Samsung Galaxy A55 5G Review: A boring update, but still a solid mid-ranger for its price

Samsung Galaxy A55 5G Review: A boring update, but still a solid mid-ranger for its price
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Galaxy A55 5G Intro

Samsung typically has two affordable mid-range phones in its arsenal, and the more expensive and better-specced of the two is the Galaxy A5x model. We say “typically” because for a reason not specified Samsung has decided to not include the Galaxy A55 5G in the US market. That means only the more budget-friendly Galaxy A35 5G will be available stateside.

Nevertheless, the A55 5G will be available in other parts of the world, such as the UK and Europe. So, we are here to tell you what’s new with it, how it feels to use daily, and what you get in return for the starting price of £439 or €479.

Disclaimer: We have changed the way we rate phones, and some ratings might seem odd. You can check out our new review scoring system to find out more about our process and where these numbers come from.

Table of Contents:

Galaxy A55 5G Specs

New chip, higher base RAM, and slightly larger display

Let’s start with an overview of the Galaxy A55 5G specs:

Galaxy A55 5G Design and Display

No more plastic

 

The Galaxy A55 5G is the first generation in Samsung’s A5x series to drop all plastic from its build, featuring a new aluminum frame. This makes the A55 not only look, but also feel more like a Galaxy S24/S24 Plus, with the three protruding cameras from the back glass panel, and flat sides that nicely curve at the edges.

The A55 felt comfortable to hold, despite the fact that it is even (slightly) larger than its predecessor, which measures at 6.23 x 3.02 x 0.32in (158.2 x 76.7 x 8.2mm). It is also heavier by around 10g, which is probably due to that new metal frame, as metal is denser, hence heavier than plastic.

Speaking of the frame, we of course cannot forget to mention the new design choice that comes with this year’s Galaxy A series, which is the slight bump on the right side that houses the power and volume keys. We were a bit worried that this bump would stick out too much, but that is not the case. In fact, it somewhat adds to ease of use, as it helped to easily find the keys just by feel.

The Galaxy A55 5G comes in four colors: Iceblue, Lilac, Navy, and Lemon. The one we reviewed is the Navy variant, which is this year’s darkest hue you can pick with this Galaxy phone. Sadly, the glass back panel combined with the darker color means that fingerprints are always visible, especially in brighter spaces. That said, the frame has a nice polish to it and makes the phone look stylish.

As you probably expect from Samsung, even its mid-range phones come with a very simple unboxing experience. There are no extra thingymajigs.

This is what you get inside the Galaxy A55 5G box:

  • The Galaxy A55 5G
  • A USB-C to USB-C cable
  • Documentation
  • SIM tool

There haven’t been any major upgrades to the display this year. You still get a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels, HDR 10 support, and similar brightness levels. The few differences include a slightly larger 6.6-inch screen (vs 6.4 on the A54), and a variable refresh rate mode, which means the phone can go from 120Hz to 60Hz to preserve energy.

Besides the lower one, which has somewhat shrunk in size, all other bezels remain the same. At this point, however, bezels are mostly thin enough to allow for an immersive experience, so we wouldn’t worry too much about them.

Protecting the display is Gorilla Glass Victus+, which is supposed to be significantly more durable against scratches and drops compared to the Gorilla Glass 5 that came with the predecessor. Keep in mind that Samsung does not specify whether the back glass panel shares the same protection, though, so better slap a case before it is too late.

All in all the Galaxy A55 5G display is an utter joy to use no matter for what purpose. I had a blast watching YouTube videos and playing some mobile games. Even in bright conditions, such as a clear day with lots of sun, I was able to see the what was on the screen easily, without straining my eyes.

Display Measurements:

The only improvements we see here is with the color calibration. Samsung has not changed much else, but at least the A55 has more accurate colors compared to its predecessor.

Unfortunately, some of the phone’s other aspects, such as the fingerprint reader embedded in the display, are not as impressive. It takes too long for the sensor to recognise your finger, and a good second and a half passes before the phone unlocks. The good news is that it is at least accurate, and we didn’t get any misreads during the review period.

The other biometric option you can opt for is face recognition. If you turn on the “lift to wake” and turn off “swipe to unlock” it becomes a bit quicker compared to the fingerprint reader, but not as secure, so pick you kind of have to pick your poison.

