I’m not going to lie… Trying to break out of the mid-range phone market in 2023 might be the hardest part of writing about smartphones.
Some mid-range phones try to give you as much as possible; others give you just enough to make you happy and that’s it The Samsung Galaxy A54, which tries to strike a balance. What’s unique about this, though, is that unlike, say, Google and Nothing, Samsung has more to gain and (you guessed it) more to lose. It’s made even more difficult by the fact that the Galaxy manufacturer produces a billion phones every year. Of course, among them is the Galaxy “S” series, which must be considered when making the Galaxy “A” series – if the mid-range phones are “too good”, users will have less reason to buy the flagship. It’s a balancing act that Samsung has been doing for ages.
In fact, the sales of the company’s cheaper phones (especially those cheaper than the Galaxy A54) tell us that the South Korean brand is doing a better job in the budget segment – a bittersweet victory considering the S-series flagships. higher profit margins but struggling to move as many units as Samsung wants.
But to make things more complicated, the new mid-range Galaxy phones also have to outperform their predecessors and compete with mid-range devices from other brands. And this is where the new Galaxy A54 might face a bit of an existential crisis. Let’s see…
Shockingly, the Galaxy A54 looks older than the four-year-old Galaxy A51 – Samsung has some explaining to do…
2019 Galaxy A51 on the left, 2021 Galaxy A52 in the middle and the brand new Galaxy A54 on the right. We are seeing a trend towards thicker screen edges in newer phones.
Now, before you tell me iPhone SE down in the comments (and by all means, you can do it) and how old Apple’s mid-ranger looks, I’m going to go ahead and say this story is about Samsung. But to jump the gun, as old as the iPhone SE looks in 2023, it looks at least as old as its predecessor.
I bring this up to make a point. The new version of the phone must certainly not look older than… the old one. are you with me But that’s not the case with the Galaxy A54. To Samsung’s credit, unlike the Galaxy A53, which used plastic, it looks like the back of the A54 is made of glass, which is nice if you want a premium feel (not so nice if you drop your phone and break it, but it is a different story).
But then you turn the Galaxy A54 around and look at a displaysituation it tells a slightly different story. Again, the screen on the new Galaxy A54 is supposed to be a bit brighter compared to its predecessor (which is great), but then your eyes are drawn to those big, black, beautiful… edges of the screen.
Despite the larger screen, the 2019 Galaxy A51 is more compact, more modern looking and 30g lighter than the Galaxy A54.
While I would argue that most people choose a new phone by looking/holding it, aesthetic design is not the only thing that matters in a phone. And if you’re expecting the Galaxy A54 to pick things up there, you might be in for a surprise.
More affordable Galaxy A34 with MediaTek chip beats Samsung’s Exynos-powered Galaxy A54 in early real-world speed test
In a recent real-world speed test, the $300 Galaxy A34 opened apps faster than the Galaxy A54. The final result? 9-20.
Aside from the design, there is another potential issue with the Galaxy A54…
Sure enough, the benchmarks for Samsung’s new Exynos 1380 are out now, and they’re just as underwhelming as expected – Samsung went with another mid-range Exynos, and that’s it. But what’s particularly surprising here is an early real-life speed test I ran across that (once again) tells a different story. Another story where the Galaxy A54 doesn’t seem to come out a winner when compared to a cheaper Samsung phone.
As seen on YouTube ” target=”_blank”>Galaxy A54 vs Galaxy A34 speed test by Vy Vo Xuan, the new $300 Galaxy A34 seems to open apps faster than the more expensive Galaxy A54. Why is that? Well, because both phones run the exact same software and comes with the same amount of RAM (6/8GB), the clear differentiator has to be the processor.
Although the MediaTek Dimensity 1080 used in the Galaxy A34 and the Exynos 1380 in the Galaxy A54 are roughly the same according to the benchmarks, the cheaper phone seems to be more nimble.
Of course, this would not be suitable for people in the United States Really thing, as the Galaxy A34 isn’t expected to appear there in the first place – but that can’t be an excuse. The Galaxy A54 is pretty much the only mid-range Samsung phone sold in the US, which should only mean it’s… as good as it gets. Right?
Galaxy A54 – a very good $450 package, but Google’s Pixel flagships eat Samsung’s phone for breakfast (Pixel 7a is almost here)
Would you buy the Pixel over the Galaxy A54?
So, yes… the Galaxy A54 is still one of the most attractive mid-range phones globally, but unlike in previous years (I’m specifically referring to the Snapdragon-powered Galaxy A52), the big draw is that the A54 is sold in more regions of the world compared to competing devices – availability matters. In addition to that:
- The Galaxy A54 promises a brighter screen than the Galaxy A53
- The Galaxy A54 brings a new, larger primary camera sensor that should help with taking photos and videos at night
- The Galaxy A54 offers 4 years of Android updates and 5 years of security patches, which is a valid reason to choose it over a Chinese phone with better specs
And yet, if the availability stars align, the Galaxy A54 is about to face some of the toughest competition Samsung has ever seen in the mid-range phone segment.
Even if you don’t have an extra $70 to spare, or buying a refurbished one isn’t your thing, expect may be your best friend and Samsung’s worst enemy. This is because of that The Google Pixel 7a (which is now leaking everywhere) is knocking on the door. With a flagship Tensor G2 chip, rumored wireless charging, and Google’s expert camera magic, the Pixel 7a is shaping up to be what the Galaxy A54 wants but can’t be.
Everything everywhere Everything goes wrong at once in Samsung’s mid-range phones: How far (back) is Samsung going to go?
It’s getting harder and harder for Samsung to make the “perfect mid-range phone” because the company also makes the flagship Galaxy S23 and wants people to buy… more of it. It’s a tricky balancing act where Samsung has a lot to lose. Unlike Google, which doesn’t even rely on selling phones to make money. You could call it a “perfect storm”.
- Global chip shortage
- Global financial crisis and inflation
- Google’s very aggressively priced Pixel phones
- Apple’s incredible ability to sell used/refurbished iPhones
- And most importantly, the high bar that Samsung set for itself some time ago in 2019
Of course, Samsung doesn’t want to make inferior phones. However, it seems that the Galaxy A54 is the result bad timing. If the A54 was released (supposedly) in 2019, it would have been a hit – well, we don’t know for sure, but at least it would have been much more impressive. Instead, Samsung released a great-looking mid-range phone four years ago, which now makes the cost-cutting 2023 version of this phone look (aesthetically) downgraded.
Aggressive mid-level segment competition google, OnePlus, Xiaomi and even Nothing don’t help Samsung’s case either. And despite all that, if you’re looking for a good mid-range Samsung phone, the A54 might still be the best (and maybe even the only) option for some of you! If you look at it in isolation, it’s still… you know – a great package.
Is that good enough for you? I’ll wait for our full review to find out. Stay tuned!