Samsung Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A30 Review


Flagship phones often get all the press simply because they are the most powerful, most flashy devices out there, but when it comes to the phones that regular people all across the globe actually buy and use… well, those are all predominantly affordable phones.

For Samsung, for years it was the Galaxy A and Galaxy J series, phones that sold in tens of millions of units, easily outselling the flagship Galaxy S series by a huge margin. So when last year Samsung saw a decline in sales after a quite an uninspiring 2018 Galaxy A series, it took notice.

And this year, it has come back with a completely reimagined idea about its affordable phones: it has completely eradicated the J series and it has introduced the brand new A series.

We have two of these new A series on hand for a review: the Galaxy A50 and the Galaxy A30. While these two differ hugely in price, they share the same screen size, the same battery size, and the same interface, so we decided it would make more sense to review them in one place, mentioning the differences along the way.

So… let’s waste no time and take a closer look at Samsung’s ambitious new budget offerings.

In the box (A50 / A30):
  • Phone
  • 15-watt fast charger
  • USB-C to standard USB cable
  • Wired (3.5mm) headphones
  • *Silicone case (only for A30)
  • SIM tool
  • User manuals

Design

Stylish through and out

Both the Galaxy A50 and A30 look well-made and elegant: they are thin, they feature a slightly curved back that lends itself to a very comfortable in-hand feel, and you have minimal bezel around the screen. The back of the phones also reflects light and transforms with it in all sorts of interesting patterns, adding further style points.

Look closer, though, and you will notice that the back of these two phones is not glass (it does appear like it), but is instead plastic. We were extremely careful handling these phones yet despite all the care, the Galaxy A50 that we used without a case quickly gathered a few scratches and microabrasions, so we are not sure how well these phones will age if you use them without a case.

For all else, if you ignore the obvious differences like the extra camera on the A50 and the rear-positioned fingerprint scanner on the A30, these two look identical: the dimensions of the phones are the same, and the design is pretty much also the same.

We ought to mention that one feature that many modern-day flagship phones are missing – the good old headphone jack – is here on both phones, so you don’t need any clunky dongles.

What is missing is any form of special water protection, so while we would not be worried to get a drop or two of water on them, we would still keep them in a safe and dry place at those summer pool-side parties.


Samsung Galaxy A50

Samsung Galaxy A50

Dimensions

6.24 x 2.93 x 0.3 inches

158.5 x 74.7 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.86 oz (166 g)

Samsung Galaxy A30

Samsung Galaxy A30

Dimensions

6.24 x 2.94 x 0.3 inches

158.5 x 74.7 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.82 oz (165 g)

Samsung Galaxy A50

Samsung Galaxy A50

Dimensions

6.24 x 2.93 x 0.3 inches

158.5 x 74.7 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.86 oz (166 g)

Samsung Galaxy A30

Samsung Galaxy A30

Dimensions

6.24 x 2.94 x 0.3 inches

158.5 x 74.7 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.82 oz (165 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

Gorgeous AMOLED screens!


If we had to pick just one favorite feature in Samsung phones, this would without a doubt be the screen. And the Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A30 are no exception: both devices come equipped with the same 6.4-inch 1080 x 2340-pixel Super AMOLED display protected with Gorilla Glass 3. These screens are an absolute joy to have: they are sharp, they come with rich, vibrant colors, they get plenty bright (the brightness is not quite as record-breaking as on the S10 series, but still good enough for comfortable outdoor use), and they just look good!

We used them in the default Adaptive screen mode where you get the most saturated, punchy look, but you can also select between three other color modes, including the Basic mode that sticks with more toned-down and not as wild sRGB gamut colors. We should also mention that the two phones come with a pre-applied thin nylon screen protector, which helps protect them from scratches.


Fingerprint Scanner

The optical in-screen fingerprint scanner in the pricier A50 feels more like an inconvenience than an upgrade


One of the major differences between the Galaxy A50 and the more affordable A30 is the fingerprint scanner. The A50 comes equipped with a fingerprint scanner embedded under the screen, while the A30 features a traditional fingerprint reader on the back. The fingerprint on the A50 is not the same ultrasonic reader as on the flagship S10 series, but instead it uses optical technology, similarly to what you get on, say, the OnePlus 6T.

There are definitely benefits to having the fingerprint scanner on the front: it’s a much more natural position and you don’t need to lift up the phone to unlock it, but this particular fingerprint reader on the A50 feels like a disappointment.

Half the time, it works, and then half the time it fails to get a proper read, so using it feels like a lottery and it often takes more than one attempt to unlock the phone. This is an issue we have had with these first-gen optical fingerprint readers and it’s an issue here.

