Samsung has given us lots of tech already in 2022, with many new phones, tablets and laptops, and in March it hosted another big event.
It wasn't another Galaxy S22 member, or the debut of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 or Z Flip 4. No, it’s for members of its Galaxy A line, which is a family of Android handsets that sits around the lower-mid-range price tier.
This are the new devices that dropped:
- Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
- Samsung Galaxy A33 5G review
- What you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy A13
In addition the A73 was name-dropped but it's coming later.
Samsung doesn’t usually make much of a song-and-dance about its new Galaxy A phones, tending to drop them via press release (if that), so the fact it’s holding a big fancy launch event to show off these new devices suggests that something interesting is coming.
The Samsung Galaxy A Event kicked off at 7am PT / 10am ET / 2pm GMT / 10pm ACT, and you can watch it via YouTube here.
However you might find it more useful to use this live blog as a nice hearty recap, so we can guide you through the event as it happened, and we've also shared our post-launch analysis here too.
Today's Samsung event is a little later in the day than we normally see these things at (except Apple, which is always really late, annoyingly). So we've got some time.
Before we explore the phones we're actually expecting today, let's look at some rumors we've been hearing surrounding Samsung's upcoming Galaxy A phones.
There aren't many, but we've heard a few. Like this one suggesting that Samsung Galaxy A handsets in 2022 will get optical image stabilization, or OIS.
That's a camera feature that automatically compensates for your shaky hand when taking a picture or recording video, and it's a feature that not many lower-cost mobiles have (though basically all premium ones do).
We saw a pretty deep dive into a Galaxy A53 recently - since that's a phone that hasn't been announced yet, we're expecting it to show up today.
This came as the phone is currently on sale in Kenya, and specs on the box showed off its 6.52-inch screen, 4,500mAH battery, 64MP + 12MP + 5MP + 5MP camera combo, 32MP selfie camera and 5G connectivity. Oopsie.
There has been a big leak.
Yup, it's just these two. pic.twitter.com/hcXMvj5sIYMarch 17, 2022
Popular leaker evleaks has provided loads of information about the A33 5G and A53 5G, and has also said that these are the only two smartphones showing up.
These look like decent mid-range smartphones, but we'd hoped that there would be more mobiles showing up than just these two.
A new Galaxy A5X phone will be good news for people who want a Samsung phone on a budget.
This is one of Samsung's most popular lines of handset, as it brings Galaxy S features to a lower price point, and this writer knows quite a few people who have Galaxy A phones - more so than other devices.
We'll have to see if those leaked features are correct or not - and what exists beyond the specs list.
Can the poster tell us anything?
Obviously the As mean A series, and each is presented in a series of colorful ways.
If we had to guess, we'd say that these different colors could refer to different camera modes - maybe there's a lightning filter, or an emoji face-replacement tool. But it could also regard different color options for the phones, with pink, orange and blue ones.
Alternatively, it could just be a thematic mood board, that we shouldn't read too far into.
We were actually hoping for more Samsung phones to debut today beyond the A33 and A53.
For example an A13 or A03 could be a good super-affordable alternative to all the other handsets, especially if they're 5G phones too - devices below the $200 / £200 barrier always do well.
In addition, an A73 or A93 would be a great top-end phone, particularly if they had a top screen and also great internals to be great for mobile gamers.
Anyone remember the Samsung Galaxy A80?
This A-series phone did something a bit different - it had no front-facing camera, but when you wanted to take a selfie, the back panel rose and the rear cameras flipped around.
It was a cool novelty, back in 2019 when pop-up cameras were in vogue, but the company never released an A81 or A82 to keep the flame alive.
Will we see the A83 this year? We wouldn't put money on it.
An hour until the event kicks off - enough time to have lunch or breakfast ahead of time.
I spent my lunch break watching the first episode of Ted Lasso, after seeing everyone rave about it.
I'm not sure I really get the appeal, but that's okay, everyone has different tastes. But now back to Samsung.
The Samsung livestream (link in the intro text to this article) has started - and it might be the most annoying repeating clip of footage we've ever seen.
It's basically just a scroll of the 'A' design from the image at the head of this article, with the word 'awesome' being looped on top of annoying music. It seems like it's designed to appeal to a young audience, but as designed by someone who hasn't spoken to a young person in 30 years.
Today is a big day for Samsung fans (in certain parts of the world) for another reason.
The Galaxy S22 (pictured above) was launched in early February, but in some parts of the world (including the UK, where we're based) it's only going on sale today.
I've had that aforementioned 'Awesome' video on loop for about 20 minutes now, and I think my soul left my body about 15 minutes back. Hopefully this thing will start soon.
And we're live!
This introduction is very 'hello fellow kids' - it's all in vertical aspect ratio, with lots of filters being thrown over the top of the introduction.
Samsung made the weird decision to put the media embargo for its new devices at the same time the event kicked off - which means we're allowed to talk about the phones.
Overall they seem like decent low-cost phones, offering good displays and fun camera modes for a low price, but the processing power isn't exactly breathtaking.
But the event is going on: we've started with screens
The Galaxy A33 has a 6.4-inch 90Hz one while the A53 has a 6.5-inch 120Hz one, and they're both AMOLED so they should be bright, colorful and contrasty.
The devices both have stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos.
We're looking at the camera modes now, and Samsung is making a big deal about its 'Object eraser' mode.
You might think this is a copy of Google's Magic Eraser mode, but that's an oversimplification. Google was simply the first brand to make a huge deal about this feature and we've seen loads of companies, like Huawei and Xiaomi, use it loads too.
Samsung is showing off Fun mode, which you can see me using in the above picture.
This lets you use Snapchat filters in the camera app, without having to open up Snapchat to use them.
