Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Samsung Galaxy A55 Review: Bigger and (Slightly) Cheaper


The Galaxy A55 carries the responsibility of being part of one of Samsung’s best-selling families. For 2024, the mid-range phone has a more premium metal finish and a bigger display. But is it just an evolution of the Galaxy A54 or can it be an alternative with the flagship Galaxy S family? Let’s find out in this review.

Good

  • Good AMOLED screen
  • Good performance in apps and games
  • The best update policy in the category

Bad

  • Some bloatware
  • Slow battery charging
  • No headphone jack
Samsung Galaxy A55

Samsung Galaxy A55


Samsung Galaxy A55: All deals

Samsung Galaxy A55 in a nutshell

The Samsung Galaxy A55 was launched in early March 2024, together with its plastic sibling, the Galaxy A35. Despite the similarities, only the A55 has a metal finish, and the newer Exynos 1480 processor.

Both phones offer a big 6.6-inch FullHD+ AMOLED screen, which refreshes at 120 Hz for smooth animations. Both run Samsung’s One UI 6.1 skin on top of Android 14, and are promised five years of security updates, with four Android upgrades along the way.

Breaking from tradition, the Galaxy A55 is currently not planned for sale in the US, while European customers are getting a (very) small price drop, despite the bigger display and more premium material.

Design and display


Samsung has been testing the market when it comes to display size on its premium mid-ranger. For the 2024 season, the Galaxy A55 brings a 6.6-inch diagonal, with the usual OLED features: bright colors and excellent contrast. The highlight of the A55, however, is its new metal frame, which gives it a more premium feel.


Pros:

  • Nice build quality.
  • Excellent display (as usual).

Cons:

  • Overall design is basically the same as the A54’s.
  • Button placement designed for bigger hands.

The design itself is mostly the same as all 2024 and 2023 Samsung phones. With the main difference when compared to the A34/A54 duo being the flat sides reminiscent of the Nothing phones or—sacrilege!—iPhones. The side buttons are housed on a slight bump on the right side, which feels too high if you have smaller hands—e.g. Reaching the navigation bar after pressing the volume up button may require repositioning the phone on your hand.

Samsung Galaxy A55 viewed from the side, showing its metal frame
The metal frame is the most obvious change in the Galaxy A55 and gives it a premium feel. / © nextpit

The phone is rated IP67 for water and dust resistance. The back is covered by Gorilla Glass, while the front has Gorilla Glass Victus+. With a bigger display, the Galaxy A55 is only slightly bigger than its A54 and A53 predecessors in both height (161.1 mm) and width (77.4 mm), thanks to thinner bezels, but the depth is unchanged at 8.2 mm.

Speaking of display, while the 2340×1080 resolution and 120 Hz refresh rate is still the same as in the 2023 phone, the Galaxy A55 will please those who like big screens. The 6.6-inch panel is excellent for games and videos, and had no issues with outdoor usage, despite, at 1000 nits, not joining the 2024 trend of stupidly high brightness levels.

Samsung Galaxy A55 showing the bigger 6.6-inch display
The 6.6-inch display is noticeably bigger on the A55 than on the A54 or A53. / © nextpit

Samsung Galaxy A55 performance


In the performance department, Samsung brought the usual modest improvements to the Galaxy A55 in the form of its new Exynos 1480 chip. The new CPU is made on a more modern process than the Exynos 1380 used on the Galaxy A54 and A35, allowing Samsung to set faster processing speeds without sacrificing battery life.


Pros:

  • Good app and gaming performance.
  • Consistent performance under load.

Cons:

  • Fingerprint reader errors.
  • AMD Radeon GPU feels underutilized.
  • Gamers will find better options in the category.

The Galaxy A5 phones traditionally offer good enough performance in daily tasks, and the Galaxy A55 keeps that tradition. Browsing the web, social media (doom) scrolling, and general usage were no issue for the Exynos 1480, helped by the 8 GB of RAM, and fast UFS 3.1 storage.

