Samsung Galaxy M53 5G Review: A jack-of-all-trades deal

    The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G offers a lot of potential with its 108MP camera, a large AMOLED display and Dimensity 900 processor. But how does it fare in the real world? Find out in our full review.
    By: AKASH DUTTA
    | Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 12:08 IST
    Samsung Galaxy M53
    The Samsung Galaxy M53 in olive green is displayed here. The 6GB + 128GB variant of the smartphone is priced at Rs. 23,999 and the 8GB + 128GB variant is priced at Rs. 25,999. (Akash/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy M53
    The Samsung Galaxy M53 in olive green is displayed here. The 6GB + 128GB variant of the smartphone is priced at Rs. 23,999 and the 8GB + 128GB variant is priced at Rs. 25,999. (Akash/HT Tech)

    Ever since its launch in 2019, the Samsung Galaxy M series is known for its aggressive pricing and segment-leading features, a strategy that was never Samsung's forte. But after the success of brands like Xiaomi, Oppo and Realme, Samsung entered the specification-game as well. And in a short period of time, it has not only caught up with them but is also leaving them behind in some aspects, and the biggest example of it is the Samsung Galaxy M53 5G.

    The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G is packed with luring specifications. It offers a 108MP camera, a large 6.7-inch super AMOLED display, MediaTek Dimensity 900 processor and a large 5,000 mAh battery, all fitting nicely inside a 7.4 mm body. The smartphone definitely attempts to please everyone with its lucrative specifications in all departments. But as often is the case, smartphones that try to be the jack of all trades, end up being master of none. So, how does Galaxy M53 perform in the real world? I used the smartphone for about 10 days and here is what I found.

    Samsung Galaxy M53 5G: Design

    Samsung Galaxy M53
    Samsung Galaxy M53 design (Akash/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy M53
    Samsung Galaxy M53 design (Akash/HT Tech)

    If you are a smartphone enthusiast, you must have seen different experimental designs like the Realme GT 2's biopolymer-based ‘paper-like' design and iQOO Z6 Pro's large camera panels. But Samsung does not offer any of that and sticks with its classic design thematics. And, in my opinion, it is a good thing.

    The Samsung Galaxy M53 has a polycarbonate rear panel with matte-finish. The device I have is in olive green color. Despite a matte finish, it is not dull and shines brightly under light. The back has a minimalist design with the Samsung logo at the bottom and a fused camera panel with curved edges on top. The front has slightly curved edges, thin bezels and a punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera. The power button was placed on the side and it also housed the fingerprint scanner. The positioning of the power button was just right and I could easily reach it without hyperextending. On the other hand, the volume rockers were just a bit out of reach most of the time.

    To my surprise, the smartphone, while fairly large with a 6.7-inch display weighs just 176 grams and is just 7.4 mm thick. This made the smartphone very light and sleek and it was easy to maneuver in one hand. However, due to its size, using it with just one hand is never going to be easy. If you prefer smaller smartphones in the same price range, you can opt for OnePlus Nord CE 2 or Samsung Galaxy A33, both of which have a 6.4-inch display size.

    The Samsung Galaxy M53 comes without a headphone jack, and while it does make the smartphone more waterproof, not being able to plug in my wired earphones was a mild inconvenience. Overall, I really liked the design. It stays true to what the Samsung brand is known for – minimalism and elegance.

    Samsung Galaxy M53 5G: Display

    Samsung Galaxy M53
    Samsung Galaxy M53 comes with a 6.7-inch super AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate. (Akash/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy M53
    Samsung Galaxy M53 comes with a 6.7-inch super AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate. (Akash/HT Tech)

    The Samsung Galaxy M53 comes with a 6.7-inch super AMOLED display along with 120Hz refresh rate. In my opinion, the display is the best part about this smartphone. It has excellent viewing angles, the color production was sharp and crisp and the contrast ratio made everything look vivid. It was a visual treat to watch videos or to play games on the smartphone and the large screen made it much more comfortable to watch content for long hours without really straining the eyes.

    With the 120Hz refresh rate, whether I was scrolling through social media or reading a pdf, it was always a pleasant experience. Sadly, there is no adaptive refresh rate and you have to pick between standard 60Hz or 120Hz.

    I was a little disappointed with the brightness of the smartphone, however, using the phone outdoors was slightly difficult, and often it was difficult to read notifications. The smartphone comes with a peak brightness rating of 420 nits, and it does feel inadequate at times. For indoor usage, it was completely fine and I did not face any issues.

    Another mild disappointment was the lack of HDR10 on either Netflix or Amazon. While it will not be a major issue for most consumers, I was really looking forward to seeing the full potential of the display but was not able to do so. At the price point of the Samsung Galaxy M53, this feature is somewhat expected as even a budget smartphone like Redmi Note 10 Pro has it.

    Overall, besides these two issues, I was very impressed with the display and multimedia usage was a delight on this phone.

    Samsung Galaxy M53 5G: Performance

    Samsung Galaxy M53
    The Samsung Galaxy M53 is equipped with MediaTek Dimensity 900 chipset and runs on Android 12 based One UI 4.1. (Akash/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy M53
    The Samsung Galaxy M53 is equipped with MediaTek Dimensity 900 chipset and runs on Android 12 based One UI 4.1. (Akash/HT Tech)

    Unlike its predecessor Samsung Galaxy M52, which was equipped with Snapdragon 778G, a fairly powerful processor, the Samsung Galaxy M53 comes with the MediaTek Dimensity 900. This is also an interesting move as Samsung doesn't normally prefer MediaTek Dimensity chipsets in these expensive M series phones. Apart from M53, there are only five other Samsung smartphones with Dimensity SoC.

