Samsung Galaxy A54 5G vs Galaxy S23: which one should you buy?

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Samsung Galaxy A54 5G vs Galaxy S23: which one should you buy?

Intro


Should you buy the flagship Samsung Galaxy S23 and spend a lot of money on it, or should you save nearly half of that cash and get the new and improved Galaxy A54 5G?

So yes, the Galaxy A54 5G launches a couple of months after the S23 at nearly half the price, but it has similar looks, similar high-quality AMOLED display, same charging speeds and it even takes microSD cards that the flagship Galaxy S23 does not!

Galaxy A54 at Samsung.com: up to $350 off with a trade-in

Trade in an older eligible device to get up to $350 off your new Galaxy A54 as a trade-in credit. Don't miss out on this epic deal.
$99 99
$449 99
Buy at Samsung

Galaxy A54 is now 22% off on Amazon

The Galaxy A54 is also available at Amazon. Here, the smartphone sells for 22% less than usual. Get it now and enjoy your $100 in savings.

Galaxy S23: up to $525 off as a trade-in credit at Samsung.com

The Galaxy S23 is now available with up to $525 off with a trade-in. Additional savings can be unlocked if you have a Samsung Offer Programs membership.
$234 99
$759 99
Buy at Samsung

Grab the Galaxy S23 in Phantom Black at Amazon

The vanilla Galaxy S23 is up for grabs at Amazon as well. Here, the smartphone with 128GB of built-in storage arrives without any discounts, but you can trade in an older phone in good condition to claim some savings.

Of course, the S23 being the flagship it has a few distinct advantages. The S23 screen can get brighter, it has adaptive refresh rate, its cameras are better, it has a zoom camera, and the processor is so much faster!

Galaxy A54 5G vs Galaxy S23 in a nutshell:
  • A54 5G is bigger at 6.4" vs 6.1" on S23
  • S23 has brighter screen, with smaller bezels
  • Snapdragon chip on S23 is much faster
  • Both have 128GB base storage, but A54 5G supports microSD
  • S23 has better cameras
  • A54 5G has bigger battery
  • Same wired charging speeds, but only S23 supports wireless charging

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

The S23 is more compact and elegant


The Galaxy A54 5G has clearly drawn some inspiration from the flagship S23 with that camera styling where each lens protrudes on its own, and it's a clean look we like on both of them.

Samsung has stepped up the quality of the mid-ranger by adopting a glass back, a change from the plastics it used before, but the Galaxy S23 still uses a newer and more durable type of glass, the Gorilla Glass Victus 2.

The S23 is clearly the more compact phone, but the A54 5G is not extraordinarily giant either.

There is also a small difference in the water and dust protection rating: both phones have it, and both have a high level of protection, but the S23 goes a bit higher at IP68 compared to IP67 on the A54 5G, meaning that the S23 is certified to withstand immersion in deeper water.


Both also come with a flat screen, but the borders around the screen are just giant on the A54 5G, while the Galaxy S23 looks way more elegant with its thinner bezel size.

In terms of screens, the A54 5G is equipped with a 6.4" OLED screen with a 1080p Full HD+ resolution, while the S23 comes with a smaller, 6.1" Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with the same resolution.

Both are high quality screens, but if you care about the detail, the S23 display gets brighter outdoors, it has adaptive refresh rate (both have 120Hz but only the S23 can adapt it), and color calibration should be better on the flagship model.

Display Measurements:



 
In terms of biometrics, both phones rely mainly on a fingerprint scanner built inside the screen. The A54 5G goes for a cheaper optical fingerprint reader, while the S23 goes for an ultrasonic one which won't blind you at night, so that's a nice small advantage of the flagship. We also found the S23 fingerprint reader to be faster and a bit more reliable, and we were annoyed by the microlag that happens every time you unlock the A54 5G. And both phones also support image-based face recognition.

Performance and Software

A54 5G is a step up, but just not as fast as the S23


The A54 5G is equipped with Samsung's mid-range Exynos 1380 system chip, which brings an improvement in multi-core CPU performance and graphics compared to the previous generation, but it's a far cry from the amazing Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor on the flagship Galaxy S23.

Let's put it this way: if you care about gaming or more intensive tasks, you will appreciate the speed advantage of the Galaxy S23.

However, we have to admit that the A54 5G is improved from previous A series phones which would occasionally stutter, so that's nice to see.

