[First Cut] Samsung Galaxy A30: Mid-segment A-grader?
Another Redmi Note challenger
Samsung released three devices in its Galaxy A series a few days ago. And unlike in the past, where the A series tended to lean a little towards the premium side, its new avatar seems to be more budget-friendly and seems targeted squarely at Xiaomi’s bestselling Redmi Note series. Indeed some might even think that it is getting in the way of its own Galaxy M30 (but that is another story), which comes at a slightly lower price point.
The A30, like most of Samsung’s newer phones (apart from the flagship S10+) comes with an Infinity-U Display. Terminology aside, it is a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a drop notch and a full HD+ resolution – and of course, this being a Samsung, the display is brilliant at first glance. The drop notch also means slimmer bezels on three side, although the phone does have a rather prominent chin. If the front is impressive, the back is even more so because even though Samsung has not tried for a gradient finish, opting instead for a more conventional glossy touch, the A30’s back does look very premium with the camera unit tucked away in the top left corner, and can twist light this way and that for a very eye-catching effect. Yes, it will pick up some smudges but it will never make you feel like hiding it.
The volume rocker and power button are on the right, the SIM and memory card tray on the left (yes, there is a dedicated memory card slot on it, apart from dual SIM ones), and the base holds the speaker grille, the 3.5 mm audio jack and USB Type C port. The rounded corners make the phone comfortable to handle and use, although we just wish Samsung had placed that fingerprint sensor slightly lower – it is way too close to the camera unit and those with small hands will find reaching it a stretch. While the A30 is definitely on the larger side (as most phones are), it is very slim at just 7.7 mm, which is extremely impressive when you consider what is inside it.
The heaviest of those is a massive 4000 mAh battery with support for fast charging (and there is a 15W charger in the box too). The processor, however, is the Exynos 7904 which we saw in the galaxy M30 and M20, a solidly mid-segment chip that some say is just a notch below the Snapdragon 660, but handles routine tasks very smoothly, based on our experience. Aiding it are 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, expandable up to 512 GB using that dedicated memory card slot. Rather interestingly, Samsung has endowed the A30 with a dual camera set up (interesting, because the lower priced M30 has triple cameras), 16 and 5 megapixels at the rear, and 16 megapixels on the front. The main sensor on the back is a large f/1.7 one so we do have great expectations from it, while the second is for depth sensing and bokeh, or Live Focus as Samsung terms it. The A30 ticks off most connectivity options – 4G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS, although there is no infrared port. The A30 comes with Samsung’s One UI above Android Pie, which is good news for all those who prefer the cleaner looking UI as compared to the more complex Experience UI that we have seen in the M series.
All of which comes with a price tag of Rs 16,990, placing the A30 squarely in the middle of the battlefield that is the Indian mid-segment smartphone market. It goes up against the recently released Redmi Note 7 Pro (which carries a 48 megapixel sensor), the even bigger battery laden Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2, the sleek Nokia 6.1 Plus and last and not least, its own cousin, the Galaxy M30, which has a similar processor, an AMOLED display and three cameras. Pretty stiff competition, although the A30 does have a certain design flair and we are sure that Samsung’s flair in displays and cameras will come to the fore. To find out how well it fares, stay tuned for our detailed review.