Hands-On, MWC 2019, Smartphone

Samsung Galaxy A50 & Galaxy A30 Hands-On: Heating up the Mid-Range Market

Update, 18 March: The Samsung Galaxy A50 and A30 are now in Malaysia. As suspected, the Galaxy A30 with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM retails at RM799, while the higher-end Galaxy A50 (128GB storage + 6GB RAM) goes for RM1,199. These are certainly competitive price tags for both phones, and you should definitely consider them if you’re shopping in this price range.

The original article follows.

Samsung’s range of flagship smartphones have seen quite a bit of success, but for the past couple of years, the Korean company’s mid-range offerings haven’t been particularly…interesting. However, with the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A30, this may change.

Sporting a modest list of hardware and potentially really good value for money, both the Galaxy A50 and A30 are pretty interesting mid-rangers, especially the former. I got to spend some time with these devices at Samsung’s booth here at MWC 2019, and here are my first impressions.

Out of the two devices, the Galaxy A50 is the beefier, more impressive device. It has a 6.4-inch 1080p Super AMOLED “Infinity-U” display, an Exynos 9610 2.3GHz octa-core processor, up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, a generous 4,000mAh battery, and get this: an in-screen fingerprint sensor.

Unfortunately, the demo unit of the Galaxy A50 had this feature disabled, so I couldn’t put it to the test. Chances are, it should be sufficiently quick and accurate, though I highly doubt it’ll be as good as a conventional fingerprint sensor.

As for the more affordable Galaxy A30, it has the same design, display, and battery capacity as the Galaxy A50. However, it’s powered by a more modest Exynos 7904 1.8GHz octa-core processor, up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, as well as a rear fingerprint sensor – no fancy in-screen sensor here.

Design wise, there’s no escaping the fact that the Galaxy A50 and A30 are mid-range devices. They feel plasticky, they don’t look particularly premium, and there’s a notch at the top of the display. On the bright side, at least it’s a minimal-looking notch, though I’m not fond of the rather sizeable bottom bezel.

In the performance department, both the Galaxy A50 and A30 feel plenty responsive. I didn’t notice any noticeable stuttering or lag when navigating through the home screen and switching between different apps on these devices. However, I reckon the Galaxy A50 is the faster device, thanks to its higher clocked chipset.

Much like other newly released Samsung smartphones, the Galaxy A50 and A30 run on the company’s relatively new One UI software based on Android 9 Pie. Basically, you’re getting almost the same software experience as, say, the flagship Galaxy S10 smartphones.

However, I do think the icons are a tad too large on these mid-range smartphones, which doesn’t look particularly pleasing. Nonetheless, Samsung has definitely come a long way when it comes to software, and One UI feels very polished here.

Not surprisingly, the 6.4-inch 1080p Super AMOLED displays on the Galaxy A50 and A30 are good, vibrant panels. As AMOLED screens switch off individual pixels when they need to display black colours, you’re getting excellent black levels with these phones. Viewing angles are obviously great here too.

If you’re a bit bummed the Galaxy A50 and A30 only have 1080p displays, don’t be. Texts and images still look plenty sharp on these panels, and combined with these devices large 4,000mAh battery, expect to get really, really good battery life. This will be one of the best qualities of these mid-range smartphones.

But when it comes to camera performance, don’t expect too much out of the Galaxy A50 and A30. Naturally, these devices have different camera systems. The Galaxy A50, for one, comes with a triple camera system made up of a primary 25MP shooter, an 8MP wide-angle camera, and a 5MP depth sensor. On the front, the A50 features a 25MP camera.

Instead of a triple camera system, the Galaxy A30 make do with only two sensors on the back: a 16MP main camera, and a 5MP wide-angle shooter. The front-facing camera, on the other hand, is a 16MP sensor.

As expected, the Galaxy A50 is the more pleasant smartphone to photograph with. The camera app feels responsive, the autofocus performance is decent, and the image quality is…well, good enough. It’s a different story for the A30 though. Even though the shooting experience isn’t too dissimilar to the A50’s, the A30 has a tendency to hunt for focus more frequently.

Overall, the camera performance of the Galaxy A50 and A30 is decidedly average, even for mid-range smartphones. However, it’s only fair to reserve judgment until I’m able to spend more time photographing with either phones in a full review.

The Samsung Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A30 are reasonably good mid-range offerings that excel in certain key areas like battery life and display quality. But what makes them even more enticing are their retail prices. For the Malaysian market, the Galaxy A50 is rumoured to retail at RM1,199, while the Galaxy A30 will supposedly go for only RM799.

If these retail prices are accurate, the Galaxy A50 and A30 will shake the mid-range market quite a bit in Malaysia. After all, Samsung Malaysia hardly price its Galaxy A series devices this competitive, and considering the feature set of these two phones, Samsung may be able to stand toe-to-toe with other players in this price range.

Of course, we’ll just have to wait and see if Samsung will indeed price the Galaxy A50 and A30 this competitively in Malaysia. If it does, these two devices are set to be very good options for those who are shopping for mid-range smartphones.

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