    Despite the fact that it is not a processor Samsung has worked with a lot, It was able to handle all everyday tasks including multitasking without any issue. Normal multitasking between apps was also handled easily by the smartphone.

    However, I do have some concerns over its performance issues. I tried editing a video on the smartphone and when trying to switch out from the app or moving to another app, I face a little lag. This is still not a major issue as the lag was not significant enough to raise any flags. But a couple of times, while playing Call of Duty: Mobile for an extended period (over 90 mins), my screen froze and I had to restart the device before it was responsive again. Do note that I must have had similar gaming sessions more than 10 times and that incident only happened two times in total. Still, with that in mind, I do not think this smartphone is made for serious gaming. If that is your preference, then you should opt for the iQOO Z5, or Poco F3 GT.

    The smartphone runs on One UI 4.1 which is based on Android 12. It does come with some pre-installed apps, but you can uncheck them while setting up the device for the first time and prevent a majority of them from being installed. One UI was also one of the highlights for me while using the smartphone due to its high customizability and intuitiveness. The UI offers multiple unique features such as smart widgets, secure folders, camera enhancements and a default keyboard with AR emojis and text editing. I am really impressed with One UI and in my opinion, compared to most native UIs (besides iOS), Samsung is leaps and bounds ahead.

    The Samsung Galaxy M53 does not have any stereo speakers but the mono speaker was surprisingly loud enough and I never felt that the audio output was inadequate. Overall, my opinion is that the smartphone is good enough to handle all everyday tasks, but if you want the smartphone for a specialized reason like editing or gaming, you will face issues in the long run.

    Samsung Galaxy M53 5G: Camera

    Samsung Galaxy M53
    Samsung Galaxy M53 cameras (Akash/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy M53
    Samsung Galaxy M53 cameras (Akash/HT Tech)

    The camera was one of the big selling points of the smartphone with its 108MP primary shooter coupled with a 8MP ultrawide lens, a 2MP macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor and on the front, it has a 32MP selfie camera. However, in my experience the camera shots were a hit or a miss. The primary camera took good shots with enough detailing and dynamic range in daylight, and I could make out both light-exposed and shadowy areas with similar definition and exposure control. However, the performance really dropped in low light conditions. The night mode helped in brightening the images but it also increased the exposure level for any lit areas.

    The ultrawide camera was average and it took wider shots at the cost of lost detailing and unnecessary blurring near the edges. The macro camera took some decent shots but I would have preferred an optical zoom camera instead. The AMOLED display had a tendency of making all images look sharp and beautiful, but viewing the same images on a larger screen sometimes exposed loss of details and presence of noise in images, especially in the low-light shots.

    The camera is also equipped with different enhancements like fun mode, where you can try out various filters and hyperlapse mode where you can make videos with long exposure. The accompanying editing tool is also quite impressive, especially with its object remover feature.

    To sum up, I did not find the camera performance to be as good as advertised. While it is definitely serviceable, it would not make much sense to buy the smartphone for its camera prowesses. If camera is your priority, you should take a look at Realme 9 Pro+ or Motorola Edge 20 instead.

    You can click here and see sample shots from the smartphone's camera and decide for yourself.

    Samsung Galaxy M53 5G: Battery

    Samsung Galaxy M53
    Samsung Galaxy M53 Battery (Akash/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy M53
    Samsung Galaxy M53 Battery (Akash/HT Tech)

    The smartphone is backed by a 5,000 mAh battery which is enough to last a day. On the days when I moderately used the smartphone, I would reach the end of the day with 20 percent of the charge still left. On the days I used the smartphone extensively (which would include long voice calls, video calls, gaming and social media scrolling), I did have to reach out for the charger before the day ended. But considering the average usage of most consumers, the smartphone should last an entire day.

    The smartphone comes with up to 25W fast charging which can comfortably charge the smartphone within 2 hours. However, there is no charger in the box because Samsung wants to be more responsible towards the environment, so add that extra cost in your overall smartphone budget.

    Samsung Galaxy M53 5G: Verdict

    Samsung Galaxy M53
    Samsung Galaxy M53 (Akash/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy M53
    Samsung Galaxy M53 (Akash/HT Tech)

    If you are a gamer, a content creator, a hobbyist photographer or have very specific taste in fashion and want a smartphone that can fulfill your needs, then Samsung Galaxy M53 5G may not be the right smartphone for you. In that case, you can refer to the several smartphones mentioned above.

    The Samsung Galaxy M53 does come with its glaring shortcomings. But despite them, it is a really good smartphone in its price range. And that is because of Samsung's overall value addition. At Rs. 24,000, you get a smartphone that has a good design, ahead-of-the-segment display, decent performance, good enough cameras and a good battery life. For most consumers, that package is not bad at all. But add on top the reliability factor of Samsung – the intuitive and customizable interface, the brand value, the Knox security and consistent performance – and it becomes a really good smartphone to buy.

    Samsung appeals to a certain demographic which prefers a minimalist looking, all rounder smartphone. And if you have been looking for a jack-of-all-trades sort of a smartphone, then Samsung Galaxy M53 will not disappoint you.

    Rating
    3.5 out of 5
    Price
    INR 23,999/-
    Product Name
    Samsung Galaxy M53
    Brand Name
    Samsung
    Pros
    • Great Display
    • Long battery life
    • One UI
    Cons
    • Average camera performance
    • High-end gaming
    • Brightness
    Specifications
    • Display
      6.7-inch Super AMOLED 120Hz
    • Chipset
      MediaTek Dimensity 900
    • Rear Camera
      108MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP
    • Front Camera
      32MP
    • Battery
      5000 mAh, 25W wired charging
    • OS
      One UI 4.1 on Android 12

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    First Published Date: 06 May, 11:36 IST
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