Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Review: Toying with the idea of value-for-money
Samsung has raised the price of its Galaxy A50 series phones at an astonishing pace every year. This year, the Galaxy A53 does not have a humble sub- ₹25,000 price tag — it commands the same sort of money that can get you an iQOO 9 SE, or even an iPhone SE 2nd Gen, or any of the Chinese-origin flagship killers with top-of-the-line specs. On paper alone, it becomes very difficult to put eyes on the Galaxy A53 5G — after all, you seek something special if you are spending north of Rs. 30,000 on a smartphone.
But, there's a segment of consumers seeking a no-frills phone at this price; the reason why the iPhone SE 3rd Gen exists in today's time. In comparison to the iPhone SE, the Samsung Galaxy A53 is certainly looking like a winner. It has got more of everything — more cameras, more display area, more battery. The price is lesser though, starting at Rs, 34,499 for the base variant.
Should you be getting yourself a taste of this Samsung by spending this much? To find out, I used the phone for two weeks and here are my observations.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Design
The Galaxy A53 is probably the only smartphone in this price range to flaunt an all-plastic build. Good or bad? That is up to you to decide. Plastic certainly doesn't feel as reassuring as the glass-metal bodied phones you can buy at this price. Moreover, the overall fit-and finish leaves a lot to be desired, especially given its price tag. Of course, you can put a case on it and forget what its made of but hey, there are better built phones at this price and Samsung has cut corners too hard on this one.
Speaking of cutting corners, the Galaxy A53 5G does not ship with a charger in the box, and no protective case either. A similarly priced phone from Vivo, Oppo, Xiaomi, Realme, and iQOO offers these accessories as standard! It looks all bad, doesn't it?
Look past the grim packaging and cost-saving choices and the Galaxy A53 5G has other things to offer. For example, you get an IP67 certified water and dust resistance rating, which should keep this phone safe from sweat, light showers, and dust. The design is fresh and certainly draws attention, if you get the right colour. Despite the plastic material, the build quality is great, quite reminiscent of the Nokia Lumia devices. The display also gets Gorilla Glass 5 protection, which deserves another sigh of relief.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Display
As with most Samsung phones, the display on the Galaxy A53 5G is among the best in the business. The 6.5-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with its 120Hz refresh rate looks bright, renders vibrant colours, and achieves high-level of brightness to be visible easily under the sunlight. However, there's no support for HDR, let alone Dolby Vision. Hence, movie lovers can certainly choose phones for similar or less prices that do justice to high-quality OTT content. You do get a fast enough optical fingerprint sensor for biometric verification.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Performance
The biggest change coming from the Galaxy A52s 5G to the Galaxy A53 5G is the chipset of choice. Samsung went back to Exynos power and chose the new Exynos 1280 chip, which offers somewhat similar levels of performance as the Snapdragon 778G chipset, if not lesser. I won't beat around the bush here — the Exynos 1280 doesn't seem to make the Galaxy A53 5G seem any faster than its predecessor.
Exynos-powered Samsung phones aren't the most sprightly when it comes to performance and the A53 5G reaffirms the same. The phone is always sluggish to wake up, takes a while to load up apps and games, stutters every now-and-then — you get the idea. This could be fixed with a future software update but at the moment, the Galaxy A53 5G does not act like a Rs. 35,000 smartphone.
Then there's the One UI 4.1 interface on top of Android 12. One UI 4.1 is among the most polished Android experiences you can have at any price but sadly, Samsung has riddled it with pre-loaded bloatware, all from Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and some Third-party content streaming apps. Some of these apps keep spamming with notifications. It is a shame that Samsung has to rely on a bunch of bloatware on an expensive smartphone like this.
When it works fine, the Galaxy A53 5G is a pleasant phone to use. One UI is easy to handle with a single hand, and there are loads of small features sprinkled across the UI that you are bound to miss on other smartphones.
The Exynos 1280 is also not a chip meant for gaming. Play games such as BGMI and Call of Duty Mobile, and you will see the phone limiting the graphics settings to low-to-medium setting at High FPS. I observed some occasional frame drops too.
The stereo speaker setup works fine while watching YouTube videos or social media content. However, movie addicts should pair some wireless earbuds to get a better experience. Network connectivity has been good so far, with the Galaxy A53 5G able to latch on to the Jio 4G network with ease, showing no call drops or slow data speeds when other phones were struggling.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Cameras
Long story short — the Galaxy A53 has a set of good enough cameras but nothing special enough to warrant this the award of the best camera phone (that will be the iPhone SE and the iQOO 9 SE). The 64MP main camera does a decent job in both day and night conditions but tends to underexpose the subject in low-lighting. There's some oversaturation going on under the bright sun — the photos look good but far from natural.
The 8MP ultra-wide camera is good enough with a similar colour profile but lacks the sharpness and overall details. The 5MP macro camera is decent but not near as good as the 5MP macro camera on the Xiaomi 11T Pro. Night mode photos look decent but the colours are far from real-life visuals.
Lastly, the 32MP selfie camera is equally disappointing too. It tends to make skin tones reddish, underexposes a lot, and unnaturally increases the saturation.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Battery
With its 5000mAh battery, the Galaxy A53 5G can easily make it to the end of a day on a full charge, and then leave some until the next afternoon. As long as you aren't gaming, and are restricted to calls, social media, occasional selfie sessions, YouTube sessions, and texting, the phone will last you all day easily. There's support for 25W fast wired charging and it takes close to 1.5 hours to do a full charge from dead.
Oh boy! Last year's Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G was a good phone in many aspects, despite carrying an exorbitant price tag. With the Galaxy A53 5G, Samsung has been unable to recreate the same appeal. This feels more like a downgrade instead of an upgrade! The chipset isn't as fast, the UI is riddled with bloatware, the cameras are average, and the overall build as well as design leaves a lot to be desired. The 4 years of OS support sounds tempting but it struggles in its current state already; how will it fare after a few years?
When you have Rs. 35,000 to spend on a brand new smartphone, almost everything else selling at this price is a far superior choice. The iQOO 9 SE is our top pick in this segment, offering a great combo of performance, practicality, and value, starting at Rs. 33,990. If you can spend a little more, you have some great alternatives to choose from that will satisfy far better than the Galaxy A53 5G ever can. You should check out the Xiaomi 11T Pro, the Apple iPhone SE 3rd Gen, Oppo Reno 7 Pro, Vivo V23 Pro, and Samsung's own Galaxy S20 FE 5G. The iPhone SE 3rd Gen looks far more appealing now, despite its antique design.
Honestly, it would be unfair to recommend the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G to anyone at the moment, unless Samsung drops the price by at least Rs. 10,000 (which seems unlikely).
- Good display
- Great battery life
- Software support
- Overall performance
- Average cameras
- Dull design
Display6.5-inch FHD+ 120Hz AMOLED
ChipsetSamsung Exynos 1280
OSOne UI 4.1 based on Android 12
Rear Cameras64MP + 8MP + 5MP + 5MP