Monday, June 24, 2024
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Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 Review: Midrange Performance, Impressive Battery Life

Samsung’s Galaxy A series brings some of the company’s premium software features to the midrange segment at a slightly higher cost compared with the Galaxy M and Galaxy F series. Earlier this year, the company launched the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 smartphones in India, which are priced under Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 30,000, respectively. These devices are equipped with the company’s Exynos chips and will receive four years of OS updates — up to Android 18. But how do they fare against similarly priced phones? I’ve spent some time with both handsets, and here are my thoughts.

Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 price in India

The Samsung Galaxy A55 is priced at Rs. 39,999 for the 8GB+128GB RAM and storage model. The phone is also available in 8GB+256GB and 12GB+256GB memory variants, which will set you back Rs. 42,999 and Rs. 45,999, respectively.

Meanwhile, the price of the Samsung Galaxy A35 starts at Rs. 30,999 for the base model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the phone is also sold in an 8GB+256GB storage variant that costs Rs. 33,999.

samung galaxy a55 review ndtv design Samsung galaxy A55

Samsung Galaxy A55 has a flat display, flat edges, and a flat rear panel

 

The Galaxy A55 is available in Ice Blue and Navy, while the Galaxy A35 is available in Ice Blue, Lilac, and Navy. Samsung sent over the Ice Blue (Galaxy A55) and Lilac (Galaxy A35) handsets for review.

Both handsets are sold in a slim box that includes a charging cable, a SIM ejector tool, and some documentation. However, there is no transparent TPU cover or charging brick, so you’ll have to buy those separately.

Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 Review: Design

The Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 are very similar in appearance, including the location of the SIM tray, the USB Type-C port, the triple rear camera layout, and the bottom-firing speaker grille. Booth handsets also have the new Key Island for the volume and power buttons, which are also in the same spot. If you look at both handsets together, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.

Among Samsung’s midrange phones, the Galaxy A series is known to offer the most premium-looking phones, and the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 are no exception. The rear panel bears a strong resemblance to this year’s Galaxy S24 (Review) handset, which is a premium smartphone. In my experience, both the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 have glossy rear panels that don’t easily attract fingerprints.

samung galaxy a55 a35 review ndtv design Samsung Galaxy A55  Samsung Galaxy A35

Samsung Galaxy A55 (left) and Galaxy A35

 

On the front, these handsets are equipped with Super AMOLED screens with up to 120Hz refresh rate and Gorilla Glass Victus+ protection. The display has considerably thick bezels, and the selfie camera is located in a centre-aligned hole punch cutout.

The Galaxy A55 has flat, brushed aluminium edges, while the Galaxy A35 also has flat aluminium edges with a matte finish. Both phones don’t ship with a TPU case, so I used them without a cover throughout the review.

Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 Review: Specifications and software

Both the Samsung Galaxy A55 and the Galaxy A35 sport a 6.6-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,408 pixels) Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and up to 1,000 nits peak brightness. These Gorilla Glass Victus+-protected screens are flat and have slightly thick bezels compared with other handsets in the same price brackets.

Samsung has promised four OS upgrades on the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35, along with a fifth year of security updates. This means these handsets—running on Android 14-based One UI 6—will be supported until 2028. Even by today’s standards, this is far better than any other midrange phone.

The handsets have a couple of preinstalled applications, including Spotify. I could uninstall them, though. The Galaxy A35 also downloaded Candy Crush Saga, via the pre-installed AppCloud service, which doesn’t seem to have an opt-out option. Both phones also regularly prompt you to enable built-in Glance lock screen features after every software update, and it takes a few taps to skip this menu.

Samsung’s One UI 6.1 interface (tap to expand)

 

However, the software experience is largely clean, which is par for the course with Samsung’s One UI interface, which has matured over the years since it was introduced in 2018. Both these Galaxy A series smartphones also come with features like Samsung Wallet, which lets you make contactless payments and store documents securely, advanced Link to Windows integration, or Good Lock for further customisation and theming options.

These handsets also include Samsung’s Object Eraser feature that uses machine learning to remove unwanted objects in photos. In terms of connectivity, both handsets offer 5G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, GPS, and a USB Type-C port for charging, data transfers, and audio output — there’s no 3.5mm audio jack.

Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 Review: Performance

While the Galaxy is powered by a 4nm Exynos 1480 chip paired with up to 12GB of RAM, the Galaxy A35 5G runs on a 5nm Exynos 1380 processor with 8GB of RAM. On paper, these handsets should offer enough performance overhead to allow them to remain fast for a few years. They can also handle day to day tasks well, including browsing the web, social media apps, non-intensive games, and capturing photos and videos.

You can play most games on the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35, and titles such as Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) and Asphalt 9 ran well without throttling after about 30 minutes of gameplay. However, you can’t run slightly heavier titles like Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile without notable lag, and even the Galaxy A55 struggled with MiHoYo’s graphics-intensive Genshin Impact.

One UI 6 based on Android 14 offers a refined software experience on the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35, with a couple of exceptions. RAM management is excellent, with apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, Gmail, Outlook, X (formerly Twitter), and Threads — my primarily used apps — remaining in memory while switching across apps.

Samsung could definitely take a leaf out of Motorola or Nothing’s book and ensure that its Galaxy A series phones don’t bug users with prompts to enable features like Glance after each software update — especially after they’ve explicitly opted out once. Both handsets had an update available after the initial setup process — and Samsung has finally added support for system A/B updates (only on the Galaxy A55), allowing you to get back to your phone much faster after an update.

samung galaxy a55 a35 review ndtv Samsung Galaxy A55  Samsung Galaxy A35

Samsung Galaxy A55 (left) and Galaxy A35 displays offer decent visibility while outdoors

 

I also ran synthetic benchmark tests, and this is where both the Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 fall behind some of their competitors. The Galaxy A55 scored 1,132 and 3,346 points, respectively, in the single-core and multi-core CPU tests on Geekbench 6. On the other hand, the Galaxy A35 scored 1,013 points in the single-core test and 2,805 points in the multi-core test.

On the AnTuTu v10 benchmark test, the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 scored 678,167 and 606,767 points, respectively. Interestingly, the Galaxy A55 has a PCMark Work 3.0 score of 13,315 which is only slightly higher than the Galaxy A35, which scored 13,176 points.

For context, the iQoo Z9 that I recently reviewed has a single-core score of 1,151 points, while its multi-core score was 2,669. It also scored 687,545 points on AnTuTu v10. The Dimensity 7200 chip on the iQoo handset offers better raw performance than the Exynos chips on these handsets—the AnTuTu score and Geekbench single-core score of the iQoo Z9 are higher than both the Galaxy A55 and the Galaxy A35, and pricing for that phone starts at Rs. 19,999.

Here’s how the Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 performed on popular graphics benchmark tests:

Graphics benchmark Galaxy A55 Galaxy A35
3DMark Wild Life 3,814 2,816
3DMark Wild Life Unlimited 3,811 2,800
3DMark Sling Shot 7,467 5,481
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme 5,525 4,655
GFXBench Car Chase 32 25
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 56 46
GFXBench T-Rex 59 94

Both the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 are equipped with a 6.6-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and up to 1,000 nits of peak brightness. These screens are bright enough to be used outdoors during the daytime as long as you have auto-brightness enabled. One UI also offers an Extra Dim mode that can be enabled via a quick settings toggle. This mode lets the screen get even dimmer to reduce eye strain.

Equipped with 5,000mAh batteries, these handsets are highly optimised — the Galaxy A55 went on for 28 hours and 14 minutes, while the Galaxy A35 lasted for 26 hours and 34 minutes — on a single charge — in our HD video loop battery playback test. In terms of real-world usage, I didn’t have to charge them more than once every 30-35 hours, with moderate usage.

Samsung doesn’t include a 25W charging brick with the Galaxy A55 or the Galaxy A35, so you’ll have to purchase one separately. My Belkin USB PD 3.0 charging brick charged both handsets up to 50 percent in around 45 minutes, while charging the phones from zero to 100 percent took 1 hour and 25 minutes on average. Both phones have an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, which means they should survive accidental drops in water, which is good to see on midrange phones.

Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 Review: Cameras

Both the Samsung Galaxy A55 and the Galaxy A35 have a 50-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.8 aperture and a 5-megapixel macro camera with an f/2.4 aperture. They also have 12-megapixel and 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle cameras, respectively, with an f/2.2 aperture. The Galaxy A55 has a 32-megapixel front-facing camera, while the Galaxy A35 has a 13-megapixel camera on the front for selfies and video calls.

Samsung Galaxy A55 auto (left) and portrait modes deliver images with vibrant, punchy colours

 

The Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 have the same camera interface as the more expensive Galaxy S series of smartphones. This includes a Pro mode that allows you to fine-tune various settings, including white balance, focus, exposure, etc. You can also access these settings when shooting video via a Pro Video mode, which is excellent. Both handsets also support Samsung’s Super Steady (stabilisation), Slow Mo, and Super Slow Mo modes for video recording.

You can capture detailed images with the primary cameras on the Galaxy A55 and the Galaxy A35, and both handsets support 2x in-sensor zoom that lets you take better images of subjects that are slightly further away. These cameras work very well when you’re outdoors, have enough natural light, and tend to deliver slightly punchy colours in images. You can also take high-quality portrait shots on these handsets — these work best in natural light.

Samsung Galaxy A35 images appear sharp, but zooming in reveals smoothening (tap to expand)

 

The ultra-wide angle camera on the Galaxy A55 is slightly better than the one on the Galaxy A35, but both are considerably weaker than the primary camera — especially in low-light scenarios. You can use them to click photos of buildings or other subjects that are close by, but images captured with these cameras have a bit of warping around the edges, and the colour accuracy isn’t as reliable as the more advanced 50-megapixel primary camera.

Samsung’s camera app takes long exposure shots by default (Night Shot) in low light conditions, although you can manually disable this with a tap to take darker but non-blurry images of moving subjects. For extra dark scenarios, the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 come with a dedicated Night Mode that delivers very bright images with some smoothening to reduce noise.

The primary camera on the Galaxy A35 (right) delivers better low-light photos (tap to expand)

 

The 5-megapixel macro camera on the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 captured decent images of subjects, but only if there was enough natural light. I also had to tap on the subject in the viewfinder and capture more than one image of a subject in order to ensure that the images were in focus. Selfies captured using the front-facing cameras on both phones are clear, although there’s more detail on the ones captured with the Galaxy A55, which has a higher-resolution 32-megapixel camera.

Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 capture nearly identical macro photos

 

Both the Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 support video recording at 4K/ 30fps or 1080p at 30fps and 60fps. The gyroscope-enabled Super Steady mode on the rear camera offers excellent stabilisation in most lighting conditions. The selfie camera on both phones offers 4K/ 30fps and 1080p/ 30fps, but the Galaxy A55 also offers 1080p/ 60fps video recording from the selfie camera.

Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 Review: Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 are equipped with decent cameras and processors, but are these the best midrange smartphones you can buy today? The answer depends on what you need from your smartphone. Subjectively speaking, these are good-looking smartphones that are promised to receive Android OS updates for four years and an additional year of security updates. 

It’s also good to see an IP67 rating on these phones, and battery performance is excellent, even though Samsung has stuck with support for 25W charging and doesn’t include an adapter in the box. 

On the other hand, if you want a smartphone with raw performance, you’re better off looking at the Nothing Phone 2 (Review), OnePlus 12R (Review), or the iQoo Neo 9 Pro (Review) instead of the Galaxy A55. Similarly, the OnePlus Nord CE 4 5G (Review), Redmi Note 13 Pro, Infinix GT 20 Pro, or the iQoo Neo 7 Pro (Review) offer better CPU performance at a similar price point.

If you’re looking for a smartphone that offers great camera performance under Rs. 40,000, Samsung’s own Galaxy S23 FE (Review) offers more versatile cameras — including a capable telephoto camera — as well as a more powerful Exynos chip. You can also consider the Google Pixel 7a (Review) instead of the Galaxy A55. Alternatives to the Galaxy A35 include the Galaxy M55 (Review), Vivo V30e, and Oppo Reno 11 5G.


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