  Samsung Galaxy A55
(Exynos 1480)
Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G
(Snapdragon 7s Gen 2)
Samsung Galaxy A54
(Exynos 1380)
Samsung Galaxy A53
(Exynos 1280)
Xiaomi Poco F5
(Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2)
3DMark Wild Life
3DMark Wild Life Stress Test
  • Best loop: 3951
  • Worst loop: 3940
  • Best loop: 3050
  • Worst loop: 2754
  • Best loop: 2840
  • Worst loop: 2804
  • Best loop: 2324
  • Worst loop: 2312
  • Best loop: 7632
  • Worst loop: 7582
Geekbench 6
  • Single: 1155
  • Multi: 3404
  • Single: 1022
  • Multi: 2889
  • Single: 1107
  • Multi: 4232

Gaming performance got a sizeable jump compared to previous generations thanks to a new AMD RDNA GPU core. The graphics processor brought a 30% improvement in the 3DMark test and performed well in games such as Genshin Impact and the new Call of Duty Warzone Mobile at medium settings. And we did not observe overheating or thermal throttling issues in longer gaming sessions.

However, despite the Radeon DNA, the new Xclipse 530 GPU (its official name for the specs table) doesn’t support modern features such as Ray Tracing to improve illumination and shadows in AAA games or console ports, which is coming to competing chips and phones in the category.

Samsung Galaxy A55
Gaming performance was good, even if not category-beating. / © nextpit

If gaming is a priority, you can find better-performing phones equipped with chips like the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 found in the Poco F5 from last year. But the good news is that Samsung chips are now competitive with the MediaTek alternatives, at least.

Software 

The Galaxy A55 came with the latest One UI 6.1 interface on top of Android 14. The overall experience is much like in previous generations, especially since Samsung didn’t extend the new Galaxy AI features found in the flagship S series to the intermediate Galaxy A family, at least as of testing the phone.

Samsung Galaxy A55
The Galaxy A55 uses less storage space with a clean install, even if it packs more third-party apps. / © nextpit

The A55 (and also the A35) still offers the best update policy in their price range, with five years of crucial security updates. When it comes to the operating system, the Galaxy A55 is promised four upgrades.

One downgrade we noticed on the Galaxy A55 is a bigger number of third-party apps pre-installed, with nine apps (over the 4 we found in the A54). It is possible to uninstall almost all of them—the exception being the OneDrive app—, however. Curiously, even though packing more bloatware, the storage usage on a clean Galaxy A55 was only 23.9 GB, compared to 29.8 on the A54.

Samsung Galaxy A55 camera


The welcome changes to the design and performance were not extended to the camera department. Not only does the Galaxy A55 feature similar specs to its predecessor, with a 50-megapixel main camera, 12 MP ultra-wide, and 5-megapixel macro, but it doesn’t offer the extra AI image processing capabilities launched with the Galaxy S24 family earlier in 2024.


Pros:

  • Good daylight pictures.
  • Good night pictures from the main camera.

Cons:

  • Still lagging behind the mid-range Pixel phones.

Pictures taken in daylight conditions were fine, both with the main camera and the ultra-wide lens. Weather conditions did not help during the time we had to test the phone, but we didn’t notice any issues with the captured images.

Image quality was perfectly acceptable for sharing online, without the oversaturated colors Samsung used to be known for, at least not in the “regular” photos. The portrait mode picture in the gallery above shows that the camera can still capture punchy colors, even if the background blur/portrait effect itself is not that precise.

Night pictures with the main camera also did well in most situations, with up to 2x zoom offering decent results. At night, the ultra-wide camera showed its limitations, losing sharpness and detail. Night mode can sometimes help the ultra-wide camera, but the low-light mode seems to work better with the bigger main camera sensor.

Samsung Galaxy A55 camera module viewed up close
The A55 has the same 50 MP main camera as in the previous generation. / © nextpit

Macro shots were markedly better than cheap phones with 2 MP sensors, but the 5-megapixel resolution is starting to show its age on the Galaxy A50 line. And finally, the A55 also did well with selfies, without exaggerated colors or unnecessary effects. Skin tone seems correct and even the blur effect on the portrait mode did well to separate the background.

