, the performance was good, and the phone could manage good details at close range. The Galaxy A52 does let you set the level of blur before taking a portrait shot. It could detect faces even with masks on, which is a big plus. Beautification is enabled by default which you have to disable to avoid smoothening in the output.
Low-light shots were strictly average and the Galaxy A52 managed to keep noise under control. The phone is a tad aggressive with noise reduction, which caused a watercolour-like effect in the output. There's a Night mode, and it takes about four to five seconds to take a shot when using it. The resultant output had slightly better details in the shadows. The Galaxy A52 also crops into the frame slightly to help eliminate shakes.
Selfies taken with the 32-megapixel front camera were crisp. It also works with portrait mode and can simulate depth of field. Selfies taken in low light were sharp and noise was under control.
Video recording tops out at 4K 30fps for both the primary camera as well as the selfie shooter. The rear camera has OIS but I did notice a slight shimmer in the output. Stabilisation was better when using the Super Steady mode, which uses the ultra-wide angle camera to capture footage. Footage shot at 4K was not stabilised.
The Galaxy A52 is a good-looking smartphone and brings IP67 water and dust resistance rating to the table, which most of its competition miss out on. Sadly, apart from this, not a lot of things are in its favour. It does certain things well but the competition does them better. The Galaxy A52 does not offer the best performance and doesn't have the best cameras. However, it will appeal to the design-conscious, and if you are a bit clumsy, the water resistance is a big plus.
If you are looking for the best value, the Galaxy A52 might not deliver on that front. The Samsung Galaxy M51 (Review) and the Galaxy F62 (Review) are good alternatives and will save you some money. If you are willing to spend a little extra, the Realme X3 SuperZoom (Review) definitely offers much better value than the Galaxy A52.