Samsung Galaxy A32 5G review: A mid-ranger worth checking out

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G review: A mid-ranger worth checking out

On paper, the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is not the most innovative smartphone you'll find at the moment, but that doesn't mean it's not a good option to consider. The device costs US$349 and among its advantages include support for 5G networks and guaranteed system updates guaranteed for the next three years. But with all these features, is the Galaxy A32 5G really a device that has enough firepower to last you through the next few years?

Rating

Good

  • Great viewing experience
  • Three years of operating system updates
  • Four years of security updates
  • Headphone jack
  • Long battery life

Bad

  • Overly minimalist design
  • Inconsistent camera quality

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G gets straight to the point

The Samsung Galaxy A32 5G can be summarized as a smartphone with more positive points than negative aspects. The battery life and support for years' worth of system updates are definitely worth considering for those who are looking for a smartphone that can be used for a few years before looking out for an upgrade. Despite a display that sports basic specifications on paper, my experience with it in real life has proven to be the opposite. 

In addition, the processor that powers this smartphone will not break any benchmark records in its class, but it does promise a little extra something: 5G network support. This alone places the Galaxy A32 ahead of most of its competitors in the country, making it a worthy addition to Samsung's line in 2021.

However, despite the quad-camera setup, do not be fooled. The image quality is average at best, and does not impress when it comes to night shots or photos captured in low light conditions.

Minimalist design everywhere

First of all, let's make it clear that design is something subjective and personal. For instance, what I like may not appeal to you, and vice versa. Samsung defined the design of the Galaxy A32 as "minimalist", however, it seems to be more of an excuse to justify the lack of effort the way I look at it. Don't get me wrong, the A32 is not an ugly device or one with poor finishing, but it is simply too bland. 

All in all, I liked the:

  • position of the fingerprint sensor
  • presence of a headphone jack

In summary, I didn't like the:

  • massive dimensions and weight
  • exposed camera module
NextPit Samsung Galaxy A32 side
The Galaxy A32 5G reminded me of Sony's Xperia design language because of the use of the fingerprint sensor on the side / © NextPit

I've always been a big fan of Sony's Xperia smartphone designs, and Samsung's mid-range handset here brought back memories of the Japanese manufacturer's models. The fact that it placed the fingerprint sensor at the side, right above the power button, makes unlocking the device an easy process.

Being a mid-range smartphone, Samsung also got it right here by retaining the headphone jack. However, this is a smartphone that comes with a 5,000 mAh battery, meaning it will have to sacrifice sleekness to stash away such a large cell. The device tips the scales at 205 grams and the weight is apparent from the moment you pick up the A32 with your hands.

NextPit Samsung Galaxy A32 usb
The Galaxy A32 has a mono speaker, a USB Type-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack / © NextPit

Now, one thing that Samsung did very well here is the presentation. At first glance, the Galaxy A32 appears to feature a glass back that exudes a sense of sophistication. However, the rear is actually made out of plastic.

Overall, the design of the Galaxy A32 5G is minimalistic to a fault. I am not the kind of person who likes to use smartphone cases, since I like to appreciate the smartphone's design. However, I highly recommend using a case with the A32 5G if you choose to pick up this mid-range smartphone from Samsung!

A display that surprises, unsurprisingly!

If there was one feature that really surprised me about the Galaxy A32 5G, it would be the viewing experience. We are presented with a 6.5-inch Infinity-V display, sporting a resolution count of 1,600 x 720 pixels (HD+) using TFT LCD technology. This is nothing impressive on paper, right?

All in all, I liked the:

  • sharpness and color
  • ideal size for viewing videos

In summary, I didn't like the:

  • 60Hz refresh rate
NextPit Samsung Galaxy A32 display
Despite the display's limited technical specifications, I had fun with the A32 5G / © NextPit

With a 6.5-inch display, the Galaxy A32 5G is a large device, making it ideal for viewing videos on it. Unlike my experience when reviewing the Motorola Moto G10 which shares similar screen dimensions and specifications, the display's limitations didn't bother me here. My eyes were treated to sharp and colorful images, while delivering a natural look to each tone. 

Surely Samsung could do better here such as offering support for a 90 Hz refresh rate as seen on the Motorola Moto G30, but did not do so.

