Conclusion: With the Galaxy A53 and A33, Samsung is lost

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The Samsung Galaxy A series has long been a popular choice among consumers who don’t need to get the most out of their smartphone. But the new Samsung Galaxy A53 and A33 face fierce competition from an unexpected source: their own predecessors.

This is an abridged version of an in-depth Samsung Galaxy A33 5G and A53 5G review on Tweakers.

In recent years, Samsung has taken a fixed approach when it comes to the A-series: no frills, good camera. The 2021 A52 has certainly been a real hit. The device had stereo speakers, a relatively luxurious camera system, a good OLED display, good software, and even an IP67 water resistance rating. This device was followed a few months later by the A52s, which had a slightly faster chipset. According to BestGetest, the A52s is even the best cheap smartphone.

The A53 therefore has a reputation to uphold and Samsung is banking on the same pluses: the waterproof case, a 64 megapixel camera, a 120 Hz OLED screen and the promise of years of updates. The device appeared two months ago with an introductory price of 450 euros, but is now available for 250 euros.

The A53 isn’t the only “successor” to the A52 series. The cheaper Galaxy A33 will also be released this spring, a phone with the same chipset and waterproof case as the more expensive model. On paper, the camera and screen would sacrifice quality, but the A33 is still better equipped than some rivals. Also important: the device is available for less than 300 euros. Reason for us to put the A53 and A33 together on the rack.

Beautiful images, strange colors

Both phones have four cameras on the back and one on the front. That sounds impressive, but bear in mind that these types of mid-range devices often come with all sorts of additional cameras that are of little use in practice. The Galaxy A53 and A33 are also culprits: the fourth camera is a depth sensor which contributes little with its 2 megapixels.

What Samsung gets is optical image stabilization. There are few other phones under $400 that can automatically remove shock from your video recordings or use a longer shutdown time at night without the slightest movement guaranteeing a blurry photo.

Overall, the A33’s camera setup is just a bit lower than the A53’s, but the quality is still very deserving. The main camera’s tweaked image processing produces better night shots, but we can’t say enough about the overly saturated colors in the photos we took during the day. Samsung phone cameras often have a saturated color tablet, but the Galaxy A53 makes the sky so bright blue and the grass so green that it reminded us of a Teletubbie landscape.

Different is not always better

Camera color quality isn’t the only questionable change Samsung has made to the Galaxy A53 and A33. Another big difference is the switch from Snapdragon chips, such as the Snapdragon 778G in the A52s, to Samsung’s own Exynos chips. Both the A53 and A33 have an Exynos 1280, meaning the A33 came out exactly as fast as the A53 in our tests. It’s a definite improvement for the A33 over the A32, but this new hardware has a downside. This Exynos 1280 is certainly not faster than Snapdragon socks, so the A53 performs less well than its predecessors.

We also think it’s a shame the Galaxy A33 no longer has a 3.5mm headphone jack, something that could still be found on the A32. The fact that both phones come without a charger doesn’t deserve a beauty award.

This brings us to the biggest stumbling block of the A53 and A33, which is the competition on our end. At the moment, a Galaxy A53 costs only a few dozen more than the older Galaxy A52s, a phone that still has a leg up on the new A53 and A33 with its faster processor.

The Galaxy A33, in particular, struggles to emerge from the shadow of the A52s. The A33 is currently the most expensive model, but all A52 devices have a more advanced camera and with the A52 5G or A52s you also get a better screen and a faster processor.

Compared to other phone brands, Samsung has done a good job with the Galaxy A53 and A33. Both devices have a great screen, a nice no-frills design, a good above-average camera and, in the case of the Galaxy A53, relatively long battery life. Add to that the waterproof case, optical image stabilization and the ability to shoot in 4K, and you have a great device for a reasonable price.

However, we can’t label these phones as recommended, at least not while Samsung’s previous models are still readily available. This could change in the future: the price of new devices will undoubtedly drop even more, while the A52 series will be sold once. But right now, Samsung is losing its mind with these phones.

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