An exemplary mid-range phone. The Samsung Galaxy A51 is the successor of one of the most successful smartphones of 2019. Naturally, therefore, our expectations are high – but competition never sleeps. Find out whether the Galaxy smartphone with its total of five cameras can stand its ground in our review.
The fact that users trust Samsung and its smartphones is confirmed by the sales figures of the largest smartphone manufacturer of the world. Last year’s update of the Galaxy A series, which covers a wide price segment ranging from $100 to $750 with its many devices, was a great success: The devices were brought up to date and offered a great price-to-performance ratio which buyers rewarded accordingly.
The Galaxy A50 was one of the most successful models, so it is no surprise that Samsung has chosen it as one of the first devices to receive an update in this new decade. The Galaxy A51 is a little more expensive than its predecessor but offers a new camera technology, even more modern exteriors and a newer SoC. It sounds like a useful update – but of course we will be taking a very close look at it in our detailed review. Let’s get started.
Samsung Galaxy A51 – SPECIFICATIONS
Samsung Galaxy A51
158.5 x 73.6 x 7.9 mm
- Display Type
Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen
1080 x 2400 pixels
- Display Colors
- Pixel Density
405 PPI (pixels per inch)
- Touch Screen
- Display Protection
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Octa-core (4×2.3 GHz Cortex-A73 + 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A53)
- RAM (Memory)
- Internal Storage
- Memory Card Slot
microSD, up to 1 TB (dedicated slot)
Fingerprint (under display, optical),
accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
- Operating System
Android 10.0 + One UI 2
- User Interface
- Rear Camera
48 MP (wide) + 12 MP (ultrawide) + 5 MP (wide) dedicated macro camera + 5 MP depth sensor
LED flash, panorama, HDR
- Front Camera
32 MP (wide)
- Dual SIM
Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector, USB On-The-Go
Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS
- Wireless Charging
- Headphone Jack
Li-Po 4000 mAh battery + Fast battery charging 15W
- Video Playback
- Video Out
- FM Radio
- Ring Tones
- 4G LTE
Camera – another lens
The biggest difference between the Galaxy A50 and its successor is probably the camera: the Galaxy A51 has an additional macro lens on the back and the MP of the main camera has increased noticeably to 48 MP. The standard resolution is still 12 MP because the camera combines four pixels to one large pixel for a better image with less noise.
Below, you can see some photos taken on a walk with the Galaxy A51. We immediately noticed that the photos taken with the Galaxy smartphone were slightly too dark but were pleased with the image sharpness and details. Our camera comparison confirmed the first impressions we got on our photography walk: The images could be brighter and sharpness is good considering this is a mid-range smartphone.
The Galaxy A51 does a decent job in low lighting as well and details on our test chart are still noticeable at 1 lux. Our low-light test photo taken at candlelight still shows several details clearly, although it could be brighter. We were a little annoyed by the fact that we managed to improve the delineation in dark areas without losing details in brighter sections by manually increasing the brightness during our photography walk. This means that the camera could offer better dynamics but that camera software simply does not make use of this possibility.
Another artificial limitation based on software that separates this phone from the high-end segment: The zoom function cannot be used continuously between the wide-angle, the standard and the macro lens – users are forced to choose one lens. The macro lens even requires you to choose a separate camera mode to be able to take photos with it.
The front camera has a resolution of 32 MP and takes decent pictures, although they could be sharper.
Users must again choose between the standard or wide-angle lens when recording videos. The main camera enables you to record 4K videos at 30 fps, although some effects as well as digital image stabilization are not possible at maximum resolution. The transition between different exposure levels is smooth although you can occasionally see some pixel borders in direct light. The overall video quality is decent for this price range.
Considering that the Galaxy A51 consumes relatively little power in our tests and has a decently-sized battery with a capacity of 4000 mAh, its battery life is slightly disappointing. Similarly to the Galaxy A50, our test unit managed around 11:40 hours in our Wi-Fi test. This isn’t a bad result in itself, and should easily last you a day or maybe two if you’re careful.
The Xiaomi Mi 9T, however, manages to get a lot more battery life out of a similarly-sized battery, probably because it has a more aggressive energy management. The Google Pixel 3a has a significantly smaller battery and has a considerably shorter battery life. Overall, we would recommend Samsung to take a closer look at its energy management if it wants to remain competitive in future.
The Galaxy A51 has a 15-watt AC adapter, which is the lowest output that can be considered a fast charger. The phone requires around 2 hours to fully recharge, which is a normal rate for this price range.
Verdict – good midrange
Samsung’s Galaxy A51 is another mid-range device that has hardly any real weaknesses. Its cameras are one of its highlights – although the gap to the high-end is still noticeable, for example when it comes to low-light performance or zooming. Nonetheless, the Galaxy A51 can take some really nice pictures. The bright AMOLED screen is another pleasure – we were particularly impressed by the good color display.
The phone supports a significantly higher amount of LTE frequencies than its predecessor, but the Wi-Fi continues to be rather slow.
Samsung could have put in a little more work in terms of performance and the battery life can’t quite keep up with that of other devices. These are aspects that are particularly noticeable in a direct comparison. Still, the Galaxy A51 is a reliable mid-range phone.
The Galaxy A51 is a mid-range smartphone that does a good job in all areas and takes good photos.
As Samsung has not really made any mistakes, we can definitely recommend the Galaxy A51 smartphone.