Review: Samsung loses to itself with the Galaxy A53 and A33 | NOW

The Samsung Galaxy A series has long been a popular choice among consumers who do not have to get the most out of their smartphone. But the new Samsung Galaxy A53 and A33 face stiff competition from an unexpected source: their own predecessors.

This is a shortened version of an extensive review of the Samsung Galaxy A33 5G and A53 5G on Tweakers.

In recent years, Samsung has adopted a fixed approach when it comes to the A-series: no frills, good camera. The A52 from 2021 was certainly a real hit. The device had stereo speakers, a relatively luxurious camera system, a good OLED screen, fine software and even an IP67 rating for water resistance. This device was followed a few months later by the A52s, which had a slightly faster chipset. According to BestGetest, the A52s is even the best cheap smartphone.

The A53 therefore has a reputation to uphold and Samsung is committed to the same pluses: the waterproof housing, a 64-megapixel camera, a 120Hz OLED screen and the promise for years of updates. The device appeared two months ago with an introductory price of 450 euros, but is now available for 250 euros.

The A53 is not the only ‘successor’ to the A52 series. The cheaper Galaxy A33 will also be released this spring, a phone that has the same chipset and waterproof housing as the more expensive model. On paper, the camera and the screen would sacrifice quality, but the A33 is still better equipped than some competitors. Also important: the device is available for less than 300 euros. Reason for us to put the A53 and A33 together on the rack.

Beautiful images, strange colors

Both phones have four cameras on the back and one on the front. That sounds impressive, but keep in mind that these types of midrange devices often come with all kinds of extra cameras that are of little use in practice. The Galaxy A53 and A33 are also guilty of this: the fourth camera is a depth sensor that contributes little with its 2 megapixels.

What Samsung does score high with is the optical image stabilization. There are few other phones under $400 that allow you to automatically remove shocks from your video recordings or use a longer closing time at night without the slightest movement guaranteeing a blurry photo.

Across the board, the camera setup of the A33 is just a tad less than the A53, but the quality is still very deserving. The changed image processing of the main camera produces nicer night photos, but we can’t say enough about the overly saturated colors in photos we took during the day. Samsung phone cameras often have a saturated color tablet, but the Galaxy A53 makes the sky so bright blue and the grass so green that it reminded us of a Teletubbie landscape.

Different is not always better

The color quality of the camera isn’t the only questionable change Samsung has made to the Galaxy A53 and A33. Another big difference is the switch from Snapdragon chips, such as the Snapdragon 778G in the A52s, to Samsung’s own Exynos chips. Both the A53 and A33 have an Exynos 1280, which means that the A33 came out exactly as fast as the A53 in our tests. That is a clear improvement for the A33 compared to the A32, but this new hardware has a downside. This Exynos 1280 is certainly not faster than the Snapdragon socs, so that the A53 performs worse than its predecessors.

We also think it’s a shame that the Galaxy A33 no longer has a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, something that could still be found on the A32. The fact that both phones are delivered without a charger does not deserve a beauty prize.

That brings us to the biggest stumbling block of the A53 and A33, namely the competition from our own corner. At the moment, a Galaxy A53 only costs a few tens more than the older Galaxy A52s, a phone that is still one step ahead of the newer A53 and A33 with its faster processor.

The Galaxy A33, in particular, struggles to step out of the shadow of the A52s. The A33 is currently the more expensive model, but all A52 devices have a more advanced camera and with the A52 5G or A52s you also get a better screen and faster processor.

Compared to other phone brands, Samsung has done a nice job with the Galaxy A53 and A33. Both devices have an excellent screen, a pleasant no-nonsense design, an above-average good camera and, in the case of the Galaxy A53, also a relatively long battery life. Add to that the waterproof housing, optical image stabilization and the option of filming in 4K, and you have a great device for a reasonable price.

However, we cannot label these phones as recommended, at least not as long as Samsung’s earlier models are still easily available. That may change in the future: the new devices will undoubtedly drop in price even more, while the A52 series will be sold out once. But at the moment Samsung is losing it with these phones.

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