After the tremendous success of its flagship S23 series, Samsung recently launched its two midrange phones for 2023—the Galaxy A34 and the Galaxy A54. And in this review, I am going to talk about my experience with the new Samsung Galaxy A54 5G.
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G Specifications:
- Body: 158.2 x 76.7 x 8.2 mm, 202 gm, Glass back/front, Plastic frames, IP67 dust/water resistance
- Display: 6.4-inch Super AMOLED panel, 120Hz refresh rate, Gorilla Glass 5
- Resolution: Full HD+ (1080×2400 pixels), 390 PPI, 20:9 aspect ratio
- Processor: Exynos 1380 (5nm)
- CPU: Octa-core
– 4x Cortex-A78 (2.4 GHz)– 4x Cortex-A55 (2.0 GHz)
- GPU: Mali-G68 MP5
- Software & UI: One UI 5.1 based on Android 13
- Rear Camera: Triple
– 50MP main, OIS
– 12MP ultrawide
– 5MP macro
- Front Camera: 32MP (hole-punch cutout)
- Audio: Stereo speaker, No headphone jack
- Security: In-display fingerprint sensor
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Geomagnetic, Gyro, Light, Proximity
- Connectivity: Dual-SIM (Nano), WiFi 6 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (Dual-band), Bluetooth 5.3, GPS / Galileo / Glonass / QZSS, USB Type-C, NFC, 4G LTE (VoLTE), 5G
- Battery: 5000mAh with 25W charging
- Color Options: Awesome Lime, Awesome Violet, Awesome Graphite
- Price in Nepal: Rs. 56,999 (8/128GB) | Rs. 59,999 (8/256GB)
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G Price:
Galaxy A54’s price starts at $450 in the US, Rs. 39,000 in India, and Rs. 56,999 here in Nepal. And if you look at the specs, honestly, it doesn’t bring a whole lot of changes to last year’s Galaxy A53. It looks a bit overpriced too. But the thing with Samsung’s midrange phones is that their prices go down in a month or two, so you can expect the same with the A54 as well.
And if you consider the price drop, the Galaxy A54 has some really good stuff. I feel it makes a lot of sense for someone who doesn’t play a lot of games, is not a power user, and wants a decent overall experience.
- 158.2 x 76.7 x 8.2 mm, 202 grams
- Glass front/back, Plastic frames
- IP67 dust/splash resistant
The first thing that you will instantly fall in love with this phone is its design. You get a glass back here, a modern-looking boxy form factor, a minimal camera layout, and plenty of cool color options to choose from.
For me, it is easily the best-looking phone in this price segment. It’s so good that some of my friends even thought that I was carrying the more expensive Galaxy S23!
Not just the looks, the Galaxy A54 also feels quite good to hold in the hands. It has the right amount of heft and this size is just perfect for me to interact with the display. The side buttons are also easily reachable with one hand and there is less muscle exercise while you are typing or using the fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone.
Samsung also continues to include IP67 dust and waterproofing on its midrange phones; something no other brands offer at this price segment. I remember Carl Pei—when he was with OnePlus—said it would cost $15 to include an IP rating on a phone.
So it’s good to see Samsung not skipping IP rating here to reduce the cost. For me, it’s such an underrated feature because I am a little clumsy person. I spill water off my desk every now and then, and I also drive a scooter, so during the rainy season, this IP rating provides me with better peace of mind!
- 6.4-inches FHD+ OLED panel
- 120/240Hz refresh/touch sampling rate
- Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection
Likewise, I also like Galaxy A54’s display. These days even OnePlus, Xiaomi, and other brands offer quality screens in this segment. But there is just something about a Samsung display that my subconscious mind falls in love with. Maybe it’s the color calibration or the touch feedback. Or maybe it’s because of the UI/UX, I don’t know! But I just like Samsung’s display more.
Compared to its predecessors, this screen is also brighter so it works much better in outdoor conditions. You also get HDR10 support here, but sadly that’s not enabled yet on Netflix, although it’s available on Amazon Prime!
The display is also complemented by a decent stereo speaker setup. It doesn’t get as loud as flagship phones and the bass is missing too, but it will get the job done when casually listening to music or watching YouTube videos.
Another thing I like about this year’s A54 is the vibration feedback. Whether I am typing or clicking these navigation buttons, there’s an almost flagship-like experience. This is all thanks to its X-axis vibration motor, which by the way, is the first in the history of Samsung’s Galaxy A series. The brand also continues to improve the fingerprint reader on its midrange phones over the years. And at this point, it’s as good as it will ever get.
- Octa-core Exynos 1380 (5nm)
- 8GB LPDDR5 RAM, 128/256GB UFS 3.1 storage
- Android 13 with OneUI 5.1 top
- 4 generations OS, 5 years of security updates
Let’s now talk about the performance of the Galaxy A54. Sadly, this is one area where you are not getting the best value! Samsung is using its in-house Exynos 1380 chipset on this phone, which simply doesn’t perform that well considering the price!
