Thursday, June 13, 2024
Smart Phones

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G Review: Is this sub-$200 phone good enough?

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G Intro

Samsung starts the year with a bang, and while most people focus on the flagship Galaxy S24 series, Samsung has a new super affordable budget phone too.
That phone is the Samsung Galaxy A15 5G. It works on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, and it costs just $200 (or even less if you find a good deal).
You cannot expect everything at that price (not even close), but the A15 5G punches above its class in many areas: it runs on the latest Android 14, Samsung promises four years of software updates, it has a decent set of cameras, an AMOLED screen with 90Hz refresh rate, and solid battery life.

I have been using it and testing it in the past few days, and here is what it is like living with this $200 phone in 2024.

What’s new about Samsung Galaxy A15 5G

  • 6.5-inch AMOLED screen with 90Hz refresh rate
  • Big bezel around it though
  • MediaTek Dimensity 6100+ chipset with 4GB RAM
  • Android 14 with promise for four major updates
  • Generous 128GB storage
  • MicroSD card supprot
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • 25W wired charge, no wireless charging
  • $200 price

Table of Contents:

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G Specs

It’s nice to see the latest Android 14 on board, but the slow processor is a concern

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G Design & Colors

Flat sides give it a modern look, but those chunky bezels and plastic construction are dead giveaways of a cheap phone


The Galaxy A15 5G follows in Samsung’s design esthetic for 2024: flat sides and a boxy look.

It’s an all plastic affair, though, and it does not have a premium feel in the hand, but on the flipside it weighs less than you’d expect for its size.

The most distinct design element has got to be the raised edge on the right side of the phone (Samsung calls it “Key Island”), which makes it a bit easier to find the buttons by tactile feel. Speaking of buttons, the power button doubles as a fingerprint reader and it is flush with the side of the phone, and then right above it you can find the volume rocker.

On the bottom of the phone, you have a USB-C charging port, the only speaker on the phone and a 3.5mm headset jack, which you can only find on budget phones these days.

In the US, you have two color options to choose from (other markets have a few additional colorways):

We have the Blue Black Galaxy A15 5G for this review and it’s really nice how its back reflects light in this very cool way creating a highlight.

The A15 comes in a slim box, which means no charger is included and you have to buy one separately (the phone supports 25W charging, so a regular Samsung 25W charger would be a great fit).

You do get a charging cable in the box, a SIM tool, the user manual and that is it.

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G Display

You might think that you’d get a worse display on a $200 phone, but the Galaxy A15 5G has a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen that looks gorgeous.

We were surprised to see it gets as bright as flaghips from a couple of years ago and it has the stunning OLED colors we are used to seeing and even 90Hz (but more on that in the performance section).  

Display Measurements:

If we had to be really nit-picky, we could mention the minimum brightness of 1.7 nits is not quite as low as more expensive Samsung phones, so at night the phone cannot get quite as dim, but… it’s a $200 phone!

One thing you could complain about is the reflectivity of the screen outdoors which is more noticeable than on pricier phones.

In terms of biometrics, the fingerprint scanner does a good enough job. We usually prefer a front positioned fingerprint scanner, but that would require Samsung to use a pricier under-the-screen fingerprint reader, so we understand the reasonning. Ultimately, you get used to the side position and you can appreciate that this is a traditional fingerprint reader that works well.

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G Camera

Definitely not one of camera phone fame

Alright, what about the camera? 

You can see three cameras on the back, but that might be a bit misleading.

First, you have the main 50MP wide camera, which does most of the heavy lifting, then you also have a 5MP ultra-wide camera and 2MP macro camera. The macro camera is such low resolution that Samsung could have easily skipped it, but it does technically shoot macros. And the 5MP resolution of the ultra-wide camera is also quite the limitation, so essentially it is the main camera that you should be using for most of your shots.

As you can see in the photos above, the main camera has a bit tighter perspective than we are used to. It’s a 26mm field of view, narrower than most other phones that go with a 24mm one or even wider. You have a reasonable amount of detail, however slightly washed out colors in photos.

Detail on the ultra-wide camera is sub-par and there is warping around the edges of the image, and in even dimmer light noise creeps in.

As for the macro camera, as we mentioned, that 2MP resolution is just too low, plus you need to manually enable it, there is no automatic macro detection.

Video Quality

Video Thumbnail

Video recording is limited to 1080p, so the Galaxy A15 5G does NOT support 4K video at all.

This is on par with others in this price class, so it’s not a surprise by any means.

