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Samsung Galaxy A50 Review

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If you didn’t notice, we haven’t seen new devices under the Samsung Galaxy J-series in recent months. That’s because the company has decided to pull the plug on this line and consolidate all their entry-level offering under the same branding — the Galaxy A series.

The Galaxy A will house all of Samsung’s low-end and midrange devices, with the Samsung Galaxy A50 leading the charge in the sub-Php17k price segment.

Besides restructuring their smartphone line-up, Samsung is also trying to improve the specs and features that their devices have, in an attempt to compete with a lot of fast-emerging brands from China.

With that, being one of the pilar’s of the company’s movement, we’ll see in our Samsung Galaxy A50 review if Sammy still what it takes to maintain in the top spot.

Samsung Galaxy A50 Specs

  • Android 9 Pie, Samsung One UI
  • Dual SIM
  • 6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display, 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution, ~403ppi
  • 2.3GHz Exynos 9610 octa-core processor
  • 6GB RAM
  • Mali-G72 MP3 GPU
  • 128GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 512GB
  • 25-megapixel front camera, f/1.7
  • 25-megapixel + 5-megapixel + 8-megapixel triple rear cameras, PDAF, f/1.7, LED flash
  • In-display fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
  • 960fps video recording, Night Mode
  • HSPA+, 4G LTE
  • WiFi 803.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • FM Radio
  • GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo
  • USB Type-C
  • Dimensions: 158.5 x 74.7 x 7.7mm
  • Weight: 166g
  • Colors: Gradient Black, Blue, White, Coral
  • 4,000mAh non-removable battery, 15W charger

See also: Samsung Galaxy A50 unboxing and video review

Design

Competing devices with better processors and cameras have clearly overshadowed Samsung’s previous releases. However, it’s no secret that their designs have always been top notch.

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Right at first holding the Samsung Galaxy A50, you can immediately feel that you’re indeed holding a Samsung device. It feels really sleek as it’s only 7.7mm thick and very light at 166g. That’s despite its large 6.4-inch screen and 4,000mAh battery. This device is the most comfortable and ergonomic handset that we’ve had so far.

The back panel is made of plastic, but it surely doesn’t feel like it. It has a glass-like finish, which creates colorful reflections that provides an extra spice on the overall look. It’s available in Coral, Gradient Black, Blue, and White, which is the unit that we have here.

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The device is being held together by a metal chassis, although it feels like the band that surrounds it is made of plastic. I did some minor bending and flexing tests and it feels sturdy enough. You can also notice that the band has a smokey metal color, which I previously thought an unremoved plastic wrap.

As stated earlier, the Samsung Galaxy A50 has a 6.4-inch FHD+ screen on the front, with a tiny notch on top that Samsung calls as the “Infinity-U display”. It’s slightly taller than the waterdrop notch that some devices have, but still not distracting. The side bezels are also thin, although the chin is relatively thicker.

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I also like how a short animation accentuates the notch every time it launches face unlock or taking a selfie. It’s like the device is prompting you to look at the selfie camera. Talk about attention to detail.

On the left side, we have the volume controls and lock/power switch. The buttons are really tactile and even provides an audible click sound every time you press them. While on the left we only have the SIM tray that can house two Nano SIMs and a microSD card (up to 512GB).

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Right up top we only have the noise-canceling microphone, while on the bottom we have the primary microphone, as well as the loudspeaker, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and thankfully, a USB Type-C port.

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The back is pretty clean. Other than its aforementioned reflective design, you’d also admire the triple camera setup and the LED flash, with the Samsung logo on the middle. The camera bump is almost unnoticeable and the metal band that surrounds the lens is protruded enough to protect it from scratches caused by being laid in a flat surface.

It features a pretty solid build. But if you want extra protection, you can slap in the included clear case. Or get any of the new Samsung Galaxy Friends x Marvel smart cases for the Samsung Galaxy A50.

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Besides giving that superhero look on the outside, the device’s interface also automatically changes to match the case. Thus completing the overall look.

