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Samsung Galaxy A13 review

Android (and One UI) on a budget

Samsung Galaxy A13 facing forward on a surface of pebbles
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

Besides its very appealing price, the Samsung Galaxy A13 only manages to be 'good enough' in most of the areas that matter for a smartphone (from the camera to the battery life) – but for some users that's going to make it a tempting, value-for-money deal.

Pros

  • +

    Doesn't cost much

  • +

    Good build quality

  • +

    Decent battery life

Cons

  • -

    No 5G

  • -

    Slow performance

  • -

    No waterproofing

Two-minute review

Perhaps better than any other phone maker, Samsung is able to produce appealing handsets at just about every price point – and the Galaxy A13, the follow-up to 2021's Galaxy A12, comes in at just about the cheapest price point there is. That's really the headline feature here: the low price. It starts at a mere $189.99 / £179.99 / AU$329.

You can save yourself around $1,000 (or £1,000 or AU$1,500) by buying this phone instead of the lowest spec'd version of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – that's a massive saving of course, but you're also making some pretty major compromises along the way. It's all a question of what you want from a smartphone... and how much you have to spend.

Buying Samsung means you're guaranteed to be able to tick certain boxes of course, including solid build quality and a competent (and relatively recent) version of Android. If you're already in the Samsung ecosystem and are used to its One UI software, then you're probably going to want to continue that.

Besides the price, everything was satisfactory if not spectacular in our testing. That includes the screen – nice and bright and crisp, without the premium feel that comes with OLED – and the battery life, which will get you beyond the standard day of use but not much beyond it. The camera is maybe a little better than you would expect at this price point, especially when the sun is out and you've got good lighting.

No phone that's this affordable is ever going to blow you away with its brilliance, of course. You don't get waterproofing or wireless charging, and the bargain basement internal specs lead to noticeable lag and occasional stutters – particularly on the version sold outside of the US, which comes with a slower processor.

If you want value for money and you want Samsung, then the Galaxy A13 is worth a serious look. There are plenty of competing phones even at this low, low price point however, including the likes of the Moto G22 and the Nokia G21.

Samsung Galaxy A13 price and availability

  • Yours for $189.99 / £179.99 / AU$329
  • US buyers have a 5G A13, but it's a different phone
  • Available to buy now

Can we interest you in the Samsung Galaxy A13? It's out and available to buy now, and it's yours for $189.99 / £179.99 / AU$329 – there really aren't many phones at all that come in at a lower price point than that.

In the US, there's also a 5G version for $249.99 - though confusingly that phone differs in a few other ways too, and it's the 4G model that we're reviewing here.

In the UK, you can pick up the phone from a number of different retailers, including Argos (opens in new tab) and Tesco Mobile (opens in new tab). It's also available direct from Samsung in certain markets.

Samsung Galaxy A13 facing forward being held in a hand

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy A13 design

  • Solid, standard design
  • Choice of four colors
  • No waterproofing or dustproofing

You can pick up the Samsung Galaxy A13 in black, white, peach or blue, depending on the part of the world you're in, and it was the white version that we had in to review. The design is all very basic and plastic, as you would expect at this price point, but it's also nicely curved and really well put together.

In other words, it feels like a phone that's going to last, and we like the way that the rear camera module is embedded into the back of the phone, up in the top left corner – something Samsung is doing in all of its Galaxy handsets this year.

At first glance you might think this is a phone that's more expensive than it actually is, and when that's the case you know that the design and engineering teams have done a decent job.

The back of the Samsung Galaxy A13 on a surface of pebbles

(Image credit: Future)

The dimensions of the phone are dictated by the 6.6-inch screen – it comes in at 165.1 x 76.4 x 8.8mm, which is 6.5 inches x 3 inches x 0.35 inches. The weight of the phone is 195 grams or 0.43 pounds, and by the standards of today, it's actually a relatively compact handset, and it's comfortable to hold and easy to grip.

You get the volume controls on the right as you look at the phone, and just underneath is the power button with an integrated fingerprint sensor – we tend to prefer these sensors to be built into the screen, but it's hardly a deal-breaker. There's a USB-C port down at the bottom and next to it Samsung has also found room for a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The wonders of waterproofing and dustproofing have not yet found their way down to budget phones, and the A13 is no different in this regard. You're not going to want to drop it in the sink or even get it caught in the rain.

Samsung Galaxy A13 display

  • 6.6-inch LCD screen
  • No HDR support
  • Standard 60Hz refresh rate

The Samsung Galaxy A13 comes with a 6.6-inch, 2408 x 1080 LCD screen that does a decent job with websites, photos, videos and games. It's suitably bright, vivid and crisp, and while there's no support for HDR or anything above a 60Hz refresh rate, we didn't have any real complaints about the display.

There's a teardrop notch up at the top of the display in the center, and while the bezels aren't the thinnest you're going to come across, they're not an eyesore. The rounded corners of the screen do come across as a little bit too rounded but again it's by no means a major complaint that would stop you from buying the Galaxy A13.

While the standards of this display panel aren't up to those of the OLEDs that Samsung sticks to the front of some of its more expensive phones, it's still one of the best parts of the overall Galaxy A13 package. As it's not OLED though, you don't get the standard options for adjusting color vibrancy and temperature.

Samsung Galaxy A13 facing forwards being held in a hand

(Image credit: Future)

It's worth noting that the Samsung Galaxy A13 5G available in the US has a completely different - and lower resolution - screen, but we're specifically looking at the 4G model here.

