Update Samsung A350 Price Review – No matter what Samsung would have you believe, the Galaxy Series doesn’t begin and end with the S and Note lines. Samsung’s flagships may get all the attention, but you wouldn’t be the biggest smartphone maker on the planet if you ignore those who don’t have the best parts of the latest phone.
That’s where the Samsung Galaxy A50 comes in, and it excels. At first glance, it looks like the Galaxy S10, but inside it offers a fairly fast experience without maxing out the graphics performance. It’s an absolute steal at £310 and well worth considering if the S and Note ranges are too expensive for you.
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The Galaxy A series is very confusing. All you really need to know is that the Galaxy A50 is now the second best in the lineup, behind the A70. It will soon become the third when the A80 launches later this month. This makes it better than the A10, A20e and A40, in general.
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What that actually translates to is a 6.4-inch device that looks like the Samsung Galaxy S10, but with a cutout on the inside. The 2.3GHz Exynos 9610 octa-core processor powering the phone is roughly equivalent to the Snapdragon 675 that powers the Galaxy A70. The phone also has 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.
Amazingly, for the price, the Samsung Galaxy A50 comes with a triple camera setup on the back, with a depth sensor and an ultra-wide lens to accompany the 25-megapixel main camera. The A50 also comes with Samsung’s usual Super AMOLED display, which is impressive when rivals at this price point often come with cheaper IPS displays. Doubly so when it also includes an in-display fingerprint reader.
So what’s wrong? Quite a reasonable £310 don’t you think. It’s actually quite a bit cheaper than most of Samsung’s other smartphone offerings, so its closest competition comes from other manufacturers.
First up is our favorite mid-ranger, the Google Pixel 3a. A scaled-down version of Google’s flagship, this version is a bit slower, less attractively built and drops some features at £399, but already sells for around £350. Likewise, the P30 Lite is a scaled-down version of Huawei’s P30 series and retails for £329.
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Alternatively, there is a flagship in mid-range clothing, the Xiaomi Pocophone F1. It’s a phone that somehow manages to cost just £329 despite packing Qualcomm’s fastest mobile processor of 2018. Finally, there’s the Nokia 8.1, which starts at £380 but has been charging less lately.
It’s a pretty tough competition, but the Samsung Galaxy A50 starts off very well with the Galaxy S10. This means it’s virtually silent, although this version sees the return of the front-facing camera notch. However, here it’s more of a waterfall – a small indentation at the top of the phone.
Like the S10, there’s a very small chin on the bottom of the phone, but it’s only noticeable because the rest of the side has almost no bezel to speak of. The back is slightly curved and it’s plastic instead of glass, which should make it more durable. It’s still the kind of smartphone you want to protect with some kind of mindset.
Most interestingly for a phone at this price, the fingerprint reader is built into the display, meaning it’s not visible on the phone itself. Just press your thumb on the bottom of the screen and the phone unlocks – maybe a hair slower than usual, but still a great feature for the price.
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In terms of other features, as always, Samsung does very well. Expandable memory? Check: microSD cards up to 512 GB are supported. Headphone jack? Present and correct. Dual SIM? Yes sir. The two gripes I have are that it’s not waterproof and doesn’t support wireless charging, but you can’t have it all at this price.
If there’s one thing Samsung is known for with its phones, it’s its display quality. And that Super AMOLED screen doesn’t disappoint – this time you’re looking at a 6.4-inch panel with a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080.
The screen displays 100% of the sRGB spectrum and in primary color mode the screen manages to represent colors very accurately. The other modes – Photo, Cinema and Customization – are a little more lively, but you can’t say you’re spoiled for choice.
As an AMOLED, the contrast is excellent and the brightness is not too bad, reaching a maximum brightness of 560 cd/m2 in auto mode (although it reaches 350 cd/m2 if you push it to maximum brightness, probably for battery reasons).
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In short, it’s as good a display as you’d expect for the price – better, in fact, thanks to the addition of an in-display fingerprint reader.
Before I answer this question, a brief overview. The Samsung Galaxy A50 is powered by a 2.3GHz Exynos 9610 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. With daily use, it’s smooth, opening quickly and jumping between apps with ease. But how does it fit the criteria?
With one obvious exception, they’re all huge. The Samsung Galaxy A50 beats everything else in its price range (including, ludicrously, the £60 more expensive Galaxy A70), but not by too clear a margin.
With this exception: the £329 Xiaomi Pocophone F1 wipes the floor with everything in that price bracket. It’s not surprising given that it uses the same chip that powered the Samsung Galaxy S9 in the US last year, but it’s pretty obvious what to do if you want to get the most for your money.
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It’s a similar story when it comes to graphics grunts, though here the Galaxy A50 fares worse, lagging behind the Pixel 3a and the Snapdragon-powered Nokia 8.1. The Pocophone F1 is the clear winner, of course.
But the Samsung Galaxy A50 has one major ace, and that’s battery life. Our video wasn’t long enough to include everything, so it started looping a second time, a massive 21 hours and 21 minutes before the 4,000mAh cell finally shut down. The Galaxy A70 only has an extra 500 mAh, where it managed 25 hours and 22 minutes.
The Samsung Galaxy A50 treats us to not one, not two, but three rear cameras. The 25-megapixel, f/1.7 primary camera is supported by an eight-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a five-megapixel f/2.2 depth sensor. It would be nice if one of them was a telephoto zoom, but I’d probably be asking for the moon on a stick, given the cheap specs it gives us for the price.
That makes it a pretty good match for the £329 Huawei P30 Lite’s triple-camera setup (48MP, f/1.8 with eight-megapixel wide-angle lens and two-megapixel depth sensor). And while the Samsung Galaxy A50’s shots look pretty good from afar when you zoom in, it’s clear that the Huawei P30 Lite has the upper hand.
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This doesn’t mean the Galaxy A50 is bad. And given the uncertain future of Huawei’s Android, you might consider losing a little loyalty a price worth paying.
In low-light shots, the camera is a better match, both delivering images with detail, accurate colors and very little noise. Both are good, but Huawei again has a slight edge.
For video, the Galaxy A50 can record Full HD at 30fps. If you want 4K or 60fps (not both), you’ll need to pay an extra £60 for the Galaxy A70. However, the video quality is quite good and the image stabilization seems quite strong for a flexible hand.
The front selfie camera also deserves a little boost. It’s a 25-megapixel affair with an f/2.0 aperture. This can be overkill for Skype calls and selfies, and even with Beauty Mode turned off, Samsung still insists on removing all wrinkles and giving you that weird alien glow in Samsung’s camera app.
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For some, this may be a plus, but beware of Instagram bullies on smartphone beauty regimes: you’re not fooling anyone.
Still, if that’s all you can say is wrong with the Galaxy A50, then Samsung is doing something right. Very true, actually.
For £310 you get a pretty impressive smartphone that looks good, has a great screen, is fast enough for most people and takes good pictures too. This is a phone that will be more than enough for most people.
If you want more speed, the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 is worth a look for the extra £20, and if you like a cleaner version of Android, it might be worth the Pixel 3a. But for most people, you won’t do better for the price.1 USB 2.0, Audio Anschluss: Audio with USB-C, Card
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