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Samsung Galaxy A50 review: Still one of the best budget phones

Though you can't tell in these photos, this scene in real life was dim. The Galaxy A50 (left) punched up colors much better than the Moto G7 (right).

Lynn La/CNET

The white-balance in these portrait photos taken with the front-facing camera is more accurate with the Galaxy A50 (left).

Lynn La/CNET

The Galaxy A50 also has a second wide-angle camera.

Lynn La/CNET

Both phones pulled off the bokeh effect for portraits comparably and the fallouts between the fore and backgrounds were smooth and natural-looking. You can also take portraits with the front-facing camera on both phones. When I took a selfie, both phones showed some patchiness around my hair. However, I still prefer the Galaxy A50's picture because the white balance was more accurate.

Unlike the Moto G7 though, the A50 cannot shoot 4K video. Instead, it shoots 1080p video, and videos in that resolution were on par with the Moto G7. Objects were in-focus, colors were true-to-life and audio was clear. While I myself don't care for 4K home movies, if you want to shoot sharper and brighter video and have a 4K display, the Moto G7 is the choice between the two.

Galaxy A50 vs. Moto G7's battery and performance

For our benchmark tests, the Galaxy A50 consistently edged out the Moto G7. But in real life, you won't notice a big speed difference between the two, and my day-to-day experience with both are relatively smooth. There are times though that I run into the occasional hiccup with the Galaxy A50. For instance, apps unexpectedly quit sometimes or just won't launch. And the fingerprint reader will take a beat or two longer than usual to unlock the phone. Again, the majority of the time the Galaxy A50 runs fine, but because its processor isn't top-of-the-line, you may notice the same stutters that I do.

3DMark Slingshot Unlimited


Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited


Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.4.0 single-core


Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.4.0 multicore


Longer bars indicate better performance

Samsung's phone is also equipped with a higher-capacity battery and lasted much longer than the Moto G7. During lab tests for continuous video playback on Airplane mode, the phone lasted an average of over 17 hours and 17 minutes. The Moto G7 lasted only 12 hours and 51 minutes.

One thing to note is that both phones employ one speaker at the bottom for audio. Their audio quality obviously doesn't compare to that of higher-end phones, but I did notice that audio coming out of the Moto G7 was notably louder and broader compared to the Galaxy A50. In contrast, the sound from Samsung's phone was not as good and sounded sharper and tinnier.

Moto's near-stock Android vs. Samsung's One UI


You can always change Samsung's One UI with a third-party launcher.

Angela Lang/CNET

The Galaxy A50 and Moto G7 both run Android, but Samsung and Motorola layered on top their own take on the OS, respectively. I like the UI on the Moto G7 better; it's closer to stock Android, feels more streamlined and user-friendly and icons and menus look more sophisticated. If you like neither of the phones' UIs though, you can easily load a third-party launcher to change it up.

The Galaxy A50 does have some additional features though. On top of Google Pay and Google Assistant (which the Moto G7 has), you'll get Samsung Pay and Bixby. Samsung Pay is compatible with more payment terminals (for more info, read CNET's Apple Pay vs. Google Pay and Samsung Pay comparison) and Bixby is another digital voice assistant you can use to look up basic info and carry out shortcuts. Even if you don't end up using these services -- I myself don't use Bixby as much as I use Assistant -- the A50 gives you more options to choose from.

Galaxy A50 vs. Moto G7 and PIxel 3A specs

Samsung Galaxy A50 Motorola Moto G7 Google Pixel 3A
Display size, resolution 6.4-inch AMOLED; 2,340x1,080 pixels 6.2-inch LCD; 2,270x1,080 pixels 5.6-inch gOLED; 2,220x1,080 pixels
Pixel density 403 ppi 403 ppi 441 ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.24 x 2.94 x 0.30 in 6.18 x 2.96 x 0.31 in 6.0 x 2.8 x 0.3 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 158.5 x 74.7 x 7.7 mm 157 x 75.3 x 8 mm 151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.86 oz; 166g 6.07 oz; 172g 5.19 oz; 147g
Mobile software Android 9.0 Android 9.0 Android 9.0
Camera 24-megapixel (wide), 8-megapixel (ultra-wide), 5-megapixel (depth sensor) 12-megapixel (standard), 5-megapixel (depth sensor) 12.2-megapixel
Front-facing camera 25-megapixel 8-megapixel 8-megapixel
Video capture 1080p 4K 4K
Processor Octa-core Samsung Exynos 9610 1.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 2.0GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 670
Storage 64GB, 128GB 64GB 64GB
Expandable storage Up to 512GB Up to 512GB No
Battery 4,000 mAh 3,000 mAh 3,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-screen Back Back
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack Yes Yes Yes
Special features Fast charging, Samsung Pay Water repellent with P2i nano-coating; TurboPower charging AR in Google Maps, time-lapse video shooting
Price off-contract (USD) $350 $299* $399*
Price (GBP) £309 £189 £399
Price (AUD) AU$500 AU$349 AU$649

*Prices at launch
Editors' Note: Review originally published Aug. 11, 2019.

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