In the past few years, there have already been so many controversies surrounding Samsung and Exynos. Last year’s Exynos 1280 on the Galaxy A53 was a disaster, and Exynos 2200 with AMD graphics on the S22 series failed to live up to its hype as well!
This year, Samsung did redeem itself by using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on the entire S23 series. But sadly, the company is still promoting the Exynos chips on its midrange lineup. I think this kind of favorism doesn’t help Samsung build a good reputation.
Don’t get me wrong! For normal tasks, the A54 works fine! The 120Hz refresh rate is fairly responsive as well. And I did receive two updates so far that have improved the performance to some extent. But it’s still nowhere near the level of what you expect from a premium midrange smartphone. Even the much cheaper Galaxy A34 which has a MediaTek Dimensity 1080 chipset performs better than the A54—be it in app loading time, multitasking, or general usage.
In terms of gaming as well, the Galaxy A54 failed to achieve 60 fps in any of the games I tested, that too at the lowest of graphics settings. It’s already been more than a month since the A54 made its debut, and to see even popular titles like PUBG Mobile not being able to hit more than 30 fps is quite a shame.
Frame Rate: 60fps
Frame Rate: 30fps
Frame Rate: High
|Graphics: High Quality
Frame Rate: 30fps
Frame Rate: Default
Frame Rate: No Limit
And not just fps numbers, the Exynos 1380 heats up quite fast too. Samsung hasn’t included any kind of vapor cooling solution here, as they do with the S-series, but the actual reason why Exynos 1380 heats up while gaming is because there are just so many issues with this Exynos chip at the moment—from yield to efficiency and optimization!
- Triple camera setup at the back
- (50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro)
- 32MP selfie camera
Not just performance, I think A54’s overall camera results are also underperforming because of the Exynos 1380’s weak image signal processor. As you can see from these photos, its 50MP primary camera does capture good images with plenty of details, the contrast levels are nice, and the images are also quite sharp thanks to OIS.
But once I shift to the ultrawide camera, I can see a noticeable color shift, the dynamic range is compromised, and there isn’t much detail in the shot either.
Vs OnePlus 11R
I realized this more as I started comparing the A54 with the OnePlus 11R. Historically, Samsung always does better against OnePlus when it comes to cameras but this time OnePlus is giving me better optimization most of the time. Just look at these portraits. Samsung is struggling to handle background exposure whereas OnePlus is doing a much better job!
The Galaxy A54 also has a substantial shutter lag while clicking nighttime shots, and it also struggles to lock focus when clicking close-up shots of images like flowers, whereas you get much better output from the OnePlus 11R.
Similarly, the selfies are also processed and it smoothens the skin. I am sure all of this will get improved with future updates, but Exynos is definitely a culprit here!
Anyway, I found the videography aspect of the A54 to be very good though! Although Samsung has disabled OIS for videos, the overall quality and field of view are quite nice. Plus, it can capture up to 4K 30 fps videos from the primary, ultrawide, as well as selfie camera.
- 5000mAh battery with 25W fast charging
Now, getting to the battery side of things, you get a sizable 5000mAh cell here. It’s the same as the S23 Ultra, but their actual endurance is quite different. While the S23 Ultra provided me with 7-8 hours of SOT, I am only getting like 5-5.5 hours on similar usage.
The reason why I am not getting great battery life like the S23 Ultra on my A54 is primarily ‘cuz its display is not LTPO. It can only refresh between 60 and 120Hz, unlike the S23 Ultra which can go from 1 to 120Hz. This means the Galaxy A54’s display is not exactly energy-efficient.
Charging is also pretty standard here. Like most Samsung phones, you don’t get a charger inside the box, so you’ll need to pay additional cash to get a compatible 25W charger, which takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes to fully charge the phone!
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G Review: Conclusion
To conclude, as I said at the beginning of this review, recommending the A54 is a bit more tricky than you think. At the current MSRP, it is of course an overpriced phone. But if its price goes down (which is usually the case), it will make up for a strong midrange offering! Here you are getting a flagship-like design, a solid build quality complemented with IP67 protection. The display is great too, and so is the battery life to some level.
The Exynos 1380 chipset—although not very optimized right now—is still a decent performer for day-to-day tasks. And of course, you get Samsung’s One UI experience with four OS updates and five years of security patches.
The call quality is great with reliable 5G and WiFi reception, and the cameras should also eventually get better with updates. However, the sad reality right now is that it’s just a little pricey for what it actually offers!
- Meanwhile, check out our video review of the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G.
Samsung Galaxy A54 5G Review: Pros and Cons
- Premium-looking design
- Beautiful 120Hz AMOLED display
- IP67 dust/water resistance
- Good haptics
- Best-in-class software update
- Exynos 1380 requires optimization
- Ultrawide Camera could be better
- A bit pricey