After unveiling its flagship Galaxy S series in February, Samsung turned its focus to the midrange segment in March, expanding its A series portfolio. The Samsung Galaxy A54 and A34 are finally here, competing in a segment full of flagship killers and value-for-money smartphones. The higher-priced Galaxy A54 locks horns with the OnePlus 11R (review here) and Vivo V27 Pro (review here). While the 11R brings a powerful processor (Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1) to the table, the V27 Pro offers a stellar camera performance. Needless to say, the Galaxy A54 has its task cut out for it. We used the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G for about a week, here is our in-depth review.
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Samsung Galaxy A54 5G review: Design and Display
The Samsung Galaxy A54 ships inside the signature compact rectangular Samsung box, which is a dead giveaway that there isn’t a power adapter in there. The contents have been kept to a minimum. Inside the box, you will find the smartphone, a USB Type-C to Type-C charging cable, a SIM ejector tool, and a quick start guide. The phone does not come with a plastic case neither there is any protective covering on the display out of the box.
Pulling the device out of its plastic covering, you’ll notice that Samsung has made some noticeable upgrades on the build and form factor. You may remember last year’s Galaxy A53 (review here) sporting a plastic back. Well, that’s not the case with the A54 as it gets a flat glossy glass back panel. This dramatically elevates the in-hand feel of the device, something that you expect when you’re paying almost Rs 40,000 for a smartphone.
In terms of design, Samsung seems to be sticking with S23’s camera array setup on this year’s A series. We saw this earlier with the Galaxy A14 (review here) as well. A welcome addition, although some may argue it robs the smartphone of its uniqueness. The design in itself is pretty minimal, the three camera lenses are arranged vertically on the top left section of the back panel. While the lenses stick out a bit further compared to the S23 series, the smartphone doesn’t wobble while resting on a flat surface.
The plastic material used on the frame is a stark departure from the premium feel of the glass back. The frame is quite chunky, and if you move your finger from the display to the edges, you will be able to feel the raised borders of the frame. Having said that, the matte-like texture on the frame provides a nice grip. The volume rocker and the power key are positioned on the right side of the frame while the left side has been left empty. The USB port, speaker grille, and microphones are housed at the bottom of the phone. The secondary speaker and SIM tray are placed at the top.
Samsung continues to knock it out of the park with its stellar displays. The 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display has a 120Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 1000 nits. Even under bright sunlight, the display is perfectly legible. The touch receptivity is as smooth as it gets, which makes the browsing experience extremely satisfying. The under-display fingerprint works fine but could have been a bit quicker. The sizeable bezels around the display are a disappointment, especially when you consider that the A54 costs Rs 39,000.
Once you get past the bezels, the Samsung Galaxy A54 is pretty good when it comes to watching content. The images produced on the screen are vibrant, well-composed, and pack a lot of details. While Samsung doesn’t mention HDR support for this display, the YouTube app is able to play HDR videos. The same doesn’t apply to Netflix.
Another aspect where the Galaxy A54 pulls ahead of its competitors is dust and water resistance. With an IP67 rating, you don’t have to worry about any water damage in case you accidentally spill something on the phone or take it out in rainy conditions. While we’re talking about protection, the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 is also a pretty good piece of hardware to have.
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G review: Performance and Cameras
Let us get the specs out of the way first. The Samsung Galaxy A54 5G is powered by the new Exynos 1380 SoC and comes with Android 13 out of the box. The OS is skinned with One UI 5.1. GPU duties are handled by the Mali G-68 MP5. The smartphone comes in two storage variants (128GB and 256GB) with 8GB RAM. The 256GB variant has been priced at Rs 40,999.
The new Exynos 1380 SoC is a decent chip on paper, but it is certainly a step behind its Snapdragon counterparts. In this price segment, a better SoC would’ve made all the difference. Compare this to the OnePlus 11R which comes with last year’s flagship Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, which is a tremendous processor on all accounts. This isn’t to say that the Exynos 1380 is a bad chip by any means, but it pales in comparison to the competition.
