As a result of increased pressure from Chinese rivals, Samsung revised its fiscal strategy last year. The insufficient performance of the Galaxy J series has disappeared and the Galaxy A line has taken its place. Samsung limited the Galaxy A series to the mid-price category, but devices now sell for $ 120 to $ 600. The recently found shift in focus also came with better product launches. This is our Samsung Galaxy A51 review.
The Galaxy A50 was one of the budget phones you could buy in 2019, with excellent hardware, a new design and decent cameras. In typical Samsung style, the company introduced a revamped model on the Galaxy A50 six months later, and now we have the A51. The Galaxy A51 is an example of what Samsung has been doing in this segment for the past 12 months. There are some tempting changes – especially on the camera side – but the base remains unchanged compared to last year.
80% of what I mentioned in my review of the Galaxy A50 the previous year is relevant to the A51 because the underlying hardware hasn’t changed much.
Samsung Galaxy A51 Review: Design
No other brand is launching iterative updates like Samsung, and in the past five years it has managed to turn iteration into an art form. The Samsung Galaxy A51 uses many tips from the A50, which in turn were based on the A50. So basically, a lot of the internal hardware you get on the A51 is more than a year old at the moment.
But that does not mean that there are no new features on the A51. Let’s start at the back: the Galaxy A51 has two diagonal lines on its surface that break the design. However, this time, there is a gradient effect that can be seen when the light hits the surface. This gradient effect is essential for device colors, with the Galaxy A51 available in Prism Crush Black, Prism Crush White and Prism Crush Blue.
The bottom of the phone also has subtle lines that further distinguish the design, and the overall result is that the A51 is one of the most beautiful phones that Samsung has launched so far. I use the blue option and the vibrant color makes the phone stand out. The back is made of plastic, just like last year, but the glossy finish gives the phone a smooth feel. Best of all, it doesn’t slide as easily as a glass bottom and is more durable.
Another significant change to the rear is the camera housing. The camera’s rectangular body is identical to the Galaxy S20 series and it is clear that Samsung is trying to create a design identity here. Although the camera housing is not attractive, it is consistent for all Samsung 2020 devices.
The significant design change on the front is the Infinity-O cutout for the front camera module. Last year, the A50 and A50 had the Infinity-U cutout, and the cutout on the A51 is smaller and better integrated into the design. This time, the edges are as thin as a cookie, which makes using the A51 much more tempting.
The design is complemented by the power and volume buttons on the right side and the 3.5 mm connector, much-appreciated USB-C charging port and a single speaker at the bottom. Samsung has also distanced itself from the 3.5mm jack on its flagships, so it’s nice to see that the analog jack is intact on the A51. The SIM card drawer is on the left side and you have the option to insert two SIM cards and a Micro-SD card. The variant of the A51 sold in the global markets is likely to have a single SIM slot.
At 172g, the Galaxy A51 is incredibly light for a phone with a 4000mAh battery and is sturdy in the hands, thanks to the subtle curves at the back. At 73.6 mm wide, the phone is also narrow and, although not suitable for one-handed use, it is at the bottom of the scale for phone sizes up to 2020.
Samsung Galaxy A51 review: Screen
The Galaxy A51 has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED (Full-HD +) screen that is the best in its class, I must say. The colors are vibrant, you get decent viewing angles and there’s no problem using the screen in bright sunlight. You can choose between Natural or Vivid image modes, and there is no option to adjust the color balance of the screen manually. But you make a blue light filter that can be changed to work from sunset to sunrise. You also get other scaling and font options that are standard on all Samsung devices.
The screen is protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3, another area unchanged from last year. This applies to the quality of the panel itself – except for the switch to an Infinity-O cut and a small 0.1 inch screen magnification, there is no difference with the A50 or A50. But this is not necessarily a business, because the screen will hold up well in 2020.
One of the main highlights of the Galaxy A51 is that it comes with Samsung’s One UI 2.0, based on Android 10. This was not always the case with Samsung’s previous economy phones, so it’s great to see the manufacturer offering the latest user interface on all your devices. 2020 phones. A 2.0 user interface integrates Android 10 dark mode throughout the system and you also have the opportunity to choose between the standard navigation gestures of Android 10 or Samsung.
The Samsung gesture includes designated zones at the bottom of the screen, from which you can swipe upwards. It is an elegant solution and easier to acclimatize when you switch from old navigation keys. But the fact that you also get the latest gestures from Android 10 – by swiping both sides to go back and swipe from the bottom of the screen to the home screen – makes it that much more tempting.
Samsung has always offered a good list of customization options, and this is no different on the A51. You now get the Edge screen, with the ability to configure Edge pull-out panels and set Edge lighting for notifications and calls. Edge lighting means that phones no longer have LED notification light today, and there is a lot of customization to choose from.
The A51 also features a software-based facial unlock and, while not as secure as a fingerprint reader, it is fast. Elsewhere, you get the ability to use two copies of an application at the same time, Bixby, off-screen gestures and one-handed mode. Samsung has worked hard to modernize its user interface in recent years, and the result is that Samsung’s One UI 2.0 looks modern and is a far cry from the days of TouchWiz.
