The Galaxy A71 is Samsung's true iPhone SE competitor, but the U.S. model is ruined by 5G

Samsung Galaxy A71 review
Samsung Galaxy A71 review (Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Samsung released the Galaxy A71 earlier this year, with the phone featuring a fresh new design and upgraded internals. The Galaxy A series has grown from strength to strength in recent years, and the Galaxy A51 was the best-selling Android phone globally in Q1 2020.

That's a huge milestone for Samsung, particularly when you consider that the Galaxy A51 isn't even that great. It has a vibrant display and modern design, but the chipset doesn't hold up in day-to-day use and the camera is average at best.

A 4G-enabled Galaxy A71 for $400 would be Samsung's answer to the iPhone SE and Pixel 4a in the U.S.

This is where the Galaxy A71 comes in. The A71 has robust internals, an even bigger screen, outstanding battery life, and great cameras, and the best part is that the phone is launching in the U.S. later this year. Only one downside; the variant that Samsung is releasing in the U.S. is the 5G-enabled version, and that particular model is set to retail for $600. The 4G edition of the phone, meanwhile, is on sale on Amazon for $365, but because it is the global variant, you lose out on warranty.

Samsung has mentioned that it won't launch the 4G-enabled version of the Galaxy A71 in the U.S., and it's missing out on a huge opportunity in the process. The $399 iPhone SE has turned the value market on its head, and with the Pixel 4a on the horizon, the competition in the mid-tier category is heating up.

Samsung doesn't have a compelling enough answer in this segment. The Galaxy A51 is available unlocked for $399, but as I mentioned earlier, it doesn't hold up to scrutiny, particularly against the iPhone SE and the upcoming Pixel 4a. The Galaxy A71 does not have those issues: it is powered by the same snapdragon 730 chipset that's set to be featured in the Pixel 4a, and you get a 4500mAh battery that easily delivers over a day's worth of use, and a 64MP primary camera that takes great photos.

Samsung Galaxy A71 review

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

The biggest selling point is that you get a massive 6.7-inch AMOLED display on the Galaxy A71, second only to the Galaxy S20 Ultra in Samsung's extensive portfolio. Basically, the Galaxy A71 has a massive screen, excellent battery life, and great cameras, and in most parts of the world the phone is available for around the $400 price point.

The Galaxy A71 version that is set to launch in the U.S. is powered by the Exynos 980, and while it has the same level of performance as the Snapdragon 730, the fact that it will retail for $600 makes it a non-starter in the value category. With the Pixel 4a allegedly launching at just $350, there's just no reason to spend nearly double that for the A71.

Samsung Galaxy A71 review: Samsung's best mid-range phone gets even better

And while Samsung is positioning 5G as a differentiator for the A71, the connectivity standard just isn't ready for mainstream use yet. Sure, 5G is rolling out to more U.S. cities, but connectivity is still limited to a few sections within each city, and it will be a while before 5G usage is anywhere near ubiquitous.

So for now, it makes sense for Samsung to release the 4G-only variant of the Galaxy A71 in the U.S. And even if Samsung doesn't decide to bring the Galaxy A71 to the country, you should consider picking up the global variant at Amazon. For $365, you're getting a lot of value here.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

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.