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Samsung's new Galaxy A series looks good, but what about the S20 FE or S21?

Samsung releases an abundance of phones each year across a range of prices. Here, we compare five of the newer phones: the Galaxy S20 FE, Galaxy S21, Galaxy A52, Galaxy A52 5G and Galaxy A72.

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Samsung's new Galaxy A series.

Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung's midrange Galaxy A series is a great option for Samsung fans who don't want to break the bank. And last month, in a virtual Unpacked event, the South Korean smartphone giant unveiled three new phones in the lineup: the Galaxy A52, Galaxy A52 5G and Galaxy A72. All three phones offer great performance and specs at a more affordable price, but Samsung said this week that only the Galaxy A52 5G is getting a US release, while select models will be available internationally. 

Starting this week, US customers will also get four phones Samsung didn't talk about at Unpacked -- the 4G-only Galaxy A02S and A12 and the 5G-enabled Galaxy A32 5G and A42 5G -- as well as the Galaxy A52 5G. Samsung wound up not releasing the Galaxy A72 stateside , saying it's too similar to the Galaxy S20 FE, released last year for $700. The S20 FE, which stands for Fan Edition, is a great option for Galaxy fans, and the phone won CNET's Editors' Choice Award. Willing to spend just a bit more? The brand-new Galaxy S21 is another option, and it's $800. 

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Samsung kept the prices steady with those of last year's A series models. The A02S will retail for $110 when it's available on April 29, while the A12, A32 5G and A52 5G start at $180, $280 and $500, respectively, as each arrived today. The A42 5G, available since Thursday, starts at $400. Of the three 5G phones, only the A42 will run on the super-fast millimeter wave network offered by Verizon. 

The Galaxy A52, A52 5G and A72 share a series of premium features including AMOLED displays, speedy refresh rates, big batteries and fast-charging support. They aren't all as high-end as those found on the Galaxy S21 or the Galaxy S20 FE, but some are on par. For instance, the A52 5G has a 120Hz display, the same refresh rate seen on the S21, S20 FE and the $1,200 Galaxy S21 Ultra. By comparison, the entire iPhone 12 line relies on a 60Hz screen.

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Samsung's Galaxy S20 FE comes in a range of vibrant and pastel colors. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Keep in mind that even though the new Galaxy A phones run cheaper than the Galaxy S21, each packs popular features that have been eliminated from the S21 line, including a bundled charger and expandable storage.

For the extra cost of the S21, you get things like a top-of-the-line processor, an all-round better camera system and 5G support. That covers both the slower but more reliable sub-6 and super-fast but patchy mmWave versions of 5G. In the US you'll have your choice of the three major carriers. 

To learn more about the differences between these phones, take a look at our spec-by-spec comparison below.  You can also read our comparison of Samsung's Galaxy A phones with 5G connectivity, if you're interested.

Samsung Galaxy A series vs. Galaxy S20 FE vs. Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy A52 (LTE only) Samsung Galaxy A52 5G Samsung Galaxy A72 (LTE only) Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Samsung Galaxy S21
Display size, resolution 6.5-inch FHD Plus Super AMOLED, Infinity-O Display (2,400x1,080 pixels) 6.5-inch FHD Plus Super AMOLED, Infinity-O Display (2,400x1,080 pixels) 6.7-inch FHD Plus Super AMOLED, Infinity-O Display (2,400x1,080 pixels) 6.5-inch super AMOLED (2,400x1,080 pixels) 6.2-inch Flat FHD Plus Dynamic AMOLED 2x (2,400x1,080 pixels)
Pixel density 407ppi 407ppi 394ppi 405ppi 421ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 2.95x6.29x0.33 inches 2.95x6.29x0.33 inches 3.04x6.49x0.33 inches 6.29x2.97x0.33 inches 2.80x5.97x0.31 inches
Dimensions (Millimeters) 75.1x159.9x8.4mm 75.1x159.9x8.4mm 77.4x165.0x8.4mm 159.8x75.5x8.4mm 71.2x151.7x7.9mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 189g 189g 203g 190g 171g
Mobile software Android 11 Android 11 Android 11 Android 10 Android 11
Camera 64-megapixel (main), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 5-megapixel (depth), and 5-megapixel (macro) 64-megapixel (main), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 5-megapixel (depth), and 5-megapixel (macro) 64-megapixel (main), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 8-megapixel (telephoto), and 5-megapixel (macro) 12-megapixel (standard), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 8-megapixel (3x telephoto) 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)
Front-facing camera 32-megapixel 32-megapixel 32-megapixel 32-megapixel 10-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K 8K
Processor Octa-core (2x2.3GHz + 6x1.8GHz) Octa-core (2x2.3GHz + 6x1.8GHz) Octa-core (2x2.3GHz + 6x1.8GHz) Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (5G) Samsung Exynos 990 (4G) Snapdragon 888 64-bit octa-core processor 2.8GHz (max 2.4GHz+1.8GHz)
Storage 128GB/256GB 128GB/256GB 128GB/256GB 128GB 128GB/256GB
RAM 4/6/8GB 6/8GB 6/8GB 6GB 8GB
Expandable storage Yes, up to 1TB Yes, up to 1TB Yes, up to 1TB Yes, up to 1TB None
Battery 4,500 mAh 4,500 mAh 5,000 mAh 4,500 mAh 4,000 mAh
Headphone jack Yes Yes Yes No No
Special features 90Hz display, IP67 rating, stereo speakers, 25W fast charging 5G-enabled, 120Hz display, IP67 rating, stereo speakers, 25W fast charging 90Hz, IP67 rating, stereo speakers, 25W fast charging 120Hz screen refresh rate, support for 30W fast charging and 15W fast wireless charging IP68 rating, 5G-enabled, 30x Space Zoom, 10W wireless charging, 120Hz display
Price off-contract 349 euros converts to approximately $415 $500 (128GB) 449 euros converts to approximately $535 $699 (128GB) $800 (128GB)
Price (GBP) Not available £399 £419 £599 (4G) £699 (5G) £769
Price (AUD) 349 euros converts to approximately AU$540 429 euros converts to approximately AU$660 449 euros converts to approximately AU$690 Converts to approximately AU$975 AU$1,249