Technophile

Samsung Galaxy A50: Lots going for it

Mala Bhargava | Updated on May 15, 2019 Published on May 15, 2019

A fantastic screen, big battery, ultrasonic sensor, three cameras and good looks make it a more-than-usually great affordable phone from the Korean giant

So far, it’s been a busy year for Samsung’s mobile division as the company has been belting out smartphone after smartphone, much as one would throw the proverbial spaghetti on the wall to see what might stick. Well, the recently launched Galaxy A50 should stick going by what we’ve seen of it. Padding up its pre-flagship line-up of Galaxy A phones, Samsung launched the A50 and A70, two phones that look very similar. But we’ll go with the A50 first. It’s a 6.4-inch phone, by no means small, though Samsung again somehow made it seem so by keeping the form narrow. It’s nice to hold, but needs a case as it will pick up both scratches and fingerprint smudges. This time, you don’t have to worry about the glass back because it’s actually plastic that looks like glass or ‘glastic’ to use a new term coined by Samsung. The absence of glass isn’t taking away from a premium or expensive feel because they’ve managed to style it in a way that makes it prismatic.

We got the black version and that catches the light to make it look like a rainbow was poured into it, a look I love because I have a thing for rainbows. At least in some places.

Display brilliance

On the front, you have a lovely vivid screen. Though there are many phones in competition with the A50 in the real world, one thing’s for certain: not many can match the SUPER AMOLED display. It draws your eye to its brilliant strong colours and keeps it there. I find myself caring little whether the colours are realistic or not — as long as they look good, which they do. No matter which angle you view this screen at, what you see is just as strong. It’s also quite sunlight friendly if you dial up the brightness. It’s actually rather difficult to get that good a screen on phones in this price bracket — unless they’re from Samsung. The display has been maximised thanks to a tiny U-shaped notch and while I don’t like them, this one is forgivable, given that the rest of the screen is so easy on the eye. The overall balance is somehow better than with some of the punch-hole solutions used by Samsung and others. The top bezel is barely there but the bottom one is present and visible, but it also means you get to keep the 3.5 mm headphone jack. You also get a pair of earphones in the box. The audio on this phone is otherwise quite nice and loud so watching movies or gaming (gamers are reporting good PUBG experiences) are very good. And a question often asked these days — does the phone have Widevine L1 support. It does, which means you can watch HD content from Netflix and Amazon Prime.

If you opt for it, the wallpaper on the lock screen will show visuals of trending news and content. While some complain that these look like ads, I found it a quick way to see a headline as soon I pick up the phone.

The A50 has an in-display fingerprint sensor, which turns out to be just a little fussy. If you’re very worried about security, it’s best to use a pattern or pin. If you’re not, you can use the face unlock which is fast but not safe if you’re around where others can get to the phone. Otherwise, you will need to get used to a long press and a half-second delay to unlock and the occasional print rejection.

Performance

Sometimes, the otherwise-smooth A50 seems to take a moment to do something but this isn’t like the lag you get from an aged phone. It’s more as if something specific needs optimisation and smoothening. For the most part, the phone works very well, not complaining about a large number of open apps and without frustrating the user. It works on Samsung’s own Exynos 9610 with 4 or 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB storage. There is a MicroSD card slot too. The phone is running Android 9 Pie — thankfully — with Samsung’s much improved interface, OneUI. All resources are managed well, except for some possible optimisation needed and perhaps to come in updates. The 4,000 mAh battery stands up very well to usage.

The three cameras include a standard (25 MP), a wide angle (8 MP), and a depth sensing (5 MP) lens. Photographs outdoors are really nice and the wide-angle lens with its 123-degree field of view is real fun to use if you have appropriate subjects. As usual, photos from a Samsung camera are saturated and look even more so on this screen, but that’s the way the majority like them these days, choosing vividness over realism. The selfie camera is a 25 MP single lens. Video is nice and steady. This isn’t the phone to get if your main objective is photography, but if you want an all-rounder that gives you pleasing photos, why not?

The A50 is just not short of competition. In some cases, phones with last year’s processors will still be more powerful than the A50. Xiaomi’s Poco F1 comes to mind. More currently, the Vivo V15 competes and so do a bunch of Samsung’s own phones, making choices rather difficult. If you’re a Samsung fan, in particular, and used to Samsung’s features and set-up, the A50 should certainly be on your list of mid-range phones, unless you’re willing to go into outrageously expensive territory.

Price: ₹19,990 online (watch for price drops)

Pros: Good looking, innovative use of polycarbonate, light and easy to hold, the screen is a delight, solid battery, good value for money, good gaming

Cons: Fingerprint sensor a little fussy, no LED notification light, occasional lag, plenty of competition around

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Published on May 15, 2019
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