Samsung launched the Galaxy A53 5G smartphone last month as the successor to the Galaxy A52 / A52s. This retains the screen and the cameras from the predecessor, but it gets an Exynos 1280 5nm SoC and also packs in a bigger battery. Is this a good upgrade compared to the Galaxy A52s? Let us dive into the review to find out.
- Samsung Galaxy A53 5G smartphone 8GB RAM, 128GB storage version in Light Blue colour
- USB Type-C to C Cable
- SIM ejector tool
- Quick Start Guide and Warranty information
Samsung has started removing chargers even from its mid-range phones recently, so this doesn’t come with a charger in the box.
Display, Hardware and Design
The phone comes with a 6.5-inch Full HD+ Infinity-O Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080×2400 pixels at about 407PPI, aspect ratio of 20:9. The display looks bright, thanks to 800 nits brightness, offers good color reproduction and the sunlight legibility is good as well. Since it has an AMOLED panel, it offers true blacks. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
It has a 120Hz refresh rate screen that offers a fluid user experience with smoother animations, scrolling and gaming. Similar to the other Samsung phones, there is an Eye comfort shield that limit blue light emitted by the screen. There is also dark mode, which looks great on the AMOLED screen. You can choose from Vivid or Natural screen modes based on your preference, or set the white balance manually. The phone doesn’t have DC dimming or low brightness anti-flicker mode that is present in some AMOLED screen phones in the price range. I didn’t notice any screen flicker issues in low brightness on the phone.
It doesn’t have notification LED, but there is Always on display with tap to show option that shows the AOD screen for 10 seconds after you tap the screen. You can also set a schedule or set it to show always. There are a lot of options to choose from such as clocks, GIF or you can download any AOD from Themes section.
On the top, there is an 32-megapixel camera in the tiny punch-hole, and the earpiece is present on the top edge. The punch-hole is small and it is not intrusive.
There is a small chin below the screen. The phone has an in-display fingerprint sensor which is fast to unlock the phone, but it is not as fast as the side or rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.
Coming to the button placements, the power button and the volume rockers are present on the right side. There is nothing on the left side. The hybrid dual SIM slot, primary microphone, USB Type-C port and the loudspeaker grill are on the bottom. The secondary microphone is on the top. Since the sides have a plastic frame with a glossy finish, they attract fingerprints easily. Wish it had a better frame quality for the price you pay. The company has removed the 3.5 mm audio jack which was present in the predecessor.
On the back, there is a quad camera module arranged in a rectangular array. There is a single LED flash. Even though the phone has a 6.5-inch screen, it is compact to hold. It is 8.1 mm thick, making it slightly simmer than the A52s, but the company has managed to maintain the same 189g weight even though it has a bigger 5000mAh battery. The phone has a plastic back with a matte finish that doesn’t attract fingerprints or smudges and is also not prone to scratches with day-to-day use compared to the other Galaxy phones like the M and F series. This might not feel premium, but the design looks attractive, and you can use the phone without a case, which by the way is not included in the box.
In addition to the Blue colour variant that we have, the phone also comes in Black, White and Peach colours colours. This comes with dust and water-resistant to a depth of one meter for up to 30 minutes, with IP67 certification, which is good.
- 64MP camera with Sony IMX682 sensor, 0.8μm pixel size, f/1.8 aperture, OIS
- 12MP ultra-wide sensor with f/2.2 aperture
- 5MP depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture
- 5MP macro sensor with f/2.2 aperture.
- 32MP front camera with Sony IMX616 sensor with f/2.2 aperture
You can choose 64MP option from the aspect ratio settings on the top. It also has AR stickers, scene optimizer, portrait video, director’s view, hyperlapse and more modes. There is Live Focus mode for portrait. You can also adjust the bokeh effect before or after the shot. There is a selfie portrait option for the front camera that uses software to blur the background. There is also a wide-angle option for the front camera, similar to other Samsung phones.
