So, you fancy a Galaxy S23 but cannot quite afford it?
Say hello to the Galaxy A54. It retains the polish of the Galaxy S series without costing a bomb.
Design & Display
From the back, the A54 looks just like many other Galaxy phones from 2023, but in the case of this phone, it is actually a good thing since it resembles the more expensive S23 Plus from a distance.
The back panel is made of Gorilla Glass 5 which not only feels premium, but should be quite resistant to drops as well. The frame, however, is made of plastic, which is about the segment standard.
The flat back panel and curved frame make this phone decently comfortable to hold, but I do miss the curved back panel of previous A series phones which provided a more secure grip.
At the front, the A54 has a typical android phone layout with a hole punch selfie camera. However, the bezels on the phone are rather thick by 2023 standards. Anyway, the display is also protected by Gorilla Glass 5.
I also like the colour options on the A54 quite a bit. This Awesome Lime of our review device may not be to all tastes, but it definitely looks quite youthful.
Also, while the back panel is glossy, this colour hides fingerprints really well. Not not be the case with darker colours, though.
The SIM tray on the A54 is situated close to the frame’s curve, which means that it ends up protruding ever so slightly. Putting a case will easily fix this, but this is a design quirk that bugged me quite a lot during my testing period.
The 6.4-inch AMOLED display on the phone has a resolution of FHD+ and an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz. In terms of quality, this display is exactly what you’d expect from Samsung - popping colours and great viewing angles.
The display’s peak brightness also stands at 1000 nits, which is fine, but not segment leading anymore.
The Galaxy A54 is a dual SIM smartphone, with a hybrid slot for a microSD card. At a time when all utilitarian features are being taken away from smartphones, the inclusion of expandable storage on this one is a welcome surprise.
The smartphone also has stereo speakers which are decently loud and make for a good content watching experience.
For biometrics, the A54 has an optical fingerprint reader which is about average in terms of accuracy and speed.
The A54 is also IP67 rated which will ensure peace of mind and is not found on many upper mid-range phones.
Performance & Software
The A54 debuts with Samsung’s brand new 5nm Exynos 1380 chipset and this chipset is really, really interesting.
I know you never expect Exynos to be the most powerful chipset in its segment, but in the past, Exynos chips were also plagued with poor thermal management and excessive power consumption issues. But there is no such thing with this chipset.
It performed pretty well in the CPU throttling test, and had a stability score of a whopping 99.5% in 3D Mark’s wildlife extreme stress test. All this while not overheating at all. impressive.
However, it is impossible to ignore that at ₹40,000, you get phones with Dimensity 8200 and Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipsets. So I did a quick benchmark comparison with these two chipsets…. and no, a gaming phone this is not.
Anyway, while gaming may not be the focus of this chipset, it still handles titles like COD Mobile without any major issues and it works well where it matters, so day to day usage on the A54 is quite effortless. You also get 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal storage as standard here.
On the software front, this phone runs on Samsung’s OneUI 5.1 based on Android 13. However, since the A54 is not a flagship phone, there are a few issues here. The first one is pre-installed bloatware, which can thankfully be uninstalled.
However, the second one is the glance lock screen, which can be quite annoying at times, and the option to disable it is actually buried deep within settings.
But despite these nuances, I would still call OneUI the best Android skin around because even on the A54, you will get 4 major Android updates and 5 years of security updates. Absolutely no other brand can beat this.
The Galaxy A54 has an optically stabilised 50MP primary camera, along with a 12MP ultrawide camera and 5MP macro camera.
Let’s start with the main camera first. This 50MP sensor produces binned 12.5MP shots which are quite crisp with good dynamic range. The colours are definitely on the saturated side, but the post processing is good.
Low light shots also appear to be quite good with the night mode extracting details out of the dark areas pretty well.
Portrait photos have good edge detection as well.
Coming to videos, you can shoot at up to 4K 30fps, but OIS works only at FHD 30fps, which is quite a bummer. Otherwise, the videos turn out to be pretty decent.
The 12MP ultrawide camera also takes some good photos, but barrel distortion is evident occasionally. This camera can also shoot at up to 4K 30 fps videos, which is great, but, again, only the FHD 30 fps come out to be stable.
The 5MP macro camera gets the job done, but, ideally, it should not be there on a 40 thousand rupee phone.
Coming to selfies, the 32MP front camera is quite good for selfies with accurate skin tones. This camera can also shoot videos in 4K 30 fps.
Samsung also offers a host of other camera modes, including a dedicated Pro video mode on the A54, which a few people will appreciate.
The large 5,000mAh battery on this phone gives impressive battery backup. With medium use, you can extract around 7.5 hours of screen time with it.
This phone also supports 25W fast charging, however, you’ll have to buy the charger yourself. Just to remind you, competing phones in this segment do come with 80 or 100W bundled chargers, so there’s that.
The Galaxy A54 manages to embody the essence of Samsung's flagship smartphones - You get a vibrant display, a robust battery, and a competent camera system.
Moreover, the phone offers premium features that are often overlooked by others in this segment, such as official water resistance, stereo speakers, and a lengthy software cycle.
Sure, the price of the A54, at ₹39,000, could have been more competitive since similarly priced phones come with much more horsepower. However, the A54 is targeted at a different kind of audience, who value longevity and durability over other things. If you are one of those, the A54 might very well be the phone to buy.
Also watch: Samsung Galaxy S23+ review & camera comparison with Pixel 7 Pro