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Samsung Galaxy A32 review: 90Hz display and improved camera

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The Galaxy A line is arguably the most sought-after of all Samsung smartphones. Understandable: it offers a lot for reasonable money. Today we will talk about the Samsung Galaxy A32, which was presented at the end of February. How has it changed from last year’s version and who might want it? Let’s see.

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Samsung Galaxy A32 specifications

  • Dimensions: 158.9×73.6×8.4 mm
  • Weight: 184 g
  • Display: 6.4′′, Super AMOLED, 2400×1080 resolution, 411 ppi, 90Hz refresh rate, 800 nit brightness, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Chipset: MediaTek Helio G80, 8 cores (2×2.0 GHz, 6×1.8 GHz)
  • GPU: Mali-G52 MC2
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 or 128 GB
  • SD card support: up to 1 TB
  • Operating system: Android 11 with One UI 3.1 interface
  • Comms: Wi-Fi (2.4+5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo
  • Main camera: master sensor – 64 MP, f/1.8, video recording in FHD (1920×1080), wide-angle module – 8 MP, f/2.2, 123°, macro – 5 MP, f/2.4, depth sensor – 5 MP, f/2.4
  • Front camera: 20 MP, f/2.2
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh, fast charging (15 W)

Price and positioning

Samsung’s Galaxy A series, which hit the market in 2019, had a whole line of models. Only the most successful of them made it to 2021. And, since the A32 is here, then, presumably, the company is pinning its hopes on it.

A3X smartphones can hardly be attributed to a specific segment. They can be viewed both as advanced budget phones and as inexpensive mid-rangers, whatever sounds best to you. Judge for yourself – the 4/64 GB version will now cost about $242, and the 128 GB model will cost $268.

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What’s in the box

The set of the Galaxy A32 is quite standard, although without an adapter. The Galaxy A32 comes with a charger, cable, and manuals. I didn’t get the box along with my pre-sale device, but I got a brand case (the smartphone comes without it, you need to buy it for your hard-earned money), which, to be fair, looks interesting.

Samsung Galaxy A32 чехол

Smart S View Wallet Cover is a magnetic case with a small transparent window that wraps around the top of the display. Its trick is that in the closed position, all the information available on the screen when Always On Display is on (time, date, remaining charge, notifications) is displayed through this window. Without a cover, the time and other data in standby mode are located below, but as soon as the smartphone recognizes this cover, all the information moves higher. Inside there is a pocket for a bank card, but the cherry on the cake is that the cover, thanks to a special zinc-based coating, is also antimicrobial. After all, modern problems require modern solutions. An extremely interesting thing. But it is not that very cheap – it costs about $43.

Samsung Galaxy A32 чехол

Design, materials and build quality

The mid-range Galaxy A series copied the main design features from the flagship Galaxy S. And the updated camera unit has become the leitmotif of this year for Samsung smartphones. This is not to say that the Galaxy A32 (as well as the rest of the smartphones in the series) has a rear camera that looks identical, but the location of the sensors is the same. The three main and rather massive modules are located under each other and protrude slightly above the body, while smaller holes with a flash and a sensor are moved to the side. The A32 the camera block is not separated at all – no frames or protruding platform. At least the brand logo at the bottom has not gone anywhere.

Samsung Galaxy A32

The smartphone comes in four colors: pastel blue and purple, as well as standard white and graphite (almost black). The last option appears in the review. The case of the A32 is plastic and glossy, so it’s better to use a case. It is a pity that in this regard, the A32 did not follow the example of the A52 and A72, which received a matte case. Although in the Galaxy A52 review, Dmitry Koval says that the matte and rough texture doesn’t change much.

Samsung Galaxy A32 расцветки

If we compare this year’s smartphone with its predecessor, the newcomer looks more angular – the famous Samsung round edges have disappeared. The edges around the perimeter, as expected, are also plastic, but painted in a gray metallic.

Samsung Galaxy A32 камеры

At the front we have a display with neat bezels and a traditionally prominent notch. The 5th generation Gorilla Glass is responsible for protecting the screen. And, unlike the older models of the series, the device got an unfashionable drop-shaped notch.

Samsung Galaxy A32 экран

In general, the materials used are fully consistent with the positioning of the smartphone, and the build quality is consistent with the name of the South Korean brand.

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The layout

If we talk about the location of the main controls, then we have the following. Above, on the left side, there is a slot for a pair of SIM cards and an SD card (in the A32, unlike the A52 and A72, the slot is not combined), and on the opposite side there is a power button and a double volume control button.