Samsung Galaxy A51 review: Performance
Samsung has been recycling hardware on its devices for several years, and this is no different on the A51. The device is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 9611, the same as the A50. The A50 had the company’s Exynos 9610, and while the 9611 is marketed as a new chipset, the only difference with the 9610 is that it can support 48MP camera modules. The Exynos 9610 and 9611 use the same cores and the same Mali G72 for graphics, and are manufactured in a 10 nm node.
Either way, Samsung is running out of storage buyers this year, with the A51 offering UFS 2.0 storage, while last year’s A50 and A50 had UFS 2.1 storage. Let’s go back to the hardware because Samsung’s decision to use the Exynos 9611 on the A51 slows things down in everyday use. The chipset has four Cortex A73 cores at 2.3 GHz and four A53 cores with energy savings at 1.7 GHz, and there is not enough grunt to perform basic tasks, such as browsing the Web.
Sometimes, you notice delays, even while browsing the user interface, with actions like opening the application tray, causing an insignificant delay. Then there is the problem of games, and Mali G72 just doesn’t hold on to titles like PUBG and Fortnite. If you love games for mobile devices, it is best to choose a phone with a Snapdragon 730. The A51 is barely enough for everyday use – you shouldn’t see a delay when exiting an app to go to the home screen.
The phone is available in India with 6GB / 128GB and 8GB / 128GB variants, but in other markets, Samsung offers the A51 with a 4GB option. There’s a MicroSD slot suitable for cards up to 512 GB and you also get NFC with Samsung Pay, FM radio, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, and Wi-Fi ac. The optical fingerprint sensor on the screen is fast, safe and reliable, and I had no problems with it.
Samsung Galaxy A51 Review: Camera Performance
The highlight of the Galaxy A51 is the set of quad cameras at the rear: a 48MP primary camera is now connected to a 12MP wide-angle lens, a 5MP macro-trigger and another 5MP lens for portrait mode. You have a 32MP camera on the front, which is a small update compared to the 25MP lens on last year’s A50. The camera interface should be immediately familiar if you have recently used a Samsung phone.
The most important photography modes are placed on a ribbon at the bottom of the photos and you can edit them according to your preferences. There are switches for the effects of flash, timer, filters and beautification, and you can easily switch between the main lens and the wide-angle shutter. The 48MP camera is a household name at the moment and takes great pictures in broad daylight. The resulting images have a lot of detail and a decent dynamic range, and you get the saturated colors that define Samsung cameras.
One of the most significant changes that Samsung made in 2020 is the wide-angle lens, in which the sniper can shoot with the same level of detail as the main camera. As good as the Galaxy A51 is in daylight conditions, photos in artificial light or in low light are a mess. There is a lot of noise, the colors are faded and the final images are far from good enough to be shared on social platforms.
The macro lens has no autofocus and has difficulty dialing in busy subjects, such as a dial. Whatever I tried, I was unable to focus on the display of my Promaster Skyhawk. Although the 5MP resolution is better than that obtained with most other smartphones, the macro lens, for the time being, is very limited in its usability.
Another area where things don’t change is the battery. The Galaxy A51 has the same 4000mAh battery with a fast 15W charge and I had no problems with battery life. The phone will easily last a day, and although the hardware itself hasn’t changed from the A50, I have better numbers on battery usage on the A51. Overall, the Galaxy A51 has a battery that lasts the day for most users.
Samsung Galaxy A51 Review: Conclusion
The Galaxy A51 doesn’t differ much from what Samsung offered last year in this segment, but camera updates and design make it stand out. The 48MP camera captures decent images during the day, the screen is one of the best you can find in this segment, the battery life is fantastic and you get the latest One UI 2.0 based on the newest Android 10. That said, the hardware setup is slow compared to the rest of the other phones and you will see noticeable delays in daily use.
It also makes no sense to switch to the Galaxy A51 if you are already using the A50 or A50 because, for the most part, this is the same phone that Samsung launched last year. The Galaxy A51 doesn’t make much sense for the Indian market at the moment, as there are phones that offer much more value and more robust hardware in 2020. The Realme X2 Pro, Redmi K20 or POCO X2 will be a better option if you are in the market for phones below INR 25,000 ($ 350).
As for the US and other global markets, the smartphone is available for around $ 250. And for that price, the Galaxy A51 is a decent deal for anyone looking for an economical smartphone with Samsung’s confidence and the best in class OLED screen. . If you are looking for a high-end Samsung phone, check out our review of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
7.5 Total score
The Galaxy A51 has the same bases as last year’s A50 and A50. You have a 48MP camera, battery life all day, a vibrant AMOLED screen, 3.5mm connection and Android 10. However, the hardware will not last in 2020.
- 48MP camera
- Beautiful new design
- Long battery life
- A 2.0 user interface with Android 10
- Aging hardware
- Laggy in daily use
- Low light photos are unusable