Samsung Galaxy A55 battery


With the jump from Samsung Foundry’s 5LPE (5nm-class) to the newer 4LPP generation, the Exynos chip on the Galaxy A55 offers improved battery life despite having the same 5000 mAh capacity. What did not change, though, is Samsung’s lack of interest in offering fast charging speeds.


Pros:

  • Can reach two-day battery life.

Cons:

  • Slow charging.
  • No charger is included in the box.
  • No wireless charging.
  • Phones with rival chips are offering better efficiency.

Tested under the PCMark battery benchmark, the Galaxy A55 had a score of 14h59min going from 80 to 20% of charge with the display in use and some processing tasks. That number is almost 2h30 better than the A54, and the performance score during the test was roughly the same, indicating better energy efficiency.

  Galaxy A55 Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G Galaxy A54 Poco F5 Galaxy A53
5 minutes
10 minutes
20 minutes
30 minutes
1 hour    
Full charge
PC Mark Battery test

In real use, with some social media scrolling, messaging apps, and game downloading (including the 30GB used by Genshin Impact alone), the Galaxy A55 got close to full days of battery life. Your mileage will vary, of course, but an overnight recharge should be enough to go through the day.

Speaking of charging, this remains Samsung’s weak point, with the Galaxy A55 limited to 25 W charging. Using a Ugreen Nexode 300W, it took a little over 1h30 to fully charge the 5000 mAh battery. Our tests indicate that Samsung improved charging speeds in its Galaxy A family, but not enough to reach the time necessary on a OnePlus or Xiaomi phone, for example.

Galaxy A55 held in hand showing the USB-C charging port
No changes to the charging department: Max 25W, and no adapter in the box. / © nextpit

Other downsides include the fact that the Galaxy A55 doesn’t come with a charger in the box, and wireless charging is not available. The latter is still a rarity in the sub-$500 category, but there are some options such as the Pixel 7a.

Samsung Galaxy A55 technical specifications

  Samsung Galaxy A54
Display 6.6-inch OLED
2340 x 1080 pixels
120 Hz refresh rate
Processor Samsung Exynos 1480
Memory 8/12 GB RAM
128/256 GB storage
microSD expansion
Software OneUI 6.1 based on Android 14
4 Android upgrades
5 years of security updates
Câmera Main: 50 MP, f/1.8, OIS
Ultra-wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2
Macro: 5 MP, f/2.4
Selfie 32 MP, f/2.2
Battery 5,000 mAh
25 W wired charging
Connectivity 5G | eSIM | Wi-Fi 6 | Wi-Fi Direct | Bluetooth 5.3 | NFC
IP certification IP67
Dimensions and weight 6.34 x 3.05 x 0.32 in, 7.51 oz
161,1 x 77,4 x 8,2 mm, 213g

Other points that may interest the nextpit community:

  • The Galaxy A55 includes NFC support and is compatible with Google Pay for contactless payments.
  • The review unit packaging included a USB-C to USB-C charging cable and a SIM card tray tool.
  • The software version during the test was A556BXXU1AXBA (Feb 2024 security patch).
  • After resetting the updated handset, the operating system indicated 23.9 GB of used space.

Final verdict

Samsung is apparently marching to its own beat in the intermediate market. The South Korean company seems pretty comfortable with its yearly incremental updates, and the market in general appears to be settled in the same rhythm, just look at the Redmi Note 13 family, the direct competitor to the Galaxy A phones.

Of course, there are better options if you prioritize camera or gaming performance. But the Galaxy A55 is the same balanced and safe option for budget-conscious consumers that made its predecessors so popular to begin with. Just don’t expect the same premium experience and performance of the Galaxy S models.

It would have been nice to see faster charging, a true camera upgrade, or more battery capacity, especially in light of the bigger dimensions. But the bigger display, more efficient processor, and especially the more premium design will probably be good enough upgrades for potential buyers, and also for the current mid-range market.



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