Coming to the image quality, daylight shots are good, and the camera captures a good amount of detail, creates well exposed photos with good dynamic range and detailing, and dynamic range can further be improved enabling HDR mode from the settings, which automatically turns on HDR when needed. Even though the phone has a 64-megapixel sensor, the final output has 16-megapixel resolution. Autofocus speeds are fast and accurate. Ultra-wide shots from the 12MP camera are good in daylight.
Macro shots from the main camera is good, and there is a dedicated macro camera mode which is decent, but there is no touch to focus option in this mode since it is fixed focus, so you have to keep it in 5cm distance. Live focus is good at detecting the edges. Low-light performance is good, which can be improved further with Night mode that offers more details, but you need to keep your hand steady, since it takes two to three seconds to process. Night mode shots are zoomed in, and the output is 12MP in resolution instead of 16MP. 64-megapixel shots have good amount of details, but the colours are not vibrant. Images with flash is good and is not overpowering.
The 32-megapixel front camera is good in most cases. Wide-angle mode takes images in 12-megapixel resolution after pixel binning, while the normal mode takes images in 8-megapixel. Software blur in the live focus mode has average edge detection.
Check out some camera samples.
It can record videos at maximum 4K resolution at 30 fps from both front, rear and ultra-wide cameras. The rear camera can also shoot 1080p 60fps videos, but the stabilization works only in 30fps when it’s enabled in the settings. The normal stabilization works with both ultra-wide and main camera, but only the main camera has OIS. There is a separate Super steady mode which uses the ultra-wide camera to capture the video in 1080p 30fps. This is smooth, but you don’t see a huge difference between this and the normal stabilization from the main camera.
You can switch between normal and ultra-wide cameras when video recording is in progress, and also switch between the front and rear cameras when recording a video. It can shoot slow motion at 720p at 480fps and there is also super slow motion. Video quality is good.
Software, UI and Apps
Coming to the software, the phone runs on Android 12 with March 2022 update a few days back. On the top of Android 12, it has the latest Samsung One UI 4.1, which brings several new features that brings new theme options to configure home screens, icons, notifications, wallpapers and much more. There are also redesigned, upgraded widgets with deep customization, microphone and camera usage indicators and more.
Samsung has confirmed 4 OS updates and 5 years of security updates even for the top-end A series phones, which is a good move.
The Device maintenance option lets you manage your device’s battery life, storage, RAM usage, and security all in one place. Out of 128GB (UFS) in our unit, 105GB is free. Out of 8GB LPDDR4x RAM, about 7.39GB is usable and 3.5GB is free when default apps are running in the background. There is also a RAM Plus feature, which uses the internal memory of the phone to expand the RAM by an extra 8GB, in addition to the existing 8GB of RAM. This is enabled automatically. We got sequential read speeds of, 515MB/s which is less than the A52s, so it looks like the phone still uses UFS 2.1.
Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google Apps, the smartphone comes with Facebook, Netflix, Spotify and Microsoft apps such as OneDrive and LinkedIn. You get the option to install apps when you are setting up the phone, which you can choose not to. It also has Samsung Pay via NFC. It also has Samsung Pass, Secure Folder, Bixby Voice/Vision, Samsung Cloud, Easy Mode and Samsung Knox support. The phone doesn’t have ads, but shows notifications of new Samsung products occasionally.
Fingerprint sensor and Face unlock
The phone has an in-display fingerprint sensor that immediately unlocks the phone even when the phone is locked. It is good, but not as fast as a physical fingerprint scanner. You can add up to 3 fingerprints, and adding fingerprint is easy. It has support for Face recognition, which doesn’t work well if the lighting is poor in the room, if you are hats, or use heavy makeup. Both these are protected by Knox security.