Above, you can only see the hole for the microphone, and below the charging connector, the main speaker grill, another hole for the microphone and a 3.5 mm audio jack have found their place.

We seem to have already gotten to know the reverse side, and the only thing that’s left is the speaker grille, which is neatly placed between the screen and the top edge.

Samsung Galaxy A32 ergonomics

Samsung Galaxy A32 чехол

The weight and dimensions of the A32 are almost the same as those of the A31. The difference in 1 gram and fractions of millimeters on one side or another aren’t noticeable at all. But due to the fact that in the new generation Samsung abandoned the rounded edges, the smartphone does not fit so comfortably in the hand. And, of course, with a screen diagonal of 6.4″, it’s harder to use it with one hand.

When you hold the A32 in your right hand, the Edge panel and the power and volume buttons are easy to reach. But I don’t really like the location of the fingerprint scanner. In my opinion, it was placed too low, and it would be much more convenient if it was a couple of centimeters higher.

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Display

Samsung Galaxy A32 screen

But the screen of the Galaxy A32 has become better. With the same specifications as its predecessor (6.4″, Super AMOLED, 2400×1080, 411 ppi), the new phone’s refresh rate is 90 Hz. However, in the settings you can change the frequency to 60 Hz, but why would you do that? And the fact that the increase in the refresh rate of the screen has already reached the levels of the mid-budget Samsung smartphones is good news.

For an affordable smartphone, the A32 screen is pretty good. Let’s just say that it is hardly possible to find a device with a better display for this money. And now, to all the pros of AMOLED, a smoother UI has been added. Wonderful.

A standard set of features is available in the display settings: screen mode selection (natural or rich color reproduction), white balance correction, adaptive brightness, dark theme, eye comfort, edge panel settings and AoD customization.

Samsung Galaxy А32 performance

Samsung Galaxy A32

The 8-core chipset MediaTek Helio G80 is responsible for the work of the A32, of which 2 cores are Cortex-A75 with a maximum clock frequency of 2 GHz, and another 6 are Cortex-A55 with a maximum frequency of 1.8 GHz. The predecessor A31 had Helio P65 with almost the same characteristics: 2× Cortex-A75 (2 GHz), 6× Cortex-A55 (1.7 GHz). That is, there was practically no performance gain. The same Mali-G52 handles graphics, but only in the MC2 version. It is worth noting that the 4G version of the smartphone runs on Helio G80, and the modification supporting 5G is controlled by MediaTek Dimensity 720. But for obvious reasons, it is not supplied to some markets.

There’s still the same amount of RAM, 4 GB. And today this is perhaps the smallest comfortable amount of RAM. But when it comes to storage, there are options – 64 GB or 128 GB. If you choose 64 GB, only a little over 45 GB will be available out of the box. Support for SD cards will help here, since 45 GB is not enough by today’s standarts. Comms are usual: NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band Wi-Fi and many other standards.

If we talk about performance, then technically it remained at the level of last year. The device, of course, is not for gaming, but PUBG runs even on maximum graphics settings. True, the case in the area of ​​the cameras begins to heat up relatively quickly.  But, despite all this positive dynamics, sometimes Galaxy A32 friezes a bit, even during usual operation. Sometimes the app can spontaneously collapse, and sometimes the smartphone itself can freeze for a couple of seconds. It’s hard to say if it’s a matter of hardware or slightly unfinished software, but this doesn’t change the fact itself. I didn’t expect something like that in a Samsung device.

Software

Samsung Galaxy A32

The Galaxy A32 is running the current version of Android 11 with the proprietary One UI 3.1 shell. A lot has already been said about the updated UI, so there is no point in repeating it. But I note that the feature list of the Galaxy A32 is inferior to the older smartphones in the series. So, for example, Bixby scripts were not included in the advanced settings menu, there are also fewer options for customizing the edge button, and so on. But the most important things, including call recording, Android Auto, Edge bar and quick connection to Windows, remained in place.

Unlocking methods

Samsung Galaxy A32

A face scanner and a fingerprint sensor are responsible for protecting the device. The fingerprint scanner works quite well. It should be a little higher on the screen, although after some time after getting to know the smartphone, you slowly get used to it.

But the face scanner is not so great. Firstly, face unlocking takes a long time, and, secondly, it is not always accurate. Even in bright daylight, a smartphone does not always guarantee fast unlocking. However, I noticed the same thing even in the flagship Galaxy S21 (even if the scanner worked a little better). You can use a face scanner, but only as an addition to a fingerprint scanner.

