When we unpack and hold the Galaxy A53 in our hand, something does not feel quite right. The impression is a more budget-like mobile than we expect when the price is around 320 USD. Even the predecessor Galaxy A52 we thought was a bit plastic to be a good mid-range mobile, but it had a more quality feel.
You get a stable 4g and 5g connection with well-approved signal strength compared to other mobiles in the same places that we test. The phone does not support wifi 6, but its performance on wifi 5 is not to complain about. However, Wifi 6 support would have been good for its longer range. The phone supports dual SIM, if you do not want to use a micro sd memory, which takes up one of the slots.
Familiar but good cameras
The cameras are basically the same as those in the Galaxy A52, a 64 megapixel main camera, a 12 megapixel wide angle, 5-megapixel macro and an extra sensor for improved depth of field in the main camera’s portrait mode. It performs well, without major surprises. Photos in daylight have real stuns in the colors, nice dynamics with good nuance in both light and dark surfaces.
You have no optical zoom, but up to 5x digital zoom still looks good, if you do not go down to pixel level and review. The wide angle takes daylight images that match the main camera in color and (almost) in dynamics. However, it has problems with lens correction, lines in the corners of the image get a slight skew. The 32-megapixel selfie camera does a good job, and gives almost as good a portrait effect as the main camera, despite the lack of an extra light sensor.
In darker light conditions, the camera may struggle with slow and jumpy autofocus, but it is possible to get nice and sharp images in a room with dim lighting, or outdoors with street lights. However, not entirely without noise, which tends to creep up in dark areas, like a night sky. We avoid mentioning the macro camera, which mostly seems to be there for Samsun to be able to say “quad camera” in the specifications. It takes pale pictures and has constant problems measuring the right focus.
Many updates to wait
Galaxy A53 comes with Android 12. Samsung has one of the best updates in the Android world: four Android generations and five years of security updates. This is a big plus for the longevity of the phone. Other manufacturers have also moved up on that point, but Samsung is still one step ahead of most.
On top of everything is Samsung’s One UI interface. It is one of the more flexible, well-thought-out and feature-rich systems among Android mobiles, although we think that Samsung could well skip some unnecessary things like its own browser and app store, plus a handful of third-party apps we could just as easily download ourselves if needed.
It is a system that does things in its own way, everything from navigation to split screen management. There may be a learning threshold if you switch from another manufacturer. However, the wide range of functions in the system may be worth it. Here are most of the things we like about One UI, besides the Dex desktop interface, which it does not support. It’s just as good, because it would probably have gone awry considering the phone’s performance.
- Good screen and speakers
- Excellent battery life
- Competent cameras
- Best upgrade policy
- Plastic feel and bulky design
- Half performance for the price range
- No charger
All in all, the phone feels uninspired. What is good in the Galaxy A53 was also good in the Galaxy A52, and the most significant boost is more powerful speakers. At the same time, Samsung is slipping more and more in performance against what its competitors offer in the same price range. It wants you to be really attached to the One UI as an interface for it to be worth being Samsung loyal. The water resistance and Samsung’s excellent update plan raise it from being mediocre, but it can not be a top rating.