Music Player and Multimedia
YouTube Music is the default music player. It has equalizer, Dolby Atmos, UHQ upscaler, and Adapt that can be enabled from the settings. All these improve the audio when listening through earphones, and Dolby Atmos also works with speakers. It doesn’t have FM Radio support. That said, audio through earphones is good. Loudspeaker output from the stereo speakers is good as well.
The phone comes with Widevine L1 support out-of-the-box so that you can enjoy HD content on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and other streaming apps. There is also HDR playback support for YouTube, but it doesn’t work with Netflix.
Dual SIM and Connectivity
It has support for 5G SA with support for several 5G Network Bands in India. Other connectivity options include, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth v5.1 and GPS with GLONASS. It has support for USB OTG and NFC that works with supported payment apps. It has 4G connectivity and has Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi Calling or Vo-Wi-Fi support for Reliance Jio, Airtel and more, and also has support for LTE-A or Carrier Aggregation.
The Galaxy A53 5G’s head SAR is at 0.340/Kg which is well under the limit in India which is 1.6 W/kg (over 1 g).
Performance and Benchmarks
It is the first Samsung phone to be powered by Exynos 1280 5nm SoC. This has 2 x 2.4GHz Cortex-A78 Performance CPUs and 6 x 2GHz Cortex-A55 Efficiency CPUs. It has Power cool technology to keep the temperature down. I didn’t face any performance issues, but the Mali-G68 GPU in the chip is not optimized for gaming. In BGMI, you can only play games in High graphics option in Smooth, Balanced and HD, and there is no smooth or extreme fps option. It also doesn’t have HDR graphics option. In COD Mobile, you only get Medium graphics and very high frame rate. In low graphics, you get max frame rate, but with Genshin Impact, the frame rate was very low.
When you play graphic-intensive games it gets a bit hot, but Samsung has managed to keep the temperature down, so there are some frame drops when gaming. It reached maximum 45º in our testing indoors in Wi-Fi, but this might vary outdoors in 4G. That said, check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.
The Exynos 1280 is not a bad processor, but it needs better optimization for gaming. The Snapdragon 778G and even Snapdragon 695 offers better gaming performance compared to this.
The A53 finally gets a bigger 5000mAh battery compared to 4500mAh battery in A52 and A52s. I got over 6 hours of screen on time with my daily use mostly on Wi-Fi and occasionally on 4G with 1 and half days of use in 120Hz refresh rate. Adaptive battery saving and other options will let you increase the battery life, but the performance might be affected.
Samsung doesn’t offer a charger in the box, but the phone supports 25W charging. With the official 25W fast charger, it takes about 1 and half hour for 0 to 100%, and 0 to 50% took about 40 minutes.
Overall, the Galaxy A53 is the decent mid-range 5G smartphone from Samsung in the A series, but the A52s is still a better choice considering the better performance. It has a 120Hz Infinity-O AMOLED display, retains the 64MP camera with OIS, stereo speakers and comes with IP67 ratings and packs a bigger battery. The plastic matte back looks attractive and doesn’t attract fingerprints, even though the phone lacks a glass back. However, Samsung retains the same glossy frame, which needs an upgrade.
The realme GT Neo 2 is a good alternative in the price range, but you can also wait for the realme GT Neo 3. iQOO 9 SE is also a good option that is powered by Snapdragon 888 SoC. The OnePlus Nord 2 is also a good option.
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is priced at Rs. 34,499 for 6GB+128GB and Rs. 35,999 for 8GB+128GB variant. You can get it from Samsung.com, retail stores and select online portals. As a limited-period offer, Samsung provides a cashback worth Rs. 3000 with ICICI Bank Credit cards or Samsung Finance+ cashback worth Rs. 2000.
- 120Hz AMOLED display is good
- Capable cameras with OIS in the main 64MP camera
- IP67 water-resistant body
- Promise of 4 OS updates and 5 years of security updates
- Excellent battery life
- Exynos 1280 is not yet optimized for gaming
- No charger in the box
- No 3.5mm audio jack