The Exynos 1380 SoC handles the basics pretty well. Browsing through the apps is met with no delays or lags, although a slight dip in performance is noticeable when you overload the system with multiple apps running in the background. While this scenario may not present itself in everyday use, the other processors in this price range are able to handle it pretty well. Talking about benchmarks, the Samsung Galaxy A14 scored 1010 points on the single-core Geekbench 6 test. The multi-core test returned 2820 points. In comparison, the OnePlus 11R scored 888 points and the Vivo V27 Pro scored 1151 points.
We played Call of Duty Mobile on the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G and the performance was decent. The only drawback when it comes to gaming is that some games, including Call of Duty, do not run in the maximum graphics setting. This may not bother casual gamers but if you’re looking for a serious gaming smartphone, there are better options out there. While playing COD we noticed slight overheating around the camera array after 30 minutes of gameplay. The gaming performance was not affected right away, but as the back panel got hotter, frame drops also increased in frequency.
Samsung’s One UI remains one of the best Android skins out there. The A54 gets the full One UI experience, with only a few premium features (like Samsung Dex) held back. There is some bloatware on the phone, which isn’t a good look at this price point. One UI comes with integrated ‘Link to Windows’ connectivity, which makes it easy to remotely access your phone’s functions from your PC. Samsung’s Secure Folder and Maintenance Mode are two great privacy features that we liked on this device. Samsung has promised 4 years of major OS updates along with 5 years of security updates with the A54, which is incredible to see.
Samsung Galaxy A54’s battery performance is quite satisfactory. Packed with a 5,000 mAh battery unit, the smartphone can easily last a day with 5-6 hours of screen-on time. On moderate to heavy usage, we were consistently left with a 15-20% charge by the end of the day. With 25W charging support, the smartphone takes around 90 minutes to fully juice up. Faster charging would have been ideal here.
Moving on, the camera performance is one of the bigger highlights of this device. Samsung seems to have done its homework and presented a well-rounded camera unit that doesn’t leave much room for complaints. The rear camera array sports a 50MP primary shooter, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a 5MP macro lens.
The primary 50MP camera produces some beautiful images for us in daylight conditions. We were particularly impressed by the perfect exposure level on the images. The camera managed to capture the sky in its ideal tone without overexposing it. Even the background objects were captured with a good amount of detail.
The colours produced in the images are simply amazing. The saturation levels are on point and the colours are punchy. The camera manages to capture the full range of dynamic colours and the smartphone nails the image processing aspect perfectly. Even the ultrawide lens did not compromise on the colour profile.
This exceptional camera performance continues in lowlight conditions. With the Night Mode on, the A54 reduced the grain on the images and brightened them up pretty well. The colours were well-balanced and close to real even with the Night Mode on. We were impressed that the brightening effect did not mess with the colour of the subject.
In Portrait Mode, the smartphone did a great job of recognising the edges and isolating the subject from the background. The results are stunning, especially when there’s an optimum amount of light falling on the subject. The 32MP selfie camera produces good results as well. The skin tone of the subject is aptly reproduced in the images and the overlaying effects have been kept to a minimum. The selfie camera can record videos in 4K resolution as well.
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With Samsung Galaxy A54 you get a stunning display that you simply can’t put down. The glass back panel brings an exquisite in-hand feel to the smartphone, something that is only matched by flagship devices. The camera performance is delightful and matches some of the best camera-centric phones in this category. However, when you’re paying Rs 39,000 for a smartphone, you expect slimmer bezels around the display. We would have preferred this smartphone with a Snapdragon SoC, but casual users will not mind the Exynos processor. Having said that, certain features like an IP76 rating and four years of major OS updates make the Samsung Galaxy A54 an attractive device for everyday users.
Samsung Galaxy A54: Pros
- Brilliant display
- Great camera performance
- IP67 rating
- Four years of major OS upgrades + 5 years of security patches
Samsung Galaxy A54: Cons
- Prominent bezels around the display
- Average SoC
- Slow charging
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