There was a time when Samsung was the top dog in the Android smartphone world. Then came the Chinese wave and engulfed all prior players whole. Samsung was one of the few that managed to stick its head above the ‘high-end specs and extremely competitive price’ water. The brand did seem to struggle with the numbers at first but again picked up momentum and was back being a pain in every other brand’s neck in no time. So much so that the highest selling Android smartphone of 2020 came from Samsung, the Galaxy A51, a testament to just how successful the A series has been. Samsung has now released the successor of the A51, the Galaxy A52 and the phone definitely has some major boots to fill.

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Odd that looks oddly good

In a world full of smartphones with glossy glass backs, frosted glass backs, glass backs that look like polycarbonate backs, polycarbonate backs that try hard to look like glass backs (succeeding sometimes, failing at others), Samsung has launched a device that is unabashedly and unapologetically polycarbonate. We received the Awesome Blue color variant of the phone which is sky blue to put it simply.

The matte polycarbonate is unlikely to invoke premium feels but that does not mean the phone looks bad. It is a slightly refreshed take on the usual blingy-yet-matte-back look with a raised rectangular camera unit on the top. There is an element of bling, matte, and raised camera unit each here but Samsung has taken a slightly different route to get to the same goal. The plastic back looks like a plastic back for a change and this may be a disappointment to some but to us, this new unapologetic look comes as a breath of fresh air. The pastel blue color adds a youthful touch to the device which we think makes up for the loss of premium vibes. The matte back also means that the phone will not pick up scratches and smudges as easily and the fact that it is not glass also makes it less prone to cracks.

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There is a slightly raised camera unit on the top left side of the back. It houses three big black lenses and a small sensor sits by side along with LED flash. Unlike in most other phones where there is a defined bump between the camera unit and the back, here Samsung has built the bump very seamlessly. The edges of the camera unit are merging into the back which makes it look not-so-stickout-bumpy. There is a very shy Samsung logo that sits near the base of the phone, seeming almost the surface.

The back is flat and the design of the phone is a little boxy but thanks to the rounded sides, the phone does not feel uncomfortable to hold and use. The sides bring in the element of bling to the mix. The metal finished, shiny blue sides add the glam that the phone needs and would have looked dull without. Samsung has placed the SIM card and MicroSD card tray on the top. There is a volume rocker on the right side and a lock/ Bixby button just below it. The base of the frame houses the 3.5 mm audio jack, the USB type C port, and the speaker grille.

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The front is bossed by a tall, very beautiful AMOLED display in the best Samsung tradition. It comes with a dot notch which is home to the phone’s front camera. There are thin bezels around the display but they seem just a tiny bit thicker than what we usually see on phones in the price range. It is nothing absurd but can come to notice only if you look too closely. The chin is relatively proportional to the other bezels but is smaller than the generally thicker chins we are all accustomed to seeing at this price point. The phone has style but it is the style we are not really accustomed to. Many might shrug its looks off as plain and plastic-ky but we think the odd looks oddly good on the Samsung Galaxy A52.

A-grade specs and numbers

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Samsung may have taken a slightly different path when in the design department but the Galaxy A52 comes with specs and numbers that are in line with the A series ethos.

The smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor which is a rarity considering Samsung tends to go down the Exynos route with most of its smartphones, which also makes sense because Exynos after all is Samsung’s in-house chipset brand. While the 720G is a good mid-segment processor, it is slightly old. We saw it on the Redmi Note 9 Pro and 9 Pro Max last year which is grandpa-old in processor years. We have faith in its abilities as we have seen it perform rather well in the past but the fact that Samsung has paired an old chipset with the new A-series smartphone is certainly a bummer.

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But the bumming stops right there. The brand has paired the CPU with 8 GB RAM with 128 GB storage. There is a 6 GB RAM variant available with 128 GB internal storage as well. You can expand the internal storage up to 1 TB using a MicroSD card but you will have to compromise on a network to make space for it (the dual SIM card tray has a hybrid SIM slot).

The Galaxy A52 comes with a 6.5-inch full HD+ Super AMOLED, Infinity-O display with a 90 Hz refresh rate. Because it comes from Samsung, it is no surprise that the display is punchy, vibrant and an absolute delight to look at. It is also home to an in-display fingerprint scanner. We would have preferred a physical one but we are trying to get on the latest technology train. Bear with our traditional sentiments.

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The super-spec-Samsung-streak continues in the camera department as well. The primary camera on the phone consists of four sensors. It has a massive 64-megapixel main sensor with autofocus, f/1.8 aperture, and OIS, then there is a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor with f/2.2 aperture and two 5-megapixel depth and macro sensors both with f/2.4 aperture. The numbers on these cameras seem impressive and we have high hopes that the phone will deliver. The phone also comes with software features like Single Take, giving you more shooting options, and even automating edits and videos to an extent. Samsung has not been stingy when it comes to showering megapixels on the front either. The phone comes with a 32-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture for selfies.

The Galaxy A52 runs on Android 11 out of the box, something which we think should be hygiene now. It is topped with Samsung’s very own One UI 3.1. Samsung is known for its elaborate and extensive UI which can feel intimidating at first but once you get used to it, the features really grow on you.

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There is a 4,500 mAh battery that powers the phone. Samsung claims it can last for up to two days which is a big claim to make considering the phone comes with a massive, power-hungry display with a 90 Hz refresh rate. The phone comes with support for up to 25 W fast charging. However, there is only a 15 W charger in the box. This means charging would be “slow” as per todays’ flash charge/dash charge standards.

The Samsung Galaxy A52 comes with an IP67 rating which makes it dust and water-resistant. It also has stereo speakers and comes with Dolby Atmos sound support. There is a 3.5 mm audio jack on the phone which is bound to make the wired-headphone lovers rejoice and Samsung has also introduced the Galaxy SmartTag feature on it, allowing you to locate items to which you have attached these tags (you have to buy them separately, though).

Diving into competitive waters

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With a starting price of Rs. 26,999, the Samsung Galaxy A52 brings not only a refreshing look to the table but also a very strong spec game. But all this substance and style does not make it immune to the confrontation with the likes of OnePlus Nord, Oppo F19 Pro+, and Xiaomi Mi 10i, all of which come with 5G support, something which is missing from the Galaxy A52 (not that it hurts the phone’s performance at the moment). The phone is succeeding the highest selling Android smartphone of 2020 and is diving headfirst amongst a sea of smartphone sharks. Whether it sinks or swims will be revealed in a detailed review.

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