Samsung Galaxy A71 vs. Galaxy A51: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy A71 hands-on preview
Samsung Galaxy A71 hands-on preview (Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy A71

Samsung Galaxy A71

The Galaxy A71 has an attractive design and updated internals, making it one of the best mid-range phones Samsung has to offer in 2020. One of the defining features of the phone is the battery life, with the 4,500mAh battery easily delivering over a day's worth of use. You also get a 64MP camera at the back, 25W wired charging, and a massive 6.7-inch AMOLED display.

Samsung Galaxy A71


Vibrant AMOLED panel
Robust internals with 5G
Modern design
Outstanding battery life
25W fast charging
60Hz panel
No wireless charging
Costly for what you get

Samsung Galaxy A51

Samsung Galaxy A51

The Galaxy A51 has the same design as the A71 in a smaller chassis. You get a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen, 48MP camera, 4,000mAh battery with 15W fast charging, and One UI 2.0 out of the box. The Exynos 9611 chipset isn't quite as powerful as the Snapdragon 730 that you get on the A71, but it is still usable. If you're looking for a good budget option, the Galaxy A51 has a lot to offer.

Samsung Galaxy A51

Best on a budget

Modern design
Large AMOLED screen
Excellent battery life
32MP front camera
Laggy in everyday use
Poor macro lens

When talking about the Galaxy A71 vs. A51, the one thing to keep in mind is that both devices share a lot of similar parts. They have a design aesthetic featuring vibrant colors and design flourishes, which you don't get from the Galaxy S20 series. There are also exciting camera upgrades on offer, with the A71 featuring a 64MP camera and the A51 offering a 48MP primary camera at the back. So let's take a look at what you're getting with the 2020 Galaxy A series, and which phone you should pick up.

The Galaxy A71 and A51 bring fresh designs to the mid-range segment

Samsung makes a lot of phones across various price points, and in recent years the Galaxy A series has gained momentum for offering features from the flagship Galaxy S and Note lineups at more affordable price points. The Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71 continue that heritage, with both phones featuring fresh new designs and hardware upgrades for 2020.

Both the Galaxy A71 and A51 have attractive new designs and vibrant color options.

Let's start with the Galaxy A71. The phone has a plastic back with a laminated finish and a criss-cross pattern with a subtle gradient finish that accentuates the design at the back. The phone has the same rectangular camera housing as the Galaxy S20 series and upfront, you'll find a centered cutout that's identical to Samsung's 2020 flagships.

While Samsung got rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack on the Galaxy S20 series, both the A71 and the A51 still feature it. Both phones also sport thin bezels, allowing Samsung to fit large AMOLED displays. In fact, with a 6.7-inch display, the Galaxy A71 is one of the largest phones in Samsung's portfolio — only the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a bigger screen. The A51 has a slightly smaller 6.5-inch panel, and both phones offer FHD+ resolution (2400x1080) and a layer of Gorilla Glass 3.

Samsung Galaxy A71 hands-on preview

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The fact that both phones are made out of plastic actually works in their favor. You don't have to worry about the back panel shattering should either phone taking a tumble, and it makes the devices lighter. Going with a plastic back also allowed Samsung to fit larger batteries on both phones, with the A51 featuring a 4,000mAh battery and the A71 coming with a 4,500mAh unit. You'll easily get over a day's worth of use from a full charge on the latter, and the A71 also has 25W fast charging.

Both the Galaxy A71 and A51 are available in 5G variants in the U.S.

Things get interesting on the hardware side of things. The regular 4G version of the Galaxy A51 retails for $400 and features Samsung's Exynos 9611 chipset, but there's now a 5G model that is available for $500.

The Galaxy A71 is available in a single 5G option. and both the A71 5G and A51 5G feature the beefier Exynos 980 chipset. With the Galaxy A71 5G available for $600, you're better off picking it up over the A51 5G, with the regular 4G-only A52 serving as a great entry-level option. Regardless of whatever variant you pick up, you'll get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as standard.

