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Hey everyone! Samsung’s A-series line-up has always been about well-balanced mid-rangers. This generation is no different. The Galaxy A42 is one of the cheapest 5G phones that you can buy.
This elegant device is all about performance and connectivity, at the expense of some other aspects of the mobile experience. If you’re interested in a 5G phone that won’t break the bank, is this the one to get? I’m Amir for MyTech Paradise and this is our review of the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G.
Design and build of Samsung Galaxy A42
The A42 has an unusual design, while it has rather average dimensions for a 2020 smartphone, it has four different shaded bars at its back, which have a unique Prism Dot look. You have three shades to choose from: white, gray, and black. At 193 grams, it’s both heavier and larger than the Galaxy A41, in part due to the huge increase in battery capacity. The plastic back panel curves to the glossy frame on the sides, which makes it less grippy than we would like, and it’s a fingerprint magnet if we’ve ever seen one. Overall though, it’s comfortable in the hand and you can always put a case on it for a better grip.
128GB Base storage
You’ll find clicky keys on the sides and a card slot that allows for expanding the generous 128GB you get as base storage.
Galaxy A42 Super AMOLED 6.6’’
Turn the Galaxy A42 around and you’ll find a 6.6-inch Super AMOLED screen with a notch at the top. The bezels are a bit thick in comparison to many phones out these days. Still, it’s an affordable phone so it’s not really an issue.
Under-display fingerprint reader
There’s a fingerprint reader under the display and it’s fast and accurate which is great. You can always use face recognition if that’s more your thing.
Resolution of Samsung Galaxy A42
What will be disappointing to some is the screen resolution. At 720p, it’s a noticeable downgrade from previous A40 series phones. The A42 doesn’t support HDR 10 either, though it does have WideVine L1 DRM support, so you can stream Full HD videos even though the screen has a lower resolution. On the brighter side, the display got a respectable 570nits of maximum brightness, so that is more than enough for good sunlight legibility. We also found that the screen has very good colour reproduction.
Speaker & headphone jack
This smartphone is a mid-ranger, so it’s not surprising to find a headphone jack and a single downward-facing speaker. The phone also supports FM radio, which is a little more unusual. The speaker had below-average loudness but as far as audio quality was concerned, it offered a much richer sound than the A41, with well-balanced mid and high tones.
Super battery & charging speed
One of the most impressive parts of this phone is the battery capacity. It has a 5000mAh battery in comparison to the 3500mAh that we saw on the A41. Thanks to the huge battery capacity, the low-resolution display, and a power-efficient chipset, we got an amazing endurance score of 144 hours in our battery life tests.
Charging speed was less impressive, but considering the beefiness of the battery, that doesn’t come as a surprise. The 15W charger that comes with the phone can refill 27% of the battery in 30 minutes and 78% in 90 minutes. A full charge requires two hours.
Snapdragon 750G 5G
The phone uses the Snapdragon 750G 5G chipset with 4, 6, or 8GB of RAM. It’s one of Qualcomm’s newest chipsets. This is the second time that we’ve seen this chipset on a smartphone and it’s proven to be quite capable, whether it’s in gaming or day-to-day tasks. The chipset, in combination with a 720p display that doesn’t need so much power, meant the Galaxy A42’s gaming performance was through the roof for a mid-ranger.
Samsun Galaxy A42 operating system
The Galaxy A42 5G sports Android 10 with One UI 2.5 on top. Unfortunately, the phone doesn’t support an Always-on display, but otherwise, the software package is similar to that on other Samsung phones. There are edge panels you can access with a single swipe to the side, gesture navigation, and a dark mode. Interestingly, the phone doesn’t come with Samsung’s browser, but it uses Chrome instead.
When it comes to the cameras, the phone has the same setup as the Galaxy A41, plus a depth sensor. What you’re getting is a 48MP main snapper, an 8MP ultra-wide, a 5MP macro cam, and the new 5MP depth sensor.
Daylight photos image quality
The main camera outputs 12MP photos, and in daylight we saw a lot of resolved detail, high contrast, low noise, and balanced dynamic range. We saw some minor softness on the edges but it didn’t detract from the overall experience. If you choose to dig in the menu and take a snap using the full 48MP resolution, you’ll get outstanding photos with even more detail, better contrast, and more accurate colours. So if high detail is what you’re after, it might be worth switching to this mode for a photo or two. The 8MP ultra-wide camera was also respectable. Photos had enough detail and contrast, noise was low, and the automatic distortion correction did a great job. Colours were duller than we’d like and the dynamic range wasn’t impressive, but those are the only complaints we could come up with for the class. Portraits were excellent, in part thanks to the new depth sensor. We saw abundant detail, great contrast, and proficient subject separation. The artificial blur looked good, too. The five megapixel macro photos were alright but we’ve seen better. It takes us four or five tries to get one sharp photo. You can capture tiny details, like the fine text on bills. But the quality isn’t that good and it’s more of a hassle than we’d like.
Low light photos image quality
In low light, the main camera produced surprisingly good photo They have enough detail and good contrast and colours retained much of their saturation. Auto HDR was on and it fired in most of the shots, but some highlights still remained blown. There’s a Night mode available but only for the main camera and it takes about two to three seconds to work. Photos are slightly cropped and shots are outputted at 8MP instead of 12MP. That said, it did an excellent job restoring highlights, revealing more details in the shadows, cleaning up noise, and improving the contrast. So you should definitely take advantage of it . The ultra-wide was less impressive than the main camera in low light, but if there was enough light, it could snap some usable images.
The phone can shoot up to 4K at 30fps with both the primary and ultrawide cameras. 4K footage from the main camera had accurate colours, excellent detail, adequate dynamic range, and great contrast. 4K clips from the ultrawide were also good, though not as great. The resolved detail was less than we would have liked due to some noise reduction and colours were a bit oversaturated. Overall, it looked good though, with nice contrast and nice dynamic range. EIS is available for both cameras, but you can only use it when shooting Full HD videos.
In the notch on the front, there’s a 20MP snapper, but it only outputs shots in 12MP.Pictures didn’t have quite as much detail as we would have like but contrast, colours, and dynamic range were great when there was enough light. In darker conditions, the detail deteriorated dramatically.
Short Technical sheet
Samsung Galaxy A42 5G
The verdict: Samsung Galaxy A42 5G
The Galaxy A42 5G is a bit of a head-scratcher. There is a lot of competition out there and a lot of phones with better screens or more balanced overall packages. If you watch a lot of video content, this might not be the phone for you. But if you’re chasing 5G connectivity, great performance, and great battery life (not exactly in that order), Then this is one of Samsung’s smartphones that you should definitely take a look at.