Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G Review: A Flagship Killer from Samsung?

A more powerful chip makes a big difference

by: - Last updated on: November 16th, 2021
Key Takeaways
  • Samsung has released the Galaxy A52s 5G after the Galaxy A52 and the Galaxy A52 5G.
  • While the general design and even some of the specs of the Galaxy A52s 5G might seem similar to the A52, it moves up a level thanks to having a much more powerful processor.
  • Allied with a great display, good sound, dust and water resistance, and good cameras with OIS, the Galaxy A52s 5G makes a good claim for being a flagship killer in its own right.

Bob Dylan was right. The times indeed are a-changing. The brand that once prided itself on being a flagship killer is moving up the price ladder. And the brand that was churning out the very flagships that the other brand was trying to kill is now coming out with devices that could perhaps be labeled flagship killers themselves. We will not name names, but let us say that Samsung seems to have placed a very firm step in the flagship killer with its latest Galaxy A52s.

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Yes, we said “latest” because this alphanumeric arrangement is something that Samsung seems to really like. We have seen the Galaxy A52 earlier this year. This was followed by the Galaxy A52 5G in some markets, and now there is a new Galaxy A52 in town, with a fresh boost of power, the Galaxy A52s 5G. The smartphone is not all that different from its other namesakes in terms of design and might even be seen similar on many of the items in the spec department. But what makes the Galaxy A52s s’pecial is a new processor that the smartphone brings along, giving it a dash of extra power.

Proving plastic can be fantastic one more time

The looks of the Samsung A52s walk down the same exact design aisle as the Galaxy A52, and we do not have any complaints because the Galaxy A52 was a good-looking device. We remember how odd yet impressive the Galaxy A52 appeared when we first experienced it. With time, the ‘odd’ part of the equation has certainly faded away, but the “impressive” bit has stayed, and those are the feels we got off the Galaxy A52s. The smartphone is a replica of the Galaxy A52 which means, it too comes as a breath of fresh air in a day and age where the ‘bling is better’ philosophy rules the smartphone world, and smartphones are supposed to be shiny.

We received what Samsung calls the Awesome White variant, which is basically a matte off-white shade. It has a slightly boxy design but feels comfortable to hold and carry. It has a slightly raised camera unit on the top left side while the buffed Samsung logo sits near the base. The front is all about that tall AMOLED display with thin bezels and a tiny dot that houses the front camera. Just like the A52, the A52s 5G also brings plastic back to the table. And in a very classy way too. The phone in no way feels cheap, a feeling many associate with plastic builds. Instead, it comes with IP 67 rating, which means it comes with dust and water resistance, and the display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, making it a pretty solid phone.

In short, the Galaxy A52s 5G looks like it sounds – similar to the Galaxy A52. We do think Samsung could have added a hint of change in it just to give it that design edge over its predecessor, but even then, the design still stands out amongst the blingy, glassy, glossy crowd that dominates smartphone design at present.

Dat Display, a Samsung flex!

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If there is one thing Samsung gets right ear so often on its smartphones, it is the display. The Galaxy A52s is no different. The smartphone has the same display as the Galaxy A52 in terms of size as it comes with a 6.5-inch full HD+ Super AMOLED display. In best Samsung tradition, the display’s color reproduction is vibrant, and it has a wide and dynamic color range with deep contrasts. And it is bright enough to be used comfortably even in harsh sunlight.

There is a difference between the A52 and the A52s 5G in the display department – the refresh rate. The Galaxy A52 came with a 90 Hz refresh rate, while the Galaxy A52 5G and the Galaxy A52s come with a 120 Hz refresh rate. The refresh rate is not adaptive, which means it will stay set to the setting you have selected and will not change depending on the content being shown. You have the option to choose between 120 Hz and 60 Hz. 120 Hz refresh rate obviously delivers a better, smoother, faster scrolling experience, while 60 Hz can help you save battery. The display is also home to an in-display fingerprint scanner, which is a little on the slower side (perhaps we are getting spoiled by all those speedy fingerprints scanners on the sides of phones).

A General of general performance…

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None of the Galaxy A-series smartphones have ever been a disappointment when it comes to daily chores. The Galaxy A52s 5G is no different. You will not feel let down by the device when it comes to your everyday tasks. The phone can handle it all with ease. The smartphone can handle all your daily needs without breaking a sweat. Do you wish to jump from app to app or have a multi-tasking marathon? The A52s 5G has got your back. Do you want to scroll social media endlessly? The A52s has got your back. Do you want to consume multimedia content for hours at a stretch? You guessed it right, the A52s has got your back.

