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Hands on: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G review

A new cheaper Samsung phone

What is a hands on review?
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
(Image: © TechRadar)

Early Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G brings a variety of top-end features you'd normally expect to be included on flagship phones to its cheaper variant including 5G connectivity and an improved screen technology. This may be one to watch if you're after a cheaper Samsung phone.

For

  • Cheap for a 5G phone
  • 120Hz refresh rate

Against

  • Doesn't feel premium
  • Thick bezels

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is the company’s latest entry in the cheaper phone market, and the company has made steps to make this handset its best yet for an affordable price.

The Galaxy A52 5G won’t be able to compete with the absolute best phones, but Samsung is making a conscious effort to bring features such as a high-refresh rate screen and improved rear camera to its cheaper A series.

We’ve been using the Galaxy A52 5G, and here are our thoughts on the latest cheaper phone from Samsung. Note that this phone differs from the Galaxy A52 and Galaxy A72, which we hope to have review time with in the near future.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G release date and price 

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is on sale now, and we know the handset is costs £399 (around $550, AU$720) in the UK. We know the phone is coming to the US, but we’ve not yet heard pricing and we’ve yet to get confirmation on whether the phone will be on sale in Australia.

The standard Galaxy A52 won’t be on sale in the UK, and this handset differs quite a bit from that phone. This obviously features 5G connectivity, which the A52 doesn’t, and it also has a better screen technology too.

We’ll update this article with more when we hear the pricing details for other markets and when we get a firm release date from Samsung for its latest Galaxy A52, Galaxy A52 5G and Galaxy A72 series smartphones.

Design and display 

The Galaxy A52 5G is designed to have a solid build without the bells and whistles you’ll find on flagship smartphones. For that reason, you may feel the rear of the handset is a touch cheap with its plastic rear and aluminium frame.

It doesn’t feel as premium as Samsung’s top-end phones, but it feels durable enough in the hand that we didn’t dislike the smartphone’s build. This isn’t a small device either with a 6.5-inch display.

That display has a Full HD+ resolution, and we found the 800 nits of brightness to look fantastic when turned all the way up to its maximum setting. If you’re looking for a smartphone to watch video on you’re unlikely to be disappointed in this display.

There’s a punch-hole at the center of the top edge, and the bezels around the screen are thicker than some may like. That said, it still looks great when you’re watching a video.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

(Image credit: TechRadar)

One of the big upgrades from previous Galaxy A phones is the introduction of a 120Hz display, which is a feature usually reserved for flagship phones. This essentially means the image on your screen refreshes faster than on most other smartphones, which gives a smoother experience when scrolling through social media or playing mobile games.

This is a notable difference, and once you’ve used this you’ll likely find it different to go back. That said, this isn’t a specific reason to opt for this phone. There’s also an in-screen fingerprint scanner which we found to work well in our limited use.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The phone comes in four colors, and two of them are particularly bold and bright. Your options are black, white, blue or violet (we’ve pictured the violet version throughout this review). The handsets are also IP67 dust and water resistant.

Little else is exciting about the design of the Galaxy A52 5G, but some will be ecstatic to see Samsung has kept the 3.5mm headphone jack on this smartphone which you’ll find on the bottom edge of the device.

Camera and battery 

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

(Image credit: TechRadar)

We’ve yet to properly experiment with the camera, but the specs on paper seem impressive with a 64MP main sensor with optical image stabilization and an aperture of F/1.8. That’s only one of four elements on the rear shooter too.

There’s also a 12MP ultra-wide sensor, a 5MP depth scanner and a 5MP macro camera as well. On the front is a 32MP selfie camera inside that punch-hole in the top center of the screen. There isn’t a telephoto shooter here, but the Galaxy A72 does feature one if you think you’d make the most of improved optical zoom.

Battery life on the Galaxy A52 5G isn’t something we can comment on yet, but we can confirm it comes with a 4,500mAh cell. On paper, that’s a large cell and Samsung claims this will give you two day battery life.

If you’re using the phone quite consistently, we’d expect it to offer a full day of usage and it’s something we will comment on in our upcoming full review. There’s no wireless charging on the Galaxy A52 5G, so you’ll be using a wired charger for this.

Unlike the Galaxy S21 line, there is a charger in the box with the Galaxy A52 5G.

Specs and performance 

If you want super-fast 5G connectivity, you’ll want to opt for this member of the new Galaxy A series of smartphones. It allows you to make the most of next-gen internet connectivity, but most will find it’s just good future proofing right now for when the technology becomes more prolific.

There’s an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor doing the heavy lifting here, but we’ve yet to use the phone enough to be able to comment on what it’s capable of doing.

You’ll have the choice of 6GB or 8GB of RAM depending on how much you’re willing to spend. For storage you’ll have 128GB or 256GB on the phone, and then there’s microSD support up to 1TB.

That’s a notable difference to Samsung’s flagship phones that recently dropped microSD support. So you can now have more storage on this handset than you can on any variant of the Galaxy S21.

Early verdict

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G brings a variety of features you’d expect on flagship smartphones down to its cheaper line of devices. This isn’t as cheap as you’ll find some affordable 5G handsets, but the specs are impressive considering the price you’ll be paying.

If you’re after a Samsung smartphone that doesn’t cost as much as its flagship range, but you’re also desperate for features like 5G connectivity and an in-screen fingerprint scanner this may be one of the handsets to watch.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.