The Galaxy A53 is the 2022 edition of Samsung's best-selling line. But after a big update in 2021 with the Galaxy A52, the Korean brand made small upgrades to its mid-range phone. Is it really worth its $449 price? Who should consider buying the Galaxy A53? Keep reading to see NextPit's full review.
- Good AMOLED display
- Good performance
- Decent battery life
- The best software support in the category
- Slow charging
- No headphone jack
- Non-competitive price
Samsung Galaxy A53 in a nutshell
The Galaxy A53 was announced in March 2022 alongside the Galaxy A33 and succeeded the Galaxy A52 range for 2022. It brings roughly similar specs to the A52 5G and A52s models, with a 6.5-inch AMOLED display with 120 Hz refresh rate, 5G support thanks to its octa-core SoC, a quad-camera module with a 64 MP main shooter, 12 MP ultra-wide, and two 5 MP sensors — for macros and depth sensing.
New for the Galaxy A53 is a bigger 5000 mAh battery from the 4500 mAh component used in 2021, despite the width reduction from 8.4 to 8.1 mm (the other dimensions had the same 0.3 mm reduction), a new Exynos 1280 designed and made by Samsung, the removal of the headphone jack and the charger from the box.
Comparison: Galaxy A52 vs. Galaxy A53
The phone was launched with an MSRP of $449.99, but can already be found $100 cheaper, a similar price range to its predecessor, the A52 5G.
Design and screen: If it ain't broke don't fix it
When viewed side-by-side with its predecessor, it is really difficult to identify the Galaxy A53. Samsung kept the same overall design from the A52 models, with the same centered punch-hole camera in the bright and fluid 6.5-inch AMOLED panel, as well as a very similar camera bump in the back between the generations.
What I liked:
- Bright AMOLED display.
- Fast 120 Hz refresh rate.
- Nice matte finish in the back.
- IP67 rating.
What I didn't like:
- Basically unchanged from the A52 series.
Samsung's AMOLED displays are a known quantity at this point, with excellent contrast ratio, punchy colors, and good brightness even for outdoor use , and the A53's is no different. Animations on the screen are very smooth thanks to the 120 Hz refresh rate, but the same could be said about the panel on the A52 5G.
Build quality is good and on par with its rivals. And Samsung even managed to trim 0.3 mm from each dimension from the A52 to the A53 despite using a bigger battery. And similar to the A52 models, the Galaxy A53 has an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance.
Performance: Good showing from the Exynos 1280
The Galaxy A53 is the first smartphone in the market powered by the Samsung Exynos 1280 mid-range processor. The SoC offers a competent performance level, especially in games, where it is on par with its main rivals: the Snapdragon 778 and Dimensity 900.
What I liked:
- More than enough performance in daily tasks.
- Competitive performance in games and benchmarks.
- Stable without overheating.
What I didn't like:
- Synthetic multithreaded performance is below its rivals.
- Samsung is lagging behind when it comes to a game overlay.
It is not a secret that current intermediate SoCs are more than capable of handling regular apps like YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, WhatsApp, and others, and the Exynos 1280 is not different. Apps load fast, interface animations are smooth, and all that without excessive heat.
|Samsung Galaxy A53
|Oppo Find X5 Lite
|OnePlus Nord 2
|Motorola Edge 20
|Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
|Samsung Galaxy A51
|3DMark Wild Life||
|3DMark Wild Life Stress Test||
Gaming performance was competitive, despite relying on only two high-performance cores against the four found in the Snapdragon 778 (which is why it performs considerably better in Geekbench's multi-core test). Better still, the Galaxy A53 showed a very stable performance in 3DMark's stress test, which simulates a long gaming session and tries to identify overheating or thermal throttling problems, which it didn't with the A53.
In real-world games like Call of Duty Mobile and Genshin Impact the Samsung Galaxy A53 performed as expected, with stable performance in medium or low graphical settings — including the option of faster framerates in CoD:M when lowering the visual options. The phone cannot compete with flagship phones in terms of image quality, but offers competitive performance for its market segment. The only thing lacking is a better game overlay, on par with what Oppo/OnePlus and Xiaomi are doing.
A familiar camera module
The camera module in the Galaxy A53 has the same exact specifications as the A52 predecessors: a 64 megapixels main sensor with phase-detect autofocus (PDAF) and optical image stabilization (OIS), a 12 megapixels ultra-wide camera with 123˚ field of view, and a pair of 5 MP sensors for macro shots and depth sensing.
What I liked:
- Good image quality in daylight pictures.
- Decent nighttime shots.
- Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).
- Macros can be decent.
What I didn't like:
- No telephoto lens.
- Basically unchanged from the A52.
In general, pictures in the daytime were quite good, with the usual color processing Samsung is known for, with boosted contrast levels. Similar to what my colleague Benjamin Lucks found during his A52 review, I noticed some differences in the colors from the wide and ultra-wide cameras, the latter with slightly washed-out results.