Display

Samsung always gets their smartphone screens right, which isn’t that surprising since they are actually one of the biggest suppliers of display panels in the world.

With that said, it’s no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy A50 has a really great screen quality. It boasts a 6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display, with a 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution, ~403ppi, and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection.

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The actual quality is something to be expected. Thanks to its Super AMOLED panel, the colors are really vibrant, and the deep blacks really make the contrast very good.

Moreover, the FHD+ resolution was able to fill its 6.4-inch screen well, so details remain sharp. However, since it uses a 19:9 aspect ratio, most videos will have black bars on the sides when being played.

You can zoom it in to fill up the screen, although the top and bottom frames will be cropped and you have to bear seeing the tiny notch on the side.

Sound Quality

The Samsung Galaxy A50 has a single bottom-firing speaker. It would be nice to see stereo speakers to go mainstream and not just exclusive to the premium ones, but I guess we’re not there yet.

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Thankfully, the loudspeakers on this one offer decent quality. It’s good for watching videos with clear dialogs and audible bass. The sound coming out from the earpiece when making calls is good, either.

The Galaxy A50 also outputs decent audio through its 3.5mm headphone jack and comes with Dolby Atmos technology.

Hardware and Performance

Almost the majority of smartphones today, no matter what the price is, are already capable enough to handle pretty much any tasks you throw at it. But still, a lot of people still value a handset’s hardware specs.

If you’re one of those people, then you’re in for a treat with the Samsung Galaxy A50. This device is powered by an Exynos 9610 octa-core processor, a chipset that came from the company’s powerful Exynos 9-series of processors.

Samsung Galaxy A50 benchmark scores:

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Partnered with its 6GB of RAM, the Galaxy A50 can handle all your daily tasks and activities with finesse. You can check your social media feeds, browse websites through Google Chrome, snap and edit pictures, play music, and more without a hitch. You can also switch between different tasks seamlessly.

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The gaming performance was also fine, although not the best. PUBG Mobile, one of the most demanding games around, ran in High settings with smooth frame rates. Mobile Legends also ran fine. You can also play NBA 2K19 decently, although I noticed that there were delays in the commentary and crowd tracks.

Software and User Interface

Just like their entry-level line-up, Samsung is trying to streamline the interface of their smartphones by introducing Samsung One UI (with Android 9.0 Pie), a big departure from their previous skins, which were known to be bulky and notorious for slowing things down.

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Thanks to this, the Samsung Galaxy A50 feels really light and easy to operate. Actually, Samsung really made sure that the One UI is unobtrusive that its overall look and feel is close to stock-Android’s.

You can swipe up or down from the home screen to easily access the app drawer and a local search. The notification center is clean, while on top of it is your most common use toggles (WiFi, Bluetooth, etc) while sliding down further lets you access all shortcuts.

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Android 9 Pie also lets you choose different navigation styles. From the traditional Back-Home-Recent buttons to gesture ones. There’s also the other features that come standard with Android Pie like Digital Wellbeing, which lets you monitor your smartphone habits.

There’s also the Notification Dots that adds a counter on top of each app if they have pending notifications. It does work in most apps, but unlike what iOS users have, it works inconsistently.

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Oh, and of course, you can also access Bixby by swiping on the far left of the home screen, in case you have the patience to bother using it.

Overall, the user interface on the Samsung Galaxy A50 really made it comfortable to use. And I’m really glad that the company has finally decided to clean up their UI.

Security

In-display fingerprint scanners used to be exclusive to premium smartphones. But with the Samsung Galaxy A50, we’re starting to see this latest technology to come on midrange devices.

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The only problem is, it doesn’t seem to work well on this device. Compared to the one found on devices like the Vivo V15 Pro, it feels a little slow and unreliable. You have to really position your finger on the middle to get it correct.

It worked unreliably that using the face unlock feature is proven to be more effective. The moment you pull up the device and attempt to scan your finger, the front-facing camera has already detected your face and unlocked the device in a snap.

