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Samsung's new $250 Galaxy A13 5G is its cheapest 5G phone yet

The phone also features a triple-lens camera, a 50-megapixel main camera, a 6.5-inch screen, a 5,000-mAh battery and 15-watt fast charging.

Samsung's Galaxy A13 5G launches this week.

Samsung is going all-in on budget phones. The tech giant on Wednesday announced the Galaxy A13 5G, a $250 phone that comes with 5G support and a triple-lens camera. It will be sold through AT&T, starting Friday. At that price, the Galaxy A13 is even cheaper than the Galaxy A32, which was Samsung's cheapest 5G phone when it debuted in the US in April for $280.

Samsung is best known for its line of high-end Galaxy S phones, but the Galaxy A13's launch is another sign that the company intends to continue expanding its footprint in the budget market, an area where Google and Motorola have seen success. In addition to the Galaxy A13, Samsung announced the Galaxy A03S, which launches in January, starts at $160 and also comes with a triple-lens camera. Samsung previously released a slew of other cost-conscious A series phones in the US in April.

The Galaxy A13 appears to be a successor to Samsung's Galaxy A12, which debuted for $180 in April and lacks 5G connectivity. But the Galaxy A13 improves on its predecessor in a few other ways besides the addition of 5G support. The Galaxy A13 comes with twice the amount of internal storage (64GB compared to 32GB), a screen with a 90Hz adaptive refresh rate and a 50-megapixel main camera. Like its predecessor, the Galaxy A13 has a screen that measures 6.5 inches.

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However, the Galaxy A13 comes with a triple-lens main camera compared with the Galaxy A12's four-lens system. Along with that 50-megapixel main camera, you'll get a 2-megapixel macro camera and a 2-megapixel depth camera on the Galaxy A13. The Galaxy A12, by comparison, features a 16-megapixel main camera, a 5-megapixel ultrawide camera, and similar macro and depth cameras. There's also only a 5-megapixel front camera on the Galaxy A13, while the Galaxy A12 has an 8-megapixel selfie camera. 

The Galaxy A13 5G has a 5,000-mAh battery, like its predecessor, and supports 15-watt fast charging. It runs on MediaTek's Dimensity 700 processor, which is also found in the wallet-friendly RealMe 8 5G. It's also important to note that the Galaxy A13 supports sub-6GHz 5G and not millimeter-wave 5G, which is significantly faster but only operates at short ranges. 

Although the Galaxy A13 seems like a successor to the Galaxy A12 in name, it feels more like a cheaper version of the Galaxy A32. Both the Galaxy A13 and Galaxy A32 come with a 6.5-inch screen, a 5,000-mAh battery and 64GB of storage. The A13's LCD display has 1,600x720-pixel resolution, which is similar to the A12, but the 90Hz refresh rate is more like the A32's display. The Galaxy A32 also runs on a similar processor designed for midrange phones, the MediaTek Dimensity 720.  

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Where they really differ is in the camera, considering the slightly pricier Galaxy A32 comes with a 13-megapixel selfie camera and a four-lens rear camera that includes a 48-megapixel main lens, an 8-megapixel ultrawide camera, a 5-megapixel macro camera and a 2-megapixel depth camera. You can see a comparison between the Galaxy A13 and the Galaxy A32 in the below chart.

Galaxy A13 vs. Galaxy A32

Galaxy A13 Galaxy A32
Display size, resolution 6.5-inch LCD screen; 1,600x720 pixels; 90Hz refresh rate 6.5-inch display; 1,600x720 pixels; 90Hz refresh rate
Mobile software Android 11 Android 11
Camera 50-megapixel (main), 2-megapixel (macro), 2-megapixel (depth) 48-megapixel (main), 8-megapixel (ultrawide), 5-megapixel (macro), 2-megapixel (depth)
Front-facing camera 5-megapixel 13-megapixel
Processor MediaTek Dimensity 700 MediaTek
Storage 64GB 64GB
Battery 5,000 mAh 5,000 mAh
Connector USB-C USB-C
Special features 5G sub 6; microSD card slot 5G sub 6; microSD card slot
Price off-contract (USD) $250 $280

The Galaxy A13 5G will be available through AT&T this week and will come to T-Mobile and Samsung's website in January. If the Galaxy A13 5G turns out to be anything like the Galaxy A32 5G, it'll be a promising option for those shopping for a basic and affordable 5G phone. CNET's Andrew Hoyle was impressed with the Galaxy A32's long battery life, decent performance and vibrant design, so we're hoping the Galaxy A13 5G will make a similar impression.

Samsung is releasing the Galaxy A13 5G just before a couple of other promising midrange smartphones are expected to make their debut. Apple is rumored to release another version of the iPhone SE in early 2022, while Korean news website DDaily reports that Samsung could introduce the Galaxy S21 FE in January. 

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Correction, Dec. 1: The story previously misstated the arrival of A Series phones in the US. That happened in 2019.