Without a dedicated telephoto lens, the A53 relies on digital zoom for close-ups, with the usual results. Results up to 2x magnification are usually good, but going any further — like the 5x zoom photos in the gallery below — results in images lacking detail.
And after testing some smartphones with 2 MP macro cameras, the 5 MP offered by the Galaxy A53 are very welcomed. The resulting images were far from jaw-dropping, with most shots being overly noisy, but a little bit of patience (and steady hands) can produce pleasing pictures.
As for the nighttime performance, the A53 repeats the qualities of the A52, with a bit more detail in the right situations. Personally, in most cases, I found the results not that much different from the standard mode.
When it comes to selfies, the Galaxy A53 did well with its 32 megapixel camera — again, with the same specs as the A52 — both in the regular and wide-angle modes, with a good level of details and color reproduction. And the Portrait mode worked as it should, with good subject separation.
In short, the camera features of the Galaxy A53 are mostly the same as those from the A52, which is a shame, especially because Samsung opted to not include a telephoto lens in its 2022 Galaxy A line, not even on the A73 offered in only a few markets.
Good battery life, slow charging times
The Samsung Galaxy A53 is powered by a 5,000 mAh battery (500 mAh bigger than the one in the A52), and the capacity increase was achieved despite the reduction in the dimensions. On the other hand, Samsung no longer includes the charger in the box.
What I liked:
- Battery can last two days of regular use.
- Battery capacity increased in relation to the A52 while reducing the overall volume.
What I didn't like:
- 25-watt charging is not fast anymore.
- No charger in the box.
- No wireless charging.
I admit coming rather pessimistic about the Galaxy A53, but the Exynos 1280 not only proved itself capable performance-wise, but also regarding battery consumption. The A53 lasted roughly two days on a single charge, with some heavy game downloading (14 GB for Genshin Impact!) light social media and messaging use, and a brief GPS/camera tour.
On the other hand, Samsung insisted on not upgrading the mid-ranger's charging capabilities, and still only offers up to 25 W "fast" charging. Coming from the Oppo Find X5 Lite/Reno 7 5G, I could not feel disappointed by speeds almost 4x slower on the Galaxy A53, using either an Anker PowerPort III 65W, or a Samsung EP-TA20 (20W) charger.
|Charging||Samsung Galaxy A53||Oppo Find X5 Lite||Realme 9 Pro+||Realme 8 Pro|
|Full charge||< 2h||< 35 min||1h|
|PC Mark Battery test||13h19||crashed at around 12h||13h44||n/a|
Samsung Galaxy A53 technical specifications
I will list below other points that may interest the NextPit community, but are not worth additional paragraphs:
- The Galaxy A53 includes NFC support and is compatible with Google Pay for contactless payments.
- After resetting the updated handset, the operating system indicated 29.97 GB of used space.
- The review unit packaging included a USB-C to USB-C charging cable and a SIM tray opening tool.
- The software version during the test was A536BXXU1AVCC (April 2022 security patch).
- Samsung promises four major OneUI/Android updates and five years of security patches.
|Samsung Galaxy A53 specifications|
1080 x 2400 pixels, 120 Hz
|SoC||Samsung Exynos 1280|
|Memory||128/256 GB ROM
6/8 GB RAM
|Software||One UI 4.1 with Android 12|
|Rear camera||Main camera: 64 MP | f/1.8 | OIS
Ultra-wide-angle: 12 MP | f/2.2
Macro: 5 MP | f/2.4
Depth: 5 MP | f/2.4
|Front camera||32 MP | f/2.2|
Wired charging: 25 W
|Connectivity||5G, Wi-Fi 5 (ac), BT 5.1, NFC, GPS, Galileo, GLONASS|
|Dimensions and weight||159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1 mm, 189 g|
|To the offer*||Samsung Galaxy A53|
The Galaxy A53 does not repeat the big evolution brought by the A52 generation, so it is hard to recommend it to those using the Galaxy A52, or A52s. But for those loyal to Samsung still using the popular Galaxy A51 or older, the 2022 update is a welcome upgrade.
Somewhat similar to what happened with the iPhone SE 2022, the Galaxy A53 seems like a processor upgrade over the A52 and A52 5G, with better performance and similar battery life, while not quite offering the same performance found with the Snapdragon 778 used in the Galaxy A52s.
It is a shame that Samsung doesn't seem to care about the fierce competition between the Chinese brands when it comes to fast charging, but even that can be forgiven considering the differences in update policies, depending on how long you plan to keep using the device. Besides that, the lack of a charger in the box and a headphone jack unfortunately seem like an irreversible trend.
Samsung seems to be aware of the small changes brought by the Galaxy A range in 2022, quickly cutting the market price of the A53 from its original MSRP of $449 to $349. While the original price made the A53 difficult to recommend, the current one makes the mid-ranger quite competitive, especially when taking into account the fact that no other Android brand comes close to promising 5 years of software support, including 4 major version updates.