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.
Sareena DayaramSenior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
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.
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.