The Galaxy A52s 5G and A52 5G are two of Samsung‘s best budget smartphones — but which one is ultimately worth someone’s hard-earned dollars? To say that affordable smartphones have come a long way in recent years would be a considerable understatement. Getting a quality phone for $300 – $400 used to be unimaginable, but today, there are plentiful options. Thanks to handsets like the Pixel 6a, OnePlus Nord, and iPhone SE, cheap smartphones are better today than they’ve ever been before.
Among all of the companies out there, Samsung has shown some of the most substantial growth in this area. Its budget phones are shipping with dramatically improved specs and nicer designs, and that hard work is paying off. In Q1 2020, the Galaxy A51 was the best-selling Android smartphone in the entire world. The Galaxy A52 5G debuted in March 2021 as a highly-anticipated successor, followed by the A52s 5G just a few months later that August.
Taking a look at the phones side-by-side, there’s virtually zero physical difference between the two. They both feature a plastic construction, three rear cameras, and a 6.5-inch AMOLED display. The specifics of that display are also identical, with both the A52s 5G and A52 5G touting a 2,400 x 1,080 resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and Gorilla Glass 5. There are many smaller similarities, too, including an in-screen fingerprint sensor, USB-C port, stereo speakers, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
In all honesty, there’s just one major difference between the A52 5G and A52s 5G — and that’s the processor. The former is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G, while the latter has the Snapdragon 778G. Both are octa-core chips, but the 778G benefits from a more efficient design. Where the 750G is based on an older 8nm fabrication, the 778G is a 5nm chip. That should result in slightly better CPU performance and potentially longer battery life. The A52s 5G also has a more capable Adreno 642L GPU compared to the Adreno 619 in the A52 5G. The only other benefit of the A52s 5G is its Bluetooth performance — offering Bluetooth 5.2 technology compared to Bluetooth 5.0 on the A52 5G.
Outside of those three components, the rest of the experience is identical between the A52s 5G and A52 5G. Taking a look at the cameras, both have a 64MP primary camera, 12MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro, and 5MP depth sensor. There’s also a 32MP selfie camera, a 4,500mAh battery, 25W charging, 6GB/8GB of RAM, and 128GB/256GB of expandable storage.
There is one more thing separating these two phones, and that’s the price. The Galaxy A52 5G has an MSRP of $499 and is often discounted to $425 or less. Unfortunately, the Galaxy A52s 5G isn’t officially available in the U.S., but its £409 price is roughly equal to about $561 USD. If someone lives in a market with a choice between the two, it’s hard not to keep recommending the regular A52 5G as the phone to get. It’s cheaper, the Snapdragon 750G is still very capable, and the more affordable price is hard to argue with. Unless someone absolutely needs better CPU and GPU performance, sticking with the A52 5G makes the most sense.
While the Galaxy A52 5G is the better choice compared to the A52s 5G, things become more interesting when looking at other smartphones currently available. Take the Motorola Edge (2021) as an example. It has the faster Snapdragon 778G chip, 8GB of RAM, a 5,ooomAh battery, and a larger display with an even smoother 144Hz refresh rate. The Motorola Edge (2021) technically retails for $449 after a price cut, but Motorola frequently discounts it to as low as $399.
If you’re OK spending a little bit more cash, the Google Pixel 6 drives a hard bargain for its $599 asking price. For just $100 more, the Pixel 6 is a dramatically better phone than the Galaxy A52 5G. It has a much more capable Google Tensor processor, far superior cameras, and exclusive software features like Magic Eraser and Now Playing.
And those are just a couple of alternatives. The OnePlus 9 is currently on sale for $499, the Galaxy S20 FE can often be found for $499, and the iPhone 11 now retails for $499. It just goes to show how much variety is really out there. The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G may be a clear choice over the A52S, but when you throw other phones in the mix, things get much more complicated.
The Galaxy A53 5G was launched in early 2022, and is the official successor to the Galaxy A52 5G in the U.S., given that the Galaxy A52s 5G never made it to the market. But does it make sense for buyers to get this model instead of the Galaxy A52 5G, or for those who already have the A52 5G, to upgrade to the A53 5G instead? The Galaxy A53 5G currently retails for $450 on Samsung’s website for the unlocked version. For that price, the phone offers only a handful of upgrades over the Galaxy A52 5G.
In fact, one notable feature that’s missing on the new phone is a 3.5mm headphone jack. While both the Galaxy A52s and Galaxy A52 offered this port, Samsung has done away with it on the new model. Both the phones are identical in the design, display, and camera department, but there are two main areas where they differ. For one, the Galaxy A53 5G has the Exynos 1280 chipset which is based on the 5nm process (vs. 8nm for the Snapdragon 750G). This translates into better battery life, and the overall performance is also improved according to benchmark scores. Apart from this, it has a larger 5,000mAh battery, compared to the 4,000mAh unit on the Galaxy A52 5G. Overall, the Galaxy A53 5G is a minor upgrade over the Galaxy A52 5G. While it makes sense for users of older Samsung Galaxy devices to upgrade to the A53 5G, those who already have the Galaxy A52 5G can hold out for another year.