Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

How do you make a good midrange phone better? If you’re Samsung, you swap in a house-made processor, bump up the battery capacity, ditch the in-box charger, and lower the price by $50. Follow that recipe and you get the $449 Galaxy A53 5G.

Samsung also followed the cardinal rule of not fixing what wasn’t broken. The cameras, screen, and design are all unchanged from last year’s model. Performance is about the same, too, even with the switch from a Snapdragon processor to a new, unproven Exynos chipset. Losing the previously included charging brick is a bummer, but it was going to happen eventually.

Even better than the minor spec upgrades, Samsung has improved its already strong software support policy. The A53 5G will get four years of Android OS platform updates and five years of security updates. That’s as long as Google supports its flagship Pixel 6 phones with security updates. Don’t expect to get frequent updates toward the end of its lifespan, but getting any kind of update five years after launch is fantastic for a midrange Android device.

Samsung has addressed some of our software complaints, too. The A53 5G ships with Android 12-based One UI 4.1, which is a little tidier than the version that came before it. It is still a Samsung device, though, and Samsung still desperately wants you to live in its world with its own app store, virtual assistant, and constellation of pre-downloaded apps.

If you’re happy living in Samsung’s world, or at least don’t mind putting up with it, then the Galaxy A53 5G should reward you with an excellent return on your investment.

The A53 includes a 6.5-inch OLED with 120Hz refresh rate, with rich contrast and smooth animations.

The Galaxy A53 5G is the first Samsung phone sold…