Camera

One of the key highlights of the Samsung Galaxy A50, or almost all midrange devices for that matter, is its cameras. It has triple-camera setup on the back — and we will start talking about its 25-megapixel primary camera, with PDAF and a wide aperture of f/1.7.

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This camera can take unsurprisingly good photos. The colors are great and the contrast is really dee[. There are no issues with the sharpness and dynamic range, too.

Also, its Scene Optimizer feature — a.k.a ‘AI Scene Detection’ on other devices — can instantly analyze the photo your about to take, and apply the right adjustment to make the image look better. It does make colors pop and Instagram-ready, so unless you’re one of those pro-photographers who love RAW images, I suggest you leave the Scene Optimizer mode on.

Its low-light performance is good too, thanks to the wide aperture. There’s almost no visible noise and grains — just overall a clean indoor/night photo.

Next stop, we have the 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera on the Samsung Galaxy A50. Unsurprisingly, the quality is not as good as the 25-megapixel primary camera. The colors are not as vibrant and the sharpness is a bit lacking.

But still, the overall image is passable. Also, having a camera with a lens this wide gives you flexibility when shooting different scenarios. You can cram in more subject in a single frame, do landscape or architectural photography, or group photos of people — or food — without having to step far back.

Of course, there’s the 5-megapixel depth-sensor. It works fine on human subjects, but it does struggle on objects, and always prompts the user to “stay within 3-5 feet away from the subject”, which can be really annoying.

But when it decides to finally get the focus right, it does deliver a believable effect. However, the entire image looks a little soft. Also, you might want to tone down the background blur a bit (which you can do after the shot is taken) for a more realistic look.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a proper review if we didn’t talk about the Samsung Galaxy A50’s selfie camera. This thing sports a 25-megapixel front-facing shooter, and it packs some of the novelties you come to expect on a selfie snapper.

As expected, the image quality is sharp, vibrant, and contrasty. Although your selfies might look a little soft when you enable its Face Beauty modes. The same thing happens when you use the Live Focus feature. On the upside, both modes did a good job of doing what they’re supposed to do.

Battery

The Samsung Galaxy A50 comes with a 4,000mAh battery with a 15W fast charger. We’ve reached the era where having this much battery capacity and fast-charging technology became a standard inclusion in a lot of midrange smartphones, and we can’t be happier.

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Well, it goes without saying that it was able to provide a good battery performance. As per usual, we went with PCMark’s battery test, where it ran a series of simulated tasks until the battery reached 20%. By which, the Galaxy A50 got an 11hrs and 11mins of screen-on time.

In a real-world scenario, this basically means that the Galaxy A50 can easily last for a day of casual to light usage. And if you want to binge watch or do continuous gaming sessions, you can get at least 6hrs to 8hrs of juice out of this thing.

Verdict

As stated earlier, Samsung is slowly being taken over by a lot of Chinese brands in the industry today. But as what we saw on the Samsung Galaxy A50,  the South Korean tech giant is really attempting to stop that from happening.

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The Galaxy A50 comes with features that aim to please the millennials. There are the powerful processor and large battery for avid gamers, triple camera setup and a pixel-packed selfie snapper for Instagram-worthy shots, and a large vibrant display for content consumption.

Also, the device’s sleek design and straightforward interface would also appeal to smartphone users of all ages.

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Probably the only biggest flaw of the Galaxy A50 is its in-display fingerprint scanner. Although we’re still hoping that a software update can fix it. But I wish Samsung just stuck with a traditional physical scanner instead of just showing off.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy A50 is really a step in the right direction for Samsung. If you’re looking for a good smartphone on this price range that can pretty much do anything, the Galaxy A50 is your guy.

Samsung Galaxy A50 pricing and availability in the Philippines

In case this review helped you to finally pull the trigger, then you can now get your Samsung Galaxy A50 for Php17,990. You can get it at Samsung stores, kiosks, and multi-brand shops nationwide.

Pros

  • Large, vibrant display
  • Reliable performance
  • Flexible cameras
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • In-display fingerprint scanner almost unusable
  • Ultra wide-angle camera quality could be better

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