The Galaxy A52 in violet.
The Galaxy A52 in violet.

Cheap smartphones that don’t cost $1000

Korean smartphone giant Samsung has announced new devices for its mid-range, millennial-targeting Galaxy A series, rivalling more expensive phones with high-quality cameras and long battery life without costing upwards of $1000.

Samsung announced the release of the Galaxy A52 ($599), Galaxy A52 5G ($649) and Galaxy A72 ($749) smartphones on Thursday morning.

"The Galaxy A series has innovations for all, but especially for spontaneous, social-savvy creatives who are looking for fun and freedom, as they love to express and share their passions with their world," Samsung senior vice president Stephanie Choi said.

"As community-minded individuals, they believe in the power of 'we-togetherness', demanding the democratisation of technology so that no one is left behind," she added.

Samsung president of mobile Dr TM Roh said the company believed "that price point shouldn't be a limiting factor when choosing technology,"

The new phones come in four different colours with a "matte haze" finish, in black, white, blue and violet.

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The devices are available in four colours.
The devices are available in four colours.

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Samsung said the camera, which houses four different lenses and a flash, is contained within a "minimal camera housing".

The "minimal camera housing" includes an Ultra Wide 12MP lens, a main 64MP lens with optical image stabilisation, and a 5MP macro lens.

On the A52, the fourth camera is a 5MP Depth camera while on the A72 it's a 8MP 3x telephoto zoom lens.

There is also a fifth camera on the front that can create 32MP images.

The devices also record 4K video and you can take an 8MP photo while you're recording as well.

Low light performance is improved with "tetrabinning", where multiple pixels are combined or "binned" into one, and a Night Mode camera that processes multiple frames of the same scene to help the cameras see in the dark.

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Samsung said the new devices have “awesome” cameras in a “minimal” housing.
Samsung said the new devices have “awesome” cameras in a “minimal” housing.

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Because the A series is for Millennials and Zoomers who like "social media" and "having fun", there is also a native integration with Snapchat lenses available in the main camera app.

You can personalise your photos with your own custom filters and there are new augmented reality emojis so you can turn yourself into an emoji to send to friends or post online.

The A52 and A72 both feature 90Hz displays, which allows for smoother motion in videos, games, or even while you're desperately scrolling through long message threads or trying to get to the end of TikTok's For You feed (you can't - don't bother trying).

Perhaps due to its inclusion of faster 5G technology, the A52 5G has an even quicker 120Hz display.

Screen brightness has also been improved on all three devices compared to their predecessors.

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Screen brightness has been improved over previous models.
Screen brightness has been improved over previous models.

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The devices feature IP67 water and dust resistance, able to withstand 30 minutes in up to a metre of water (up to you whether you want to test this for yourself if you pick up the new phones).

The A52 series phones both have a 4500mAh battery while the A72 jumps to 5000mAh, which Samsung claims will last two days.

This is boosted by "adaptive power saving" technology that can analyse your routine and figure out when you need power and when it can go into power saving mode (this is an option you can turn on or off).

Much was made of the removal of the micro SD card slot on newer Galaxy S devices, but the expandable storage remains on the A-series.

Samsung claims an IP67 rating for the new devices.
Samsung claims an IP67 rating for the new devices.

There's also 128GB of internal storage out of the box in the A52, which you can upgrade to 256GB on the 5G model for the same price as the A72, which has 256GB of storage to begin with.

Another improvement over previous models is louder speakers (now with Dolby Atmos).

Samsung has promised that it's committed to "extended security updates" for "at least four years of the device release", but it notes updates "may vary by device and market" and the models it will provide updates for is "subject to change and will be reviewed on a periodic basis".

As far as this reporter can work out that means the company either will or will not provide updates for your phone and there's no way to tell for how long with any certainty before you buy the phone or even while you own it - sorry.

Electronics company’s are now obsessed with getting you into their “ecosystem”.
Electronics company’s are now obsessed with getting you into their “ecosystem”.

The A-series also fits in to the Samsung "ecosystem" - a branding term pioneered by Apple designed to sell you more products from the same company by ensuring their smartphones work best with their wireless earbuds, their watches, their smart home appliances, and their accessories.

The main appeal of the A-series is that they offer similar capabilities as flagship phones at a far lower price, so the push for consumers to join the rest of the "ecosystem" might not catch on in the target market.

On the other hand, the cheaper price of the phones could make it easier for people to afford a pair of Galaxy Buds or a Galaxy Watch to go with it, should they so desire.

The Galaxy "ecosystem" also includes Microsoft Windows thanks to a deal between Samsung and the software giant for better integration.

Both primarily compete with Apple so it makes sense for them to team up.

Samsung's new phones will go on sale from April 9 via the company's website and other stores.

Originally published as Cheap smartphones that don't cost $1000



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