The Samsung Galaxy A33 is the little brother of the Galaxy A53 and shares some features with that mid-range smartphone. In a weird twist of fate, it is the Galaxy A53 that overshadows the Galaxy A33 as well. Whether you can still buy the Galaxy A33 with confidence and what we think otherwise of this inexpensive Samsung smartphone can be discovered in our review.
- Powerful AMOLED display
- Decent performance in everyday use
- Great software support
- Capable main camera
- A bit too expensive
- No wireless charging support
- Rather slow Quick-Charging
- No charger included
- No headphone jack
The Samsung Galaxy A33 in a nutshell
The Galaxy A33 is a worthy successor to last year's Galaxy A32. You get a solid mid-range smartphone with a really capable display, IP67 certification, a beefy 5,000 mAh battery, and a 48 MP primary camera with optical image stabilization for a recommended retail price of $399. The fact that the other camera sensors in the quad-cam configuration are not as capable, not to mention the middling Exynos 1280 SoC that does not cater to gamers, and a missing charger in the box does not really detract the overall package.
The device also does well when it comes to software, because a) Android 12 with OneUI 4.1 is available and b) the South Koreans' lengthy update policy also applies here. The only real problem with the Galaxy A33? The insane competition in this price range, including from its own company!
- Read more: The best Samsung smartphones in 2022!
Samsung Galaxy A33 design and build quality
Samsung seems fearful of experimenting with the design language. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing with the Galaxy A33 because of its mix of plastic at the back and Gorilla Glass in front it looks very appealing. Thanks to solid workmanship, the smartphone has a high-quality feel, and the Galaxy A33 also scores with an IP67 certification.
What I liked:
- High-quality workmanship
- IP67 certification
- Fits well in the hand
- Matte finish
What I disliked:
- Wide bezel under the display
- No 3.5 mm headphone jack
Samsung will not win a Nobel Prize when it comes to innovation with the design of the Galaxy A33. However it is also not necessary to tinker too much when a particular thing has worked well in the past. The look, including the camera island with its transition into the casing is based on other models from the South Koreans. However, its predecessor, the Galaxy A32 5G, still featured camera sensors sans this island.
I also like the matte finish, but I have already made my presence known to the smartphone with my greasy fingers. Out in front, there is a very noticeable chin that is wider than the forehead. Thus, the bezels around the display, which is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, are not symmetrical. This makes my inner Adrian Monk howl with displeasure.
The back is made of plastic, but it doesn't feel cheap at all. Generally, the device feels very good in the hand, but that might be different for people who don't have my huge paws. Interestingly, the A33 is minimally longer at 159.7 mm than the A53, which also has a slightly larger screen size across diagonally.
Regarding the IP67 certification, I appreciate that Samsung goes to the lengths of such trouble every single time and are willing to pay this price. Certifications are definitely a cost factor. Those who complain about Samsung models being too expensive should bear that in mind! Xiaomi and its ilk often cut corners by not paying for such certification, even in their flagships!
Perhaps some of you will be bothered by the fact that the 3.5 mm headphone jack is missing. Personally, this does not bother me one bit as I have only used wireless headphones for years, but I wanted to point it out to you as courtesy.
Display: Samsung's usual masterpiece
The display is once again Samsung's showcase piece. Full HD+, AMOLED technology, and a 90 hertz refresh rate - those are convincing specifications for this price range.
What I liked:
- Great AMOLED display with crisp colors.
- 90 hertz refresh rate.
What I disliked:
Once again, applause to Samsung for rolling out a strong display. In contrast to the Galaxy A53, images are not repeated at 120 Hz, but 90 Hz is also acceptable within this price range. Unfortunately, it is not adaptive, but you can switch to 60 Hz if you want to. What else do you need to know about the display? That the screen measures 6.4-inches across diagonally and the FHD+ panel relies on Super AMOLED technology. I do not like the U-notch as much; I would have liked a punch hole solution better.
The display convinces with crisp, bright colors and high contrast levels. As is usually the case with Samsung, the colors are quite saturated, which might not be to some people's liking. However, I certainly like it! The fingerprint sensor in the lower display area responds quickly and reliably.
Performance and software:
The Exynos 1280 does a pretty good job in everyday use. However, Samsung's very own SoC with 5G support drops to its knees when computing tasks becomes more intensive.
What I liked:
- Rather acceptable performance.
- 5G support.
- Long software updates.
What I disliked:
- It stutters quite a bit in demanding games.
My colleague Rubens also dealt with the new Exynos 1280 in his Galaxy A53 review. Unlike him, however, I had my difficulties when playing Genshin Impact. A clear (but not alarming) heat development was noticeable. And even on low graphics settings, there is still a number of jerky movements. High graphics settings make the game look like a flipbook.
Apart from that, the Exynos 1280 is an "okay" SoC that average users should not have any problems with in everyday use. Applications launch quickly and run smoothly. However, I would not recommend the A33 as a gaming device. A look at our table reveals the obvious: The performance of the Exynos 1280 in the A33 is very close to the performance of the Exynos 1280 in the A53.
|Samsung Galaxy A33
|Samsung Galaxy A53
|Oppo Find X5 Lite
|OnePlus Nord 2
|Motorola Edge 20
|Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
|3DMark Wild Life||
|3DMark Wild Life stress test||
The Galaxy A33 only comes in one variant: 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage. However, you can expand the storage thanks to the hybrid slot if you do not need a second SIM card. As is often the case with Samsung, this smartphone can also take advantage of virtual RAM. The A33 has 5G network compatibility, which is par for the course for Samsung in 2022. In terms of connectivity, it should be mentioned that WiFi 6 is not yet supported, and "only" Bluetooth 5.1 is available instead of Bluetooth 5.2.