Cameras

Samsung Galaxy A32 camera

Also, like last year’s model, the Galaxy A32 has 4 main camera sensors, and the main difference between them lies only in the resolution of the master module: the A31 had a 48-megapixel sensor, while the 2021 smartphone has a 64-megapixel f/1.8 aperture. The rest of the modules, it seems, have not changed at all: an 8 megapixel wide-angle sensor (f/2.2, 123 °), a macro lens (5 megapixels) (f/2.4), as well as a 5 megapixel ToF (f/2.4). It should be noted that, unlike the A52 and A72, the cheaper model has not acquired optical stabilization. It’s a pity.

Now about the modes. For photos, there is a standard photo mode, portrait, night and macro photography, manual mode, panorama and food mode. It also provides AR mode, built-in and custom filters, and a touch-up mode. For video, in addition to the standard video mode, there is slow motion and hyperlapse. And, of course, there is no 4K support here, videos are shot in Full HD at 30 fps.

If we talk about the quality of the pictures, then the result here corresponds to the class of a smartphone. The 64-megapixel sensor shoots decently during the day – the pics are both clear and detailed. Including optimization, the camera improves lighting level a little, which makes the photos look a little brighter than they actually are. Image processing is minimal and looks quite organic, without overdoing it.

At night, the result is obviously worse. The main sensor is no good when it’s dark out, it blurs photos and they also suffer from low detail, low sharpness and contrast. I didn’t like the night mode at all. Working with this mode implies merging several frames into one, but the result is almost the same. Yes, when the night mode is on, the foreground of the photo is clearly visible, but there is a lot of noise in the background and the photo still looks mediocre.

Photos from the main sensor in full resolution

The wide-angle sensor shoots at a pretty decent level in the daytime, but the pictures are slightly warmer than on the main module. For night shots, the wide-wide lens is not suitable at all, but this hardly surprises anyone. In general, working with the wide-angle is pleasant, especially thanks to the quick switching between modules in the Photo mode.

Examples of photos from the wide-angle sensor in full resolution

The macro sensor is traditionally very sensitive to light. The more light there is, the clearer and more detailed the pictures are. But the quality is still limited by the small resolution of the module.

Examples of photos from the macrosensor in full resolution

The selfie camera is 20 megapixels with f/2.2 aperture. The same as in the previous generation. In the app, you can find beautification modes, filters (built-in and custom), as well as a group selfie mode. For video communication, it is more than enough, and the pictures in good lighting are quite good. The selfie camera does its job.

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Battery life

Samsung Galaxy A32

There’s a 5000 mAh battery inside. And here, too, there are no changes from the previous generation. As a result, under moderate loads, the smartphone can last a day and a half, but you can stretch it up to two. But even with intensive use, the charge is definitely enough for the whole day.

The smartphone also supports 15-watt fast charging. Well, not exactly fast, but still. From a third party charger that supports fast charging (18W), the device charges from 0 to 100% in just under 2 hours. Most likely, the bundled charger will allow you to charge faster, as it is known that Samsung does not like third party chargers.

Galaxy А32 sound

Samsung Galaxy A32

Since the stereo mode is not provided in the Galaxy A32, the sound is quite standard. The volume level is sufficient, you won’t miss a call. At maximum volume, the speaker does not break down, the videos sound well as well. And for using headphones, there are standard features for smartphones of the South Korean company – Dolby Atmos, Adapt Sound and a built-in equalizer.

Verdict

To summarize, there are not many differences between the Galaxy A32 and its predecessor, but they are noticeable. The changes include a more current design, increased screen refresh rate and resolution of the main sensor of the main camera, and more recent software. The rest of the parameters actually remained at the last year’s level.

On the one hand, Galaxy A32 is a compromise solution compared to the A52, but it will cost significantly less. The price difference between the models has become even more obvious this year. On the other hand, there are plenty of competitors among Chinese companies in this price segment, and some offer the best balance between price and quality.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Design
8
Materials
8
Build quality
10
Ergonomics
8
Display
10
Performance
7
Cameras
7
Sound
7
Battery life
9
Software
9
There are not many differences between the Galaxy A32 and its predecessor, but they are noticeable. The changes include a more current design, increased screen refresh rate and resolution of the main sensor of the main camera, and more recent software. The rest of the parameters actually remained at the last year's level.
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