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Samsung Galaxy A42 5G Review

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When it came out, the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G used to be one of the cheapest 5G smartphones on the market. However, the technology matured so quickly that we’re now seeing cheaper alternatives.

Like other 5G phones, it’s exclusively through Globe and Smart postpaid plans. But to give you an idea of its cost, it has a one-time cashout price o Php12,000 on Globe’s ThePlan 599.

So, is it the one you should get? Or are you better off with a non-5G but more powerful smartphone for the price? We find out in our Samsung Galaxy A42 5G review.

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G Specs

  • Android 10, One UI
  • Dual SIM, Dual standby
  • 6.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED display
  • 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G octa-core processor
  • 6GB RAM
  • Adreno 619 GPU
  • 128GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 1TB
  • 20-megapixel front camera
  • 48-megapixel (f/1.8) + 8-megapixel (ultra-wide, f/2.2) + 5-megapixel (macro, f/2.4) + 5-megapixel (macro, f/2.4) rear cameras, LED flash
  • In-display fingerprint scanner
  • 4G LTE, 5G
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • NFC, Samsung Pay
  • USB Type-C
  • Dimensions: 164.3 x 75.8 x 8.6mm
  • Weight: 193g
  • Colors: Prism Dot Gray, Prism Dot Black
  • 5,000mAh non-removable battery, 15W adaptive fast charging

Design and Build Quality

The recent phones we’ve reviewed prioritizes specs and features over design, which is why we’re stunned when we first held the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G.

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Like most premium Samsung phones, the Galaxy A42 5G feels really nice in the hands thanks to its really slim and curved profile.

The geometric design on the back is also really appealing and nothing like we’ve seen below. It’s divided into four parts vertically, kind of like steps on a staircase that goes darker in color as it goes up. The unit we have here is the Prism Dot Gray, which looks really clean, while a Prism Dot Black model is also available.

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Looking closely, you’d see tiny dots that fill the entire paint job, hence the “Prism Dot” moniker. This surface is made of plastic. It’s prone to fingerprint smudges but barely noticeable.

We then have a square glass on the top left for the quad-cameras, the LED flash below it, and the Samsung logo on the bottom.

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On the front, we have a 6.6-inch Super AMOLED screen, with a waterdrop notch for the selfie camera, which Samsung calls the “Infinity-U” notch.

Thanks to the OLED screen, the bezels were able to be kept at the minimum. This means you’re getting more screen for a smaller size.

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There’s a hybrid SIM tray on the left, which can house either two nano SIM cards or use the latter for a microSD card. While on the right, there are the volume controls and the lock/power switch. Like the chassis, the buttons are plastic but have a clicky sound and tactile feel when pressed.

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The top only has the noise-canceling microphone. The primary microphone is at the bottom, and the 3.5mm headphone jack, loudspeaker, and USB Type-C port.

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Right off the bat, the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G was able to impress us thanks to its sleek and refreshing design and solid build quality — despite being primarily made with plastic.

Display and Sound Quality

The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G shares the same Super AMOLED screen that its cousins have. Together with its large 6.6-inch size, it offers vibrant colors and deep contrast, great for watching movies, playing games, and other media consumption.

However, this is also where its biggest let-down exists. It may be a budget 5G phone, but it’s still a proper mid-range device. This is why having an HD+ screen instead of FHD+ is unforgivable.

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The Galaxy A42 5G also lacks a high refresh rate screen and is stuck at 60Hz, while some of the competition is already at 90Hz or 120Hz.

It would also be nice to see a stereo speaker setup on this thing. Thankfully, the single bottom-firing speaker delivers clean and full audio with audible bass. Albeit, the volume is a little lacking.

For a better experience, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top for you to plug a pair of earphones in — which you have to purchase separately since it doesn’t come with one.

Hardware and Performance

Powering the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750 octa-core 5G, with 4GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It’s not a Snapdragon 765G like the OnePlus Nord and other midrange 5G phones. Albeit, it’s a decent choice or the price.

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G benchmarks

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L-R: AnTuTu Benchmark, GeekBench, 3DMark, PCMark

We had no issue with the performance, which is also due to its clean user interface. Basic and mundane tasks like social media browsing, taking pictures, making calls, and whatnot are smooth on this handset. Although, the multitasking isn’t as good as those with 8GB of RAM.

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Call of Duty Mobile on Galaxy A42 5G

Since it only has an HD+ screen, games are not as taxing to the GPU. With that, we were able to play Call of Duty Mobile under high graphics settings and max frame rates seamlessly with little to no visible frame drops.

