For a very long time, Samsung has been mediocre when it comes to their mid-range devices. Apart from its flagships, it looked like they didn’t put any effort at all into their budget phones. But with the steady rising of companies like Huawei, Xiaomi, OnePlus and many others, Samsung has had to step up their mid-range game. Samsung has been aggressively penetrating the mid-range market this year with the launch of its M and A series, with phones such as the Samsung Galaxy A50, A30, A80, M20, and M30 whose sales have been magnificent.
These are all good phones especially when you take into consideration their prices. Samsung is one of the few companies offering AMOLED displays at this price range. However, with the Galaxy A80 going as high as $730 and the Galaxy A30 lacking in areas like storage capacity, Camera and a lesser CPU, the A50 has excelled in almost all those areas and more. It is somewhat of a hybrid of the two devices. Samsung definitely stuck the landing with the Samsung Galaxy A50 but let’s see if it’s the best budget device on the market.
|Body||Gorilla Glass 3 front, ” 3D Glasstic” frame and back|
|Screen||6.4″ Super AMOLED; 19.5:9 aspect ratio; FullHD+ (1080 x 2340 px)|
|Rear Cameras||25 MP, f/1.7, PDAF; 8 MP, f/2.2, (ultrawide); 5 MP, f/2.2, depth sensor|
|Front Camera||25 MP, f/2.0, fixed-focus|
|Chipset||Exynos 9610 Octa (10nm), octa-core processor (4xCortex-A73 + 4xCortex-A53), Mali-G72MP3 GPU.|
|Memory||4GB of RAM + 64GB storage / 6GB of RAM + 128GB storage; Up to 512GB microSD card support|
|Battery||4,000mAh Li-Ion; 15W quick charge|
|OS||Android 9.0 Pie; Samsung One UI on top|
|Connectivity||Dual-SIM/ Single-SIM options available; LTE; USB 2.0 Type-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS + GLONASS + BDS; Bluetooth 5.0; NFC|
|Miscellaneous||Single bottom-firing speaker, Under-display fingerprint scanner and 3.5mm headphone jack|
Galaxy A50 review: Design and build
The Galaxy A50 looks similar to the Galaxy M20, except for the fact that both notches are actually a little different. The M20 has an Infinity-V display while the A50 has the Infinity-U display which is slightly rounder. The back of the device is made of what Samsung calls “3D Glasstic”. It is plastic which looks and feels like glass, it is very light and doesn’t make the device feel cheap in the hand. The Samsung Galaxy A50 comes in three colours; black, blue and white.
Galaxy A50 review: The best display on a mid-range smart phone?
The Samsung Galaxy A50 has one of the best displays I have ever seen on a mid-range smartphone, definitely better than that of the Poco F1. But that was expected, given that Samsung makes the best OLED displays in the industry today. The 6.4 Inch AMOLED display did not disappoint, and the color accuracy on this device is pinpoint. It’s got all the usual aspects that you would expect: vivid colors, high brightness levels, deep blacks, and wide viewing angles. Samsung calls it the Infinity – U display. The notch really isn’t intrusive; you’ll get used to it in no time. In addition, you have the option to hide it if you want. Playing video games or watching movies on this device is great as the screen provides an immersive experience with its slim bezels. However, you have a chin at the bottom which might be a turn off for some.
Galaxy A50 review: Cameras
Samsung decided to equip this device with a triple-camera system. It is definitely not something common in a sub $300 phone. The most interesting thing about the camera is the inclusion of the wide-angle lens.
The Galaxy A50’s triple-camera setup includes a 25 MP low-light shooter, an 8 MP ultra-wide lens and a 5 MP depth sensor. The ultra-wide lens on the phone offers a 123-degree field of view, which crams in more into the frame from the exact same spot. I must admit I was disappointed by the performance of the camera in low light. The phone does not have a dedicated night mode in the camera options but the “scene optimizer” does recognize low light conditions and adjust accordingly. One could get better low light camera sensitivity with the Poco F1.
However, the Camera captures very sharp and colorful images during the day and the shots are more color accurate than the Poco F1.
Lastly, the depth sensor which is used for bokeh shots. The bokeh mode or live focus also works well, with background separation working more times than not. The 25 MP camera captures decent images but the facial sharpening feature can be a bit too much, even with beauty mode turned off.