Galaxy A55 5G Camera

Will do a good job in most cases

The camera hardware that comes with the Galaxy A55 5G is the same as the A54 5G, including the 50MP wide (main) snapper, a 12MP ultra-wide, and a 5MP macro. We were really hoping to see a telephoto camera replace that macro shooter, but alas, Samsung has once again opted for this route instead.

Keep in mind that even though the main camera is 50MP, the images that it takes are 12.5MP. That is because the phone uses pixel binning, which basically means creating larger pixels out of smaller ones. There is a 50MP mode if wish to use the full resolution of the main snapper, but note that you need lots of light to take photos in that mode.You can record video at 4K 30fps or 1080p 60fps, and the good news is that the image quality looks amazing from the main camera, with very good stabilization at that. You also have the ability to swap between the main and the ultra-wide cameras while shooting at 4K 30fps, although the transition is not one of the smoothest ones out there.

It’s nice to see that color reproduction is not as overly saturated as it was on previous generations. What’s even better is that swapping between the 50MP main and 12MP ultra-wide cameras does not seem to affect the level of contrast and the colors, resulting in a consistent look no matter which one you decide to use.

We expected a bit more detail from the main camera on the Galaxy A55 5G given its higher price tag, but it seems to perform on a similar level of the Galaxy A35 5G. The ultra-wide snapper, on the other hand, is quite good for this class, and it delivers images that are perfectly usable.

Both cameras seem to have good HDR performance, with enough details in the shadows and highlights, while still retaining good levels of contrast in the image. Of course, some more difficult scenarios such as the third and fourth photos in the slideshow above proved too difficult for the A55, but the truth is that most cameras would have trouble with a setting like that.

We were very happy with the A55’s main camera during low-light conditions, with night shots being some of the best we have seen from a mid-range phone so far. The photos look realistic, without being overly brightened, but the important parts that are lit by light sources are well visible, and colors look what you would expect to see with your own eyes.

The portrait mode also looks pretty good, having only a slight difficulty cutting out the subject’s hair from what’s behind them. That said, the blurred out background is a bit too unrealistic for us.

The selfie camera produced some stellar shots, with the right amount of sharpness and true-to-life colors. One thing to note, though, as you would notice from the second selfie shot where there are two people, is that it has very shallow depth of field, which means anything behind you is more blurred out. And this is natural “bokeh”, as they call it, so you cannot fix it via software during or after the shot has being taken.

Last but not least, we have the zooming capabilities of the Galaxy A55, which are limited to digital zoom, as there is no dedicated telephoto camera. We can say that the 2X zoom is usable for a quick snapshot, but anything more, like 5X or 10X, is simply too low quality. The better course of action would probably be to shoot in the 50MP mode and then crip in on the image.

Video Quality

Video Thumbnail

Like we mentioned earlier, the A55 5G’s camera stabilization is very impressive, especially for a phone of its caliber. This can even be on of the strongest selling points for the A55. Besides that, everything else about the video recording is the same as when you take photos, from the HDR performance to the color representation.

One of the stronger aspects of the A55 5G is arguably its camera system, although we did expect Samsung to level things up in this segment in 2024. At this price, some competitors come with the same level of image quality and camera performance, even beating the A55 in some ways, such as the OnePlus 12R and its sharper photos.

Nevertheless, the camera system on Samsung’s more premium “A” series remains one of the better ones in the market, especially when we factor in the ultra-wide snapper’s image quality and ability to shoot at 4K 30fps.

Galaxy A55 5G Performance & Benchmarks

Slight improvement across the board

The Galaxy A55 5G comes with the new Exynos 1480 chipset built on the 4nm process. It builds upon the previous generation, the Exynos 1380 that came with the Galaxy A54 5G, in every aspect. As you will see from the benchmark results we got during our tests, performance has increased across the board. Power-efficiency has also improved, but more on that when we reach the battery section.

I played a few League of Legends Wild Rift games, and I am happy to say that things ran smoothly, without any overheating issues, drops in the frame rate, or lag. The game automatically set the graphics settings at medium for the Galaxy A55 5G, with a frame rate of 60fps. Opting for higher settings than medium prompted a warning that the device might overheat or force the game to shut down, so you can get a general idea of the phone’s capabilities based on that.

Apart from the gaming experience, the A55 was smooth and fluid when I was navigating the UI and scrolling through social media and websites, which is something we cannot say for the more affordable A35.

