Samsung Galaxy A50 Review: Sammy Does Mid-range Right

by Jamie Inocian  April 23, 2019

A Change for the Better

It’s no secret that — in the past — Samsung has had somewhat lackluster offerings in the mid-range segment. Acknowledging that they had to shake things up, they released a shotgun blast of devices to compete in the highly contested price arena and it looks like their tactics are paying off. With all of their new phones out in the market, it may be a little hard to tell which of their phones to get but if you’re willing to spend less than Php 20,000 on your next smartphone, then the Galaxy A50 might be your best bet.

Staying Away from the Gradient Trend

One thing that we appreciate that Samsung is doing across the board is that they’re staying away from employing the gradient design on their smartphone; especially for people like me who may experience fatigue over the abundance of devices that rock the aesthetic.

Usually, we get disappointed when we get sent over a review unit in black because, while it is a classic look, it doesn’t quite give a nice pop for photographs to share with you guys. For the A50 and other select devices, Sammy goes with a different finish that plays with the light like a prism so you get hints of blue and even a rainbow of colors. Don’t worry it still shines through with the included case and, if you’re planning to get something a little more sturdy, maybe get one with a transparent back.

Aside from that the ergonomics of the phone is pretty much what you would expect with just the right amount of curves on its backside to help it sit better in your hand. It’s primarily made out of plastic or “glasstic” (Samsung’s words on their website, not ours) but the A series has always been known for its premium looks and it still fits the bill.

There were initial reports that — like some of the previous A series devices — the Galaxy A50 would have an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance but that doesn’t seem to be the case. We dug around the web to make sure and it wasn’t listed as one of the features. Be careful if you’re planning to pick this up and planning on bringing it on one of your beach trips this summer.

Super AMOLED is Love

One of the things that we’ve come to love from Samsung is the panel they produced for their devices. With the Galaxy A50 you’ve got a 6.4-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity-U display. If you’re behind on all their tech jargon, that pretty much means that Samsung has embraced the notch and that’s what they’re calling the waterdrop or dewdrop, which you cannot hide by the way.

The panel is awesome for everyday use with great color reproduction and deep blacks as well. It’s pretty much par for the course in this department for Sammy but it is a spectacular panel for mobile devices.

The lone speaker on the bottom also provides a decent boost to the entire experience but you’ll want to keep it around 80 percent because you do start to get distortion beyond that point. Thankfully, they still retain the headphone jack on this A series device so you can plug in if you want to get a better feel for your tunes.

Sloth-like In-Display Fingerprint Scanner

Samsung has always found a way to put flagship features in their A series of the devices and on the A50, one of the things they brought over was the in-display fingerprint scanner. While this is something we’re usually happy about, given how the tech has progressed since it was released, the one on this device was a disappointment, to say the least.

It unlocks the phone at a snail’s pace, requiring you to place your enrolled print on the device for more than a second. We know it sounds like such a first world problem when you put it that way but it does get rather frustrating when it’s compounded by the huge margin of error that it has as well.

They’ve pushed an update to try and help remedy the situation but, alas, we still find ourselves using facial recognition to unlock our device more speedily.

The Right Amount of Oomph

While there are some downsides to the Galaxy A50, the way it hands day-to-day tasks isn’t one of them. At its core is the Exynos 9610 octa-core processor that clocks in at 2.3GHz. This is paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage.

We didn’t run into any slowdowns while using this device with the usual assortment of apps that we use. If you’re into benchmark scores, you’ll be pleased to know that it also places quite competitively among other phones in its price bracket.

Asphalt 9. High Quality. 29 FPS Average at 94% Stability
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang — High Frame Rates and High Settings. 59 Average FPS at 100% Stability
NBA 2K19 — Highest Settings w/o Cloth Simulation. 34 Average FPS at 95% Stability
PUBG MOBILE — HDR + Ultra Frame Rates + AA. 28 Average FPS at 91% Stability

The gaming chops on the A50 isn’t bad as well; with stable and pretty good average frame rates across the board too.

Wide Is Always a Winner

Since we saw Samsung equip some of the A series of devices with three or more cameras last year, we weren’t surprised to see the triple camera setup on the Galaxy A50. You’ve got a 25-megapixel main camera at an aperture of f/1.7, an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera at an aperture of f/2.2, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor.

The resulting photos come out quite nice even in low-light conditions. You will notice a lot of barrel distortion when you use the wide-angle so if you’re taking a group shot, you might want to really compress towards the center. Aside from that, it’s plenty sharp and the color reproduction is on point.

For taking selfies, you have a 25-megapixel front camera at an aperture of f/2.0. We’re not a huge fan of taking self-portraits but the ones we did take were quite nice though we did notice that there was already a fair bit of noise when we took photos indoors so it would be best to keep to places with an ample light source for taking selfies.

Of course, you’ve still got features like Live Focus aka Samsung’s take on software assisted bokeh but you do have some of the newer effects that they introduced in the S series. AR Emojis are still a staple so you can send personalized GIFs to your friends. Bixby Vision is also on board as well.

Another thing that was passed down was “Best Shot” or something similar to it. If you aren’t familiar with this feature, the camera with the help of Scene Optimizer will give you suggestions on how to better compose your photos. The trouble is that it doesn’t always kick in so it might need a few updates to fully get up and running.

On the video side of things, you’re stuck with recording at 1080p at 30fps but you can use both the main camera and the wide angle camera. We’re guessing that there’s electronic stabilization going on for the video side of things so it’s pretty good for sharing moments on your social media feed but don’t expect the super steady shots that you get on the S series. Aside from that, you also get Slow Motion and Hyperlapse feature to give you a few more creative options as well.

The A50 Has Got Lasting Power

To make sure that you can enjoy the A50 for longer and not be tethered to a power source, Samsung has outfitted it with a 4000mAh battery. It clocked in a time of 12 hours and 45 minutes in our battery benchmark test and using it as our daily driver gave us a day and a half of power.

When you do have to plug in, the A50 has support for 15W fast charging. Now that may not be as fast as some of the charging tech we’ve been seeing from their competitors but you’ll only have to plug in for about an hour and 45 minutes to have it fully topped up.

Verdict: Finally Samsung!

It’s been a long time coming but we definitely think that Samsung hit the nail on the head with this mid-range offering. It might be hard to figure out which of their devices to purchase given the tremendous amount of products they’ve been dishing out in the past few weeks but if your budget can handle the Php 17,990 asking price and want to or have been wanting to try out then put this phone on your radar.

Mind you, it isn’t perfect, the in-display fingerprint scanner may get on your nerves and it might take a few updates here and there to get everything running as intended but it still gets the nod from the team.

Samsung Galaxy A50 Specifications

  • Exynos 9610 octa-core processor
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 6.4-inch Full HD+ Infinity-U Super AMOLED display
  • 128GB of expandable storage (up to 512GB)
  • Triple rear cameras: 25-megapixel f/1.7 main camera, 5-megapixel f/2.2 depth camera, 8-megapixel f/2.4 ultra-wide camera
  • 25-megapixel f/2.0 front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • In-display fingerprint scanner
  • 4000mAh battery with fast charging
  • Android Pie with OneUI v1.1

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    I know my comment is so late coz I just purchased my A50 only 3 weeks ago at a great price of 15k (with JBL bluetooth speaker as freebie). Anyway, the update to improve fingerprint scanning only made it from bad to worse. It’s now difficult to register a fingerprint. It took me 6 tries to register my right thumb and 5 tries to register my left thumb. Before, it took only a single try to register.