What I liked most was the entire package in this case: a display that offers a good viewing experience even when limited by its hardware (after all, TFT LCD is not the same as IPS LCD), a good battery life, and support for 5G networks. That sounds like the perfect recipe for hours of video streaming.

An mid-range processor that does 5G

The processor used in the Galaxy A32 is the MediaTek Dimensity 720, which was designed for entry-level smartphones while offering 5G support. Although this SoC does come with enough processing muscle to handle the demands of a 5G network, it is not a power guzzler - which is a good thing. The efficient power consumption also helps keep this smartphone in affordable pricing territory. 

When it comes to RAM, you will end up with 4 GB and 128 GB of internal storage. Out of this, 106 GB is available for use, while the rest is used by the system. Thankfully, Samsung ensures that you can expand the internal storage space by up to 1 TB via a microSD memory card slot. 

In summary, I liked the:

  • MiraVision multimedia package
  • Android 11 installed with 3 years of guaranteed updates
  • four years of security updates
  • microSD memory card slot

All in all, I didn't like the:

  • gaming performance that crashed constantly

As for its performance, the Galaxy A32 5G did perform well without any crashes or slowdowns for basic tasks. The only exception happened when it was put through its gaming paces, which honestly, left something to be desired. The reason behind this? Constant crashes including having the game exit abruptly at random.

I do not consider myself to be a gamer, but I like to have games on the smartphone in order to kill time. During my review of the Galaxy A32 5G, the games that I played the most were Mario Kart Tour and Asphalt 9, two applications that should run well based on the hardware configurations of the A32 5G. This is because of the gaming package known as Hyperengine from MediaTek that fuels it. However, as my gaming time increased, there were occasions when the smartphone forcefully closed Asphalt 9 without any prior notification. This is especially frustrating, especially for those who tend to game heavily on their smartphones. 

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G benchmark results

Geekbench 5.3.2 Single-core Multi-core
Result 474 1555

However, the image optimization package offers the exact opposite experience. As I mentioned, despite the limitations of the display on paper, MediaTek Dimensity 720's MiraVision multimedia package managed to make a real difference here, to the extent where I was absolutely drawn in.

Software-wise, the device runs on Android 11 right out of the box with Samsung's One UI 3.1 skin on top of it. This device should obtain three years of OS updates and four years of security updates, released every quarterly. Looking at the software support alone, this should be a device that ought to last you a number of years. 

At the end of the day, you'll have to make your decision based on what's more important to you: media consumption via streaming or gaming, because while the Galaxy A32 5G offers a satisfying video streaming experience, gaming performance is spotty and even frustrating, even if Samsung does hype up the "Game Booster" feature.

The the Galaxy A32 5G's cameras fail to perform well

Cameras happen to be the Achilles heel of this Samsung's entry-level to mid-range device. It is not surprising to see that the camera department is where Samsung has decided to make compromises in order to deliver  a more competitive price. The smartphone boasts of a quad-camera system, featuring a 48 MP main sensor, an 8 MP ultra-wide shooter, a 5 MP macro lens, and a 2 MP depth sensor (sounds like the OnePlus Nord!). Upfront, we have a 13 MP camera that captures selfies.

In summary, I liked the:

  • satisfactory image quality during daytime
  • natural-looking colors in images

In summary, I did not like the:

  • poor quality of night images, even when night mode is enabled
  • pretty much useless macro lens
NextPit Samsung Galaxy A32 camera
The Galaxy A32 5G's camera array is more exposed than on the A52 and A72 models / © NextPit

The camera layout of the A32 5G was clearly inspired by Samsung's flagships, such as the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Ultra. But there seems to be an attention deficit here. Unlike the Galaxy A52 and Galaxy A72 models, we don't have a frame or island that surrounds the cameras, and missing out on this leaves the cameras exposed. This is why I would strongly recommend the use of a smartphone case with the A32 5G.

That said, the image quality remains decent, especially in environments with good lighting, as the colors look natural while you do not get too distorted results when taking the angle into consideration, which varies from 80 ° (wide-angle) to 123 ° (ultra-wide-angle). When switching from one camera to another, there is not much variation, which is always good in my books. 

