Samsung unveiled the Galaxy A53 5G on Thursday at the company’s Galaxy A event. Priced at $450 (£399, which is around AU$710 converted), the device is the latest in Samsung’s midrange A50 series of phones. The A50 phones tend to have the looks of the higher-end Galaxy S devices, paired with a lower price and decent cameras, specs and battery life. Delivering incremental improvements on last year’s Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, the A53 5G has a new Exynos 1280 chipset, software tweaks for better display visibility and a few camera and photo editing perks.
The A53’s starting price is also $50 cheaper than what last year’s A52 cost at launch, with the A53 5G coming in a single configuration of 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, expandable up to 1TB with a microSD card. The A53 5G will also have an 8GB, 256GB configuration, according to Samsung, but it won’t be released in the US. Samsung hasn’t announced how much that version will cost. T-Mobile and Verizon customers can buy it on March 31, and everyone else can get it April 1 from AT&T, unlocked at Samsung.com and from retailers. You can preorder the phone today and will get a pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds Live wireless earbuds for reserving the phone early.
Galaxy A53 5G has few improvements but for a lower price
Though little has changed from the A52, the phone still has an appealing list of features for its lower $450 starting price. It has a large 6.5-inch AMOLED display with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, a 64-megapixel main rear camera plus ultra-wide and macro cameras, a 32-megapixel front-facing camera, a 5,000-mAh battery and 25-watt fast charging. The phone also comes with a photo editing tool called Object Eraser, which lets you take unwanted items out of your images, much like the Google Pixel 6’s signature Magic Eraser feature.
The Galaxy A53 5G will launch with the latest Android 12 software, and Samsung has guaranteed four years of One UI and operating system upgrades. That means it should get updates through Android 16 in 2025 and five years of security updates.
Though it’s not a top-tier phone like Samsung’s Galaxy S22, the Galaxy A53 shares a feature with its bigger cousin. The SIM tray and buttons for volume and power are made from recycled post-consumer materials. Yes, that’s a small amount of all the plastic in the phone, but it’s more than other companies are doing and hopefully signals a trend for Samsung to include more parts made of recycled goods.
Samsung did introduce another phone during the event — the smaller Galaxy A33 5G, which isn’t coming to the US. The A33 5G has most of the same features as the A53 5G, but with less sharp cameras and a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a maximum 90Hz refresh rate, and is somewhat cheaper at 369 euros (converting to $410) or £329, which converts to roughly AU$590.
The only other phone Samsung announced Thursday for the US market is a 4G LTE-only version of the Samsung Galaxy A13. A variant of the $250 A13 5G launched back in December, it trims connectivity options to drop the price to $190. The phone will be sold by Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T, as well as online carriers.
The other A-series phones announced during the event won’t be released in the US, but given how successful those phones have been around the world, they’re likely to be high-quality devices in their own right.
Cheaper A-series phones lead Samsung’s new strategy
Over the last few years, Samsung’s share of premium $800-and-pricier phones has fallen. But worldwide it makes one in five phones sold, more than any other manufacturer. The company’s domination is mainly due to sales of its A-series of phones, which made up 58% of Samsung’s overall smartphone sales in 2021, according to Counterpoint Research data provided to CNET.
The Galaxy A53 5G faces stiff competition from the new $429 iPhone SE, which adds 5G connectivity and the same chipset that powers Apple’s latest premium iPhone 13 range but has the same big-bezel layout and single rear camera of its predecessors. That could make Samsung’s A-series phones more appealing, with more modern phone designs and multiple rear cameras.
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