How good is a $ 400 phone? When the device in question is the Samsung Galaxy A51, the answer is simple: very good. AsThe A51 is a convincing effort that proves Samsung can make good midprice phones that are worth buying. In fact, Samsung’s budget phones (£ 329 in the UK and AU $ 599 in Australia) are even the best (which starts at $ 399, £ 419 and AU $ 749), in some special and significant ways. When it comes to screen size and clarity, phone features, quality and camera performance, the Galaxy A51 gives it where it counts, with one exception.
- A detailed and bright 6.5 inch screen
- Wide-angle camera option
- Headphone socket
Do not like
- Processor speed dragging
- Not waterproof
This is the speed of the Exynos 9611 processor made by Samsung which is a weakness of the Galaxy A51. Performance is slow to handle daily activities such as waiting for a website to load or an application to be updated. Comparative tests support the observations of the real world.
Galaxy A51 certainly lags behind compared to top-tier telephone as , but also when arrested against main rival A51. That’s because Apple gave the iPhone SE the same Bionic A13 chipset as the most expensive , so Apple’s budget device is moving fast. The iPhone SE also skips the A51 in terms of water resistance and wireless charging, both features lacking in cheaper Samsung phones. (For a complete comparison of Galaxy A51 and iPhone SE specifications, see the table at the end of this review.)
But the Galaxy A51 has its own charm. This doubles the iPhone SE’s on-board storage for the initial SE price, gives you 128GB out of the gate compared to 64GB SE for the cheapest model – and supports external storage too. Samsung’s screen is much bigger, with a slim bezel that makes the phone feel modern and is committed to wasting less space. Battery life is also equivalent between the two phones. Both came in about 16 hours in looping video tests in airplane mode, with more laboratory tests on their way. Galaxy A51 lasts about 20 minutes longer than SE in this test.
The Galaxy A51 also stands tall in front of the camera in a typical way compared to Samsung and iPhone phones: Galaxy photos are more saturated compared to the more natural iPhone tones. The iPhone SE benefits from optical image stabilization, but the four A51 cameras also give you more shooting options than the iPhone SE. The wide angle lens is the one I love the most, which doesn’t exist in SE. But in all other cases, the image quality is quite close, with one edge to the other in this or that scenario. To further, my colleague, Lexy Savvides, created this.
Galaxy A51 vs Galaxy S20
Remove iPhone SE from equation and A51 is similar tofor one third of the price. Considering the A51 is substantially cheaper than the phones in the Galaxy S20 family, this is an impressive overall package.
Side by side it is difficult to distinguish the two big phones at first glance, except that the front camera of the A51 is clearer and the A51 uses a fingerprint reader on the optical screen. Incidentally, the fingerprint reader is more accurate than the Galaxy S20 ultrasonic sensor for me.
A51 is also slightly lighter, because it has plastic backing rather than glass. When I put both sides side by side and watch the same Netflix shows on the same frame, the A51 screen is almost as bright, detailed and rich in color as the Galaxy S20 Plus. Outdoor readability during the day is also quite good.
Photos and videos look much better on the Galaxy S20, mainly because the photo resolution is sharper on pricier models, and because it has OIS, which makes images and videos smoother, more powerful. You can utilize Samsung’s core software on the Galaxy A51 camera, including night mode, and the phone has settings such as macro and HDR. You can take 48 megapixel photos by selecting camera settings. When I compare the enlarged photos taken with the two phones on my laptop screen, it’s easy to see where the Galaxy S20 is superior. In another photo, a picture of a local flower along my street or a dinner that I made looks just as good.
I appreciate that the Galaxy A51 has macro photography where the Galaxy S20 runs away when you get too close. In some cases, it’s too easy to get macros that aren’t focused on A51. Selfies are much better on the Galaxy S20 but can be used perfectly on the A51. Plus, you can use portrait mode and beauty mode to soften the view.
It’s disappointing that the Galaxy A51 doesn’t have water resistance. Most modern cellphones have it, though usually budget devices don’t have water resistance or are simply “splash-resistant.” The A51’s battery life throughout the day keeps it from morning to night, and lasts on average 16 hours, 10 minutes after three repeated video tests in airplane mode. I will update this review with the results of the lab tests steaming us via Wi-Fi when it’s finished.
Luckily, the A51 also includes a 15-watt fast charger in the box, but unlike the Galaxy S20 phone, you have to provide your own headphones and the USB-C to USB-C cable you want. It does come with a USB-A to USB-C cable.
Even though the phone release is slowing down, the Galaxy A51 is. Samsung too .
Galaxy A51 vs iPhone SE
Samsung Galaxy A51 (4G)
Apple iPhone SE (2020)
Screen size, resolution
AMHDLED 6.5 inch FHD; 2,400×1,080 pixels
4.7 inch HD retina; 1,334×750 pixels
Weight (ounces, grams)
6.07 ounces; 172g
5.22 ounces; 148g
48 megapixels (standard), 12 megapixels (wide angle), 5 megapixels (macro), 5 megapixels (depth sensing)
Front facing camera
Samsung Exynos 9611 processor (Octa-core)
Apple A13 Bionic
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Up to 512GB
Not disclosed, but Apple claims to have the same battery life as the iPhone 8
On-screen optical reader
Fast charging 15W
Waterproof (IP67); dual-SIM capability (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wireless charging
Price outside the contract (USD)
$ 399 (64GB), $ 449 (128GB), $ 549 (256GB)
£ 419 (64GB), £ 469 (128GB), £ 569 (256GB)
AU $ 599
AU $ 749 (64GB), AU $ 829 (128GB), AU $ 999 (256GB)
First published on May 6.
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