The Galaxy A52’s camera can trade blows with the Galaxy S21
Samsung just released the Galaxy A52 4G and Galaxy A52 5G as successors to the Galaxy A51, the company’s best-selling Android phone during 2020. Both devices are priced around $400-500, depending on region, but they come surprisingly close to the performance and feature set of typical flagship smartphones. They both have large high refresh rate screens (90Hz on the 4G model, 120Hz on the 5G), fast Snapdragon 700-series chipsets, and capable cameras.
We’re still working on a full review of the Galaxy A52 5G, but in the meantime, we thought a camera showdown with Samsung’s entry-level flagship might be interesting. As it turns out, the Galaxy A52 5G’s camera is impressive for a budget phone, and can even trade blows with the flagship Galaxy S21.
The Camera Hardware
For starters, both the 4G and 5G versions of the Galaxy A52 have an identical camera setup. The primary rear camera is a 64MP f/1.8 lens, but it combines pixels for an effective resolution of 16MP. There’s also a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens, a 5MP f/2.4 macro camera, and a 5MP depth sensor that aids the other lenses.
Meanwhile, the entry-level Galaxy S21 has a 12MP f/1.8 main camera, and a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens. Instead of the low-resolution macro camera on the Galaxy A52, the Galaxy S21 has an extra 64MP f/2.0 camera dedicated to zoom photos. Even though some might prefer taking close-up shots over improved zoom performance, the 5MP resolution on the Galaxy A52’s macro usually leads to poor results.
It’s worth noting that the Galaxy S21+ has the same camera array, but the Galaxy S21 Ultra switches out the primary camera for a 108MP sensor and adds a second telephoto lens. We’re just comparing the base Galaxy S21 against the Galaxy A52 here.
I was surprised by how capable the Galaxy A52’s camera is, even if other phones in this price range (like the Pixel 4a/4a 5G) can also capture excellent photos.
In standard outdoor photos, the Galaxy A52 leans a bit more into contrast and color saturation than the Galaxy S21, but the difference is almost indistinguishable.
The minimal differences shouldn’t be too surprising, considering the camera hardware and photo processing software are almost identical. Still, this is a $400-500 phone giving a $700-800 phone a run for its money with outdoor photos.
Photos captured indoors are more of the same, with both phones more or less tied in image quality. The Galaxy A52 occasionally created slightly darker images, but the results are still close.
However, the Galaxy S21 clearly comes out ahead as soon as you need to zoom, with its extra dedicated 64MP camera. It’s not a true telephoto lens, but it produces better results than the Galaxy A52’s zoom performance. The below photo was captured at 10x zoom on both phones, and the Galaxy S21 is the winner by a mile.
Conclusion: The Galaxy A52 can compete with the Galaxy S21
The past few years have seen a growing trend of budget phones becoming better and better, and the Galaxy A52’s camera quality is another example of that. Besides zoom performance, the Galaxy A52’s photo quality is close to what you can get from the Galaxy S21, which itself is comparable to most flagship Android phones. The gap between budget and flagship phones in features seemingly becomes smaller with each passing generation.
The Galaxy A52 5G is the latest mid-ranger from Samsung, bringing along features like a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, the Snapdragon 750G SoC, a 64MP quad camera setup, IP67 water and dust resistance, and more, in an easy-to-handle polycarbonate body.
Keep an eye out for our full Galaxy A52 5G review, which will be published soon. There’s more to the A52 than just the camera.