The mid-range segment is flooded with a bunch of options from various OEMs and currently, we feel that the bar has been set by the iQOO 9 SE at Rs 33,990. For Rs 34,999, Samsung is now offering you the 6/128 model of its newest Galaxy A53 5G and at Rs 35,999, you can get the top-of-the-line 8/128 model. However, does it seem worth in front of competitors such as Realme GT Neo 2, iQOO 9 SE, etc? Let’s take a look.
Design & Display: Unexpected Choices
The design of the Galaxy A53 5G is quite similar to its predecessor, namely the Galaxy A52s. The back panel curves to form the camera module but as everything is made of plastic on this smartphone, you cannot expect it to have a premium feel. The back has a matte finish which can pick up fingerprints easily.
The lighter shades such as the Peach and Blue will get dirty soon after you start using the smartphone. Moreover, the back panel is so thin that you can feel it touching the battery inside if you press too hard, which is not what I expected from Samsung. The power and volume buttons are on the right, with the SIM Tray, USB-C port and a speaker at the bottom.
There’s a speaker at the top as well which doubles as an earpiece. The stereo speakers sound loud and are clear with lyrics. Talking about the haptics, this was again something that disappointed me as the haptics felt like those available on budget smartphones. The haptics on the iQOO 9 SE isn’t very strong either, but still, feel better than those on the Galaxy A53 5G. Moreover, the iQOO 9 SE has a much better build quality which feels premium in the hand and is worth the price.
The display on the Galaxy A53 5G is slightly better than the IQOO 9 SE. Of course, Samsung is a display company and that has a major influence on the quality of panels Samsung uses. The 6.5-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display on the Galaxy A53 5G has a 120Hz refresh rate, an in-display fingerprint sensor and a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for protection.
The Super AMOLED panel reproduces accurate colours that are vibrant as well. The 120Hz refresh rate adds to the smoothness of using the smartphone. The viewing angles are decent and it gets bright enough when outdoors so you can comfortably view content under direct sunlight. The text and other elements on the display look sharp and it did stand up to my expectations.
Performance: Mixed bag
The Galaxy A53 5G runs on a fairly new chipset, which is the Exynos 1280 SoC. For a better perspective, you can consider the chipset somewhere between Snapdragon 750G and the 778G in terms of benchmarks. However, the numbers do not translate well in real-world usage. This is because I had a mixed set of experiences where sometimes the performance was smooth but at other times, even scrolling through the UI was sluggish.
App opening animations have a faster speed in comparison to Samsung flagships to make the smartphone feel snappy. However, this seems to backfire because the smoothness is taken away. Moreover, switching between apps or going to the home screen sometimes causes lags and stutters too. Even though OneUI 4.1 based on Android 12 is such a great Android skin to use, the stutter and the lags take away the fun.
The software on the other hand is filled with features. You get all the bells and whistles including Bixby Routines, Good Lock support, Always-on display, Dolby Atmos, etc. For security, we got the March patch pre-installed which is great. Apart from this, Samsung is promising 4 years of OS updates with 5 years of security patches which is not only a first in the segment but also a first for any Android OEM. Unfortunately, seeing how the device was performing under heavy usage scenarios or even normal usage, we don’t know whether it would age well or not. Even though FunTouch OS doesn’t come close to OneUI when it comes to features or security, it still performs very smoothly in daily usage.
The Galaxy A53 5G didn’t have any issues with regards to connectivity in terms of Wi-Fi and Airtel mobile data on the Delhi circle. As for the performance of the in-display optical fingerprint sensor, you’ll not be disappointed as it detects your fingerprint correctly 9/10 times.
For gaming, as expected, you cannot expect heavy gaming from the Galaxy A53 5G. Even though devices with Snapdragon 778G can perform far better in gaming, Samsung tuned the Exynos 1280 in a way where it can provide gaming performance equal to a budget smartphone. Call Of Duty Mobile could not even run on High Graphics and was capped at Medium quality. Frames Per Second (FPS) could go up till max but only with Low graphics. Games like RL Sideswipe fortunately could run smoothly with high graphics. iQOO 9 SE has the Snapdragon 888 which can handle the heaviest of games without any issues.
Battery Life: Good and Bad at the same time
The Galaxy A53 5G packs a 5,000mAh battery that supports 25W fast charging. In 2022, when OEM’s are giving 120W charging in smartphones, Samsung is still limiting itself till 25W. The competition is providing 65W fast charging but the 25W fast charging on a phone this expensive isn’t acceptable. From 0 to 100%, the phone takes 1 hour 20 minutes which is too long. The iQOO 9 SE took only 42 minutes which should ideally be the duration of charging for a smartphone that costs this much.
The battery life of the Galaxy A53 5G is one of its stronger characteristics where it could easily last me more than a day with moderate to heavy usage. My usage included some amount of gaming, browsing, chatting, YouTube streaming and more. You may be able to kill the battery in a single day but that would only be a case where you could have brightness at full, using navigation apps and more. I could consistently get more than 5 hours of screen-on time which is again very decent.
Cameras: The only strong point
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G gets a quad rear camera setup including a 64-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.8 lens, along with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide shooter, 5-megapixel depth sensor, and a 5-megapixel macro shooter. For selfies and video chats, there’s a 32-megapixel selfie camera sensor at the front, with an f/2.2 lens.
The outdoor performance of the 64-megapixel sensor was great with a good dynamic range and vibrant colours. The detailing and sharpness in each of the shots was impressive with good exposure control. You could zoom into an image in the gallery and find the details to be intact and that’s great. Clicking shots of a particular subject without a portrait mode also turns out to be decent. The colours are very punchy with an impressive bokeh.
The ultrawide sensor clicks good photos with almost the same colour accuracy as the primary sensor. However, the detailing isn’t as good and the distortion at the edges isn’t well contained in my opinion. Moreover, you can clearly notice noise and a smudge effect at the edges of a wide-angle photo.
The portraits from the sensor are great in terms of details, sharpness and colours but unfortunately, the edge detection isn’t accurate and often blurs out the edges of the subject itself. The intensity of the bokeh effect can be changed in real time and the overall effect is good.
The 5-megapixel macro sensor is impressive in terms of both colour saturation and sharpness. It identifies the subject very quickly and gives out surprising results. As for the night shots, you cannot expect great results. The photos are free of noise but then they aren’t very sharp. Turning on the night mode brightens the photo slightly but there’s no improvement in terms of detailing and sharpness.
Selfies from the sensor are decent but not the best. The skin tone is kept on the warmer side but then it’s not accurate. The photos have enough details but the overall colours could have been better. Low-light photography could have been better with more detailing, however, the colours look vibrant. Under artificial lighting, the photos look better with more sharpness.