After its Galaxy S10 flagships, Samsung has unveiled its new mid-range phones, the Galaxy A50 and A30. For the occasion, the South Korean manufacturer decided to modify its A range by introducing new nomenclature and premium features. So the real question is whether the Galaxy A50 is more on the high or low side of the mid-range?
- Very good display
- Long battery life
- Absence of the B28 band
- Random facial recognition
- The fingerprint reader is twitchy
- Lower performance than the competition
Samsung Galaxy A50 release date and price
The Galaxy A50 was launched at the same time as the A30, yet only one of the two entered the market. On the other hand, the A40, officially launched in March, will be available in Europe soon, as will the A80, which was launched in April. The A50 is available at a price of £309 (around $400) in the UK, so it is more expensive than the A40 but much cheaper than the A80. The colors offered are blue, black and coral.
A top-of-the-range look
Until two or three years ago, such a design would have been synonymous with the top-of-the-range. The fashion for glass has changed the situation but, despite everything, we have a rather good design-to-price ratio here. Aesthetically, despite its glossy plastic shell, the smartphone has a rather premium look. The effects of reflections are quite pretty despite the presence of plastic instead of glass. The back of the camera quickly takes smudges still though.
In hand, the smartphone makes a pretty good impression, especially at its slightly curved edges. The touch allows you to feel the gap in the chassis slightly but it's not easy and, anyway, for a smartphone at this price it's acceptable. On the other hand, the small hole for the loudspeaker, located just above the notch, is very discreet, both to the eye and to the touch. The other speaker is located at the bottom, near the USB port. The only small criticism I would like to make is that the lower bezel is much wider than the upper bezel, it's quite strange.
The quality of the finish is in line with Samsung's top-of-the-range production. The phone gives an impression of solidity and a top-of-the-range look. There is nothing particular about the placement of the keys, but it is interesting to note that the smartphone has a fingerprint reader directly under the screen, we will come back to this later. At the back, we find the three vertically aligned camera sensors.
Note that the device charges via a USB-C port, has a mini-jack socket and you can have two SIM cards in addition to a microSD card. These features are often expected by users, and if Samsung has flaws it also knows what strengths to give its smartphones to sell them, at a time when the competition is so fierce, that's important.
Samsung Galaxy A50 display
The Galaxy A50 is a pretty 6.4-inch smartphone with a design that Samsung calls its Infinity-U Display. This is Samsung's new name for the small, drop-shaped notch on the AMOLED display, a notch similar to the one found on the OnePlus 6T, for example. This is very discreet and is quickly forgotten during navigation. The screen-to-body ratio is not as advantageous as that of the S10s, but we still manage to achieve 84%, which is promising for multimedia content.
In practice, the screen is excellent and not only for its Full HD+ definition (1080 x 2340 pixels) resolution. The brightness is high enough to use it under the sun (which has finally started to appear in Berlin), and the colors are successful. You really have to be fussy to not like such a screen for this price. In short, Samsung remains true to its reputation as the best screen builder.
Samsung Galaxy A50 special features
The device has two means of biometric unlocking (in addition to the traditional PIN/password): facial recognition and the fingerprint reader which, as explained above, is located below the display. Facial recognition is quite curious, of course, the more the environment is lit, the better it works, but sometimes it works extremely accurately and quickly, sometimes (and in the same bright conditions) it doesn't recognize my face at all and I find myself using the fingerprint reader.
The latter is optical and not ultrasonic, unlike the Galaxy S10. It's quite slow and a little frustrating. I prefer it to facial recognition because it is (a little) more reliable, but it is quite painful to have two sophisticated unlocking systems only to end up typing in a code 'the old way'.
Samsung Galaxy A50 software
The device runs on Android 9.0 but Samsung obviously places its One UI software interface (version 1.1) on top of it . I really changed my mind about the OneUI interface. By default, the icons seem huge (but this can easily be changed by changing the size of the grid) and the design and colors seem to have been chosen by a five-year-old child but all this is of course subjective. There are many things you can personalize, including the use of gestures (although Samsung's gestures boil down to a gesture where there were keys before), and you get used to the rest.