NextPit Samsung Galaxy A32 front camera
The 13 MP front camera is positioned in the center of the display as a teardrop notch / © NextPit

The 2 MP depth sensor is pretty basic in functionality, so don't expect much. The macro camera, on the other hand, is nothing more than a gimmick. It is nice to have, as it offers a third possibility, you won't get much mileage out of it. In terms of software, there are some options that also appear in Samsung's high-end smartphones, including the ability to capture images when recording videos, performing slow-motion shots, and hyperlapse videos, as well as the famous portrait mode.

Do not expect much from the night mode of the Galaxy A32 5G though, as it is limited in performance and ends up delivering rather artificial-looking images through overexposure. You check out the handiwork of the Galaxy A32 5G's camera in the image gallery below.

 

A battery that will last you the entire day...and then some

The battery life on the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is a highlight here. Then again, it comes as no surprise, as this smartphone offers an advanced network connection that will certainly demand power from the handset. The 5,000 mAh, battery is accompanied by 15 W fast and adaptive charging technology.

All in all, I liked the:

  • long battery life
  • steady power consumption

In summary, I did not like the:

  • lack of a wireless charging option

Unfortunately, I could not test out the device on a data plan that has 5G network support, as my data plan currently supports 4G+. In other words, it failed to reach the download and upload speeds of a 5G experience. Hence, the battery life test results will be limited by this factor.

Under regular use conditions, the Galaxy A32 5G offered a great battery life. I can say that it is possible to have up to two days' worth of use without having to charge it. Of course, this will greatly depend on your usage pattern. If you ever need to charge it, the entire process should be completed in approximately 2 hours. While this is not the most ideal outcome based on today's fast charging technologies, but a 1 hour 30 minute charging time will see the battery level hit 70% from 0%.

Overall, I was very pleased with the battery life of the Galaxy A32 5G. Of course, because of the battery's capacity, you end up with a massive handset measuring 164.2 x 76.1 x 9.1 mm. Once again, a balance between convenience and comfort comes into play.

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G: Datasheet

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

 
  Datasheet
Display 6.5 inches / 60 Hz / 1,600 x 720 pixels (HD+)
Processor MediaTek Dimensity 720 (2.0 GHz Octa-Core) with Mali G57 MC3
Memory 4 GB / 128 GB / with microSD slot up to 1TB
Operating system Android 11 / One UI 3.1
Main Camera 48 MP / f/1.8 aperture / 80° field of view
Ultra wide-angle 8 MP / f/2.2 aperture / 123° field of view
Macro 5 MP / f/2.4 aperture / fixed focus
Depth sensor 2 MP / f/2.2 aperture
Digital Zoom Up to 10x
Selfie Camera 12 MP / f/2.2 aperture / 81° field of view
Video resolution

4K UHD (3840 x 2160) @30 fps
HD slow motion @120 fps

Number of SIM cards Dual-SIM - Nano-SIM (4FF)
Connection 2G GSM, 3G WCDMA, 4G LTE FDD, 4G LTE TDD, 5G Sub6 FDD, 5G Sub6 TDD
Connectivity 3.5 mm stereo (P2 standard) / NFC / Wi-Fi / Bluetooth 5.0 / GPS, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo
Battery 5,000 mAh / 15 W fast charging
Colours Black and Violet
Price US$349

Is the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G any good?

As pointed out at the very beginning of this Samsung Galaxy A32 5G review, this is a smartphone with more hits than misses. However, if having a complete gaming experience is really important to you, I would strongly recommend a more powerful model from the Galaxy A series, or perhaps even a dedicated gaming smartphone. If you use the smartphone for everyday tasks like browsing the Internet, manage your social media networks and enjoy both video and music streaming, the Galaxy A32 5G can be a viable option.

If you are looking for a device with good quality cameras, the A32 5G may not be the best option as the quad-camera setup here performs averagely at best. Yes, you'll still be able to use these images on social media and rely on the many modern camera functions and modes, but don't expect to do anything more than that.

While it supports 5G networks, it cannot be harnessed to its fullest potential in selected countries. There are operators who have plans to offer speeds that are higher than 4G, and in such cases, the Galaxy A32 5G should be primed to deliver a better experience than many smartphones in the same category. However, if you don't plan to upgrade your data plan to support 5G connectivity, the new Galaxy A52 may be a better option.

How would you rate the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G?
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So, what do you think of Samsung's Galaxy A lineup? Do you think the time is ripe for anyone to invest in a 5G-capable smartphone now? Share your opinion with our community in the comments below.

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