Thanks to that tall, vibrant display, everyday usage and consuming content on the Galaxy A52s 5G is a treat. This, topped with stereo speakers with good sound at a decent volume, delivers a well-rounded multimedia performance, whether you are binge-watching a TV series, playing games (yes, more on that shortly) performance. The phone also has a 3.5 mm audio jack which means you plug in your OG headphones if you choose not to go wireless. In terms of connectivity, the Galaxy A52 5G ticks all boxes (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS) and also comes with 5G support (in case you had not guessed it from its name). Yes, as we keep pointing out, there is no 5G in the nation as yet, but the A52s 5G comes with support for 12 5G bands, which gives it a good chance of futureproofing.

… with serious gaming muscle

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Going was one area where many thought that the Galaxy A52 had scope for improvement. However, with the “s” variant of the phone, Samsung has covered that base quite well now. The most significant difference between the Galaxy A52 and the Galaxy A52s is the two devices’ processors. The Galaxy A52 was powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G chipset, which was a good chipset but was not really great for gaming. Samsung has made up for that by powering the Galaxy A52s 5G with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor.

This is perhaps the most powerful chipset from Qualcomm outside of the 800 series and is known for its gaming prowess. The processor was paired with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage in our variant, and there is another with 6G RAM and 128 GB storage. In addition, you can expand storage further via a microSD card up to 1 TB.

While casual games on the device were a breeze, high-end games like Call of Duty and Asphalt 9: Legends played quite smoothly on the device as well. There were no significant lags, and the apps did not crash on us either. The high refresh rate, stereo speakers, and the vibrant display, along with the new gaming muscle that the Galaxy A52s brings along, translated into better gaming performance on the smartphone as compared to the Galaxy A52. No, we would not call it a gaming phone yet, and it does show the strain when you up the graphics settings, but this is a very competent device when it comes to gaming and can handle most titles well, provided you are ready to fiddle the settings a little.

A detail-pro camera that’s an overenthusiastic colour-apprentice

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In terms of camera arrangement, Galaxy A52s 5G seems similar to Galaxy A52. There is a quad-camera setup on the back that comprises a 64-megapixel primary sensor with OIS, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and two 5-megapixel sensors, one for depth and another for macro. With such a clone-like similarity in the shooters, it is not surprising that the Galaxy A52s also mimics the Galaxy A52 in terms of camera performance as well. The smartphone scores well in the detail department as it captures a good amount of detail in well-lit conditions. The ultra-wide sensor also follows in the footsteps of the main sensor and churns out well-detailed landscape images. However, the depth and the macro sensors are a notch or two below the main and the ultra-wide sensor in terms of usability and performance. While the macro sensor struggles to focus on the subject, the depth sensor often blurs out the subject’s edges.

But all of these are minor sins that can be overlooked. What cannot be overlooked is the Galaxy A52s’ tendency to oversaturate colors. The smartphone takes the most muted colors and perks them up to an unrealistic standard. For instance, a pale blue Delhi sky would often appear to be an unrealistic, vibrant blue shade that can put the clean, blue skies of Ladakh to shame. Yes, this might make the results look appealing to the social media crowd, but there came a stage when we felt that things were erring on the unreal side. The story remains almost the same in low light. While the noise levels were muted in low light shots, the colors were quite loud when compared to what we were actually seeing. Video quality is impressive, with OIS helping in some steady pictures and truly making this one of the slightly better options for video creators in this price segment.

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On the front, the Samsung Galaxy A52s has a 32-megapixel sensor that takes decent photos in terms of details but (here we go again) tends to oversaturate colors a little. Nevertheless, the results are generally good enough to be put on any social media platform.

Loaded with functions and features (and some bloatware)

While most of the smartphone world may be running after a ‘stock-Android’ like interface, Samsung seems to believe in loading up functions and functionalities in its interface after a brief flirtation with minimalism. Samsung’s One UI is loud and proud when it comes to added features. Samsung’s skin on top of Android 11 brings you tons of functions and features. Those who prefer their smartphone UIs to be simple, uncomplicated, and basic might find this too loud and overwhelming, but those who like the look and feel of a rich interface would enjoy it.

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For us, OneUI is a bit of a mixed bag. We like some of the features that it brings along– we really like the feature and mode-rich camera app. Modes like Single Take, Super Slow-Mo, and AR Doodle all make the user experience quite fun. The array of shortcut buttons on the Notification panel and the Edge panel help you access and perform different functions without any fuss. Of course, Knox does add that layer of security so essential in these times. That said, there are bits that we are not particularly fond of. The plethora of third-party apps that come preinstalled on the phone is one of those bits. OneUI also has an ad problem which can be quite annoying.

All in all, the UI, much like other Android skins, has its pros and cons, and while this might not be our favorite interface out there, it is undoubtedly fun and feature-heavy. Incidentally, the phone runs on Android 11 and comes with. Samsung’s “OS upgrade promise” of regular updates for the next three years.

