The Galaxy A72 tops the trio of Galaxy A mid-range smartphones that were released in 2021. This smartphone carries an amalgamation of the best features in this range, although it disappoints in terms of display capability and fast charging. Still, it remains an excellent option for those who want a smartphone that will last them for a few years before making a new purchase. Stay tuned with this review to find out more!
- ✓IP67 certification
- ✓Good battery life
- ✓Versatile camera configuration
- ✓Long term software support
- ✓3.5mm headphone jack
- ✕Display has a non-adaptive refresh rate
- ✕Fast charging at only 25W
Samsung Galaxy A72: straight to the point
The Galaxy A72 is a stylish, well-built smartphone with a considerably large display that makes it excellent for media consumption while ensuring that you are well-supported in terms of software updates over the next four years. Recently, I've been reviewing entry-level and mid-range smartphones and, undoubtedly, the Galaxy A72 stands out in every way when it comes to value-for-money among mid-range models.
In this price range, the Galaxy A72 competes with the Galaxy S20 FE ($399.99 trade-in), which is one of the best value-for-money propositions everywhere it is available. Other models that it comes head-to-head with would be the Realme 8 Pro, Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro, and Samsung's very own 5G-capable Samsung Galaxy A52.
Functional design and great display
The Galaxy A72 is a big smartphone just like its A-series siblings that were released this year. The Super AMOLED display measures a whopping 6.7-inches across diagonally with a FHD+ resolution and 90 Hz refresh rate. Even when armed with a 5,000 mAh battery, the smartphone manages to retain a sleek look while tipping the scales at 205 grams.
What I liked:
- Camera module aligned with the back design.
- Excellent grip.
- IP67 certification.
- On-screen fingerprint sensor.
What I didn't like:
- It has no adaptive refresh rate.
The A72 is not a very futuristic-looking phone, but it is functional enough and Samsung has paid close attention to the details since just about everything in it remains well thought out. The button to activate the device is perfect for one-handed use, as is the in-display fingerprint sensor.
I have to say that this was my first time using an in-display fingerprint sensor and the experience proved to be very satisfying, although I did notice a certain unusual delay that is common biometric reading sensors.
The A72's screen is bright at 800 nits, and the fact that we have a 90 Hz refresh rate enabled all the time makes viewing content on the display a smooth experience. On the other hand, not having an adaptive refresh rate can lead to higher power consumption, especially when you are binge-watching a series or going on a movie marathon via a video streaming service. The ability to switch between 90 and 60 frames per second requires you to access the display settings, which is a bummer.
Viewing videos, movies, and surfing the web happens to be daily tasks that most people indulge in, hence a smartphone needs to be proficient at these tasks at the very least. And the Galaxy A72 is excellent in these aspects. The display carries Samsung's seal of quality, where it is bright enough and the colors are vibrant. However, I had to change the screen mode from vivid to natural, because some app icons, especially those that rely on red, ended up looking over saturated.
What struck me with the Galaxy A72 is the fact that I experienced a lot more enjoyment out of playing games like Free Fire, as the amount of detail on the display really allowed me to enjoy a far better sense of the game's scenarios and I ended up with better performance than on my daily driver, the Google Pixel.
The Galaxy A72 has a great footprint, an excellent screen size for media consumption, and is great for gaming. Samsung has really managed to put together a nearly flawless device when it comes to design and build. Now, if your hand is small, this phone might not be the best option. Also, the IP67 certification ensures a little more endurance for a device that was built to last.
The performance isn't top notch, but that's OK
The Snapdragon 720G processor is a relative newcomer to the scene as it was announced in early 2020, and is based on the 8 nm manufacturing process. It relies on Kryo 465 cores and the Adreno 618 GPU to handle the graphical workload. This is the processor that powers the Galaxy A72 alongside 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage (available memory stands at 102.7 GB). This smartphone also comes with microSD memory card support up to 1 TB.
What I liked:
- Satisfactory gaming performance.
- Expandable memory.
- 4 years of security updates.
- 3 years of system updates.
- OneUI 3.0 is extremely versatile.
What I didn't like:
- In-display fingerprint recognition is a tad slower when unlocking
If you've read our review of the Galaxy A52 5G, you may have noticed that the A72's processor is rather similar to that of the A52, without 5G support, of course. So much so that when we compared the performance of both smartphones in different benchmarks, the results were unsurprisingly similar:
Samsung Galaxy A72 benchmarks
|BENCHMARK||GEEKBENCH 5 CPU||GEEKBENCH 5 COMPUTE||3D MARK WILDLIFE||3D MARK WILDLIFE STRESS TEST|
|Galaxy A72||548/1616||1.220||1,048 at 6.3 FPS||Highest score: 1,044
Lowest result: 1.040
|Galaxy A52 5G||620/1740||1.312||1,090 at 6.5 FPS||Highest score: 1,093
Lowest result: 1.090
Overall, the Galaxy A72 delivered excellent performance with occasional issues with slowness. During my review, I did not recall having apps shut down abruptly as I did with the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G.
During my review, I played Asphalt 9 and Free Fire regularly and had a good experience on both accounts without experiencing any significant hardware overheating or software crashes. Do take note that even though Qualcomm's "G" suffix in the processor means that this SoC was dedicated for gaming purposes, you must remember that this is still a mid-range processor so do not expect to enjoy the best graphics experience. However, you can have a lot of fun with the Galaxy A72 where mobile gaming is concerned.
The Galaxy A72's internal component set isn't the most powerful one in this mid-range category. However, it does offer a good level of performance. Of course, the software support of three years of guaranteed OS updates and four years of security patches makes sure that this is one smartphone that is in for the long haul.
