Hands-On, Smartphone

2022 Samsung Galaxy A Series Hands-On: Water-Resistant Mid-Rangers? Yes Please

Samsung’s 2022 Galaxy A series are here, and as expected, they’re packed with some notable upgrades. But beyond the new chipsets, faster displays, and more colour options for the Galaxy A73, Galaxy A53, and Galaxy A33, the most important upgrade (in my opinion) is the fact all of them are now IP67-rated.

Given that this is a rare feature in the mid-range segment – heck, even some flagship phones are not water-resistant – the 2022 Galaxy A series certainly stands out. If you’re shopping for a new phone in this segment, these three new devices are worth considering.

Let’s start with the most affordable – and the one that sees the most improvement – device in the series, the Galaxy A33. The biggest upgrade this phone received is an IP67 rating, allowing it to be submerged up to 1m underwater for 30 minutes. Of course, you won’t have to worry about accidental water damage either.

Design wise, I’m a fan of the Galaxy A33’s matte frame. Yes, the frame and rear panel of the phone are both plastic, but the device itself does not feel cheap at all. The phone feels good in my hands, and it’s quite a hefty device too with its 5,000mAh battery. In fact, all three phones in the series are packed with a 5,000mAh cell.

What I don’t quite like is the notched display and thick bottom bezel (or “chin”) of the Galaxy A33. It gives the phone a…well, dated-looking design.

Aside from that, the Galaxy A33 is also powered by Samsung’s new Exynos 1280 chipset, which looks to be reasonably capable. In my brief time with the phone, it certainly feels fast and responsive. Samsung’s own chips may not be as popular as Qualcomm’s, but I reckon the Exynos 1280 will be able to provide a good level of performance.

And that’s a good segue to the Galaxy A53, which is also powered by the same Exynos 1280 chipset. Instead of a matte finish, its frame also has a glossy finish instead; a design element that’s shared between the A53 and A73. Of course, the build material of the two phones is still plastic, though it’s worth noting (again) that they don’t feel cheap.

Speaking of the A73, it’s the only phone in the series to be powered by a Qualcomm chip. More specifically, a Snapdragon 778G chipset, and it feels quite fast and capable in my short time with the phone.

Now let’s talk about the displays of the three phones. All of them feature a Super AMOLED display with a 1080p resolution: 6.4-inch for the A33, 6.5-inch for the A53, and 6.7-inch for the A73. The latter two have 120Hz panels, while the A33 settles for a 90Hz refresh rate.

Not surprisingly, all three phones have very pleasant screens to look at; yes, this applies to even the A33. After all, their Super AMOLED panels offer bright, vibrant colours, wide viewing angles, and deep, true blacks. These are inherent advantages of an AMOLED display.

Previously, Samsung’s Galaxy A devices were offered in a wide variety of colours, so it only makes sense that the same still applies to this year’s lineup. Five colours are available: Awesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Peach, Awesome Blue, and Awesome Mint. The last colour option is exclusive to the A73.

In the camera department, all 2022 Galaxy A devices feature a quad camera system with different implementations. The A33 has a 48MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide angle shooter, a 2MP bokeh lens, and a 5MP macro camera. The A53, on the other hand, comes with a 64MP main shooter, a 12MP ultra-wide angle lens, a 5MP bokeh camera, and a 5MP depth sensor.

As for the Galaxy A73, it sports a similar camera configuration as the A53, but it swaps out the 64MP primary shooter for a more sophisticated 108MP sensor. This allows the range-topping phone to take better-looking shots, naturally, though it’s a little odd that the A73 loses out on its predecessor’s telephoto camera.

Anyway, I briefly tested the camera performances of the 2022 Galaxy A phones, and they’re quite good! But it’s worth noting that the media briefing for the three devices took place in a well-lit area, it’s no surprise that they can take good-looking shots; all modern phones should be able to do this at the bare minimum.

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to share any photos taken with the Galaxy A phones at the media briefing, which is why there are no sample shots in this hands-on. Nonetheless, stay tuned for a more thorough impression of the phones’ camera performances once review units are sent out by Samsung.

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy A73, A53, and A33 are promising mid-range devices, though you do have to pay quite a bit more for them now. For the sake of comparison, last year’s Galaxy A phones retailed from RM1,099 to RM1,899, but the prices have now increased to RM1,499 to RM2,099.

Given all of the upgrades these phones received, a price hike is not surprising. Nonetheless, RM1,499 for the Galaxy A33 with its IP67 rating and other improvements…does sound like a good deal.

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