Samsung Galaxy A51 review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

When it comes to the camera side of things, the Galaxy A71 with its 64MP f/1.8 lens fares better in most shooting conditions over the A51's 48MP f/2.0 shooter.

Both phones have quad cameras, but the Galaxy A71 is in the lead here with its 64MP lens.

Both phones have quad cameras, and the rest of the sensors are identical across both devices: you get a 12MP wide-angle lens, a 5MP macro shooter, and a 5MP portrait lens. Honestly, aside from the wide-angle lens, there isn't a lot of value here. The 5MP macro lens takes muddled shots and has issues focusing on subjects, and the 5MP portrait lens does a poor job with edge detection.

There's little to differentiate between the two phones when it comes to the software side of things. Both devices come with Samsung's One UI 2.0 out of the box, and they run Android 10. That's a key distinction here because Samsung often rolled out mid-range phones with outdated software in the past. That isn't the case on the 2020 Galaxy A phones, and for the most part, the software on offer is identical to what you'd find on the Galaxy S20 series.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CategorySamsung Galaxy A71Samsung Galaxy A51
Operating systemAndroid 10One UI 2.0Android 10One UI 2.0
Display6.7-inch Super AMOLED+2400x1080 (20:9)Gorilla Glass 36.5-inch Super AMOLED2400x1080 (20:9)Gorilla Glass 3
ChipsetExynos 9802 x 2.22GHz Cotex A776 x 1.80GHz Cortex A55Mali-G76 MP58nmExynos 96114 x 2.30GHz Cortex A734 x 1.70GHz Cortex A53Mali-G72 MP310nm
MicroSD slotYesYes
Rear camera 164MP, f/1.84K at 30fps48MP, f/2.04K at 30fps
Rear camera 212MP, f/2.2Wide-angle lens12MP, f/2.2Wide-angle lens
Rear camera 35MP, f/2.4Macro lens5MP, f/2.4Macro lens
Rear camera 45MP, f/2.2Portrait lens5MP, f/2.2Portrait lens
Front camera32MP, f/2.232MP, f/2.2
ConnectivityWi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0NFC, A-GPSWi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.0NFC, A-GPS
ChargingUSB-C 2.025WUSB-C 2.015W
Water resistanceNoNo
SecurityIn-display fingerprint (optical)In-display fingerprint (optical)
Dimensions163.6 x 76 x 7.7mm179g158.5 x 73.6 x 7.9 mm172g
ColorsCrush Black, Prism, Silver, Blue, PinkCrush Black, Prism, Silver, Blue, Pink

Samsung Galaxy A71 vs. Galaxy A51 Two great phones, one big dilemma

Samsung Galaxy A71 hands-on preview

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The Galaxy A71 and A51 both feature fresh designs and much-needed hardware upgrades. That's particularly the case with the A71, which offers robust hardware, an exciting 64MP shooter, and excellent battery life with 25W wired charging. Sure, they're missing out on 90Hz panels and don't have wireless charging or water resistance, but they deliver when it comes to the basics.

The Galaxy A71 is a great phone in 2020, and an ideal way to get started with 5G.

Both phones are launching in the U.S., but there's a problem. With the Galaxy A51 retailing for $400 and the Galaxy A71 available in 5G trim for $600, these are not the most affordable options. If you're willing to shell out over $600 for a 5G phone, you may as well get the OnePlus 8 and get the latest Snapdragon 865 chipset, a 90Hz display, decent cameras, clean software, and 30W fast charging. Of course, there's also the Pixel 4a if you want a great camera with reliable internals for under $400.

However, if you're upgrading from a Samsung phone and don't want to switch to another brand, there is a lot to like here. You're getting a vibrant screen, great new design, reliable cameras, and excellent battery life with both phones. The Galaxy A51 is the better deal if you're looking for value, but if you want 5G connectivity, get the Galaxy A71.

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.