Tuesday, June 25, 2024
Smart Phones

Galaxy A55 5G vs Galaxy A54 5G: barely a generation-worth of upgrades


Intro

Samsung has announced the Galaxy A55 5G, the successor to the Galaxy A54 5G, but it might be a bit difficult for some to take it as a worthy upgrade. We are looking at a slightly different design, a faster chipset, some display improvements, and that is about it. Of course, it is better if we take a look at the details before making conclusions, so let’s dig in.
Unfortunately, unlike the last four generations, Samsung has chosen not to release the Galaxy A55 5G in the U.S. this year, leaving the Galaxy A35 5G as the sole mid-range option in the “A” series lineup. We speculate  that Samsung’s decision might be driven by a strategy to steer consumers towards the higher-end (and pricier) Galaxy S23 FE or even one of the Galaxy S24 models.

Table of Contents:

Design and Size

Grown in more than one way

The design is one of the few areas where you will be able to differentiate the Galaxy A55 5G from the A54 5G the most. For starters, it is slightly larger, at 161.1 x 77.4 x 8.2mm vs the 158.2 x 76.7 x 8.2mm measurements of the predecessor. It is also heavier, weighing in at 213g compared to 202g. The A55 5G also comes with a metal frame, unlike the plastic on the A54 5G.

More obvious, however, is the new design element adopted from the more affordable Galaxy A15 and Galaxy A25 (released in late 2023). Of course, we are talking about the bump that houses the volume and power buttons, also known as the “Key Island”. It is a design choice that will differentiate the A55 5G from its pricier siblings in the flagship Galaxy S24 lineup.

The back panel remains reminiscent of the higher-tier models though, with three protruding cameras at the top left corner. At the front, the bezels seem to have shrunk, which is especially noticeable with the bottom one.

The A55 5G continues to have an IP67 certification, which means the phone is protected against temporary immersion under water. The glass, however, has improved and is now Gorilla Glass Victus, which is more durable than the A54 5G’s Gorilla Glass 5.

As for the color options you get to choose from, Samsung has spiced things up a little this year, giving some more eye-catching hues.

Galaxy A55 5G colors:

  • Awesome Blue
  • Awesome Black
  • Awesome Pink
  • Awesome Yellow

Galaxy A54 5G colors:

  • Awesome Graphite
  • Awesome White
  • Awesome Violet
  • Awesome Lime

Unboxing these phones is an identical experience. Samsung is pretty minimalsitic with how it ships its products, and that includes the A55 5G and A54 5G, both of which come with just a cable for charging and some documentation.

Display Differences

Samsung has some of the best (if not the best) phone displays on the market. And that is still the case even when we are discussing the company’s more affordable handsets such as the Galaxy A55 5G. 

Now the company has increased its size from 6.4 inches on the A54 5G to 6.6 inches on the A55 5G.

The A55 5G’s display comes with 1080 x 2340 pixels and the same smooth 120Hz refresh rate and support for HDR10+ content. The new addition here is something Samsung calls Vision Booster, which is supposed to make the screen look clear and bright in a range of light conditions. Whether that means the A55 has higher peak brightness remains to be discovered during our display tests.

Some other points that should be mentioned is that the Galaxy A55 5G has slimmer bezels around the display compared to the A54 5G. That is especially true for the bottom bezel, which seems to be much thinner in comparison.

Our display tests show us that the Galaxy A55 5G is almost unchanged in terms of display quality when compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy A54 5G. If you are upgrading to the newer model, you can expect the same user experience as far as this segment is concerned.

Performance and Software

More power!

The performance segment is where Samsung focused the most with the A55 5G, giving it the new and more powerful Exynos 1480. Samsung does not specify just how much faster the new chip is, but you’ll see that it is not by much according to our benchmark tests below.

Besides the new chip, the one of A55 5G’s upgrades is its 12GB of RAM, compared to the 8GB that the Galaxy A54 5G came with last year.

Here are all the memory/storage combos for both phones.

Galaxy A55 5G RAM/storage options:

Galaxy A54 5G RAM/storage options:

The new Exynos 1480 inside the A55 5G showed slightly better results across each benchmark we put it through. So, the new generation should feel somewhat more cabale, but don’t expect anything too noticeable in terms of chip performance.