Performance Benchmarks:


Geekbench 6 SingleHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G994
Samsung Galaxy S232023
Geekbench 6 MultiHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G2765
Samsung Galaxy S235180
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G809
Samsung Galaxy S233807
3DMark Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G805
Samsung Galaxy S232079

Despite its improved chip, the Galaxy A54 5G still feels stuttery and a bit on the slow side, while the Galaxy S23 is much more fluid and enjoyable to use.
 
On the software side, we are happy that Samsung has democratized updates and provides the same 4 years of major OS update support on both the A series and the S series. The Galaxy A54 5G might get those updates a bit later than the S series counterpart, though.

Camera

The A series narrows the gap


The Galaxy A series has never had a great camera, so we were happy to see the A54 5G make a bigger jump in camera quality than the usual for Samsung.

First, Samsung has gotten rid of the depth sensor from the previous generation (good riddance), so you end up with three rear cameras on the A54 5G.

The Galaxy S23 also has three rear cameras, but the third one on the A54 5G is a 5MP macro camera which you won't use very often, while the S23 has a 3X zoom camera instead which will see much more use.

Main Camera



It seems that the main difference between these two phones is just in how colorful and appealing an image you will get out of the box, and the Galaxy S23 is definitely giving you that more appealing shot, while the A54 5G is just a bit bleaker and not quite as punchy.

Portrait Mode



Both phones do a good job separating me from the background with Portrait Mode, but the flagship S23 delivers more vibrant colors.

Zoom Quality



The S23 features a native 3X zoom camera, but if you just select the 3X zoom mode, the difference in quality is actually not that huge. What you see above, however, are images at 10X zoom, and that's where the digital zoom on the A54 5G falls apart, while the S23 gives you plenty more detail.

Ultra-wide



We see the same trend with vibrant and punchy colors even more amplified when using the ultra-wide camera, so that clearly is the main difference between the two. Want images ready to share on the gram? The S23 is a better fit.

Front Camera



Selfies turn out more detailed on the Galaxy S23 as well.

Video Quality


The main difference in video recording quality is not so much in the detail with 4K video, which is about the same, but with the stabilization which is noticeably better on the flagship phone. The A54 5G is not as shaky as its predecessor, but it's not perfectly stable either, while the S23 does an admirable job with video stabilization.

Audio Quality and Haptics



The A54 5G steps it up in the haptics with a much improved vibration feedback. It feels nice and tight as it provides you just enough extra reassurance as you type, but we found it a bit too weak and missed on some notifications. The Galaxy S23 is slightly better in that regard.

The Galaxy S23 is a big step up from previous Samsung flagships in audio quality, and again we see the A54 5G is closing the gap, but the loudspeakers on it are still not as good as you can hear that at maximum volume the lower frequencies sound distorted on the mid-ranger.

Battery Life and Charging

Not the huge difference in battery life you'd expect


With its bigger size, the Galaxy A54 5G also packs a much larger battery! The 5,000mAh battery on the A54 5G beats the 3,900mah battery on the S23 fair and square in terms of pure size, but interestingly, the actual battery life... well, not all that different!

We have three independent tests, a web browsing test, a YouTube streaming test and a 3D gaming test to test the exact battery life numbers and here are the scores.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:


hoursHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G
16h 11 min
Samsung Galaxy S23
15h 21 min

The A54 5G scores higher on our lightest web browsing test, but it is the smaller Galaxy S23 that lasts longer while streaming videos on YouTube and also on our intense 3D Gaming test. Interesting! It seems that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip inside the flagship phone is much more efficient and able to squeeze quite a lot more than the Exynos chip on the A54 5G.

Both phones support the same 25W charging speeds, so the flagship does not really have any meaningful advantage here.

However, the S23 does support wireless charging, while the A54 5G does not.

Specs Comparison


Here is an overview of the main specs highlights of the A54 5G and the Galaxy S23:


Don't forget that you can see a lot more detail such as supported 5G bands and more in our in-depth Galaxy A54 5G vs Galaxy S23 specs comparison here.

Summary and Final Verdict



The Galaxy A54 5G is a bigger jump than usual for the Samsung mid-range and we understand why you might have a hard time choosing between this cheaper model and the more expensive Galaxy S23.

Still, our recommendation remains with the Galaxy S23, especially if you can catch it at a good price with a deal, as that Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and camera quality is really outstanding and will serve you well for years to come. The biggest difference for us was just the smoother and more enjoyable experience we had with the S23 compared to the occasionally stuttery A54 5G.

However, if you just want a phone that works and don't obsess over a bit of lag and a slightly less impressive camera, the Galaxy A54 5G has narrowed the gap and will help you save a few hundred dollars.

So... which one would you go for?

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