Okay-ish battery and charging speed

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The Samsung Galaxy A52s is powered by a 4,500 mAh battery with support for 25W fast charging, but you only get a 15W charger in the box, which is a bit of a disappointment when you consider the price tag of the phone. Some might also find the 25W fast charging speed to be a bit on the slow side, considering that much quicker speeds are being seen on lower-priced phones. Nevertheless, the phone can see you through a day of daily chores. Still, you might end up having to plug it in if you venture into power-hungry endeavors and keep that refresh rate on the high side – that is kind of par for the course but not as exceptional as we are seeing from some players (a bit of a surprise when you consider the massive battery life on the M series of devices from Samsung.

The phone takes about a good two and half hours to charge with the stock adapter. So we would say that this is a phone that will see you through a day with careful handling, but neither its battery life nor its charging speed is near the best in its segment.

Samsung A52s Review: Verdict

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The Samsung A52s 5G comes with a starting price of Rs. 35,999, bang in the sub-Rs 40,000 category, which is now what many consider to be the new flagship killer zone. And in our opinion, it does enough to show that it actually is one of the best options out there as an overall package. Yes, the phone faces some tough competition from the likes of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G which sports a Dimensity 1200 chip, decent cameras, and the legendary Warp Charge and starts at a lower price. Then there will be those who will point out the Realme GT Master Edition offers a similar chip at a much lower price and with an innovative design as well. And well, there are the Series 800 players in there as well – the Mi 11X from Xiaomi and the iQOO 7, both of which sport Snapdragon 870 chips.

It might seem a little overpriced when you consider some of its competitors, but what marks the Galaxy A52s 5G is its ability to tick more boxes than most of its competitors – it has a good processor, a superb display, very good cameras, all the connectivity options you could want (including 5G), software update assurances and even traditional favorites like a 3.5 mm audio jack and expandable memory. Add to that proper dust and water resistance (more substantial than the “splash” resistance on some devices) and OIS on the cameras, and we can see people preferring this to some devices that have better processors.

The Galaxy A52s 5G is an excellent package for someone looking for a well-rounded smartphone experience from a known brand. It is a mid-range smartphone with the bones of a flagship phone. A flagship killer? We think so! And it comes from Samsung. The times they are a-changing.

Buy Samsung Galaxy A52s

Pros
  • Vibrant display
  • Impressive performance
  • Different design (from other brands)
  • Great detail from cameras
  • Stereo speakers
  • Dust and water resistance
Cons
  • Some might find the UI crowded
  • 15W charger in the box
  • Cameras tend to oversaturate colors
  • Average battery life
Review Overview
Design & Build
Performance
Software
Camera
Price
SUMMARY

Allied with a great display, good sound, dust and water resistance, and good cameras with OIS, the Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G makes a good claim for being a flagship killer in its own right. Here's our review.

3.8

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  1. Hello, The way phone is hyped, it’s not worth with 36k price tag, there are number of issues
    Display quality is bad with 60hz refresh rate specially when reading documents, screen shakes or blurs, so you are forced to keep it on 120hz
    Face unlock is inconsistent and unreliable, it never works in 1st attempt –

    Earpiece sound is low even on full volume with less clarity
    Battery takes much time to charge and drains quickly
    Supplied charger is only 15W whereas phone actually does support 25W charger, charger and phone both heatups like anything during charging
    Supplied charger cable is way low quality and very short, hardly 2 feets
    Camera lacks OIS on 1080p @60 fps and above
    Supplied storage is not UFS 3.1, It just 2.1, not expected with phone ranging 36k
    Overall not worth for 30k, don’t waste your money on mid range processor phone, one can get all features within 20 to 25k phone with less better camera

  2. Hello, The way phone is hyped, it’s not worth with 36k INR price tag,This is mid range processor phone where as you have option to get SDM 870 processor phones in 30k price braket

    there are number of issues

    120hz refresh rate is just gimmick..

    Display quality is bad with 60hz refresh rate specially when reading documents, screen shakes or blurs, so you are forced to keep it on 120hz

    Other phones with only 60hz refresh rate have better steady display than this phone 60hz mode

    Face unlock is inconsistent and unreliable, it never works in 1st attempt, struggle lot if there is no direct light (daylight or
    room light) on your face, highlighted issue with Samsung with video proof but they did not agreed

    Earpiece sound is low even on full volume with less clarity as compared to other brands

    Battery takes much time to charge and drains quickly

    Supplied charger is only 15W and takes almost 2.15 hrs to full charge

    charger and phone both heatups like anything during charging

    Supplied charger cable is very short, hardly 2 feets