The software update situation remains the same as it was for last year’s generation (despite the hopes for 7 years of software updates). In other words, you get 4 years of Android updates and 5 years of security patches, which will get your A55 5G to last until Android 18.

Camera

Same, same (but maybe different)

The camera systems on the Galaxy A55 5G and A54 5G are seemingly identical on paper, so here’s a quick list of all of them and their specs.

Galaxy A55 5G and Galaxy A54 5G cameras:

  • Wide (main) — 50MP, f/1.8, AF, OIS
  • Ultra-wide — 12MP, f/2.2
  • Macro — 5MP, f/2.4
  • Front (selfie) — 32MP, f/2.2

Suffice it to say, if we see any sort of improvement to the image quality during photos and video recording, it would be thanks to the new processor that’s inside the A55 5G. There is also some new advanced AI Image Signal Processing (ISP) feature Samsung mentions in its announcement, which apparently produces stunning low-light images never seen before on Galaxy A series.

Main Camera

Whether it is thanks to the new chipset, or simply some software tweaking, the Galaxy A55 5G seems to have a vastly improved HDR and low-light performance. Both during bright, contrast-heavy conditions and nighttime, the A55 shows much more detail in darker areas.

There also seems to be a shift from the more cooler color tones on the A54 5G to warmer ones with the 2024 model. Sharpness remains the same.

Zoom Quality

The Galaxy A54 did not come with a dedicated telephoto camera and, sadly, Samsung decided to not feature one with the A55 either. In other words, the images you see above are simply the quality these phones can muster from digitally zooming via their main cameras.

The A55 appears to be producing an ever so slightly sharper image, but that’s all the difference you will find in this case.

Ultra-wide

Here we notice the improvements Samsung has made this year to color accuracy (something that’s also visible on the flagship Galaxy S24 series). The A55’s colors are much more natural, whereas the A54’s image has a magenta tint to it. There’s also the higher levels of detail in the shadow areas on the photo taken by the A55.

Selfies

Interestingly, when it comes to the selfie samples, the Galaxy A54 balanced the lighting better than the A55. You can see more details in the dark t-shirts and the counter at the back. That being said, we would attribute that as a fluke more than anything else.

Audio Quality and Haptics

Samsung does not specify any changes to the speakers on its mid-ranger, but the A55 5G should come with pleasing audio quality coming out of its dual-firing speakers. That’s at least what we got with the Galaxy A54 5G, apart from its distortion issues at max volume, especially with more bass heavy music and sounds. Haptics should also feel alright if they are anything like the predecessor.

Battery Life and Charging

No changes on this front

Both the Galaxy A55 5G and the A54 5G come with massive 5,000mAh batteries. If battery life has somehow changed it would be because of the new processor inside the 2024 model, but we will let you know more once we get to put the A55 5G through our battery life tests.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

Despite the fact that both phones come with the same battery capacity, the Galaxy A55 5G beat its predecessor in all of our battery life tests, with around an hour difference for video streaming and web browsing. What’s more impressive, however, are the results from our gaming battery test, where the A55 5G beat the A54 5G by about 4 hours.

Charging will undoubtedly be identical though, as it still maxes out at 25W (just like with the A54) and you have to juice up the same battery capacity.

Specs Comparison

This is a quick look at the Galaxy A55 5G vs Galaxy A54 5G specs. For the most part, the two are quite similar to each other. The only visible difference is in the size, weight, some of the display characteristics, and the chipset.

Summary

Samsung has given the Galaxy A55 5G a new processor, a slightly different look with thinner bezels, and a somewhat larger display and body. The new Exynos 1480 chipset didn’t do that much better than the Exynos 1380 inside the A54 5G during our benchmark tests, but our battery life tests show that it is considerably more power-efficient.

We are a bit disappointed, though, that there is no increase of the software support window—we were really hoping for one here, as it would have made this new generation a more worthwhile purchase.

All in all, the Galaxy A55 5G is a rather minute update over the Galaxy A54 5G, so if you own last year’s model we wouldn’t say it will be your worthwhile. The A55 is not a bad mid-range phone, it is just not good enough considering some of the competition out there, like the OnePlus 12R.



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