In comparison, the traditional fingerprint reader on the back of the A30 works every time and it feels both more reliable and faster. Out of these two, we would take the reliability over the modernism any day.

Interface

Samsung One UI does not look that bad

Both the A50 and the A30 are powered by Samsung’s latest One UI version 1.1 based on top of Android 9 Pie.

This is the same software that you get on the flagship Galaxy S10 series, and we don’t need to repeat ourselves: it feels less cluttered than previous TouchWiz versions, it comes with settings that are easier to navigate and with a few useful new features like a Night mode (turns white backdrops in the interface to black for more comfortable use at night) and little conveniences like menus that are easier to reach with a single hand. Yes, the icons and the overall styling still appear a bit childish, but overall, we are left with positive impressions.

You also get the option to switch to the gesture-based navigation that can replace the traditional three-button Android nav. The gestures are the following: swipe up from the bottom to go home, swipe up and hold to see multitasking cards, and swipe sideways from the edge of the screen to go back.

And yes, Bixby is also here. It does not have a dedicated physical key (thankfully!), but you can bring it up by either going to the Bixby Home home screen panel or by long-pressing the power button (you have to enable this option first in settings).

Processor, Performance and Memory

Neither feels fast or smooth, and it’s Samsung’s fault

Both the A50 and the A30 are powered by octa-core Samsung-made Exynos chips, but there is a tangible difference in the actual performance.

The big takeaway that we want to start with here is that neither of these two phones feels fast or smooth, but the A30 specifically often feels a bit sluggish. You commonly see dropped frames, animations are not as smooth as on many other phones and so on. For us, this is one of the major downsides of affordable Samsung phones, and these ones are no exception. This is not something that we blame on the chip, but more so on the Samsung One UI.

Still, in terms of processors, the Galaxy A50 comes with the Exynos 7 Octa 9610 and either 4GB or 6GB RAM. If you are wondering what this chip equals to in the Snapdragon world, well… it’s about on par with the Snapdragon 660 chip, which in turn is actually slower than a Snapdragon 821 flagship grade chip from two years ago.

The Galaxy A30 comes with the Exynos 7 Octa 7904 with 4GB of RAM, and it’s about 50% slower.

Graphics performance is also about twice better on the A50, so if gaming is a concern… well, neither one is a great choice, but out of the two the A50 is definitely the one you should go with.

Take a look at the performance benchmark scores right below:

AnTuTu is a multi-layered, comprehensive mobile benchmark app that assesses various aspects of a device, including CPU, GPU, RAM, I/O, and UX performance. A higher score means an overall faster device.

Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A50
146732
Samsung Galaxy A30
107009
Nokia 7.1
117492
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
142201
Motorola Moto G7
107447
OnePlus 6T
294008


There is one more big difference between these two phones and it’s in the amount of on-board storage. You have a generous 128GB of on-board storage on the A50, while the A30 has half that at 64 gigs of storage. Both phones also support microSD cards for memory expansion, should you need more storage in the future.

Camera

Both are okay, no huge differences between the two


Let’s get this out of the way: while technically you get a triple camera on the A50 and a dual camera on the A30, there is not a huge difference in terms of actual camera performance between these phones.

Let’s first get the specs out of the way. On the Galaxy A50, you get the following set of cameras:

Rear Cameras: 25MP f/1.7 main + 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide + 5MP depth
Front Cameras: 25MP

On the Galaxy A30, you have slightly lower resolution and you don’t get the depth camera sensor (but you still have the Live Focus “portrait” mode):

Rear Cameras: 16MP f/1.7 main + 5MP f/2.2 ultra-wide
Front Cameras: 16MP

Both support the excellent Samsung camera app that you can quickly and conveniently start with a double press on the power button.


Image Quality


So… how do images actually turn out?

Daylight quality is quite decent on both phones: the holy grail of good smartphone photos are the great colors and Samsung does a good job in that regard with lively, pleasing colors. The difference between the A50 and A30 seems to boil down mostly to the amount of detail: the A50 captures the more detailed photos, while the A30 lacks a bit in that regard.


The ultra-wide angle camera is a useful addition when you have plentiful light. The quality is definitely not as good as with the main camera: you have less detail and distortion around the edges, but in exchange, you can capture some interesting perspectives and shoot in tight spaces.

And as to the ultra-wide camera at night: you’d be better off not using it at all. It is just incapable to deal well with low-light scenes and photo quality is barely even usable.