Samsung Galaxy A13 camera

  • Quad-lens rear camera
  • 1080p, 30fps video recording
  • Does okay in low light

As with a lot of cheaper phones, the Samsung Galaxy A13 has more lenses than you might expect, but the extra ones don't do an awful lot.

There are four of them in total: a 50MP wide one, a 5MP ultrawide one, a 2MP macro one and a 2MP depth one. Note that the Samsung Galaxy A13 5G available in the US lacks the ultrawide snapper - so you gain 5G at the expense of a camera.

On the video side, the handset is capable of getting up to 1080p footage at 30 frames per second.

The 50MP main camera is the star of the show, and you can get some really great-looking snaps with the phone in good light and with plenty of time to keep the phone steady. There's no optical zoom but the digital zoom does a passable job of picking out details, while the HDR processing capably keeps the details in darker and lighter areas visible.

Samsung Galaxy A13 rear camera array

(Image credit: Future)

We did see some blurring and warping in ultrawide mode, and the camera does start struggling in low light: the pictures you'll get in the dark aren't great, but they're usable in some cases. On the front there's an 8MP wide selfie camera which covers the basics well, although it doesn't go much beyond that.

There's no doubt that spending a bit more money is going to get you a phone camera that captures significantly better pictures, but at the same time the Samsung Galaxy A13 isn't going to let you down most of the time. As you'll see from the samples we've included below, the camera performance is probably better than you would expect from such an inexpensive phone.

Camera samples

Samsung Galaxy A13 performance and specs

  • Sluggish performance
  • Expandable storage
  • No 5G on the UK model

Our Samsung Galaxy A13 review unit came with an Exynos 850 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which you can expand via a microSD card if necessary.

You won't get away with much less if you want to run the latest version of Android, and there is the occasional stutter and moment of lag as the phone moves through apps and menus.

That's backed up by Geekbench 5 scores of 155 (single-core), 586 (multi-core), and 678 (OpenCL), which are some of the lowest we've seen in a phone this year. You will be able to run everything you want to be able to run, but you're going to have to put up with slower speeds than you would get from a more expensive handset.

The back of the Samsung Galaxy A13 being held in a hand

(Image credit: Future)

In the US, there's a version that comes with the slightly faster MediaTek Dimensity 700 processor, so it's a more tempting proposition in terms of value if you're buying it there. Even more so, because this model comes 5G connectivity as well – the UK version of the phone that we had is stuck with 4G as well as the slower CPU.

While we didn't find the sluggishness of the Galaxy A13 a huge problem while we were using it, it is noticeable, and we can't tell you what the phone is going to run like a year or two years after you've bought it: chances are that it's going to start slowing down more rapidly over time than a mid-ranger or flagship handset.

Samsung Galaxy A13 software

Samsung Galaxy A13 software screenshots

(Image credit: Future)
  • Almost stock Android 12
  • Little bloatware
  • Handy weather widget

Out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy A13 runs Android 12 with One UI 4.1 on top. As variations on Android go, One UI is one of the better ones, and you get plenty of additional customization options that Google doesn't include as standard (everything from interface themes to memory management).

As usual with Samsung phones, you get a pile of apps that are really just inferior duplicates of everything that Google provides – including apps for notes, calendars, contacts, photos and videos, and a web browser. Samsung's own apps for smart home management and fitness tracking are included too.

Samsung has been improving in recent years when it comes to prompt Android updates, so you can at least be assured that the Galaxy A13 will be well supported with patches and upgrades for a while.

Samsung Galaxy A13 battery life

Samsung Galaxy A13 front and back in white

(Image credit: Samsung)
  • 5,000mAh battery capacity
  • More than a day of use
  • 15W wired charging

The Galaxy A13 comes with a 5,000mAh capacity battery, and with a normal amount of use that's going to last you a day and probably a bit extra on top of that – if you're really careful you can get two days out of this, thanks to the large battery and the less powerful specs running under the hood.

We tested the phone with an hour of video streaming at a low volume, and with the screen set to maximum brightness – that knocked the battery level down by 10%, suggesting around 10 hours of playback in total. Dim the screen and you'd be able to stretch that out further, so you'd be okay for watching films on long-distance trips.

You get a fairly standard 15W wired charging rate with this phone, and wired charging is your only option – there's no wireless charging here, which is exactly as you would expect for a smartphone in this price range. When you're shopping on a budget, wireless charging is one of the features you usually have to go without.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy A13?

Samsung Galaxy A13 front, side and back in black

(Image credit: Samsung)

Buy it if...

You need an affordable phone
You won't find many brand new smartphones for less than the price of the Samsung Galaxy A13, so it's perfect for those of you who are wanting to spend as little as possible.

You want a decent camera
The quad-lens camera on the back of the Samsung Galaxy A13 isn't exactly going to wow you, but it's one of the best snappers at this price level and can take pretty good shots.

You're a Samsung fan
The Samsung One UI skin for Android isn't for everyone, but it does give you plenty in the way of customizations, as well as Samsung apps to replace most of the Google defaults.

Don't buy it if...

You want 5G
At the time of writing, there's no 5G variant of the Samsung Galaxy A13 in the UK or Australian markets, while in the US the 5G model is a quite different phone, so this isn't a phone to get if you want next-gen connectivity speeds.

You need top performance
The Samsung Galaxy A13 makes use of a slow processor and not much in the way of RAM. You'll be able to get by with this, but not much more than that.

You'd like premium extras
Sometimes, you get what you pay for – and the Samsung Galaxy A13 lacks some of the extras you might be looking for, including wireless charging and a waterproof design.

First reviewed: May 2022

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David Nield
David Nield

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.