We can keep the point about software short. Samsung's Galaxy A33 also comes with Android 12, OneUI 4.1 and the promise of long software updates. Thus, you should definitely take a look at our OneUI 4 review if you want to delve deeper into the matter. As for updates: Four major Android updates are promised and five years of security updates are part of the deal. This sets the course for you to still use this smartphone until Android 16 rolls around.
Camera: Everything in the daytime
The quad-cam is led by a primary 48 MP camera with optical image stabilization. The rest of the remaining sensors falls a bit short when it comes to performance, but that is not unusual in this price range. A 13 MP shooter makes up the selfie camera. Samsung also focused on social media-savvy buyers by providing filters and effects to go along with the cameras.
What I liked:
- Decent primary camera.
- OIS in the primary camera.
- Many filter and effect gimmicks (for those who like it).
- Nice portrait mode.
What I disliked:
- Apart from the primary camera, the other sensors fall short.
- Mediocre digital zoom performance.
- No convincing night mode.
The main camera offers 48 megapixels and allows really decent photos, especially during the day. Thanks to pixel binning, pictures with 12 MP are pieced together in standard mode. The camera array offers a total of four cameras:
- Primary camera :48 MP, f/1.8, OIS, AF
- Ultra-wide-angle: 8 MP, f/2.2
- Depth: 2 MP, f/2.4
- Macro:5 MP, f/2.4
As usual, you will have to look closely at what is hidden behind the sensors, especially in more affordable smartphones. The hardware in that department is weaker than that found in the A53. This is quite an exciting fact in times when the street prices of the two models hardly differ by a noticeable margin. The ultra wide-angle camera still manages usable pictures during the day, although slight color differences in the primary camera are noticeable. Overall, the ultra wide-angle photos look a bit paler to me than I would have liked.
There is also a 5 MP camera for macro shots and a 2 MP sensor that is only responsible for depth information. You should not expect miracles from the macro sensor. Finally, there is a selfie shooter in front at 13 MP resolution. In general, the camera configuration reads exactly like that of its predecessor on paper, apart from the inclusion of optical image stabilization. This also means that there is once again only digital zoom available. 2x magnification is absolutely fine, but you'd better spare yourself the pain of its 10x magnification.
I didn't notice the night mode much in night photography. Yes, sometimes colors seem less exaggerated. But in general, the differences in the primary camera without night mode are acceptable.
Samsung also wants to score more points by including software features. There is the "Fun" option that provides you with Snapchat filters. In portrait mode, you can use different options for the background, not to mention the presence of AR features. Samsung thus positioned the Galaxy A33 to lean more to social media-savvy people who upload their pictures with filters to Instagram, and less for photo experts who want to print their snapshots on a large canvas.
Battery: The Galaxy A33 is a continuous powerhouse
The battery capacity of 5,000 mAh is again rather high, and the battery lasts for a pleasantly long time. Frugal smartphone users can even manage up to two days of use. It is just a pity that neither a charger is included in the box nor a really fast Quick-Charging performance.
What I liked:
- Large battery with 5,000 mAh capacity.
- Very decent battery life.
What I disliked:
- "Quick charging" at only 25 watts.
- No included charger.
- No wireless charging.
We also keep telling two identical stories about the battery: First, "fast charging" is not really that fast at just 25 watts. That is okay, but when you look at what the competition from China shovels onto your smartphone within 10 minutes, that is quite a large difference. And the other story is the "Oops, where is the charger" story. There is no charger bundled with the Galaxy A33, either.
But let us talk about something more positive this time around Even though the PCMark battery benchmark only gave me a time of just over ten hours (the A53 achieved more than 13 hours!), the battery life totally made my day. You will have to do some pretty wild things with the Galaxy A33 to drain this 5,000 mAh battery within a day! I would even claim that the average smartphone user can use the device for up to two days before requiring a recharge.
Other points that might be interesting for you before picking up the Galaxy A33:
- Sound: Dolby Atmos and stereo speakers are on board. The volume is rather decent, but the sound does get a bit scratchy when you crank up the volume.
- Four available colors: black, white, blue and peach. Samsung named them Awesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Blue, and Awesome Peach.
- A USB-C to USB-C charging cable and SIM card tool are included.
Despite its flaws, the Galaxy A33 is a really decent all-rounder for its price. The display is first class, good looking photos can be captured, at least during the day, and the performance is normally decent with 5G support on board, while the battery lasts for a really long time. Do you notice how a big "but!" announces itself here? And yes, there is indeed a "but": What really hurts the Galaxy A33 is that the competition in this market segment is fierce. And yes, that includes competition from its very own portfolio. The Galaxy A53 hangs over the A33 like the sword of Damocles.
The A33, which is priced at $399, is currently available at a rock-bottom price of $320 thereabouts based on other online stores. The better equipped A53 can be had for $350! In return, you get a better camera and a slightly larger display with a 120 Hz refresh rate instead of 90 Hz. It is then difficult for me to find plus points for the A33. The Galaxy A52s, which is partially better equipped than the A53 and comes with an included charger, is currently available for approximately $320.
The differences are even more obvious when you look at a competitor like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro. Better performance, a larger 120 hertz AMOLED display, a 108 MP camera, and 67 watt fast charging.
However, that does not make the Galaxy A33 a bad smartphone by any means. On the contrary: The overall package is a real success, the device is a loyal companion for everyday use, and it is a no-brainer when the street price settles at around the $280 mark. Oh yes, did we not mention the fantastic software support as well?