It’s been just over six months since Samsung’s Galaxy A52s 5G (Review) launched in India, and it’s still a capable high-end smartphone if you’re looking for a device with an IP rating below Rs 40,000. Samsung’s recently launched Galaxy A53 5G is essentially the same smartphone but with a new Exynos SoC instead of Qualcomm’s. This led to noticeable performance differences between the two phones and prompts us to consider whether the new model is a worthy upgrade.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G price in India
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is available in two variants in India, both of which come with 128GB of internal storage. The 6GB RAM variant is priced at Rs. 34,499 while the 8GB RAM variant is available at Rs. 35,999. Of the two, the higher RAM variant is the preferred one as it offers better value for money. The Galaxy A53 is available in four finishes: Light Blue, Awesome Black, White and Orange. I received the 8GB RAM variant in light blue.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G design
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G builds on the design of the Galaxy A52s 5G and incorporates some elements from the new Galaxy S22 (Test) series. Its overall design looks contemporary and refreshing. The midframe is still polycarbonate but it’s wider with flatter sides, similar to the Galaxy S22 devices. The back panel retains the look of the Galaxy A52s 5G with a matte-finish polycarbonate back panel that is smooth and premium, and also rejects fingerprints and smudges well.
The rear camera module of the Galaxy A53 5G merges with the rear panel but barely protrudes from it since this phone is thicker than its predecessor. The blacked out inserts for the camera lenses are striking.
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G’s 6.5-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display remains unchanged from the Galaxy A52s 5G. The flat screen is made of Gorilla Glass 5 for protection against scratches. The left and right borders are relatively thin, but the top and bottom are noticeably thicker. A fingerprint reader is integrated into the screen. It works as expected and is reliable. I like how Samsung has hidden the earphone slot between the screen and the bezel at the top, as it’s barely visible. Just like the Galaxy A52s 5G, the Galaxy A53 5G has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.
Samsung Galaxy A53 Specifications and Software
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G borrows heavily from the Galaxy A52s 5G in terms of hardware. This year, Samsung used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G from the Galaxy A52 in the more expensive Galaxy A73 5G, and the Galaxy A53 5G gets a new in-house Samsung SoC called Exynos 1280. It’s the same SoC that also powers the lower-priced Galaxy A33 5G.
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G supports 5G, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC and the usual satellite navigation systems. The Galaxy A53 5G loses the previous model’s 3.5mm headphone jack and also doesn’t come with a USB Type-C audio adapter in the box. The phone supports 5G dual standby and the hybrid dual SIM tray can accept a microSD card up to 1TB.
Samsung’s updated One UI 3.1 software is coming to the Galaxy A53 5G. It is based on Android 12 and is one of the best personalized Android 12 experiences. The theme engine can change the colors of the interface and application icons depending on the wallpaper selected for the home screen. What I found missing was the conversations widget typically found on Android 12 devices, which lets you pin important chats and conversations to the home screen. This phone is unfortunately loaded with a lot of bloatware, including a long list of apps from Samsung, as well as some from Microsoft and other third parties. Fortunately, you can uninstall most of them.
Samsung Galaxy A53 performance
Samsung’s decision to reserve the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G SoC for the Galaxy A73 5G doesn’t seem like a very smart idea. Samsung’s Exynos 1280 SoC, as tested in the Galaxy A53 5G, seems snappy enough with regular use, but the benchmark numbers don’t reflect an improved experience. The Galaxy A53 5G scored 498 and 1,806 respectively in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core tests, and it scored 3,72,582 points in AnTuTu. These scores are closer to what you’d expect from lower-cost smartphones, showing that the Galaxy A53 5G is underpowered for its price segment. In comparison, the older Samsung Galaxy A52s scored 739 and 2,733 points in Geekbench, making it more powerful than its successor.
