Hands-on review: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, a budget smartphone so good it can pass as the main flagship

Below is our hands-on review of the Galaxy A53 5G, a mid-range smartphone so good it can easily pass as the main flagship for the Korean tech giant. As for content creators looking for ways to cut corners when money is tight - at only R8 499 upon release - this could be it!

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Galaxy A5x has become one of Samsung’s most successful lines of smartphones, and if the latest upgrades for the Galaxy A53 5G are anything to go by, it can easily pass as the main flagship for the Korean tech giant – ahead of the top tier S21 series (if horses were wishes).

Like its predecessor (Galaxy A52 5G), the A53 5G features a quad-camera setup consisting of a 64MP f/1.8 shooter with OIS, a 12MP ultra-wide, and 5MP depth and macro cameras. Even the 32MP f/2.2 selfie shooter remains the same.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G colourway: white, blue, peach and black!

Again, it retains its 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution. Though it’s plastic around the sides and the back, it has a Gorilla Glass 5 protection.

Again, design-wise, the Galaxy A53 is almost the same as the Galaxy A52; it’s plastic around the sides and the back, but with a fancier matte finish for the latter. It is also IP67 certified for protection against water and dust.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is IP67 certified for protection against water and dust.

Galaxy A53 5G’s money worth upgrades

As is tradition with every latest offering, Samsung has taken a things a notch up and now guarantees customers four Android OS upgrades and up to five years’ worth of security patches. 

Not only that, the A53 5G comes with the new 5nm Exynos 1280 processor, a bump to a 5,000 mAh battery, and Android 12 and One UI 4.1 out of the box.

The processor opens up a world of new mobile experiences, and comes with some impressive AI improvements, in addition to making 5G cellular connectivity a breeze when it comes to good speed and signals – as it supports both mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G (while other mid-range chipset rivals like MediaTek’s Dimensity 8100 only supports sub-6GHz 5G).

While some users complained about some random stuttering for day-to-day use, which many didn’t see with any of the Galaxy A52 models (which were powered by Snapdragon chips) – hopefully this will soon be fixed with soon-to-launch software updates. After all it’s slightly over a month of since the A53 5G first hit the local shelves.

When it comes to gaming, however, Samsung Exynos is impressively fast enough to handle games that are fully compatible such as PUBG Mobile and some of the latest games.

The pretty descent Mali-G68 GPU makes it easy to select higher graphics preset – above the medium setting – without any lags or frame drops.

Furthermore it comfortable to hold for prolonged periods thanks its ergonomic design and round curved edges.

Clear daylight images taken with Samsung Galaxy A53 5G!
The 64MP main camera doesn’t disappoint when it comes to taking beautiful, sharp images with every detail!

While the 64MP main camera doesn’t disappoint when it comes to taking beautiful, sharp images with every detail, even in low light and dark mode, one of our personal favourite at NOWinSA is the Fun Mode camera, which offers the popular Snapchat’s reality-bending AR Lenses natively on your device, helping users stand out on social media with fun, quirky lenses including 3D full-body tracking technology. 

The Fun Mode features a total of 16 camera effects, nine of which are from Snapchat that are updated regularly.

Let down!

To fans disappointment, there’s no charging brick in the A53’s box, though a USB-C cable is included. The headphone jack which was included in the A52 is gone too, reasoning being not-much about Samsung wanting to sell more wireless headphones as we were made to believe, but for making way for a bigger battery and, in turn, a longer battery life …. whatever!