Galaxy A51 review: Samsung’s $400 phone that you’ll actually want to buy

    The Galaxy A51’s 6.5-inch display screen will not wash out in direct daylight.
    Juan Garzon/CNET
    How good can a $400 cellphone actually be? When the system in query is the Samsung Galaxy A51, the reply is easy: superb. As the first actual consultant of the Galaxy A household within the US, the A51 is a convincing effort that proves Samsung could make midprice cellphone that is value shopping for. In reality, Samsung’s finances cellphone (£329 within the UK and AU$599 in Australia) even bests the iPhone SE (which begins at $399, £419 and AU$749), in some particular, and important, methods. When it involves display screen dimension and readability, cellphone options, digital camera high quality and efficiency, the Galaxy A51 delivers the place it counts, with one exception.

    Like6.5-inch display screen is detailed and vividWide-angle digital camera choiceHeadphone jack

    Don’t LikeProcessor velocity dragsNo water resistance

    The Galaxy A51 is offered at Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Amazon and as a part of a bundle bundle at It’s the velocity of its Samsung-made Exynos 9611 processor that is the Galaxy A51’s Achilles’ heel. Performance feels sluggish dealing with day-to-day actions resembling ready for an internet site to load or for apps to refresh. Benchmarking assessments help that real-world remark. 

    Camera efficiency between these two rivals is nearer than you may assume.
    Lexy Savvides/CNET
    The Galaxy A51 actually lags in comparison with top-tier telephones such because the Galaxy S20, but in addition when held up towards the A51’s major rival. That’s as a result of Apple gave the iPhone SE the identical A13 Bionic chipset as its most costly iPhone 11, so Apple’s finances system strikes quick. The iPhone SE additionally leapfrogs the A51 with regards to water resistance and wi-fi charging, each options that Samsung’s cheaper cellphone lacks. (For a full comparability of the Galaxy A51 and iPhone SE’s specs, see the desk on the finish of this evaluation.)But the Galaxy A51 has its personal charms. It doubles the iPhone SE’s on-board storage for the SE’s beginning value, providing you with 128GB out of the gate in comparison with the SE’s 64GB for its least expensive mannequin — and it helps exterior storage, too. The Samsung display screen is far bigger, with slim bezels that make the cellphone really feel fashionable and dedicated to little wasted area. Battery life can be on par between the 2 telephones. Both come to round 16 hours in a looping video check in airplane mode, with extra lab assessments on their manner. The Galaxy A51 lasted about 20 minutes longer than the SE on this check.The Galaxy A51 additionally stands its floor on the digital camera entrance within the typical ways in which Samsung telephones and iPhones examine: Galaxy photographs are extra saturated in comparison with the iPhone’s extra pure tones. The iPhone SE advantages from optical picture stabilization, however the A51’s 4 cameras additionally provide you with extra capturing choices than the iPhone SE. Wide-angle lens is the one I care about most, which is absent from the SE. But in all different respects, picture high quality is pretty shut, with one edging the opposite on this or that situation. For extra, my colleague, Lexy Savvides, created this fantastic and in-depth Galaxy A51 versus iPhone SE digital camera comparability.

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    iPhone SE or Galaxy A51: Battle of the $400 cellphone cameras


    Galaxy A51 vs. Galaxy S20Take away the iPhone SE from the equation and the A51 is akin to the Galaxy S20 Plus for a 3rd of the value. Considering the A51 is considerably cheaper than any cellphone within the Galaxy S20 household, it is a powerful total bundle.Side by facet it is onerous to inform the 2 massive telephones aside at first look, besides that the A51’s front-facing digital camera is extra apparent and the A51 makes use of an optical in-screen fingerprint reader. Incidentally, the fingerprint reader’s been extra correct than the Galaxy S20’s ultrasonic sensor for me.  The A51 is barely lighter, too, because it has a plastic backing fairly than a glass one. When I put the 2 facet by facet and watched the identical Netflix present on the identical body, the A51’s display screen was nearly as vivid, detailed and richly coloured because the Galaxy S20 Plus. Outdoor legibility within the midday solar was additionally fairly even.The Galaxy A51 did a gorgeous job photographing this iris, shot open air in pure mild.
    Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
    Photos and movies look significantly better on the Galaxy S20, largely as a result of picture decision is sharper on the pricier mannequin, and since it has OIS, which makes for smoother, steadier photos and video. You can reap the benefits of core Samsung software program on the Galaxy A51’s digital camera, together with evening mode, and the cellphone has settings resembling macro and HDR. You can shoot a 48-megapixel picture by deciding on the digital camera setting. When I examine the identical zoomed-in photographs taken with each telephones on my laptop computer display screen, it is simple to see the place the Galaxy S20 is superior. In different photographs, photos of native flowers alongside my stroll or the dinner I made look simply nearly as good.I admire that the Galaxy A51 has macro images the place the Galaxy S20 blurs out if you get too shut. In some circumstances, it was too simple to get an out of focus macro with the A51. Selfies are significantly better on the Galaxy S20 however completely usable on the A51. Plus, you need to use portrait mode and sweetness mode to melt the scene.The 5-megapixel macro lens captured this shot.
    Lexy Savvides/CNET
    It’s disappointing that the Galaxy A51 lacks water resistance. Most fashionable telephones have it, although it is typical for finances gadgets to don’t have any waterproofing or just be “splash resistant.” The A51’s all-day battery life takes it from morning to nighttime, and it lasted a median of 16 hours, 10 minutes after three looping video assessments in airplane mode. I’ll replace this evaluation with the outcomes of our steaming lab assessments over Wi-Fi once they’re full. Luckily, the A51 additionally features a 15-watt quick charger within the field, however in contrast to the Galaxy S20 telephones, you may want to provide your personal headphones and any USB-C to USB-C cables you might have considered trying. It does include a USB-A to USB-C wire, nevertheless.Although cellphone releases have slowed down, the Galaxy A51 is certainly one of not less than 16 telephones popping out in 2020. Samsung has additionally confirmed plans to make one other foldable cellphone.Galaxy A51 vs iPhone SE

    Samsung Galaxy A51 (4G)

    Apple iPhone SE (2020)

    Display dimension, decision

    6.5-inch FHD AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels

    4.7-inch Retina HD; 1,334×750 pixels

    Pixel density



    Dimensions (Inches)

    6.24×2.90×0.31 inches

    5.45×2.65×0.29 inches

    Dimensions (Millimeters)

    158.5×73.6×7.9 mm

    138.4×67.3×7.3 mm

    Weight (Ounces, Grams)

    6.07 oz; 172g

    5.22 oz; 148g

    Mobile software program

    Android 10

    iOS 13


    48-megapizel (normal), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 5-megapixel (macro), 5-megapixel (depth sensing)


    Front-facing digital camera



    Video seize




    Samsung Exynos 9611 processor (Octa-core)

    Apple A13 Bionic



    64GB, 128GB, 256GB



    Not disclosed

    Expandable storage

    Up to 512GB



    4,000 mAh

    Not disclosed, however Apple claims it has the identical battery life as iPhone 8

    Fingerprint sensor

    In-screen optical reader

    Home button




    Headphone jack



    Special options

    15W quick charging

    Water resistant (IP67); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wi-fi charging

    Price off-contract (USD)


    $399 (64GB), $449 (128GB), $549 (256GB)

    Price (GBP)


    £419 (64GB), £469 (128GB), £569 (256GB)

    Price (AUD)


    AU$749 (64GB), AU$829 (128GB), AU$999 (256GB)

    First printed on May 6.

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