Call of Duty: Mobile graphics quality maxed out at “Medium” with “Max” frame rate. It was playable with these settings on the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G but occasionally lag during matches. The screen’s touch sample rate wasn’t the best, but that didn’t hamper gameplay too much. The game ran best on “Low” and “Medium” graphics settings, which is a bit disappointing for a high-end smartphone. I also noticed the phone warming up after about 10 minutes of playing Call of Duty: Mobile, but with no drop in performance. Asphalt 9: Legends ran smoothly on default (medium) graphics settings.
The screen refresh rate alternates between 120Hz and 60Hz. During the test period, I noticed that it stayed at 120Hz even when browsing web pages or Instagram feeds, or streaming videos on Youtube. Screen refresh rate dropped to 60Hz only when playing games or using the camera app. The Super AMOLED display looks great with the typical punchy color tones this type of panel is known for, and is readable even in direct sunlight. HDR is lacking, but streaming video content looked good, with deep blacks. The stereo speakers sounded well balanced and got quite loud.
Battery life is one area where the Galaxy A53 5G fares better than its predecessor. Its larger 5,000mAh battery added four hours to runtime in our HD video loop test, with an impressive 19 hours and 44 minutes. With daily use, the phone lasted two full days, which is pretty good. Samsung doesn’t offer a charger in the box, so I plugged the Galaxy A53 5G into my own 61W USB PD charger. This phone supports 25W charging and managed to reach 100% vacuum in 1 hour and 51 minutes, which isn’t bad, but still not as fast as some rivals.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Cameras
The cameras of the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G are identical to those of its predecessor. The rear camera setup consists of 64-megapixel primary, 12-megapixel ultra-wide, 5-megapixel macro, and 5-megapixel depth cameras. A 32-megapixel front camera is in charge of selfies. The layout of the camera app is customizable and there are plenty of shortcuts in the viewfinder.
Photos captured in daylight were impressive and had plenty of detail and good dynamic range. Like the Galaxy A52s 5G, colors in photos are a bit oversaturated and have a slight bluish tone. The macro camera was very useful, as the images had good detail. Portrait photos taken using the selfie camera looked crisp and clear with good detail and dynamic range. Edge detection in these photos was also accurate.
Shooting in auto mode in low light, camera performance was decent with good dynamic range, but I did notice some noise. The details took a bit of time. Using Night Shot mode, the camera took a second longer to capture photos, and they looked brighter, but at the cost of less detail. The standard Night mode also took a few seconds to capture low-light landscapes, but achieved the best quality. Selfies taken in low light looked blurry and noisy even after switching to Night mode.
The ultra-wide-angle camera took decent images in daylight, but objects looked blurry and stretched towards the edges. Low-light shots were of much lower quality and looked soft at best.
1080p 30fps videos shot in daylight looked well stabilized and had good dynamic range. However, footage shot at 1080p 60fps looked shaky. Videos captured in 4K had the best detail but lacked any stabilization. When shooting in low light, the video quality took a nosedive. Video recorded at 1080p 30fps looked blurry and had an unpleasant flickering effect. The main camera has a noticeable focus jump issue when recording video at night, so the autofocus system went crazy quite often, especially when panning.
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is a capable premium smartphone, but falls short in terms of raw performance. This is mainly due to the new SoC, which seems to be suitable enough for the budget Galaxy M33 5G (Rs. 18,999), but not for a phone that costs Rs. 35,000. The daylight camera performance is quite good, and it’s the only phone we’ve reviewed in this segment with an IP67 rating. Unfortunately for the Galaxy A53 5G, the Galaxy A52s 5G (Review), its predecessor, offers better gaming performance, has a headphone jack, and comes with a charger in the box. It also costs a little less (around Rs. 32,499), making it the best buy.
As for the competition from other manufacturers, the iQoo 9 SE (starting at Rs. 33,990) is the biggest potential competitor to the Galaxy A53 5G. We haven’t reviewed this phone yet, but it has a better Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC and you get a 66W charger in the box. The base variant also has 8GB of RAM, so even going by the specs, it poses a threat. Those looking for a lighter Android experience can also check out Motorola’s Moto Edge 20 Pro (Review), which features a Snapdragon 870 SoC and a 108-megapixel primary rear camera.