The mid-range smartphone market is a tough segment to compete in. There are a lot of options in this price range, and many of them offer great hardware for the money. Unfortunately, in this regard, the RM1,599 Samsung Galaxy A34 can’t quite compete with its competition.
But while the Galaxy A34 doesn’t have the best hardware at its price point, it’s easily one of the most refined phones in its segment. It has an intuitive, polished software experience, great build quality, and even an IP67 rating – a feature that even some flagship phones don’t have.
While the Galaxy A34 is not the fastest mid-range phone I’ve tried, it’s certainly a phone that I enjoyed using as my daily driver.
What It Is
|6.6-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED (2340 x 1080), 120Hz
|MediaTek Dimensity 1080 2.6GHz octa-core
|Arm Mali-G68 MC4
8MP f/2.2 (ultra-wide)
5MP f/2.4 (macro)
|5,000mAh with 25W charging
|161.3 x 78.1 x 8.2 mm
|One UI 5.1 based on Android 13
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz)
Under the hood, the Galaxy A34 has a modest set of hardware. The MediaTek Dimensity 1080 – while not particularly quick – can still offer a good level of performance for day-to-day use, and the Full HD+ Super AMOLED display looks pretty darn good too, especially for a mid-range phone.
To me, the most compelling feature of the Galaxy A34 has to be its IP67 dust and water resistance, which does give peace of mind in daily use. It’s already a feature that some flagship-tier phones don’t have, so the fact that a mid-range phone like the A34 has this rating is certainly a good selling point.
The Good Stuff
One of the best features of the Samsung Galaxy A34 has to be its software experience, which feels largely similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. It’s intuitive to navigate around, it feels responsive, and and it just feels…polished. While it does have a number of bloatware out of the box, it’s not the worst offender in this regard.
Display quality of the Galaxy A34 is worth a mention too. Not only does the 6.6-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display look great with punchy colours and deep blacks, it also has wide viewing angles; qualities we’ve come to expect from a Samsung phone with an AMOLED panel.
It’s also worth noting that the A34’s screen has a 120Hz refresh rate as well, which gives the impression of an even faster device.
That it not to say the Galaxy A34 is a slow phone to begin with, as the Dimensity 1080 can certainly keep up with my everyday use, including frequent switching between different apps. That being said, the processor does show its limits in demanding games like Genshin Impact. It can’t quite run the game consistently at 30fps – let alone 60fps – but it is still (mostly) playable.
Despite the fact that the Galaxy A34’s frame and back panel are made of plastic – with a nice matte finish – the phone doesn’t feel cheap by any means, which is a pleasant surprise. I do wish that the phone feels less slippery from its matte finish, though I do like how the back cover of this “Awesome Lime” colourway has a nice sheen to it when it’s reflecting light from certain angles.
Last but not least is the battery life of the Galaxy A34. On average, I can get about six hours of screen on time consistently out of the phone’s respectable 5,000mAh battery. It would’ve been great if its charging rate isn’t limited to only 25W, but at least the phone can last quite a bit on a single charge.
The Bad Stuff
The middling camera performance of the Galaxy A34 is my main gripe with the phone. At this price point, I expect better image quality out of the triple camera system, which is made up of a 48MP main shooter, an 8MP ultra-wide angle lens, and a 5MP macro sensor.
Granted, the 48MP primary camera can take decent-looking shots, but the same cannot be said for the 8MP ultra-wide sensor. Just take a look at these sample shots:
Under good lighting, the Galaxy A34 can certainly take good-looking shots, but once the sun goes down, so does the camera performance. Granted, the 48MP primary camera can still take reasonably good shots, but the performance of the 8MP ultra-wide lens leaves much to be desired, especially in terms of detail preservation.
And then there’s the value proposition of the Galaxy A34. While I can see myself paying RM1,599 for the phone’s feature set as whole, folks who want better hardware at this price point would be better served by other options, such as the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ with a 200MP primary camera for the exact same amount of money.
Is It Worth It?
If you want a mid-range phone that offers a refined software experience, bright display, good build quality, and water resistance, then the Samsung Galaxy A34 is worth a consideration. While there are other devices at this price point that feature faster hardware or better camera performance, I’d argue that the A34 is still a more polished phone.
RM1,599 for a mid-range phone may seem expensive at a glance, but I do think this is a fair price for the Galaxy A34. I thoroughly enjoyed using it as my daily driver, even if I wish it had better camera performance.