Samsung isn’t the company anymore we knew in 2018. The brand has stopped neglecting the affordable sub-Rs 20,000 segment and is now being aggressive with its latest launches. Yesterday, we saw Samsung unveil the new Galaxy M30 — a smartphone worth Rs 15,000 offering a narrow-bezel AMOLED display, a big 5000mAh battery and a segment-first triple camera setup. It is clearly evident the company is trying to gain back the top position it once enjoyed before losing out to the Chinese companies. They haven’t stopped there though and instead are coming up with another lineup to offer more aggressive options in the sub-Rs 20,000 category — the Galaxy A series.
Samsung in 2019 is making the Galaxy series more affordable to the masses and it’s doing that with three new models. There’s the entry-level Galaxy A10 sitting at Rs 8,490 while the better equipped Galaxy A30 sits around Rs 16,990. The top-of-the-line Galaxy A50 starts from Rs 19,990 for the base variant and goes up to Rs 22,990 for the variant 6GB RAM and 64GB storage.
The new models takeover from the Galaxy M series and offer a dash of premiumness to Samsung’s sub-Rs 20,000 category. On paper, the specifications are interesting. To see how they fare up in the real world, I spent some time with the Galaxy A30 and Galaxy A50 before Samsung launched them.
Design and display
The new Galaxy A series is a more clever version of the 2018 lineup. Glossy surfaces smeared with wild gradients are the real deal in the sub-Rs 20,000 category and the new Galaxy A series also follows suit. However, Samsung wants to appeal to the classy lot and hence, goes for subtle gradients with luxurious colours. The Galaxy A30 and A50 are made up of glossy polycarbonate (plastic) that are painted in fluorescent colours with subtle rainbow-ish gradient effects. This effect is also present on the Galaxy S10 series.
The Galaxy A30 features a dual camera setup with a fingerprint sensor at the back. The entire rear has a curvature that sits comfortably in the palms. The Galaxy A50 also has a similar rear design, except for triple camera setup and no fingerprint sensor. Surprised?
For the Galaxy A50, Samsung is relying on an optical in-screen fingerprint sensor, similar to the ones you see on Oppo and Vivo phones. Therefore, the A50 looks clean and elegant, especially in the Prism White variant. Flip it over and you will find a big 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with full HD + resolution. There’s a U-shaped notch on the top and a sizeable chin at the bottom. As with all Samsung AMOLED displays, the panel doesn’t shy while rendering colours and a vibrant contrast makes it one of the best in the segment. The screen feels immersive at first glance. The Galaxy A30 also retains the same display, albeit without the in-screen fingerprint sensor.
Specifications and performance
Samsung says the Galaxy A series is now focused on performance as well. To justify the claim, the Galaxy A50 goes for a new Exynos 9610 chipset with an octa-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz. This chip at least comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The Galaxy A50 runs on OneUI based on Android 9 Pie out-of-the box. In fact, the entire 2019 Galaxy A series will run on OneUI. The Galaxy A30 gets a slightly less powerful Exynos 7885 chipset previously seen on last year’s models and comes with at least 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.
In my limited time with both the phones, the user experience felt premium. Samsung’s OneUI is meant to offer a smarter user experience with clever layouts that utilise the big screen more effectively. While doing that, the interface felt snappy and I was able to juggle between the pre-loaded apps without noticing any signs of stress. Samsung’s OneUI feels polished and delivers a polished user experience. And the new dark mode is easily the coolest feature that will draw nerds. Maybe Samsung should bring this to the Galaxy M series as well.
The Galaxy A50 gets a triple camera setup — a 25-megapixel primary sensor with F1.7 lens + 5-megapixel F2.2 depth sensor + 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle shooter. The front-facing camera also gets a 25-megapixel sensor, but with F2.0 aperture.
The Galaxy A30 makes do with a dual camera setup for the rear — 16-megapixel + 5-megapixel wide-angle setup, with the second having a wide-angle lens. There’s also a 16-megapixel selfie camera with a brighter aperture.
In the limited time I had with the phones, the cameras seemed to take good looking photos. However, a few random shots didn’t show class-leading results. Given that these are pre-production models, Samsung could improve them by the time it starts shipping. That said, the wide-angle camera is fun to use.
The Galaxy A50 and A30 are both powered by a 5000mAh battery and come with support for 15W fast charging. GIven how phones with 4000mAh battery behave, these phones should easily last an entire day.
Galaxy A30, A50 first impressions: Samsung is back in the game
Its been a long time since Samsung properly did a desirable smartphone under Rs 20,000. The new Galaxy A30 and Galaxy A50 portray Samsung’s change of heart — these phones feel brand new and aren’t a refreshed version of the same old Samsung J series that we are used to. I am particularly impressed with the Galaxy A50 for the sheer value it offers over its rivals. An in-display fingerprint sensor and Samsung’s polished OneUI can make it a better value over rivals from several Chinese brands.
Stay tuned for the full review of the Galaxy A30 and A50 soon.