The Galaxy A series forms the bedrock of Samsung's mid-range ambitions. The A-series started by bringing features previously limited to Samsung flagships at a much more affordable price point. While it was traditionally focused on the mid-range segment, Samsung got rid of the entry-level Galaxy J series in 2019 and folded them into the Galaxy A lineup.
The result is that the Galaxy A series now starts under $100, thanks to devices like the Galaxy A02. While the budget Galaxy A options make it easier to upgrade to one of the best Samsung phones, the mid-range options like the Galaxy A53 offer exciting new features for those who want the latest screen tech and 5G connectivity.
The results speak for themselves; the Galaxy A series now accounts for nearly 60% of all Samsung phone sales globally, so there's clearly a lot of interest in what the Korean brand is doing in this area.
Choosing the ideal Galaxy A phone for your needs can get confusing, with over eight models to pick from across various price points. So if you're in the market for a new phone in 2022, here's what you need to know about the Galaxy A series.
What's new with the Galaxy A series?
For 2022, Samsung made a few key changes to the Galaxy A series. First up is the fact that the mid-range Galaxy A models will get four guaranteed Android OS updates along with five years of security updates, just like Samsung's flagship phones.
And while the Galaxy A series is aimed at the budget and mid-range segments, Samsung does a great job carrying over designs from the Galaxy S flagships over to the A series.
The latest slate of Galaxy A models — the Galaxy A53 and A73 — have a prominent camera housing with large rings around the sensors, but unlike the Galaxy S22 series, there's no metal trim for the camera housing. Instead, the modules protrude directly from the chassis, and the subtle design is refreshing.
Another big addition is IP67 water resistance — Samsung offered IP68 dust and water resistance on the 2017 Galaxy A series, but didn't do so in subsequent models. Starting from 2021, this feature is standard across the mid-range Galaxy A models.
The 2022 Galaxy A launches include the Galaxy A04s, A23 5G, A33 5G, A53 5G, and A73 5G, and as you can make out by the product names, 5G connectivity is a key feature for Samsung's budget and mid-range Galaxy A devices.
Galaxy A53 sets the standard for mid-range phones
For 2022, Samsung is positioning the Galaxy A53 5G as the ideal mid-range choice. The phone picks up interesting upgrades over its predecessor, including faster internal hardware, a larger battery, and more software updates.
Samsung hasn't changed the fundamentals too much, and that's because the A52 5G by itself is still a great choice. You still get a 120Hz AMOLED screen, 64MP camera at the back, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, microSD slot, 32MP front camera, 25W fast charging, and 5G connectivity.
On the software front, the A53 5G comes with One UI 4.1 based on Android 12 out of the box. The fact that the phone will receive four Android OS updates along with five years of security updates gives it a distinct edge in the mid-range category — there's no other phone that comes close to Samsung's update guarantee.
And the best part is that at $449, the Galaxy A53 5G doesn't cost more than its predecessor. So if you're eyeing a mid-ranger, the Galaxy A53 5G ticks all the right boxes.
The Galaxy A53 5G has it all: smooth 120Hz AMOLED screen, reliable hardware, great cameras, big 5000mAh battery, and the latest version of Android out of the box. And the best part is that it will get four guaranteed Android OS updates.
Galaxy A72 is a large-screened battery monster
Samsung isn't introducing the Galaxy A73 in the U.S., and that's because the Galaxy S21 FE slots in at the $600 category for the brand. So if you want a phone that's larger than the Galaxy A53, you should consider the Galaxy A72.
Like the Galaxy A71, the A72 delivers a large screen and a massive battery. The 6.7-inch AMOLED panel is one of the best you'll find in this category, and the phone has a 90Hz refresh rate, making everyday interactions buttery smooth.
The hardware hasn't changed too much; the Snapdragon 720G chipset delivers similar performance as the 730G, and you get 6GB of RAM as well as 128GB of storage out of the box. There's a microSD slot — unlike the Galaxy S22 series — and you'll also find IP67 dust and water resistance. The 64MP lens at the back is unchanged, and Samsung added an 8MP zoom lens that offers 3x zoom.
With a 5000mAh battery, the Galaxy A72 easily manages to last two days between charges. And when you do need to charge it, there's 25W fast charging. The more significant change around the A72 is the software; the phone comes with One UI 3.1 based on Android 11 out of the box, and it will get monthly security updates and three guaranteed Android version updates.
There's also a 5G-enabled version of the Galaxy A72 that has a 120Hz panel and is powered by the Snapdragon 750G, but that particular model is limited to select countries.
The Galaxy A72 gives you a large 6.7-inch AMOLED screen that goes up to 90Hz, reliable hardware, great cameras, outstanding battery life, IP67 dust and water resistance, and three Android updates.
Galaxy A52 is still a great mid-range phone
The Galaxy A52 and A52 5G strike the perfect balance between affordability and feature-set. They deliver all the features you're looking for in the mid-range segment, but you don't have to pay a premium. The standard 4G version of the A52 comes with a 6.5-inch AMOLED 90Hz screen that's a delight to use, and the phone has tiny bezels at the front.
The Snapdragon 720G powers the device, and it holds up just fine in daily use. The base model has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and you get a microSD card slot. There are exciting upgrades around the camera, with the phone picking up a 64MP primary lens along with a 12MP wide-angle module. There's also a 4500mAh battery that lasts well over a day even with heavy usage, and the phone has 25W fast charging. And the A52 and A52 5G offer IP67 dust and water resistance.
