Samsung Galaxy A50s Review: flashy design and decent performance

Rating: 8.2/10

Pros:

  • Excellent design
  • Stunning display
  • Good battery backup
  • Pretty good camera performance
  • OneUI is one of the better custom skins out there

Cons:

  • Performance is average
  • Better options available

Introduction

Samsung has been working hard on trying to capture the Indian market that is dominated by the Chinese smartphone makers these days. Their recent launches in the A-series and the M-series has definitely been a couple of steps in the right direction. The South-Korean giant recently launched the Galaxy A50s, the updated version of its very popular Galaxy A50. The device really caught my eye, thanks to how well it looks on the outside. But is it as good on the inside as well? More importantly, for Rs. 20,999, is the device actually that good? Let’s find out, as I review the Samsung Galaxy A50s, Mr. Phone style.

Design and Build Quality

Probably the most highlighted feature of the Samsung Galaxy A50s is the rear-finish design. Taking a page out of the Galaxy Note 10’s finish and incorporating it into a prism-like design is how I’d describe this finish. Personally, I happen to like it more than the Note 10 as well. It’s subtle in its own ways, and flashy when you want to flaunt it. This also gives it a very unique look, something that is missing from the 20k price bracket in India. It is nice to see manufacturers experiment with colors and shapes and patterns, and the Galaxy A50s definitely looks very good. 

Over to the front, you get Samsung’s amazing display (more on that later) along with a slightly big chin. It’s not massive, but it is definitely not as small as other options on the market. There’s also a water-drop notch at the top, that helps the device offer a screen to body ratio of 85.1%, which isn’t that bad. 

In terms of ports and buttons, you get a USB Type-C port at the bottom sandwiched between a 3.5mm headphone jack and a mono speaker grill. On to the right side, you get the volume rockers followed by the power button, while the left side has been left alone just for the SIM tray. The buttons are actually placed quite ergonomically, but then again, that is what I feel since I have comparatively large hands. Some users might have trouble using the volume rockers since they are a bit up too north.

The A-series has been pushing the envelope in terms of design and aesthetics, and I’m glad to say that the A50s is no different. The design here is unique, attractive, functional, and makes it look more premium than what you pay.

Display

In our review of the Galaxy A50, Sree wrote that the device offers the best display experience under the Rs. 20,000 mark. With the Galaxy A50s, that hasn’t changed at all. We all know that Samsung is the pioneer in display technology, and with the Galaxy A50s, it shows that even budget displays can be good. The device packs in a 6.4-inch Full HD+ display with a resolution of 1080×2340 pixels. The best part is that this is an AMOLED display, which puts it ahead of the usual LCD panels you’ll find in this category. 

The colors here are accurate, and the viewing angles are great too. It also comes with Widevine L1 support, and streaming Netflix on this is a treat. What’s more is that the display can get quite bright too, which Samsung does warn you about. In fact, it is brighter than most phones in this price range.

Overall, there is practically nothing to complain about the Galaxy A50s’ display. It’s absolutely stunning and nothing comes close to it in terms of sheer quality and color reproduction.

Software

The Samsung Galaxy A50s comes with OneUI 1.5 based on Android 9 Pie. We’ve talked a lot about OneUI in a lot of our reviews, so I’m gonna keep things short and simple here. Let’s talk about the positives first. The entire UI is designed to better facilitate one-handed usage, and it shows. Almost everything that is system-based is pushed down, so basically you have to operate the two-thirds of the display, which makes it quite snappy. Also, there’s the in-built dark mode, and thanks to the sAMOLED display, it makes the device look so much cooler.

That said, I was kind of let down by the overall performance of it. That may be due to the SoC, but the overall skin did feel a bit heavy in some parts of usage. Also, let’s not forget the bloatware on board here. Samsung is working closely with Microsoft for its smartphones, which is why every Samsung device comes preloaded with a ton of Microsoft apps, alongside Amazon India, Booking.com, Dailyhunt, Helo, Prime Video and Snapchat. Apart from OneDrive, Netflix, and Facebook, all the apps are uninstallable, and I’ll not deduct points for that.

Performance

Reading off the spec sheet, our review unit of the Galaxy A50s comes with the Exynos 9611 chipset coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. For those of you unaware, the Exynos 9611 is the minor upgrade to the 9610 found on the Galaxy A50, and goes head to head against the likes of the Snapdragon 675 processor. In terms of benchmarks, the Galaxy A50s scored quite decently, racking up an AnTuTu score of 165694 and a GeekBench score of and 355 in single-core and 1226 multi-core respectively. Even in terms of gaming, the device was able to handle both PUBG: Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile quite easily, the latter better thanks to its optimizations. Both the games were running on the highest settings, and while the device does tend to get a bit hot, it was never unbearable.

