Last month, Samsung released two midrange offerings in Galaxy A34 and A54. We took the Galaxy A54 out for a spin first, you can read our review here. Its younger sibling, the Samsung Galaxy A34, is priced at Rs 30,999 and covers the lower end of the midrange spectrum. We spent quite some time with the smartphone, digging into the finer nuances to see just how much value you are getting for your buck. Does it tick all the boxes? Find out in this in-depth Samsung Galaxy A34 review.
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Samsung Galaxy A34 review: Design and Display
Upon unpacking the box, you will find the A34 smartphone, a USB Type-C to Type-C charging cable, a SIM ejector tool, and some basic reading material. No power adapter or plastic case for Samsung’s mid-ranger.
Samsung has applied its flagship S23’s design language to the A series as well this year. The lenses on the vertical triple camera array don’t stick out as much as they do on the A54. The back panel on the A34 is made entirely from plastic and is a stark departure from the glass back on the A54. However, the frame here is a bit sleeker, which we like.
The glossy plastic back has the tendency to attract a few smudges but it does not amount to be a nuisance. Also, worth noting that we only observed prints and smudges upon prolonged use, that too in humid conditions. Without a glass back to elevate the in-hand feel of the device, the A34 does feel quite ordinary.
On the right edge of the frame, you get the volume rocker keys and the power button. At the bottom, you will find the microphone, the USB port, and the primary speaker grill. The hybrid SIM tray and secondary speaker have been placed up top. The left edge of the phone is clean and keyless.
Up front, you get a 6.6-inch display, which is bigger than the 6.4-inch unit on the A54. If you prioritise display over everything else then Samsung’s smartphones are a no-brainer, no matter which category you’re shopping in. Samsung has bumped the refresh rate on this Super AMOLED display to 120Hz, enhancing the fluidity and the overall scrolling experience.
With a 1,080 x 2,340p resolution, this stunning display captures a lot of details in the images it relays. The deep blacks and punchy, vivid colours make this device ideal to watch content on. With wide viewing angles, you don’t have to worry about how your phone is placed while watching videos on it. With a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, the display is decently visible under direct sunlight.
The bezels are still noticeable around the display and could use a little trimming. But a bigger letdown is the waterdrop cutout for the selfie camera which is an absurd choice on a Rs 30,000 smartphone in 2023. A punch-hole cutout for the front camera would have significantly improved the look of the phone.
The IP67 rating for dust and water resistance is a great sight on the Samsung Galaxy A34. You will hardly find any smartphones in this price range offering complete water resistance. You also get Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection up front, which can absorb minor falls with ease.
Samsung Galaxy A34 review: Performance and Cameras
Samsung Galaxy A34 comes in two storage variants – 128GB and 256GB. Both variants are offered with 8GB RAM. The 256GB variant gets a price tag of Rs 32,999. Samsung has ditched its Exynos chipset for a more powerful MediaTek Dimensity 1080 on this smartphone. The A34 comes with Android 13 skinned with One UI 5.1 out of the box. Samsung has promised four years of major OS upgrades along with five years of security patches on this device. In terms of software support, you won’t find a better deal anywhere else.
We used the Samsung Galaxy A34 as our daily for almost a week for this review. During our time with the phone, we did not run into any major performance issues. The Dimensity 1080 SoC is a common fixture on a lot of smartphones in this category. We used the A34 for routine tasks like checking emails, browsing social media, GPS navigation, playing video content, and more. There were no complications to report and the smartphone easily crushed these tasks while also running a handful of apps in the background.
To check out the gaming experience on the A34 we played Free Fire Max and Call of Duty mobile on the A34. The gameplay experience was quite satisfactory and the stellar display offers amazing fluidity and touch response. We noticed some minor heating around the camera bump around the 20-minute mark which slowly crept up as we kept playing. We pushed the device to its limit and were happy with the results. We did not experience any throttling for the first 40 minutes. After that, we had to stop the gameplay and let the device cool for a bit. We ran the Geekbench 6 test on the Samsung Galaxy A34 and it returned a single-core score of 734 points and a multi-core score of 2,472 points.
The OS experience offered by One UI 5.1 is also remarkable. The only premium feature missing from this smartphone is Samsung DeX, which is reserved for Samsung’s flagship products. The device gives you the option to skip installing the bloatware apps while setting up the phone but some apps like Amazon, Facebook, and Jio Cinema still manage to creep through. The Galaxy Widget is a great feature to make your home screen interesting, but it only displays advertisements if you don’t spend time customising it.
Samsung claims a 2-day battery life on the A54 and A34, equipping both phones with a 5,000 mAh battery unit. We tested this out and it (kind of) holds up. You can extend the battery life of the phone to 2 days if you don’t perform heavy tasks like gaming or prolonged navigation. If you stick to social media browsing and watching videos for a short duration, the phone will last almost two days. This means limiting the screen-on time to three hours per day.
With moderate to heavy usage, the A34 offers the standard one-day battery life. This is still pretty impressive because we were racking up almost 6-7 hours of screen-on time while performing heavy tasks like gaming, playing HD videos across multiple platforms, video recording, and even some light editing. By the end of the day, we were left with a 15% charge.
What we find interesting is that the A54 with its in-house Exynos chip falls slightly behind the A34 in terms of battery life. What unites both phones is 25W wired charging. Like the A54, Samsung Galaxy A34 takes around 90 minutes to fully charge. It is about time Samsung starts offering better charging speeds for their midrange offerings.
The rear camera unit on the A34 consists of a 48MP primary shooter, an 8MP ultrawide lens, and a 5MP macro camera. In ample natural lighting, the 48MP main camera delivers a powerful performance, producing very rich colours on the images without over-processing them too much. We were also happy with the amount of detail captured by this lens, and it resulted in sharp, well-composed images. The images are definitely ‘social media ready’ with slightly heightened contrast and some minor tune-up.
The Portrait Mode does a great job of separating the subject from the background and taking close-up images with a good amount of detail with them. You can see the results for yourself in the images below. The macro camera struggles to find its purpose in this array, and you’ll hardly ever find yourself using it.
The 8MP ultrawide lens delivers a good performance as well. Even though it doesn’t capture a lot of details as the primary lens, what we like is that it doesn’t compromise the colour profile. Images taken during the day are very colour rich and do not look washed at all. However, at night you’re better off sticking with the primary lens.
The 13MP selfie camera up front also performs very well. There is minor skin tone correction, but certainly a lot less than its counterparts in Vivo and Xiaomi. The best part about this camera is that it can record 4K videos at 30fps. The rear camera can also record in 4K, but if you want to make use of OIS, you will have to stick to 1080p resolution.
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Samsung has priced the Galaxy A34 at Rs 30,999, but using Premier Sale offers you can get it for as low as Rs 25,000. At this price, there are many good things to like about this phone. Firstly, the Super AMOLED display on the A34 is excellent and largely unmatched by any other phone in this segment. The MediaTek Dimensity 1080 SoC is also a great addition to this device. On top of that, you get a good primary and ultrawide camera. If you can look past the dated waterdrop notch on the display and the slow charging, the Samsung Galaxy A34 will make a solid daily driver.
Samsung Galaxy A34: Pros
- Great display
- Good SoC
- Tremendous battery life
- 4 major OS upgrades + 5 years of security patches
Samsung Galaxy A34: Cons
- Sizeable bezels around the display along with a waterdrop notch
- Slow charging
- Macro lens doesn’t need to be there
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