Samsung could soon unveil the world's first mid-range 5G smartphone

Samsung could soon unveil the world's first mid-range 5G smartphone
Promotional Galaxy A80 image showing the rotating, pop-up triple camera in action

UPDATE: Tireless leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, aka @OnLeaks, has posted a pair of tweets in support of the information detailed below, claiming however that the SM-A90X will not technically join the Galaxy A family. Instead, Samsung is apparently cooking up a new Galaxy R series (likely mid-range), including at least two models with "huge" displays and triple camera systems. "At least one" will also come with 5G support, while the other has a "very unique camera feature" (whatever that might mean). Original story follows. 

After a few rather lackluster years, Samsung has managed to breathe new life into its mid-range smartphone lineup, not only rebranding and expanding it, but also bringing premium designs and various cutting-edge technologies to lower than ever price points.

As the name suggests, the Galaxy A80 is the company's most technologically advanced non-flagship, coming incredibly close to achieving the bezelless dream with a "New Infinity Display" in tow and a rotating camera that pops up to do double duty as both the handset's main shooter and selfie taker. While the A80 was initially expected to carry a different moniker, it turns out the Galaxy A90 is something else entirely.

At least that's what the folks over at GalaxyClub (translated) lead us to believe today, based on inside information of tests currently being performed in Korea.

A mid-ranger with 5G connectivity?

Apparently, it's true - Samsung is working on certifying a device going by the SM-A908N model number for use on high-speed 5G networks in the tech giant's homeland as we speak. This may or may not be released under the Galaxy A90 name, and it may or may not see daylight outside Korea. But it's almost certainly in the pipeline, and it has a very good chance at launching as the world's first 5G-enabled mid-range phone.

There's just one Samsung device sold in Korea, the US, and other markets with 5G support right now, and intricate deals involving eligible trade-ins and monthly installment plans aside, the Galaxy S10 5G is quite expensive (as it should be). Hopefully, the Galaxy A90 will squeeze into a significantly more affordable price bracket, following in the footsteps of an A80 that fetches around €650 on the old continent.

Of course, if the Galaxy A90 ends up being released stateside at a $700 price point (or even higher), competing against the likes of the LG V50 ThinQ 5G might not be so easy, not to mention various 4G-only high-enders available today in the US. At the same time, Samsung is probably not the only company working on a 5G-capable "value flagship", so it will definitely be interesting to see how this fledgling market segment evolves in the next year or so.

Two camera sensors and a lot of question marks

Unfortunately, a thick cloud of secrecy covers the Galaxy A90 in terms of other specifications. All we know is that a primary camera with a 32 megapixel count is set to be joined by a secondary 8MP imaging sensor. That sounds a lot like the rear-facing shooter arrangement of the Galaxy A70, which also includes a third 5MP lens. The A80, meanwhile, comes with a dual 48 + 8MP camera setup, as well as a ToF (time-of-flight) sensor capable of a few 3D depth-sensing tricks.

It's not clear if the A90 will borrow that ToF lens from the A80 or even if another motorized pop-up mechanism is in the works. But the Galaxy A90 has to offer something extra compared to the A80 or else the name doesn't make much sense. A faster processor seems like a good guess, although the Snapdragon 730 is already a screamer by mid-range standards.

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However Samsung may plan to improve on the specs and design of the Galaxy A80, we hope a decent balance will be struck between affordability and raw power. Who knows, perhaps cheaper devices are precisely what the 5G revolution needs to truly take off. Well, that and faster network rollouts, obviously. 

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