Samsung Galaxy A53 vs. A52: Which should you buy?

Samsung sells more Galaxy A-series phones than Galaxy S and Fold devices combined, and there's a good reason for that. With the Galaxy A-series starting off at just $150 and going up to $600, Samsung is able to cater to budget and mid-range buyers with a diverse portfolio of devices that share the same design aesthetic.

The Galaxy A52 in particular was a best-seller last year thanks to its combination of hardware, value, and battery. Samsung doesn't change too much year-on-year with Galaxy A phones, and as such the Galaxy A53 is nearly identical to its predecessor. That said, there are a few noteworthy additions to the A53, so let's take a look at what you're getting with both devices.

Samsung Galaxy A53 vs. A52: Design and screen

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Galaxy A53 vs. Galaxy A52

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

After trying out various finishes and materials for the Galaxy A-series over the last three years, Samsung settled on a design language with the Galaxy A52 that's minimalist and elegant. The phone has a polycarbonate back with a matte texture, and the pastel colors make it look interesting.

Both phones have a similar design aesthetic, but the Galaxy A53 isn't as comfortable to hold and use, and it misses out on the 3.5mm jack.

The Galaxy A53 continues along the same lines, with Samsung once again offering a variety of pastel hues and the same polycarbonate back with matte coating. The camera housing has been slightly tweaked this generation, with the island blending seamlessly into the back. The A53 also has flatter sides with a glossy texture, and the lack of curves make it more awkward to hold and use — the A52 doesn't have these issues.

The biggest change this year is the missing 3.5mm jack; Samsung offered the analog jack as standard on its mid-range Galaxy A devices, but that's not the case with the A53. So if you need a 3.5mm jack, you'll have to buy the A52.

Galaxy A53 vs. Galaxy A52

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

Moving on to the screen, both devices have an identical 6.5-inch FHD+ AMOLED panel that goes up to 120Hz. The screen is unchanged between generations, and you get the same color vibrancy and maximum brightness levels on both.

In a similar vein, both phones have the same stereo sound configuration, and the onboard audio is more than adequate for playing casual games and streaming videos.

Samsung Galaxy A53 vs. A52: Hardware

Galaxy A53 vs. Galaxy A52

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

Similar to the design, Samsung didn't change too much when it comes to the hardware side of things. The one key difference is that the A53 comes in a single 5G variant — there's no 4G-only option this time, unlike the A52.

The Galaxy A53 is more powerful than its predecessor, and you get a larger 5000mAh battery that lasts well over a day.

The Galaxy A53 features Samsung's Exynos 1280, a 5nm design that has Cortex A78 and Cortex A55 cores. It is more powerful than the Galaxy A52, with the cores posting scores of 20% or higher in the likes of Geekbench. But where the A53 has a bigger lead is in gaming, delivering double the level of performance in demanding titles. That said, it doesn't measure up to the likes of the Dimensity 1200-powered Nord 2, but of the two Samsung phones here, the A53 is the obvious choice if you're interested in playing the best Android games on your phone.

You get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as standard on both phones, and they include a microSD card slot. Samsung hasn't updated the connectivity either, with the A53 offering a similar set of Sub-6 5G bands as the 5G variant of the A52. You also get the same Wi-Fi AC connectivity, with both devices missing out on Wi-Fi 6. That's not too big a deal on the A52 as it launched over a year ago, but for the A53 to not have the latest Wi-Fi standard is a big omission.

That said, you get IP67 dust and water resistance on both devices, with Samsung being one of very few manufacturers to offer this feature in sub-$500 phones. Its inclusion means you don't have to worry about using the Galaxy A53 or A52 near the pool, and it makes both phones stand out a little bit more compared to the competition.

Speaking of extras, you won't find wireless charging here, with both devices limited to 25W wired charging. You get all-day battery life on either phone, but the A53 easily pulls into the lead in this area thanks to its larger 5000mAh battery. Combined with the energy-efficient Exynos 1280, the phone lasts well over a day without fail. There's only one issue on the charging front: like the Galaxy S22 series, you don't get a charger in the box, so you'll need to buy a USB PD charger to use with the device if you don't already have one.

I'm not going to talk about the cameras too much, because there's no difference between the two devices in this particular area. Both phones share the same quad camera configuration that includes a 64MP lens with OIS, 12MP wide-angle camera, and dual 5MP macro and portrait lenses. But you'll get slightly better shots on the A53 thanks to different camera tuning algorithms, allowing the device to take good shots in challenging situations. That said, the A52 isn't too far off, and you're getting a good camera system regardless of whatever device you choose.

Samsung Galaxy A53 vs. A52: Software

Galaxy A53 vs. Galaxy A52

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

Samsung is now the go-to brand if you want long-term software updates on Android. It paved the way by guaranteeing three platform updates for the A52, and built on that this year by promising four OS updates to the Galaxy A53. That's more than even Google delivers to its high-end Pixels, and because the A53 runs Android 12 out of the box, it will make the switch to Android 16.

The Galaxy A53 will get more Android updates than any other phone in this category.

Considering the fact that the A52 launched with Android 11 and will get one fewer platform update, it will make the switch to Android 14. Samsung really turned its update efforts around in the last two years, but that's not the only area it has focused on; the UI itself has changed for the better, with One UI 4.1 delivering a robust set of features while offering a clean and modern interface.

In short, Samsung is doing all the right things on the software side, and the Galaxy A53 is the standard for long-term updates in this segment.

Samsung Galaxy A53 vs. A52: Two great mid-range choices

Galaxy A53 vs. Galaxy A52

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

Samsung hasn't changed too much with the Galaxy A53, and as such, it is very similar to last year's A52. You get the same 120Hz AMOLED screen, quad camera array, memory and storage configurations, 25W wired charging, and a similar design.

If you need the larger battery and want more updates, the Galaxy A53 is the obvious choice. But if you want a value-focused phone, get the A52.

The differences are minute: the Galaxy A53 misses out on the 3.5mm jack, but it gets a larger 5000mAh battery that allows it to last well over a day consistently. That said, the phone isn't as comfortable to hold because of the flat sides. The A53 also has an edge on the hardware front, with the Exynos 1280 more than able to handle most day-to-day tasks and casual gaming.

The biggest differentiator for the Galaxy A53 is the software updates. With Android 12 out of the box and four guaranteed Android OS updates, the phone will pick up the stable Android 16 update once it becomes available. There's no other mid-range phone today that will get the same number of software updates, including Google's Pixel series. Samsung already rolled out the Android 13 update to the phone, offering all the latest features that One UI 5 has introduced. 

The A52 launched with Android 11, and it will get three Android updates, so you'll get the Android 14 build once that rolls out in a few years' time.

So if you need a bigger battery and want two more Android OS updates, you should pick up the Galaxy A53. With the device now selling for just $349, it is an unmissable value — I'd recommend going with the A53 instead of the A52 for the software updates alone. 

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.