Samsung’s Galaxy A series of smartphones have been designed for the urban youth that doesn’t want to spend upwards of Rs 50,000 for a flagship experience. These phones are designed keeping in mind the aspirational quotient of these expensive phones bringing halo features to a more palatable price point. And that’s where the newly launched Galaxy A51 comes in with a huge focus on its cameras, a big battery that promises to last a very long time and custom Samsung software which brings out of the box intelligence to users.
At Rs 23,999 the Galaxy A51 isn’t perfect and it certainly isn’t geared towards the power user, but rather it looks towards users that don’t get impressed by whiz-bang specs but what a reliable phone from a known brand like Samsung with a great camera.
Four cameras that come with a hook
The biggest feature of the Galaxy A51, like some of its predecessors, is the quad-camera setup. While these days, even triple cameras are quite common, Samsung was the one which jumped on the quad-camera bandwagon two years ago with the Galaxy A-line, so this phone builds from that foundation. There is a 48-megapixel primary wide-angle camera which is paired with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 123-degree field of view and twin 5-megapixel cameras for macro photography and depth sensing.
These cameras aren’t going to blow you away but when you give it great light, it takes crisp photos in any condition. Samsung has also added its new night-mode on this phone, which really takes bright photographs in pitch dark, even though the capture can be slowly riddled with camera shake.
The best bit is that you can take some great landscapes, and the macro mode is also an added advantage. This phone is right up there with the likes of the Realme X2 or Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro, though it lags behind in video.
On the front, there is a 32-megapixel shooter for selfies and whatnot. It works quite well as the photos are sharp and colourful
Samsung has paired this phone with its “Infinity-O” display which is a staple of its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note devices. There is a 6.5-inch OLED Infinity-O panel with a
Full HD resolution and it looks quite crisp for anything you do be it reading e-books, watching Netflix or even playing games.
The colours are also very vivid which can be adjusted from the settings and while the viewing angles remain pretty impressive. The only issue that you’ll face with the display is that the brightness levels aren’t that great which means, under direct sunlight, it may become a little hard to use.
The design is also quite friendly as the phone is quite slender at 7.9mm with a plastic frame and back. It is very easy to hold and not very hefty like some of the all-aluminium phones doing the rounds. The added benefit is that this type of body doesn’t get damaged. And yes, the 3.5mm jack lives to die another day, you can hook up your headphones which you cannot on many high-end phones, even some of the ones that Samsung makes these days.
Samsung has also added its full-stack Samsung Pay with MST support which means you can map your credit card or debit card on the phone and leave your wallet back home and just use your phone to make payments via point of sales machines.
Battery life is also very impressive on this phone thanks to the 4,000mAh battery. It will easily last you a full day with medium to heavy usage. There is also a 15-watt fast charger in the package. This isn’t the fastest charger you’ll get but it is nice to have as it can charge the phone fully in 2 hours.
Samsung has also added an in-display fingerprint scanner which works fast and in more ways than one is superior to the optical scanners it uses on the Galaxy Note 10 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus.
Out of the box intelligence
Out of the box, Samsung is using its One UI 2 Android 10 based software which is a huge improvement over its previous efforts. The design is cleaner and the animations aren’t very hectic which means the user interface is smooth.
Samsung’s onboard keyboard is a very impressive one. I wouldn’t say it is better than GBoard which is anyway there on most Android phones or SwiftKey, but it definitely is on par. Its layout is also very intuitive. It can’t also switch between Hindi English and other indigenous languages in the English script.
There is also a new SMS app which sorts out the spam and promotions in a card-like layout much like the Microsoft SMS organiser application. Sure you could’ve had this feature for free and on phones by Xiaomi something like this built-in, this is a first for Samsung and certainly a handy addition.
There is a game booster mode which optimises the settings for high fidelity games like PUBG. Considering the mid-range processor that powers this phone, the performance is decent which wouldn’t have been possible without this mode.
It also comes with Samsung Knox which is an enterprise-grade security solution. In simpler words, this is a phone you can take to your high flying corporate office as the IT manager would set it up, which doesn’t happen with phones from many Chinese brands.
Quite basic at compute
One thing this phone is not a spec-sheet power-house. That’s why this phone is powered by Samsung’s Exynos 9611 processor which is basically a mid-range processor that competes with the likes of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 675.
It provides adequate performance for most tasks and basic multitasking but what it is not a beast that can handle 15-20 apps at the same time. More so, its GPU being bare-bones, the gaming performance despite things like Game Booster is nothing spectacular. For playing games, there are better phones around like the Xiaomi Redmi K20 which is cheaper.
But on the flip side, this phone comes with a minimum 6GB RAM and 128GB storage with dual SIM support including a hybrid slot.
The call quality of this phone is also superb. I used it on a Reliance Jio connection as well as an Airtel SIM and generally call quality was decent.
One thing that surprised me while using the phone was that it lacked basic haptic feedback which is very strange for a phone of its price. Clearly, it seems like this was removed to reduce the price.
Should you buy it?
At the end of the day, the A51 is a no-nonsense phone which focuses on basics. It is meant for a person who doesn’t download many apps and nor does play many games, but rather depends on what’s there preloaded on the phone. It is more of a consumption device and an end-to-end communication device than a device to create. And at that it is very good by being slim and friendly, coupled with a great screen and dynamic cameras backup with onboard software fills and superb battery life.