Technophile

Samsung Galaxy A51 review: Enjoyable screen and lots of camera to play with

Mala Bhargava | Updated on February 04, 2020 Published on February 04, 2020

The Galaxy A51 is a 6.5-inch phone which was once big and now is the norm

Samsung Galaxy A51 has many specs in common with other phones, but Samsung has also brought in features that give the A51 its own advantage

Samsung has just added another mid-range phone to its somewhat confusing Galaxy A line as the differentiation between that and M and S series phones begin overlapping. The recently launched Galaxy A51 has many specifications in common with other phones, some cheaper, including from Samsung’s Galaxy M series. At the same time, Samsung has also brought in features that give the A51 its own advantage.

The Galaxy A51 is a 6.5-inch phone which was once big and now is the norm. But if anyone knows how to make a large phone easy to hold, it’s Samsung and they get the ergonomics right on the A51 too. It’s narrow enough to be held comfortably and it’s slim and light. Even with the plastic back cover, it doesn’t become all clunky and still feels fine in the hand.

The case is needed because the phone is very slippery and has a camera bump which becomes inset with the case on and protected from scratches when placed on a surface. Using the case sadly hides the nice prismatic pattern on the back, this time with an interesting triangular pattern overlaid as well. Unfortunately, we got the black version to review, but there are two prettier colours — a ‘Prism Crush Blue’ and a white. The back looks perfectly nice, even if it’s not particularly unique any more, but is in ‘glastic’ which is Samsung’s glass look-alike. You sacrifice a premium tactile feel, which only you will notice, for lightness and sturdiness. In terms of looks, no one else will even know whether it’s glass or ‘glastic’ so one might argue whether there’s any point spending three times the amount for that. Even though there’s no glass on the back of this device, the material it’s made of immediately attracts finger smudges, as does the case.

There’s not much else to say about the non-screen part of the design, except that the volume and power button are both on the right side. There’s no physical fingerprint sensor but an under-display one and it turns out that it’s evidently quite fussy as I tried thrice to register my fingerprint with no success. I know that other reviewers have managed, however, but have pointed out that it is a very slow sensor. Even facial recognition isn’t very high speed.

Dazzling display

As is the case with many companies, Samsung too has given its style of display its own name. In this case it’s an Infinity-O display, which means the front camera has been squeezed into a tiny dot of a punch-hole, leaving the rest of the screen free of ugly notches and borders. The sides of the screen are just curved enough to be comfortable and not maddeningly rounded. The bezels feel nice and symmetrical. But what’s really nice is the screen itself. It’s a dazzle of colours and brightness, drawing your eye to it. It is a 1080 x 2400 pixels display with a, 20:9 ratio and a ~405 ppi density. I set the lock screen wallpaper to pets and had a great time looking tat a new vivid image each time I picked it up. The display is Gorilla Glass 3, so that’s a little behind the curve.

Our unit is one with 6GB RAM with 128GB storage, but there is an 8GB with 128GB meant to come along. Thankfully, it’s running on Android 10 and Samsung’s OneUI 2.0 interface which is getting more likeable with each fine-tune. There’s the standard bunch of apps Samsung phones come with and too many prompts to do with Galaxy apps, but if these are toned down at setup, the experience quickly improves. Samsung’s interface is otherwise both familiar and comfortable and thought-out. On screen, you have a tab called the Edge Screen which brings out a menu of apps, tasks, features and other tabs if you select from the menu specific to this tab. It’s really very elegant and came in from the time Samsung’s Note and curved glass.

Performance is nice enough for basic tasks except for a bit of judder while scrolling on some screens online. The chipset is Exynos 9611 and no great boast as even the Galaxy M30s, now a Rs 13,000 phone, uses the same one. So does the older A50. It means the device isn’t meant for high intensity tasks like gaming. How the phone will age is also not clear as it isn’t that future proof.

It manages to retain the 3.5mm headphone jack, a component over which there’s still much angst among users who don’t seem ready to see it abandoned. The 4,000mAh battery takes its full time to get charged with the 15W charger and really should have been faster considering the high speed charging is becoming common.

The four cameras, one of the A51’s highlights, are sitting in a neat squire on the back, top left. They include a primary 48MP sensor which works in the usual way, giving fairly nice daylight 12MP images and not bad low light ones.

The four cameras, one of the A51’s highlights, are sitting in a neat squire on the back, top left

 

The 12MP wide-angle lens is good to have but I’ve always found it too distorted at the sides requiring a lot of care to be used correctly. There is a 5MP depth sensing lens and this time a macro lens. These work nicely but watch out for the slightest hand shake. It’s certainly nice to have all the different shooting modes available along with a neatened camera app. The 32MP front camera softens the selfie visibly but so many users like that just so.

Price: Rs 23,999

Pros: Gaze-attracting display, light and easy to hold, Android 10 with feature-filled OneUI interface, somewhat overpriced

Cons: Chipset and some other features appear on cheaper phones individually, fussy slow fingerprint sensor, not a snappy performer

 

Published on February 04, 2020
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