At night, photo quality expectedly goes much worse and with no dedicated Night Mode to help, the photos turn out mediocre. Again, the main difference between the two is the amount of detail captured, with the Galaxy A50 having the advantage, but the interesting thing is that the actual colors and dynamic range are nearly identical.



The time needed to start the camera app, focus, take a pic and save it.

sec Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy A50
1.75
Samsung Galaxy A30
2
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
2.4
Motorola Moto G7
1.8
OnePlus 6T
1.8

Video quality


On the video side, both the A50 and A30 can record with both the main cameras or ultra-wide angle cameras, which is a nice extra. Video recordings max out at 1080p video at 30 frames per second, but the bigger limitation is that you cannot switch between the two cameras, so once you start recording with the main camera, for instance, you cannot switch to the ultra wide one midway.

In terms of quality, you get a better video stabilization on the A50, while on the A30 videos turn out very shaky and jittery. The continuous auto-focus is also faster and more reliable on the A50.

Still, we find that compared to alternatives, the video quality you get is inferior: the Nokia 7.1 for example is perfectly capable of recording 4K video, and so is the popular Pocophone F1.

Finally, we should also say that the A50 supports slow-motion video recording at up to 240 frames per second (played slowed down 8 times) at 720p. This is a fun option to have, even though it’s probably not something that you will use very often. The A30 does not support slo-mo video recording.



Sound Quality

Disappointing loudspeaker quality

On both the A50 and the A30 you get a single bottom-firing loudspeaker.

Overall, both phones do not get a very good quality out of that loudspeaker. The A50 is the slightly louder one, but the sound on both lacks any form of depth and is very, very tinny, piercing the ears as you listen. Again, we don’t have sky-high expectations, but sound quality via the loudspeaker was still a disappointment.

Call Quality


On a more positive note, we did not have much of an issue with the in-call speaker on these phones. The earpiece is located right above the front camera and you get a sufficient amount of volume and a decent amount of clarity during calls. On the other end of the line, there are no major issues as well, and your callers will be able to hear you clear enough. Of course, more premium phones with support for modern technologies like voice-over-LTE will deliver a noticeable clearer sound, but we don’t expect such features in affordable phones just yet.


Battery life

Solid battery performance

Both the A50 and the A30 come with an equally sized 4,000mAh battery on board.

And they both last a long time.

The two scored great on our proprietary battery test. With results close to the 11 hour mark, the A50 and A30 actually outlast most current-day flagships by a good margin. In real life, you will be able to get through even the longest days on a single charge with no issues and with moderate use you should get a good two days between charges. Excellent!

You also have support for quick charging on board. The chargers that come in the box with both phones output a maximum of 15 watts and it takes around an hour and 40 minutes to recharge the phones with them. Just as you’d expect in 2019, both new A series come with a USB-C port.

You don’t have any fancy wireless charging superpower on either one, though.

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.

hours Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A50
10h 46 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy A30
11h 9 min (Excellent)
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
10h 16 min (Excellent)
Motorola Moto G7
9h 17 min (Excellent)
OnePlus 6T
9h 52 min (Excellent)

Conclusion


So… let’s sum things up.

The Galaxy A50 and the Galaxy A30 actually differ a great deal in terms of price. In the United States, you can find both these phones unlocked over at B&H, and the Galaxy A50 costs $300, while the A50 rocks a price of $230. In Europe and the rest of the world, the price delta between the two is bigger: the A50 costs 350 euro in Europe, while the A30 sells for just around 200 euro.

Is it worth paying so much money for the A50 considering that the differences from the A30 are not that huge? Well, let’s take a look: the difference in photo and video quality is there, but it is subtle, both phones do not feel fast, but the A30 often feels a bit sluggish, which is annoying, and finally, in terms of screen quality and battery life we found practically no differences. And we like the traditional fingerprint on the A30 more than the not so reliable in-screen fingerprint on the A50.

So unless you care deeply about gaming and performance, we are not convinced you should spend the extra cash for the very slight upgrades that you get with the A50, and ultimately, the A30 just feels like the device that offers better value for the money.

So should you buy any of these over the Moto G7s and the other affordable phone contenders? Despite the few downsides, we think that the new A series have mostly nailed it, especially the A30.

