Samsung’s next Unpacked event has just begun, and there isn’t a single flagship phone in sight, just like a slew of leaks predicted. Instead, Samsung used its second big live stream of the year — or seventh, if you count its CES keynote — to unveil a new line of mid-range smartphones, which are the successor to last year Galaxy phones which includes Galaxy A52, Galaxy A52 5G, and Galaxy A72. (Unfortunately, Samsung has not yet revealed prices for these new phones at the time of publication; we’ll update this story until we know how much it costs.)
We haven’t had the opportunity to try one out yet, but the Galaxy A52 looks to be well-equipped to succeed its predecessor. For one thing, it’s marginally larger than the A51, and Samsung has taken advantage of the extra room by having a larger 4,500mAh battery with 25W wired fast charging, dual SIM support, and IP67 certification for water and dust resistance.
Samsung chose a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display screen with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels once again, but this year’s monitor should be noticeably smoother thanks to its 90Hz refresh rate.
The improvements don’t end there, though. Samsung went for a quad-camera setup this time, with a 64-megapixel main sensor with optical image stabilization and an f/1.8 aperture, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide digital camera, and two 5-megapixel macro and depth sensors.
Meanwhile, a 32-megapixel front-facing compact camera is jammed into a tiny cutout inside the show to include some possibly unnecessarily informative selfies.
(Hopefully, one of the improvements Samsung made to the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s camera program made it to this point.) One of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 720G chipsets completes the kit, which includes 4, 6, or 8GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB of internal storage, and support for microSD cards up to 1TB.
Samsung Galaxy A52
So, what’s the deal with the A52 5G? Physically, it’s similar to the standard A52, but it does have a couple of surprising twists. The Snapdragon 750G chipset inside, which is still relatively new and performs marginally faster than the 720G despite a lower peak clock speed on its high-performance CPU cores, is the reason it could operate well with sub-6 5G networks. In terms of speed, the A52 5G’s 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display has a slightly faster 120Hz refresh rate, making it the most buttery-smooth screen among Samsung’s current lineup of phones.
If it wasn’t obvious before, all three of Samsung’s phones have a lot in common — they’re all available in the same black, white, and purple colorways, for example, and they all have smoother, more seamless-looking backs that seem to be influenced by this year’s Galaxy S21 line. They all have stereo audio systems — a hardware feature that is unfortunately uncommon in many mid-range smartphones — and can come with AC chargers and USB cables.
Samsung Galaxy A72
The A-series phones’ common foundation stretches into applications as well, as is customary. Samsung’s One UI 3.0 GUI, which includes features like Private Share and SmartThings Find, will be standard on all of the latest devices. Probably most notably, all three phones will get three versions of Android app upgrades, as well as security updates for “at least” four years.
Although it may seem odd to have a highly-produced streaming launch event for a mid-range smartphone, it isn’t surprising. Samsung took a similar path with the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition last year, a phone that’s been hurried to market in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and went on to become one of the company’s best-selling products.
Samsung’s A-series devices still have a strong pull on audiences who can’t afford flagship prices due to their low prices. Remember: For a brief period last year, the Galaxy A51 was the best-selling Android phone on the globe, and the lower-end A21s, A11, and A01 followed it in India’s tally of best-selling phones in 2020.
On paper, this trio of new phones seems to be serious rivals. For the time being, though, it is uncertain if Samsung will be willing to promote as many phones — mid-range or otherwise — as it did in 2020. According to a late-night Bloomberg story, Samsung co-CEO DJ Koh said during the company’s annual shareholder meeting that he expects the company to provide points in the coming quarter due to continued foreign chip shortage.
So far, Samsung seems to have weathered the storm without incident, but Koh cautioned that despite the relatively smooth sailing so far, “it’s impossible to claim the scarcity question has been solved 100 percent.