Galaxy A50 review: Optical in-display fingerprint scanner
In addition to facial recognition, Samsung added an in-display finger print (just like the one on the OnePlus 7 Pro) which is one of the wow factors in the Galaxy A50. This is one of the first in-display finger print sensors on a sub $300 phone. There is a catch though, the sensor fails to recognize my finger print at least twice every 10 times and is a little slow. However, the software update released by Samsung has made the sensor more reliable and a faster to unlock the phone.
Galaxy A50 review: Software is exciting to use
The Samsung Galaxy A50 along with its predecessors in the A series are the first devices with Android Pie and One UI skin out of the box (which is the same one found on the Galaxy S10). The One UI has been one of the most interesting things about the Galaxy A50 because it is so customizable. Yes, the One UI like the name suggests, makes things easier to operate phones of such sizes with one hand.
The drop down menu is easily accessible. Also, pulling down the notification tray covers the entire screen with icons, making it easy to reach with your thumb. Icons can be scaled up or down in size and the software is quite customizable with different themes and skins.
You also have the choice to remove the traditional navigation bar and use swipe gestures instead. This makes the whopping 6.4 inches screen even more amazing to look at. There is some bloatware such as apps for gallery, browser and the Galaxy store, but that didn’t seem to slow the phone down in any way.
In addition, One UI 1.1 brings support for Google’s Digital Well being feature, which tells you how much you use your phone every day and lets you set alarms and timers to inform you that you’ve used the phone or a particular app too much.
Even though there is no dedicated Bixby button, Samsung allows you to map the power button to Bixby. It’s a clever move, but however only available to Android Pie. To be honest I don’t have much use for Bixby, Google Assistant gets the job done.
Samsung Galaxy A50 review: Performance
This is where most mid-range phones cut corners. However, this is not the case with the Galaxy A50. Samsung decided to put its most powerful Exynos chip for mid-range phones yet, the Exynos 9610. It has four Cortex-A73 cores clocked at 2.3GHz for heavy tasks and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.7GHz focused on efficiency, along with the Mali-G72 GPU.
The Samsung Galaxy A50 will run most games smoothly. It does a good job of running PUBG at medium settings with very high rate. I also ran NBA 2K19 on high settings and it was smooth and without lag. However, I did notice the device heat up after about 30 minutes of game-play, especially around the cameras. Gaming on the Poco F1 is definitely a better choice, but with all what the Galaxy A50 offers, it’s hard to pass on it.
It does a good job of running day to day tasks, so for most people the performance will be great. I did notice some lag when using the phone while it was charging.
Samsung Galaxy A50 review: Battery
Unlike the Galaxy M30’s humongous 5,000mAh battery, the Galaxy A50 packs a 4,000mAh. It still does an excellent job at letting you get through a full day of fairly heavy use. With light usage you can easily get a day and half. The Always On Display drains about 1% every hour, which is not bad. Gaming however, drains the battery quicker. I saw the phone drop from 100% to 70% in about 70 minutes of playing PUBG, which is well above average.
Meanwhile, you get fast charging support and a fast charger bundled in the box. I notice the phone charged from 0-100 in a little under to hours (1 hour 50 minutes to be precise).
Samsung Galaxy A50 review: Audio and call quality
The Galaxy A50 gets a single bottom-firing speaker like most phones nowadays. It is fairly loud in crowded areas but sufficient enough for indoor use. There is little to no bass and the high frequencies call be too shrill at times. The included earphones aren’t the best out there (they are cheap!), so I suggest getting a better one for yourself(try the Xiaomi AirDots true wireless earphones). The Dolby Atmos support only works for wired or Bluetooth sounds. Enabling it results in higher volume and a better separation between left and right channels.
Calls as wells as network reception are great. The A50 is 4G enabled on both SIM slots and is able to catch low signals where most mid-range devices won’t. Most importantly, calls are clear and the volume is loud enough.
In conclusion, the Galaxy A50 is a great device, especially considering what it has to offer as a mid-range device. The Super AMOLED display, in-display finger print, tiny bezels, powerful chipset and triple camera set up are all features that distinguish it among other devices in the same category. It also has excellent battery life, Android Pie straight out of the box and Samsung’s latest One UI which is great. In short, If you’re willing to undercut these features for a larger battery and considerably for less, the Galaxy M20 is for you. In the same vein, if you prefer a larger screen, smaller battery, a better chipset and have $700 to spare, by all means go for the Galaxy A80.