It’s been just over six months since the Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G (review) was launched in India, and it’s still a capable premium smartphone if you’re looking for a device with an IP rating of less than Rs. 40,000. The recently launched Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is essentially the same smartphone, but with a new Exynos SoC instead of Qualcomm’s one. This has resulted in some notable performance differences between the two phones and leaves us wondering if the new model is a worthy upgrade.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G price in India
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is available in India in two flavors, each with 128GB of internal storage. The 6GB RAM variant costs Rs. 34,499 and the 8GB RAM variant is available at Rs. 35,999. Of the two options, the one with more RAM is the better choice as it offers better value. The Galaxy A53 is available in four colors: blue, stunning black, white and orange. I got the 8GB RAM variant in light blue.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G design
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is based on the design of the Galaxy A52s 5G and includes some elements from the new Galaxy S22 series (review). The overall design looks modern and refreshing. The middle bezel is still polycarbonate, but it’s wider and has flatter sides like the Galaxy S22 devices. The back panel retains the look and feel of the Galaxy A52s 5G with a matte polycarbonate back that looks sleek and premium and also repels fingerprints and smudges well.
The rear camera module on the Galaxy A53 5G blends into the back but barely protrudes from it, as this phone is thicker than its predecessor. Darkened inserts for camera lenses look spectacular.
The 6.5-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display on the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is unchanged from the Galaxy A52s 5G. The flat display is made of Gorilla Glass 5 for scratch resistance. The left and right borders are relatively thin, but the top and bottom are noticeably thicker. The display has a built-in fingerprint scanner. It works as expected and is reliable. I like how Samsung hid the earpiece cutout between the display and the bezel at the top, as it’s barely visible. Like the Galaxy A52s 5G, the Galaxy A53 5G is IP67 rated for dust and water resistance.
Specifications and software Samsung Galaxy A53
The hardware of the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G borrows heavily from the Galaxy A52s 5G. This year, Samsung used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G from the Galaxy A52s in the more expensive Galaxy A73 5G, and the Galaxy A53 5G is getting Samsung’s new proprietary SoC called the Exynos 1280 Galaxy A33 5G at an affordable price.
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G supports 5G, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, and conventional satellite navigation systems. The Galaxy A53 5G has lost the previous model’s 3.5mm headphone jack and doesn’t come with a USB Type-C audio adapter in the box. The phone supports 5G dual standby, and the hybrid dual SIM tray accepts a microSD card up to 1TB.
The updated Samsung One UI 3.1 software is available for the Galaxy A53 5G. It is based on Android 12 and is one of the best Android 12 user interfaces. The theme engine can change the colors of the interface and app icons depending on the wallpaper chosen for the home screen. What I really missed was the conversations widget, commonly found on Android 12 devices, which lets you pin important chats and conversations to your home screen. This phone is unfortunately loaded with a lot of malware, including a long list of apps from Samsung, as well as some apps from Microsoft and other third parties. Luckily, you can remove most of them.
Samsung Galaxy A53 performance
Samsung’s decision to reserve the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G SoC for the Galaxy A73 5G doesn’t seem like a very smart idea. The Samsung Exynos 1280 SoC tested on the Galaxy A53 5G is fast enough with regular use, but the benchmark results don’t show improvement. The Galaxy A53 5G scored 498 and 1806 in single-core and multi-core Geekbench tests, respectively, and scored 3,72,582 in AnTuTu. These scores are closer to what you’d expect from a low-end smartphone, showing that the Galaxy A53 5G isn’t powerful enough for its price segment. By comparison, the older Samsung Galaxy A52 scored 739 and 2733 on Geekbench, making it more powerful than its successor.
