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Samsung Galaxy A54 Review: The Mid-Range Benchmark
May 15, 2023 Andrew Cheng

The mid-range smartphone market is a highly competitive segment largely dominated by devices from China with great value propositions. In this regard, the Samsung Galaxy A54 isn’t the most compelling option in this crowded market – it doesn’t exactly offer the best hardware for the money.

But what the Galaxy A54 lacks in value for money is made up by its refinement and feature set, which not many phones in this segment can rival. It has a bright, vibrant display; a capable camera system; and most of all, an IP67 dust and water resistance. Most flagship phones don’t even have this rating.

Of course, the A54 still has some shortcomings here and there, but for the most part, it’s certainly a mid-range phone worth considering.

What It Is

Display6.4-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED (2340 x 1080), 120Hz
ChipsetSamsung Exynos 1380 2.4GHz octa-core
GPUArm Mali-G68 MP5
RAM8GB
Storage256GB, expandable
Camera (rear)50MP f/1.8, PDAF, OIS
12MP f/2.2 (ultra-wide)
5MP f/2.4 (macro)
Camera (front)32MP f/2.2
Battery
5,000mAh with 25W fast charging
Dimensions158.2 x 76.7 x 8.2 mm
Weight
202g
OSOne UI 5.1 based on Android 13
Connectivity5G
LTE
NFC
Bluetooth 5.3
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4/5GHz)
USB Type-C
PriceRM1,899

Priced at RM1,899 with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, the Galaxy A54 sits at the higher-end of the price range in the mid-range market. But for that kind of money, you are getting a high quality Super AMOLED display with a fast 120Hz refresh rate, which is one of its winning qualities.

What’s not so great are the A54’s lack of a telephoto camera and Exynos 1380 processor. At this price point, I expect a more sophisticated camera setup and processor, though the phone isn’t exactly inadequate in these two areas. I’ll elaborate more further down the review.

The Good Stuff

What immediately stood out to me when I first held the Samsung Galaxy A54 in my hands is its build quality; it is surprisingly solid despite the phone’s plastic frame. It does not feel cheap at all, which can be attributed to the smooth glass back of the device as well.

The plastic build of the Galaxy A54 has one added advantage too: it makes for a lightweight device. Tipping the scales at 202g, paired with its relatively compact form factor, I can use the phone quite comfortable with only one hand.

Next, we have the Galaxy A54’s 6.4-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, which is easily one of the best screens I’ve seen on a mid-range phone. While it’s not a particularly high resolution panel, its image quality is great with vivid colours, wide viewing angles, and of course, very deep blacks; perfect for content consumption and gaming.

Speaking of which, the 120Hz refresh rate of the A54’s Super AMOLED display lends to smooth-looking animations too. This is great for mobile games that can take advantage of the high refresh rate, though not many games can actually run at this frame rate on the Exynos 1380.

Don’t get me wrong, the Samsung-made Exynos 1380 is more than fast enough to provide a seamless user experience in day-to-day use. It’s only in more demanding mobile games like Genshin Impact where the chip starts showing its limits. The Exynos 1380 can’t quite manage 60fps in Genshin Impact even with some tweaks to the graphics settings, though the game is still largely playable.

As for the camera performance of the Galaxy A54, I’m quite happy with it. The triple camera system is made up of a 50MP primary sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide angle shooter, and a 5MP macro lens. While I wish it also had a telephoto camera, at least I can snap good-looking shots with the A54.

That being said, the camera – especially the 12MP ultra-wide sensor – does noticeably struggle in more challenging lighting conditions. But compared to other mid-range phones, I’d say the Galaxy A54 still delivers above average image quality. I certainly don’t mind using the camera as my daily driver, even if the camera interface feels a tad too sluggish for my liking in low light situations.

Last but not least is the IP67 rating of the Galaxy A54. While the average consumer is unlikely to submerge the phone underwater every other day, it’s good to have peace of mind that the phone isn’t prone to water damage.

Again, the fact that not many flagship-tier phones (let alone mid-rangers) have this dust and water resistance rating is definitely a plus point for the Galaxy A54.

The Bad Stuff

For a phone with a sizeable 5,000mAh battery, I expected the Galaxy A54 to deliver longer battery life. Granted, with an average screen on time of about five hours and 30 minutes, the phone doesn’t have “bad” battery life per se, but it should have been better for a phone this size with such a battery capacity.

And then there’s the lack of a telephoto sensor on the Galaxy A54. With its RM1,899 price tag in mind, it is not far-fetched to expect the addition of a telephoto lens for a more versatile camera system. I mean, even the camera interface has the option to do 2x zoom, which is just digital zoom that doesn’t offer particularly great image quality.

Is It Worth It?

All things considered, the Samsung Galaxy A54 is still a fantastic mid-range smartphone. It may not offer the best value for money, but its refinement in various aspects and its overall feature set are hard to beat. You will find faster phones with better battery life at this price range, but whether or not those phones can rival the A54’s display quality, camera performance, or build quality is an entirely different question.

To me, the Galaxy A54 easily sets the benchmark for a mid-range smartphone. Unlike its competition, Samsung isn’t focusing on offering sheer value for money in this highly competitive segment with the A54, and in my opinion, the Korean company made the right call.

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