There's no problem with the notch (given its size the opposite would have been surprising) because Samsung has adapted the notification menu so that the top of the device around the notch is always empty. For better or for worse we find Bixby, Samsung's assistant. You'll either find it excellent and use it, or you'll find it useless and won't use it. At least there's no physical button to activate it.
As always, Samsung preinstalls several applications (Email, Samsung Members, Galaxy Wearable, Samsung Health, Smart Things...) as well as three Microsoft applications (Mobile Office, OneDrive, LinkedIn); and of course, Facebook.
Samsung Galaxy A50 performance
Under the hood is an Exynos 9610 processor, with a Mali-G72 GPU and 6GB of RAM. The experience is not perfect, of course, but if you are looking for a very powerful smartphone for less than 350 euros, I would advise you to opt for a Pocophone F1.
It performs well in terms of graphics, but what is quite strange is that it happens to slow down from time to time in the phone menus or when launching some applications. yet in really difficult tasks, it keeps its head up high.
It should be noted that the smartphone is not compatible with the 700 MHz frequency (Band 28).
The Galaxy A50 on benchmarks
|Benchmarks||Samsung Galaxy A50||Redmi Note 7|
|3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme ES 3.1||1288||1358|
|3D Mark Sling Shot Vulkan||1392||1303|
|3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.0||1252||2063|
|3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0||15468||26386|
|Geekbench 4 - single core||1717||1634|
|Geekbench 4 - multicore||5610||5904|
As you can see, the Redmi Note 7, which is much cheaper, even surpasses it on some benchmarks.
Samsung Galaxy A50 audio
The sound reminds us that we have a mid-range smartphone here. Without being bad, you shouldn't rely too much on it to set the mood in a room because the sound of the loudspeaker is far from convincing. The headphone jack (in addition to having the merit of being present) offers better sound but it will not turn the heads of audiophiles. Again, given the price, you have to accept these concessions.
Samsung Galaxy A50 camera
In terms of photography, Samsung has not done things by halves with the presence of three photosensors on the back. The Galaxy A50 carries the famous magic trio of wide-angle (25 MP, f/1.7) + telephoto lens (5 MP, f/2.2) + ultra wide-angle (8 MP, f2.4). As always at Samsung, the development is proving to be very fast.
We can't say that it's a real revolution in the mid-range, or that it's the best camera phone in this category, but these are very good results for the market. However, we appreciate the presence of an ultra-wide angle sensor, something that many of its competitors do not offer at this price, and when the lighting is good, the results are surprisingly positive. At night, we lose a lot of quality, but not everything you shoot is to be thrown away either.
Generally, the representation of the colors is successful but it happens sometimes that the colors become a little too bright. This is the case of the basketball court, which sometimes had colors that were a little too bleached/yellow. The camera also offers different video recording modes, including hyperlapse and slow motion, and portrait mode, which is also decent, both on the front and rear cameras.
In terms of selfies, it is acceptable enough although the portrait mode could be a little faster.
Samsung Galaxy A50 battery
This is the greatest strength of the device. With its 4,000 mAh battery, the phone can easily hold out for a full day. As far as I'm concerned, I was able to last two days with a little more than moderate use (emails, Telegram, Netflix and some podcasts).
Thanks to the quick charge feature (charger provided) at 15 watts, you can fully charge the phone in about one hour and 45 minutes. However, do not rely on wireless charging.
Samsung Galaxy A50 technical specifications
With this new generation of Galaxy A, Samsung seems to have done a nice job. The Galaxy A50 does everything you would expect from a good mid-range smartphone with the battery life expected in this range. The South Korean manufacturer has even added a few extras on the more premium version such as a triple camera - it does not compete with flagships but it offers completely acceptable results. On the other hand, the fingerprint reader under the screen and facial recognition have no real added value. In short, this is a good mid-range smartphone.
This article was amended on 30 April 2019. Since that day, this has been the final version of our review, but the comments written before the update have not been deleted.