Graphics quality in Call of Duty: Mobile reached “Medium” with maximum frame rate. These settings were playable on the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, but there were occasional lags during matches. The touchscreen sample rate wasn’t the best, but it didn’t hinder gameplay much. The game ran best on “Low” graphics and “Medium” framerate settings, which is a little disappointing for a premium smartphone. I also noticed that the phone gets warm after about 10 minutes of playing Call of Duty: Mobile, but without any performance degradation. Asphalt 9: Legends ran smoothly on standard (medium) graphics settings.
The display refresh rate varies from 120Hz to 60Hz. During my testing period, I noticed that it stayed at 120Hz even when browsing the web, Instagram feeds, or streaming YouTube videos. The screen refresh rate dropped to 60Hz only when playing games or using the camera app. The Super AMOLED display looks good with the typical punchy color tones this type of panel is known for and is readable even in bright sunlight. There is no HDR, but streaming video looks good, with deep blacks. The stereo speakers sounded well balanced and quite loud.
Battery life is one area where the Galaxy A53 5G performs better than its predecessor. Its larger 5,000mAh battery added four hours to our HD video test for an impressive 19 hours and 44 minutes. With everyday use, the phone lasted two full days, which is quite good. Samsung doesn’t offer a charger in the box, so I plugged the Galaxy A53 5G into its own 61W USB PD charger. This phone supports 25W charging and managed to hit 100 percent in 1 hour 51 minutes, which isn’t bad, but still not as fast as some of the competition.
Cameras Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
The cameras of the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G are identical to those of its predecessor. The rear camera consists of a 64MP main, 12MP ultra wide, 5MP macro and 5MP depth camera. A 32-megapixel front camera is responsible for selfies. The layout of the camera app is customizable and there are plenty of shortcuts in the viewfinder.
Photos taken in daylight were impressive and showed plenty of detail and good dynamic range. As with the Galaxy A52s 5G, the colors in the photos came out a bit oversaturated and had a soft bluish cast. The macro camera proved to be quite useful as the images had good detail. Portrait photos taken with the selfie camera looked crisp and clear, with good detail and dynamic range. Edge detection in these photos was also accurate.
When shooting in auto mode in low light, the camera’s performance was decent with good dynamic range, but I did notice some noise. The details are a little off. In Night Shot mode, the camera took shots a second longer, and they looked brighter, but at the cost of less detail. The standard night mode also took a few seconds to capture landscapes in low light, but the quality was the best. Selfies taken in low light looked blurry and noisy even after switching to night mode.
The ultra-wide-angle camera took decent daylight shots, but objects looked washed out and stretched out to the edges. Low-light shots were much worse in quality and looked bland at best.
1080p 30fps videos shot in daylight looked well stabilized and had good dynamic range. However, footage captured in 1080p at 60fps looked shaky. Videos shot in 4K had the best detail, but without any kind of stabilization. When shooting in low light conditions, video quality dropped sharply. Video recorded at 1080p 30fps looked blurry and had an annoying flickering effect. The main camera has a noticeable focus-juggling issue when recording video at night, so the autofocus system often failed, especially when panning.
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is a capable premium smartphone, but it falls short in terms of performance. This is mainly due to the new SoC, which seems to be good enough for the budget Galaxy M33 5G (Rs 18,999), but not for a Rs. 35,000. Daylight camera performance is pretty good, and it’s the only phone we’ve reviewed in this segment with an IP67 rating. Unfortunately for the Galaxy A53 5G, the Galaxy A52s 5G (Review), its predecessor, offers better gaming performance, has a headphone jack, and comes with a charger in the box. It also costs a bit less (around Rs 32,499) making it a better buy.
In terms of competition from other manufacturers, the iQoo 9 SE (starting at Rs. 33,990) is the biggest potential competitor to the Galaxy A53 5G. We haven’t reviewed this phone yet, but it has the best Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC and you get a 66W charger in the box. The base variant also has 8GB of RAM, so even judging by the specs, it’s a threat. Those looking for a more compact Android might also check out the Motorola Moto Edge 20 Pro (review), which is powered by a Snapdragon 870 SoC and a 108MP primary rear camera.