Samsung Galaxy A50 hands on review

The big brother of the underdogs

What is a hands on review?
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Early Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy A50 is a big and bold device, which was very quick to navigate and use, but we're yet to be convinced by its camera capabilities.

For

  • Large display
  • Fast user interface

Against

  • Dim display
  • Camera effects performed poorly

The Samsung Galaxy A50 gives you a major price break from the high-end Galaxy S10 handsets, yet more functionality than the Galaxy A10, Galaxy 20 and Galaxy A30.

Sure, this affordable Android phone still doesn't shine a light on its galactic relatives, but it's still an intriguing option if you're looking for an Android smartphone that has proper looks and features for 2019.

It has more cameras and memory than its A-series siblings, yet marginally smaller dimensions. This makes the A50 most 'premium' of Samsung's A series. At MWC 2019 we toyed about with the phone to get a first impression with it.

Samsung Galaxy A50 release date and price

We don't yet have a confirmed Samsung Galaxy A50 price, but a rough price estimate is between €300 (roughly $340, £260, AU$475) and €400 (around $450, £350, AU$630). 

The Galaxy A50 is already on sale in a few markets around the world, including India, and it'll be arrive in the UK at some point in April with Vodafone already confirming that it will stock the handset.

Samsung Galaxy A50 design and display

In terms of dimensions the A50 is very similar to the A30 – it has exactly the same screen with a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED Infinity-U display, and the same thickness at 7.7mm. It did feel a little on the large side, especially when reaching for the power and volume buttons, but unlike the A30 it doesn't have a rear fingerprint sensor so there was less need to stretch to turn on the device.

Instead of a rear fingerprint sensor, it has an optical fingerprint reader built into the screen, which made up for its larger size. Curiously this screen, despite being the same as the A30's, seemed a little lower quality, with less vibrant colors and a noticeably dimmer screen when brightness on both was turned to the maximum. That may have just been the trade-show unit on hand, however.

The design of the device itself is sleek, with 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C on the rear of the device joined by power and volume buttons on the side. The device did feel a little weighty compared to its fellow A series phones, but not by any considerable amount.

Although the frame looks like aluminum and the back resembles glass, it's not. The silver frame is plastic and the back is a polymer material. There's still Gorilla Glass 5 on the front.

When it's released, the A50 will be available in four colors – black, white, blue and coral. We snapped the phone in coral – make of it what you will, but it's certainly a lively color for a phone.

Image 1 of 2

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar
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Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

Samsung Galaxy  A50 camera

The camera specs for the Samsung A50 are impressive – with a 25MP main camera with an f/1.7 aperture accompanied by a 5MP f/2.2 depth sensor camera to support Live Focus portraits, and an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens with a considerable 123 degree field of view (same as the Galaxy S10 ultra-wide camera).

In practice, the shots we took had rather low contrast and, although the images were of high quality, there wasn't a huge color range. That's fine for most budget consumers. 

When we test out the camera for our full Galaxy A50 review we'll make sure to take pictures in a range of environments and settings (not just at an awkwardly lit MWC 2019 booth), to see how it performs.

The depth lens has a noticeable pay-off however – the camera was quick to focus, and the Live Focus feature was far more accurate than its counterpart on the A30. 

The front of the device housed a 25MP selfie cam which took images of roughly the same quality as the rear, although of course without the benefits of wide or depth lenses. They were nothing to write home about, but would be fine for social media or video chats. 

Samsung Galaxy A50 battery

Like the A30, the Samsung A50 has an impressive 4,000mAh battery – for the standard user, this'll definitely be enough for a day of usage. Since most flagships have batteries with a charge of around 3,300mAh, the size of the A50's battery should make it quite appealing to heavy phone users.

The phone also supports fast charging of 15W, as do the other A series devices, so if the battery does run down it'll easily pop back up again. As we only had a brief time with the device we couldn't fully test the battery life, but expect rigorous testing for our full review.

Samsung Galaxy A50 features

The Galaxy A50 runs Android Pie and, from our brief time with it, we were impressed with how quick and smooth it was to use. Of course for our full review we'll need to put it through its paces, by playing demanding games and streaming video, but our first impression was positive.

We ran the device through a quick benchmark test, and found it had a multi-core score of 5,396, putting in league with the Samsung Galaxy S7 from 2016. While that might make it seem a little weak, it's important to remember that the Galaxy S series are 'premium' devices compared to the Galaxy A series phone, and most people won't need huge multi-core speed anyway.

The A50 will be available in two sizes – one that has 64GB internal memory with 4GB RAM, and a slightly larger 128GB/6GB version. It'll also support microSD cards if that amount of storage isn't enough.

Samsung Galaxy A30 (left) vs Samsung Galaxy A50 (right)

Samsung Galaxy A30 (left) vs Samsung Galaxy A50 (right)

Early verdict

For such a low prospective price tag, the Samsung Galaxy A50 is a rather impressive device – its fast operating system and wide display make it a worthwhile choice for a range of operations.

Saying that, however, we do have a few question about the power of the camera and the screen resolution, that we'll test out fully when we write our full review after MWC.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone. 

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.