It's an interesting feature for users of the social media app, but given that Snapchat is a bit old now, it's curious that this is the platform Samsung chosen to partner with. I don't know if I've met anyone who used it in about five years.
This launch event feels designed for people who aren't as techy - Samsung's presenters are steering away from tech jargon (except in some certain parts where they're absolutely not).
We'd generally embrace that kind of open attitude, but this conference feels like it was conceived by a load of middle-aged white people in a boardroom somewhere, aiming for a 'young' target audience without really getting it.
Oh, they're still talking about the phone, we keep getting annoyed and therefore distracted.
Both the A33 and A53 have 5,000mAh batteries, which the company says will last for two days of use.
There's 'super fast charging' which is only 25W, stretching the definition of 'super' somewhat.
Apparently the recycled back of the Galaxy A phones are made from recycled plastics, from plastic bottles and CD cases as well as other things. It's clear from the rhetoric that the phones aren't 100% recycled though - we're interested to hear what the actual percentage actually is.
The packaging is also more eco-friendly apparently, and we imagine that means it's paper-based.
It's been confirmed that the Galaxy A53 will go on sale on April 1 and the A33 will go on sale April 22.
Pring was provided in Euros, despite this being a global launch, which was weird. We know that in the UK the 33 will cost £339 and the 53 will be £399, and we're looking to find US pricing online too.
Wow, the event's over already - it wasn't even 20 minutes long.
And we weren't expecting there to be only two phones either, we thought more would show up.
There's a possibility, though, that these are the two main new devices, but other ones have been quietly released in some places. We'll do some research to find out.
That turned out to be exactly correct. The Samsung Galaxy A13 has been launched in the UK.
This is a budget alternative to the others, and it's slightly different from the A13 5G (launched last year) and A13 (which launched in India earlier this month). It also costs quite a bit less than the A33, at just £179 in the UK.
You can see it above. It's actually bigger than the two other phones, and has a 50MP camera - they're often great in budget phones, so this could be the true powerhouse of the new range.
Admittedly, we've complained about the format of this presentation, but don't get us wrong - we're definitely glad to see it.
Samsung's Galaxy A series is the company's most popular line of mobiles, but it gets startlingly little love from the company when it comes to launch events. The last big one we saw was in 2019.
It makes sense, for such popular phones. As I told my colleague at our Samsung briefing, I was with a group of friends a few days ago, and realized every single one of them had a Galaxy A phone. It felt like I was in an advert or something, and really attested to the popularity of these devices.
Every single one of them except me, I guess, with my fancy at-the-time-unnannounced Xiaomi phone.
If some of you big tech fans are wondering why Samsung's A family is so much popular than its S one, we can explain.
Picture this: you wander into a phone shop. You're not a tech fan, though you know the names 'Apple', 'Samsung' and 'Google'.
You know Samsung is known for its mobiles, so you amble over to that section of the shop. You see the S phones, the A ones, the M ones, the foldable Z ones, depending on where you live (in the UK, M devices rarely get released).
To your un-tech'd eye, the phones are going to look roughly similar. That's understandable, as most mobiles look the same, until you peer at the specs - which most people don't need to do. In the grand scheme of things, most mobiles run at similar speeds and work in the same way.
Your eye is naturally going to drift from the mobiles to the price tag right next to them - and you see that the A phones are half the price of the S ones, for similar-looking devices.
Unless you're a real tech-head, who needs top processing power, or a photographer who needs fancy cameras, then why do you need to spend double as much on a phone that isn't twice as good? You don't. So you pick up a Galaxy A handset and walk out the shop with it.
Both the Galaxy A53 and A33 come in the following colors:
- Awesome Blue
- Awesome White
- Awesome Black
- Awesome Pink
The pictures in the gallery above are in that order. Just note, due to the lighting in the test area, the white one looks pink - but we promise it's a pure white color.
Wait a second - Samsung has just totally slipped a new phone right under the radar.
Look at this newsroom post - it's entitled "Galaxy A53 5G and Galaxy A33 5G: Awesome Mobile Experiences Open to Everyone". Sounds like it's about the two phones we've been discussing, right?
Wrong. Scroll down to the footnotes at the bottom, and you'll find "Another new addition to the Galaxy A series, the Galaxy A73 5G, will also be available in select markets on April 22".
What? When were you going to tell us this Samsung? We're looking for more information on this mystery phone now.
We've seen some people report that this Galaxy A73 5G has a 108MP main camera, 6.7-inch FHD+ 120Hz screen and Snapdragon 778G chipset.
However we can't find any official information. We've contacted Samsung, and will bring you all the details as soon as they're confirmed.
We want to put one thing firmly on the record: Samsung has used 'awesome' as every third word in its promotion of these new A phones, including in the stream. Just look at those color names: Awesome This, Awesome That.
It's a little cringy to see this - it's like when people overused the word 'epic' until it lost all meaning. Don't tell us your phone is awesome, let it speak for itself.
Oh, and no-one under the age of 30 is using the word 'awesome' that much.
So we've written a love-ish letter to the Galaxy A53 5G. Not because we love it (hence ish) but because of its relationship to the Galaxy S21 FE.
The S21 FE was meant to be an affordable take on the S21, but because it came very late and didn't have a tempting price, it failed at its job. The A53 fills its brief in a much better way, offering the key features with a much lower price.
You can read the whole article here.
We're going to be wrapping up this live blog soon - partly because there's not much to say about these new mid-range and budget phones, and partly because this writer needs to jump on a bus to get to a film festival. So let's look at what was launched:
- Samsung Galaxy A13 is getting a further rollout from its original few countries
- Samsung Galaxy A33 5G was launched
- Samsung Galaxy A53 5G was too
- Samsung Galaxy A73 5G was... teased? Yeah, teased is the best word. It's coming soon.
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