PhoneArena Rating:

Samsung Galaxy A50: 8.0/10 | Samsung Galaxy A30: 8.3/10

Pros

  • Stylish design on both
  • Gorgeous Super AMOLED screens
  • Extremely solid battery life
  • Likable Samsung One UI
  • Headphone jack present

Cons

  • Slightly stuttery performance on both, especially A30
  • Disappointing loudspeaker quality on both
  • Camera quality just okay
  • No 4K video option
  • Galaxy A50 feels pricey at launch

FEATURED VIDEO

14 Comments

1. japkoslav

Posts: 1500; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

More than 8/10 for this? How the hell do you rate stuff on PA? We all know it's BS, but seriously 8/10? :D

2. Victor.H

Posts: 1056; Member since: May 27, 2011

We always rate considering the price, simple as that. So naturally, this score is in the context of other affordable phones and at just around $200, the Galaxy A30 particularly offers some great value.

3. Valdomero

Posts: 666; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

How much would you rate them?

5. japkoslav

Posts: 1500; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Considering the price and competition 7/10 seems like a score that reflects reality of the market. Not to mention if you compare it to something like a last year flagship, but we do not do that here, blasphemy I say!

7. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

You're ranting about an arbitrary point of difference and it's insufferable.

9. japkoslav

Posts: 1500; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

And how would you rate my insufferqbility? 10/10?

10. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Solid 7.5 out of 10.

14. japkoslav

Posts: 1500; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

You are too kind good sir :-D

4. Boast_Rider

Posts: 535; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

"it’s about on par with the Snapdragon 660 chip, which in turn is actually slower than a Snapdragon 821 flagship grade chip from two years ago" The 820 and 821 (msm8996) are 3 year old chips now. They were in 2016 phones, and we are in 2019 now.

6. redmd

Posts: 1926; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Nice review Victor. These are Samsung reply to the Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo at the midrange. They're both great value for money if branding is important to you.

8. Donbenie

Posts: 259; Member since: Aug 04, 2013

With all these downsides you rate the A30 8.3 and yet you gave a vastly superior device in the Redmi Note 7 7.o just because you didn't like the notification? I didn't see where no LED notification was mentioned as a CON,yet the tiny led notification in the Redmi was clearly a CON in your ratings.. The partiality and bias stinks to the high heavens..

11. fakenewzz

Posts: 133; Member since: Nov 15, 2018

So many grammatical errors where too begin? Stupid article.

12. oldskool50

Posts: 1371; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

Samsung proves you can make premium quality devices at low price points. Unlike Apple who said, we can't make a lower costing device without it being a piece of crap. And I believe them, because they can't make an expensive one that isn't a piece of crap either. They can, but they won't. What Apple should have said was, we can't make a cheap luxury device because, if its cheap it can't be luxurious.

13. oldskool50

Posts: 1371; Member since: Mar 29, 2019

So hypocritical. You gave it a con for no 4K video option? Its a cheap phone. How come the iPhone not being able to record 4K with its front camera being a con? After all other phones can record 4K from the front camera. Slightly stuttery performance? It's $230. Go and get an iPhone that cost $230 and run it on the highest possible version of IOS. I bet it will be slightly stuttery. But I bet you won't list it as a con. $230 is pricey? Show me an iPhone for $230 with an OLED display, decent cameras, USB-C, FPS and a 4000MaH battery. You can't even get that in the XR for $750 and you say $230 is pricey? OMG this is just so unreal. And you guys wonder why you get ridiculed. For $230, you want this phone to have features you find on a mid-range or premium device. But the iPhonme XR doesn't have a 4000MaH battery, no FPS, the XR doesn't even ahve an OLED display, A50 vs XR $230 vs $750 6.4" vs 6.1" displsay SuperAMOLED @ 1080x2340 vs IPS LCD @ 848x1792 403PPI vs 326PPI Octa-Core vs HexaCore 128GB vs 64GB starting storage. 25MP @1.7/8 @ 2.2/5 @ 2.2 vs 12MP @ 1.8 for main camera both with HDR 25MP @ 2.0 vs 7MP @ 2.2 selfie cam Same wifi Same BT 5.0 FM radio vs NONE FPS vs Face ID - FPS is more secure. 4000Mah vs 2942MaH We know Samsung's fast charging is faster than Apple's fast charging, even with a Mac adpater. The A50 certainly has some faults in the spec, but the ones that do count are all higher than the $750 option for less than half the price. $350 euros vs $850 Euros. And the A50 doesn't have that eye sore uni-brow either. According to Margues, this device hits all 5 of his main marks. The cons you picked were just a reach for the stars. The final score is ok. But the cons were just stupid. if a cheap phone had 4K, then what would be the appeal to buy a more expensive model to get it? And why would you want 4K on a 2.0 lens? The video is gonna be terrible.
Galaxy A50
  • Display 6.4" 1080 x 2340 pixels
  • Camera 25 MP / 25 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh(23h 3G talk time)

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