As for RAM, this year you get 8GB with the base model, which is a jump from last year’s 6GB of RAM.

Performance Benchmarks:

As we mentioned earlier, the new Exynos 1480 chip inside the A55 5G is better in every way compared to the Exynos 1380. That said, there are not significant jumps in performance in the processing speed or graphical prowess.

As far as storage options go, you can pick between 128GB and 256GB. It is still UFS 3.1 storage, which is one generation older than the latest UFS 4.0 storage. Apps loaded quickly, though; at no point was I waiting long and getting annoyed.

If you want to increase your storage you have that option via a microSD card slot, which is shared by the 2nd SIM slot. It supports up to 1TB.

Galaxy A55 5G Software

The A55 ships with Android 14 alongside Samsung’s One UI 6.1. You have four years of guaranteed software updates and five years of security patches. Sadly, we won’t be seeing the same 7 years of software support for Samsung’s A series this year, unlike with its flagship Galaxy S24 series.

One UI 6.1 offers a polished and user-friendly experience. Features like lock screen widgets provide convenient access to information, enhanced by the always-on display. Additionally, users can customize their A55’s system with a color palette matching their wallpaper for a personalized touch.

There are also utility features like Quick Share enable seamless file transfers between Android devices and Windows PCs, akin to Apple’s AirDrop feature.

We did notice there’s a lot of bloatware, however, which definitely did not stick with us too well. This is something we typically see from Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi or Huawei, so it was a bit disappointing to be met with a bunch of unwanted preinstalled apps when booting up the A55.

Galaxy A55 5G Battery

Reliable battery life, but charging can be quicker

The battery capacity remains at 5000mAh with the Galaxy A55 5G. Despite that, as you would see from the results during our battery tests, the battery life has substantially increased over the predecessor.

In my experience, the A55 lasted a whole day of gaming, video streaming, and browsing social media with about 6-7 hours of screen on time. Even after a day with such heavy usage, though, there was typically around 30-40% battery left.

Now, let’s take a look at those benchmark numbers…

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

The new Exynos 1480 chip inside the A55 5G is not that much better in power efficiency as far as web browsing and video streaming goes, but it saves a ton of more energy while gaming! Our gaming test showed an improvement of 4 hours over the last generation, which I definitely noticed while playing match after match in Wild Rift, and the battery was draining much more slowly than I expected.

PhoneArena Charging Test Results:

The charging speed has not changed since last year, which is 25W. You will see some slightly different results from our charging tests above, but overall the differences are insignificant. And yes, still no wireless charging with Samsung’s A5x series.

Galaxy A55 5G Audio Quality and Haptics

Unlike the Galaxy A35 5G, where we felt the audio was a bit muffled throughout the whole volume range, the audio quality coming out of the Galaxy A55‘s speakers was spectacular no matter how we pushed it.

With the A55, you get rich and clear sound, with a maximum volume that is loud enough to overpower some noisier environments. I was able to enjoy both music and speech in podcasts and videos, and didn’t necessarily reach for my headphones during my time with the phone.

Haptic feedback was tight and precise enough for me to be okay with it, but it obviously not on the same level as the company’s Galaxy S24 series or even the Galaxy S23 FE.

Should you buy it?

This year Samsung has kept things simple and minimal with the A55 5G, with the only meaningful upgrade being the new Exynos 1480 chipset, which is not even that much more powerful than the previous generation. There is also the tweaked design, dropping plastic altogether and adding a metal frame that makes the phone feel more high-end.

If you don’t mind the slightly lower performance and somewhat worse audio quality on the Galaxy A35, then you might as well go for that one, as it offers mostly the some user experience but for £100/€100 less.

Of course, you have other options outside of what Samsung offers in this price range, such as the upcoming Pixel 8a, which might not be that much better in terms of performance, but might very well come with an even better camera system and even some Google AI features to boot.

Another alternative can be Nothing’s Phone (2), which is admittedly a bit pricier coming in at £519 in the UK or €579 in the EU, but comes with a powerful flagship-level chipset, faster charging, wireless charging, and a brighter display. That said, it is a bit older, so the software support won’t last you as far down the line as the A55, and instead of IP67 water resistance you get IP54 (protection against splashes), so you will have to make some sacrifices.

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