Video recording also has a few other limitations, again similar to other budget phones, so we will just list them all below:

  • you have up to 10X digital zoom
  • once you start recording 1X video using the main camera, you CANNOT switch to the ultra-wide camera
  • once you start recording 0.5X video (with the ultra-wide camera), you cannot zoom in or out at all

Again, we recommend recording with the main camera and avoiding the ultra-wide shooter unless necessary. The quality is barely okay when using the main shooter and the footage also gets quite jittery when you start walking, so stabilization is far from perfect. Overall, video quality is definitely sub-par here.

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G Performance & Benchmarks

The slow performance is the biggest drawback of this phone

Under the hood, the Galaxy A15 5G is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 6100+ chipset, also known under its MTK MT6835V model name, and it is paired with 4GB of RAM.

And you should know that this chipset is slow, sometimes painfully slow.

The phone just takes one extra beat to respond to pretty much everything. And you might think that a 90Hz display would be a lifesaver on a budget phone, but after using the A15 5G for a while, it goes back to the slow chipset that you just notice every day.

Keep in mind that everything still works and you can play games (even Call of Duty at lower graphics settings) on this phone, but it just takes one long extra moment. 

Performance Benchmarks:

As you can see, the Galaxy definitely does not break any records on benchmarks and the graphics performance is clearly not its strongest side either.

However, having 128GB of native storage on the base model is great at this price. And you should know that you also have the option for expandable storage via a microSD card slot. Cool!

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G Software

The Galaxy A15 5G comes with Android 14 on board and One UI 6.0 on top of it.
You don’t have the latest One UI 6.1 as you do on the flagship Galaxy S24 series, and you also certainly don’t get any of the fancy new Galaxy AI tricks. For that, you’d need to pay more, but for most budget buyers that probably won’t be a dealbreaker. For once, no other budget phones offer AI features anyway.

The One UI 6.0 software on the A15 5G is your familiar Samsung affair. You get a bunch of Samsung apps on board, which Samsung hopes will replace most of your Google apps.

While other budget phones get one or two software updates at best, Samsung commits to an incredible four years of major software updates and five years of security updates for the Galaxy A15 5G. This is unprecedented for a budget phone, and especially for one that costs just $200. This commitment means the A15 5G will get the following Android versions:

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G Battery

Big battery inside

The A15 5G comes with a 5,000mAh battery, which is a good size and on par with most other phones.

We have run our three battery tests to get some exact numbers and here are the results.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

On our YouTube video streaming test, the A15 5G scores an impressive 12 hours and 15 minutes, ranking among the top performers on this test.

Interestingly, on our lighter web browsing test, however, it did not perform as good, with a score of 10 hours and 41 minutes. Finally, it scored well on our 3D gaming test at more than 10 hours.

Altogether, we estimate you can average more than 6 hours and a half of screen time on the Galaxy A15 5G, or 1.5 days of use on average.

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G Charging Speeds

The phone supports 25W charging speeds, and we tested it using the Samsung 25W charger.

PhoneArena Charging Test Results:

It charges at a reasonable rate, reaching 46% in 30 minutes, while a full 1% to 100% top-up takes 1 hour and 31 minutes.

Keep in mind that there is no wireless charging on board.

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G Audio Quality and Haptics

Unlike most phones we review, which come with stereo speakers, the Galaxy A15 5G only has a single, mono speaker located on the bottom of the phone.

The audio quality is not too bad, though. The speaker gets quite loud and while it lacks in depth and won’t impress with music playback, it is still fine.

What we were even more surprised to see, however, was the good old 3.5mm headphone jack, also on the bottom of the phone, so you can easily connect your good old buds and not worry about charging your wireless headphones.

Haptic feedback just gets the job done, but it feels buzzy and vague, not as tight and sharp as on pricier phones, but we did not honestly expect that at this price.

Samsung Galaxy A15 5G Summary and Final Verdict

So, should you buy the Galaxy A15 5G if you are looking for a decent budget phone?

At a price of $200, this is one of the cheapest phones on the market. The biggest compromise Samsung has made was the performance: the A15 5G feels a bit on the slow side and even basic tasks take an extra moment to load up.

However, the Galaxy A15 5G does pretty much everything else very well for its price. The 6.5″ AMOLED screen looks gorgeous, the phone has the latest Android 14 and a promise for four years of software updates, it has a decent camera if you don’t push it too hard, and battery life is also solid.

Sure, it’s not quite the best looking phone around with those chunky bezels, but it has enough at this price to be among your best sub-$200 phone options in 2024. 


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