Samsung’s lower-end A-series device for this year is the Galaxy A34 5G, at least for now, and it accompanied the Galaxy A54 5G at the time of launch. While our review for the latter was positive, except in some areas, the Galaxy A34 5G seems to be the device the larger population prefers over the A54 5G due to the more affordable price tag. However, can it compete with its older brother in offering you the same functionality, and if not, a better value-for-money proposition for a starting price of Rs 30,999? Let’s find out in our review of the Samsung Galaxy A34 5G.
Samsung Galaxy A34 5G: Things we liked
Starting off with the build of Galaxy A34 5G, the device gets plastic side rails, and a plastic back panel, but Samsung did an excellent job in making it feel premium and look attractive. Even with the black colour and a matte finish, the back panel does pick up fingerprints but in a subtle manner.
The device has a SIM tray on top with speakers, mics and a USB-C port at the bottom and power and volume buttons at the right. The buttons have a tactile feel to them, while the stereo speaker setup is also loud and decent sounding for the price. The device has an IP67-rated build, making it dust and water-resistant – another good feature to look forward to.
Overall, the back panel resembles that of the Galaxy S23 and S23+ which isn’t really a bad thing in my opinion. The design just works. However, there’s still a design choice Samsung made that we didn’t like and I’ll talk about it in a bit.
Next, we appreciate Samsung for using a MediaTek chipset for its Galaxy A34 5G. In our review of the A54 5G, we mentioned how the device sometimes lagged in day-to-day usage, but surprisingly, its younger sibling, the Galaxy A34 5G, performs better in almost every manner.
With 8GB RAM onboard, we didn’t feel the device was behind in keeping the apps open in the background and resuming those which are used the most. However, the scenario where the device surprised us the most was gaming and daily usage. Thanks to the Dimensity 1080 chipset under the hood, the Galaxy A34 5G breezes through most tasks. It didn’t lag a bit with the animations and app opening times which I felt the Galaxy A54 5G struggled with.
As for gaming, the Galaxy A34 5G was able to run Call of Duty Mobile at High graphics with a ‘Very high’ frame rate. The Galaxy A54 5G in comparison, had the graphics capped to medium with the frame rate set at ‘Very high’. Even if we talk of thermals, the Galaxy A34 had better control than the A54 5G, which got hot after a certain period of usage.
As for software, the device runs on Android 13-based OneUI 5.1 out of the box. It had the February patch when we booted it the first time. The software experience is identical to Galaxy A54 5G; if you read that review, you know what to expect from the Galaxy A34 5G. Many useful features, wallpaper-based theme support, multi-window for multitasking, motions and gestures, are all present.
Coming to the 6.6-inch Full HD+ AMOLED screen, which has a 120Hz refresh rate and a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for protection, the panel used on the device is decent. The blacks aren’t very deep, but the colour reproduction is punchy and treats the eyes well. The responsiveness is impressive, and the viewing angles are also okay. The content looks sharp, and it is an excellent panel which I would always expect from Samsung.
The fingerprint sensor is an optical one, and for the price, it works as expected and identifies the print within a second. However, I would have liked it better if it was a little faster, but it wasn’t a major issue by any means. The performance of connectivity features, including Wi-Fi, 5G, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC, remained optimum.
As for the battery life, the Samsung Galaxy A34 5G packs a 5000mAh cell, and it doesn’t disappoint. It stands up to the expectations of being a 2-day device easily with moderate usage. Even with a heavy usage scenario, the device can last a day with over 5.5 hours of screen-on time which is very impressive. I even got above 6 hours of screen usage with mixed performance scenarios.
Talking of the triple rear camera setup, the Galaxy A34 5G has a 48MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a 5MP macro sensor. As for the primary sensor, it takes decent shots in outdoor conditions with enough sharpness and detailing. The colours are punchy and the dynamic range is decent. Overall, the device can click decent photos when given enough light.
The selfies are also pretty good in terms of details. It does tend to oversharpen the photo at times, but that doesn’t look too bad. The skin tones are picked up well. Coming to shots under artificial lighting, they also don’t disappoint with colours and sharpness.
Read More: Samsung Galaxy A54 5G Camera Review: A likeable experience
The 5MP macro camera also tends to capture detailed photos, the same as the Galaxy A54 5G. These shots are much better than those unnecessary 2MP macro camera shots, which are blurry and smudgy.
As for night shots, the new nightography added by Samsung doesn’t seem as evident as the Galaxy A54 5G. Yes, the night shots look decent, but turning on the night mode doesn’t seem to make a big difference except for making the photo a bit less noisy.
Samsung Galaxy A34 5G: What we didn’t like
While there are a load of things that are enjoyable about the Samsung Galaxy A34, there are some things that aren’t, and they can also be a deal-breaker for some. First is the design choice, where we have mixed feelings. The good part we have already stated above but we are a bit disappointed with the water-drop notch on the front. It has almost disappeared from even budget smartphones nowadays, but Samsung decides to keep it for some reason.
The next thing we didn’t like about the Galaxy A34 5G is its haptics. The haptics isn’t as bad as last year’s Galaxy A33 5G but isn’t as strong as the Galaxy A54 5G. They are weaker and don’t help to notify you of incoming messages or calls if the device is in your pocket.
Next, we don’t like the charging speeds of the Galaxy A34 5G. With just 25W charging, the device takes close to 1.5 hours to charge from 0 to 100%, which is on the lower side, considering competitors have gone up to 65W in the same price segment. Moreover, there’s no charger in the box, which is a bummer but can’t be done anything about as it’s standard with Samsung phones now.
Talking of ultra wide-angle shots, the device isn’t the best at clicking such types of shots. I could notice a considerable difference in the colour science of ultrawide shots and shots from the primary sensor, which I didn’t find in the A54 5G. Moreover, the detailing also takes a hit if you zoom in and take a closer look at the photo.
Then, shots under low-lighting conditions become noisy and smudgy to some extent. These photos lack proper sharpness, but on another note, the colours are acceptable.
Portrait shots are also a letdown due to lacklustre edge detection, the same issue we noticed with the Galaxy A54 5G as well.