Titles like Genshin Impact, League of Legends Wild Rift, and Mobile Legends should also run smoothly on this one.

Software and User Interface

The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G shipped with Android 10 out of the box. By the time of this writing, the device already got the Android 11-based One UI 3.0 update.

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Samsung’s One UI is one of the cleanest, straightforward, and convenient-to-use interfaces in the market today. We don’t expect Samsung to go with stock Android soon, but this is close enough.

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Samsung Edge Panels

One of Samsung’s signature features, the Edge panels, is here. Giving you quick access to apps, commands, contacts, and others, by sliding the icon that’s constantly on the side of the screen.

Samsung is also giving you a choice to go with gesture-based navigations. The in-display fingerprint scanner and face recognition feature also worked well during our testing.

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Sound/Vibration Settings | Security Settings

A couple of Samsung and Microsoft bloatware are present. Some of them can be removed, while some are there to stay.

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Samsung and Microsoft bloatware

Overall, Samsung One UI is still one of our favorite third-party interfaces out there.

Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G features a 48-megapixel ISOCELL GM2 main camera with an f/1.8 aperture and a Quad Bayer color filter. Next to it is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide that has a 13mm equivalent and f/2.2 aperture. The last two are your standard inclusions: 5-megapixel macro and 5-megapixel depth sensor.

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We’re getting great images with the main shooters. In typical Samsung fashion, the colors are lively, albeit slightly on the warmer side. The contrast is deep, the details are fine, and the dynamic range is acceptable.

The standard images are taken in 12-megapixel mode for better colors and details, especially at night. But if you want, there’s a hi-res option available in the camera app that takes a full 48-megapixel image. This results in sharper images, with the contrast and colors intact.

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48-megapixel main camera
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48-megapixel main camera

We then have the 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera that lets you frame large subjects on a single shot. The flexibility it provides is a nice addition. The quality is acceptable, too, but definitely not the sharpest and most colorful of all.

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8-megapixel ultra-wide

Unlike most phones with a 2-megapixel depth sensor, the 5-megapixel shooter used on this one helps the software create more believable artificial depth of field photos.

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5-megapixel depth-sensor

The 5-megapixel macro camera is also a good addition. It’s better than what the others have, but don’t expect too much from its quality.

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5-megapixel macro

On the front, we have a 20-megapixel selfie camera, which saves images at 12-megapixel resolution for some reason. This could be some sort of pixel-binning, as selfies on this thing look bright, contrasty, and colorful with a nice dynamic range.

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20-megapixel front camera

Connectivity

Of course, the main highlight of the Samsung Galaxy A42 is its 5G connectivity. If you’re one of the lucky ones who live in areas with 5G coverage, then this should be worth your while.

Also onboard are dual-band WiFi AC, USB Type-C port, and something we rarely see on midrange phones, NFC for quick pairing and payments.

Battery

With the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G, you’re getting a substantial 5,000mAh battery. An apt size for a 5G phone that’s hungry for power. Our usual PCMark battery loop test got a score of 16 hours and 47 minutes of screen-on time before it reached 20%.

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This means you should get an entire day of use out of this device — may be a little less if 5G connectivity is turned on all the time.

The Galaxy A42 5G comes with a 15W fast charger to top it up, putting it behind the competition, which mostly already come with a 30W brick. Sadly, our review unit didn’t come with a wall adapter but based on experience, a 15W adapter charging a 5,000mAh battery may take at least two hours.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G is a smartphone geared for people who want both technology and style fused into one. It has 5G connectivity, a capable processor for work and gaming, great battery life, a clean interface, and capable cameras — all are crammed inside a sleek and unique-looking attractive smartphone.

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However, it lags behind the competition in terms of charging speed, screen resolution and having stereo speakers. For most people, those are big deal-breakers since they can have those features on other smartphones for a similar price.

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G availability in the Philippines

The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G is exclusively available on Globe ThePlan and Smart Signature postpaid plans.

Pros

  • Thin and unique design
  • Colorful AMOLED screen
  • Flagship-level processor
  • Long battery life
  • Clean interface
  • 5G connectivity

Cons

  • Only HD+ screen
  • Slow charging
  • No stereo speakers

Comments

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  1. Hello, my phone knowledge is minimal. You list cons that can be had on other phones at a similar price. Could you please list what those other phones are? I would like to maintain the headphone jack and SD card slot. Thank you very much!

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