That said, day-to-day performance has been a hit and miss. While app launch times aren’t super slow, the overall UI doesn’t seem as fluid as it does on other devices. In fact, I formatted the device and set it up again thrice to ensure that there was no error on my part, but surprisingly the system does feel slow at times. Dialing the animations down does help, however. As for RAM management, the 6GB RAM here is very good, and there are no complaints there. I’d like to also highlight that the 4GB RAM on the A50 was also sufficient enough, and I expect the same story for the A50s should you go for the cheaper variant.

Cameras

The Samsung A50s comes with a triple camera set up at the back which includes a 48MP f/2.0 lens, an 8MP ultra-wide lens, and a 5MP depth sensor. The only difference here, wrt to the Galaxy A50 is the inclusion of a 48MP shooter this time around. As expected, the results actually do come out quite well, for the most part.

In terms of daylight photography, the colors are quite well produced and Samsung’s post-processing seems to have become a lot better. Thanks to the 48MP sensor on-board, the pictures exhibit a lot of details as well. The ultra-wide sensor, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. While it does offer a different perspective and manages to retain some details, the colors here are quite different from the primary sensor, which is something users will have to keep in mind. In terms of portraits, the edge-detection does work well, and the subject is captured quite well too. That said, in terms of low-light photography, the camera shows a lot of noise, which is something that other OEMs in the same price category have managed to tackle.

Samsung Galaxy A50s Camera Samples (9)
Samsung Galaxy A50s Camera Samples (8)
Samsung Galaxy A50s Camera Samples (7)
Samsung Galaxy A50s Camera Samples (6)
Samsung Galaxy A50s Camera Samples (5)
Samsung Galaxy A50s Camera Samples (4)
Samsung Galaxy A50s Camera Samples (3)
Samsung Galaxy A50s Camera Samples (2)
Samsung Galaxy A50s Camera Samples (1)
Samsung Galaxy A50s Camera Samples (12)
Samsung Galaxy A50s Camera Samples (11)
Samsung Galaxy A50s Camera Samples (10)

When it comes to selfies, the Galaxy A50s performs quite well. The images here have decent color reproduction and the details are persistent. That said, in portraits, the blurring does feel quite fake, which is something I’ve said for a lot of smartphones. Nonetheless, the camera still gets a good rating overall. It’s not the best cameraphone out there in its price tag for sure, but the consumer shall not be disappointed if they do opt for this.

Audio and call quality

In terms of audio performance, the Galaxy A50s was a decent performer. The mono speaker wasn’t gonna blow my mind anyway, and that shows. The audio quality here is decent, with a subtle hint of bass and good volume levels. Thankfully, it can get quite loud, which is always good. In terms of call quality, I tested the device with a Jio and a Vodafone SIM, and I experience zero call drops, which is great. The noise cancellation here is also better than most smartphones out there, and the other party on call was able to hear my voice clearly even when I was in the middle of a commotion.

Battery and Charging

The Samsung Galaxy A50s comes equipped with a 4,000mAh battery with support for 15W fast charging. What’s interesting is that Samsung has managed to cramp this battery inside such a thin device. In my testing, I was able to squeeze about 6 hours of screen on time, which includes listening to Spotify, a crapload of social media usage of Twitter and Instagram, and chatting with my friends on WhatsApp while also playing a game (or ten) of Call of Duty. Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the battery life here.

In terms of charging as well, the 15W charger actually works really fast. It took a little less than 2 hours to fully juice this thing up, and that’s pretty good, considering how 18W chargers also perform similarly. As such, I’d have to say that don’t be fooled by the number, the 15W charger is actually quite good.

Should you buy the Galaxy A50s?

So, down to the main question then. Is the Samsung Galaxy A50s worth your buck? Yes, if you have the right expectations from your device. See, the Galaxy A50s is a great device, but apart from the display, it isn’t really the best at anything else. If you want the best cameras, the Redmi Note 8 Pro should be the phone to consider. If you want the best performance, you can choose from the Realme XT, the Redmi Note 8 Pro, and the Vivo Z1x. Interestingly, all those devices are even cheaper than the Galaxy A50s. However, what Samsung offers is a much more premium design, a more refined custom skin, and a display that you wouldn’t want to take your eyes off of. To be honest, I wish the Galaxy A50s was priced a bit cheaper, but even at its current price, it is definitely something to be considered.

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Varun Mirchandani
varun.mirchandani@u2opiamobile.com

Varun is your go-to guy for everything related to technology. Someone with a keen interest in the Android world, he installs a new custom ROM every week and is always living on the bleeding edge of technology. When not writing for Mr. Phone, you can find him gaming on his beastly gaming rig which is also his prized possession.