Overall, the Galaxy A72 offers good performance in everyday tasks. However, performance is not the highlight of this smartphone. You will be able to utilize this handset for media consumption, browsing the Internet and your social networks, and keeping yourself entertained from one game and another. Samsung's software is extremely versatile with many available customization options. Those alone are enough factors for me to invest in a smartphone at this price point.
A mid-range smartphone with a telephoto lens!
The cameras on the Galaxy A72 are quite versatile and features a telephoto lens as well, making it unique among the A-series this year. In addition, Samsung has thrown in an optical image stabilizer for good measure.
- 64 MP main lens, f/1.8 aperture, OIS.
- 12 MP ultra-wide-angle lens, f/2.2 aperture, 123° angle of view.
- 8 MP telephoto lens, f/2.4 aperture, 3x optical and 30x digital zoom.
- 5 MP macro lens, f/2.4 aperture.
- 32 MP selfie, no AF.
What I liked:
- Versatile lens set.
- Good image quality even at night.
- Integrated OIS.
- Front camera processing is not aggressive.
What I didn't like:
- Poor macro camera performance.
The Galaxy A72's camera set comes across as a nice surprise. The image quality was really good and the software options will enable users to be more creative with their shots. The telephoto lens in place of the depth sensor that is found in most devices within this category was a smart move, although I do not use it that often.
Photos captured during the day with the Galaxy A72 ensured that colors were retained accurately, and to have optical stabilization meant having sharper images. This was really noticeable when you upgrade from a smartphone without this option.
At night, I always prefer to avoid the camera's night mode as it the former makes any scene look much more realistic. With the Galaxy A72, this wasn't a problem as the camera performed well during the night, even in environments with high contrast artificial lighting.
A nice surprise was the Galaxy A72's front-facing camera. However, I may be a bit biased because of my Motorola Moto G30 review, in which the selfie camera offered such an artificial experience that it was even difficult to recognize myself in the photos. Of course, we're talking about a completely different set of hardware here, but it's really nice to see how good the A72's 32 MP lens can be.
The Galaxy A72's camera suite is versatile and unique in the A-series smartphones, providing this device an obvious advantage. Images captured using the 64 MP main lens are good enough and the device works well at night, leaving the experience a complete one. In other words, you will be able to share your memories on social networks and with friends via instant messaging services without having to do any post-processing. Plus, you'll be able to proudly frame your selfies and other captured memories around the house!
Admirable battery life with a single exception
The Galaxy A72 packs a 5,000 mAh battery with support for 25W fast charging. For a smartphone with intermediate hardware and without too many power-hungry options, the battery capacity here is top-notch. However, we miss out on wireless charging here.
What I liked:
- Long battery life
- Stable discharge rate
What I didn't like:
- No wireless charging option
- 25W fast charging is slower than the competition.
Battery life is certainly a highlight of the Galaxy A72, because it allows you to use the smartphone without having to think about whether you will run out of juice halfway through the workday. A full charge from 0 to 100% takes approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes with fast charging. This is not bad at all, considering the battery capacity.
However, direct competitors to the Galaxy A72, like the Realme 8 Pro, for example, offer a 50W adapter in the box, double the charging speed of Samsung's handset. And this is where my criticism lies, fast charging could be faster. However, as rightly cited by my colleague Benjamin Lucks in the Galaxy A53 5G review, given that Samsung is offering support for up to 4 years of updates, charging your device at 25W in the long run could prove to be a positive thing as it extends the life cycle of this crucial smartphone component.
Regarding its battery life, the Galaxy A72 is excellent in this aspect as it will have enough in its tank to last you all day and in some cases, even up to two days, depending on your usage pattern . I would have liked to have seen wireless charging included here because it is much more practical in everyday life. I do expect to see wireless charging become standard across all smartphones in the years to come.
Additional information about the Galaxy A72
Here are other points that may interest the NextPit community, summarized in a few words:
- The stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos are good and allow you to enable different modes.
- The A72 retained the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
- The device can be used with Galaxy Buds.
- It supports NFC and allows you to make payments via Samsung Pay.
- The device offers enhanced digital security with Samsung Knox.
Samsung Galaxy A72
Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, 8 nm, octa-core (2x 2.3 Ghz + 6x 1.8 Ghz)
|Memory||6 GB RAM / 128 GB internal memory|
|Expandable storage||Yes, microSD up to 1 TB|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0/ Wi-Fi 5.0/ NFC/ LTE|
|Display||6.7-inch, Super AMOLED, FHD+, 90Hz|
|Dimensions||77.4 x 165 x 8.4 mm|
|Camera||Main: 64MP with f/1.8 and OIS / Ultrawide: 12MP with f/2.2 / Telephoto (3x): 8MP with f/2.4 / Macro: 5MP with f/2.4 / Selfie: 32MP without AF|
|Charging technologies||25 Watt fast charging|
|Audio||Stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos / 3.5 mm headphone jack|
|IP certification||IP 67|
|Operating system||Android 11 with 4 years of security updates|
|Colors||Awesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Violet, Awesome Blue|
Is the Galaxy A72 good?
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy A72 is an excellent mid-range device: good display quality, a versatile camera setup, great battery life, support for up to four years of security updates, and an affordable price. What I have against this smartphone is negligible, apart from the missed opportunity to achieve perfection by including a better processor and "faster" fast charging. However, this does not negate the overall user experience of the smartphone.
The fact that the Galaxy A72 is so similar to the Galaxy A52 5G will surely generate confusion among consumers who want to pick between these two models. The major differences here will be having to choose between support for a more advanced data network (5G) or a telephoto lens.
Personally, if I had to choose, I would opt for 5G network support, because I believe that in the long run, that carries more benefits. What about you?