The Galaxy A52 5G has the same attributes as the 4G model, but it features a 120Hz AMOLED panel powered by the beefier Snapdragon 750G chipset, giving it just that little more in terms of performance. Oh, and it connects to 5G networks that rely on Sub-6. The 5G version of the Galaxy A52 is the default option for buyers in the U.S., but Samsung sells the 4G model in most global markets.
With standout hardware, a sublime 120Hz AMOLED panel, cameras that take great photos, stellar battery life, and IP67 water resistance, the Galaxy A52 5G has it all. If you're looking to upgrade to a mid-range phone, this is the default choice.
Galaxy A42 5G is the perfect budget 5G phone
The Galaxy A42 5G offers the same fundamentals as the A52 5G but misses out in a few areas. The upside is that the phone costs $100 less than the A52 5G, and you get the same 5G bands. The A42 5G features an AMOLED panel, but the resolution is 720p (1600x720). So while you still get great colors and viewing angles, the resolution isn't ideal for a 6.6-inch screen.
The device is powered by the Snapdragon 750G — the same as the in the A72 5G and A52 5G — so it should last several years without any slowdowns. The massive 5000mAh battery also ensures the phone lasts two days on a full charge, but unlike the A52, you're limited to 15W fast charging. On the imaging side of things, the phone has a 48MP primary lens, an 8MP wide-angle, two 5MP auxiliary lenses, and a 20MP camera at the front.
The A42 5G has a unique design that allows it to stand out a bit more from its A series siblings, and it is a decent way to get onboard the 5G bandwagon. The underwhelming 60Hz screen is a letdown, but if you're okay with that, then the A42 5G is a decent enough option.
The Galaxy A42 5G delivers robust internal hardware, 5G connectivity, and excellent battery life. The screen isn't on par with the A52 or A72, and if you're OK with missing out in this particular area, the A42 5G is a reliable 5G option.
Galaxy A33 gives you the basics for less
Samsung got a lot right with last year's Galaxy A32, but it was slow and prone to lag. The brand fixed these shortcomings with the Galaxy A33 5G, switching to an Exynos 1280 platform based on a 5nm node that is much better in daily use.
The Galaxy A33 5G has the same 6.4-inch FHD screen with 90Hz fast refresh as the A32, and it has the same 5000mAh battery. However, it now gets 25W fast charging instead of 15W, and there's a 48MP camera at the back that takes good photos.
The best feature with the Galaxy A33 5G is that it will get four guaranteed Android OS updates, on par with the Galaxy S22 Ultra and mid-range Galaxy A devices.
The Galaxy A33 5G doesn't have the most vibrant screen you'll find on a budget phone, but it is great for daily tasks, you get excellent battery life, and four guaranteed Android OS updates.
Galaxy A23 lowers the barrier to entry for 5G
The Galaxy A23 is a good budget offering as it gives you 5G connectivity for under $250. The phone has a modern design that looks similar to the Galaxy A53, and you get a large 6.6-inch LCD screen with 120Hz refresh.
The Snapdragon 695 ensures you won't find any slowdowns in daily use, and the 50MP camera at the back takes good photos at day and night. The best part about the device is the battery life: the 5000mAh battery easily lasts up to two days on a full charge, and you get 25W wired charging here.
Basically, if you need a budget phone with 5G, the Galaxy A23 5G is the one to get.
The Galaxy A23 5G has all you need in an entry-level 5G phone: decent hardware, great battery life, good cameras, and a large screen with 120Hz refresh.
Galaxy A12 is the ideal entry-level phone
The Galaxy A12 doesn't have powerful hardware by any measure, but it delivers the basics in the entry-level segment. The phone features a 6.5-inch 720p screen and is powered by MediaTek's Helio G35 chipset. Unfortunately, it misses out on 5G, but at $180, you are getting a decent amount of value here.
The phone has an 18MP primary camera with a 5MP wide-angle lens and offers a 5000mAh battery — just like the A32 5G — and you get 15W fast charging as default. It has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage along with a microSD slot and runs One UI 2.5 based on Android 10 out of the box. It isn't the most exciting device in the Galaxy A portfolio, but if you're interested in an entry-level device and want one that will get regular software updates, the A12 is a great choice.
The Galaxy A12 nails the basics in the budget segment, and while it doesn't have 5G, you get a massive battery, reliable hardware, and feature-rich software.
Which Galaxy A phone should you buy?
There are a lot of exciting models to choose from in Samsung's Galaxy A portfolio. For my money, I would go with the Galaxy A53 5G. It has a sublime 120Hz AMOLED screen, powerful hardware with 5G connectivity, microSD slot, standout cameras, and large 500mAh battery with 25W fast charging. You also get IP67 dust and water resistance, monthly updates, and four guaranteed Android version updates.
The Galaxy A52 5G is also a good choice if you want to save some cash. If you're looking for a more budget-focused option, the Galaxy A33 5G is a great alternative if you want more software updates.
And although the Galaxy A72 doesn't offer a lot of changes from its predecessor, it is a reliable choice if you want a large screen and at least two-day battery life.
If you are looking for an entry-level device, the Galaxy A23 5G has the essentials covered. The fact that you get 5G on a sub-$250 device makes it all the more enticing, and it doesn't really miss out on much on the hardware side of things.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.