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ian87w

macrumors G3
Original poster
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
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Indonesia

gsmarena_001.jpg

Picture is the A54.

King of mid-range is back.
My quick take:
A54: great SoC upgrade Exynos 1380 with 4x performance cores (instead of the traditional 2). UFS3.1, probably a first for a Samsung midranger. 6.4" 120Hz AMOLED. And it uses glass back this time around instead of plastic. So more premium. Downside, it weighs 202g!
Price in my country is ~$420 for 256GB model (and we only get this one model)
Edit: apparently there’s 128GB version as well, for $390. Only $30 difference, shows you that NAND prices are cheap, and Apple’s margin.

A34: SoC is Dimensity 1080, not much different than A33. Still plastic back, but screen is larger than A54. 6.6" 120Hz AMOLED. First time that the A3x having larger screen than the A5x brother. Weighs in at 199g. Man these new phones are heavy!
Price in my country: $325 for 128GB, $350 for 256GB model. (yeah, $25 difference for double the storage, take that Apple!).

Amazing part, both will get 4 years of Android upgrades and 5 years of security patches. The same as the flagship Galaxy S series!

I was actually eyeing the A54, but I'm not liking the weight. Will have to see and feel it in person.
Biggest competition is the S21 FE, 256GB for ~$550. 1 year older, but real flagship camera and actually lighter and more compact despite having the same screen size as the A54.

Also, seems like there won't be an S22 FE afterall. S21FE replacing the A7x, and S22 replacing the S22FE at their positioning in the lineup.
 
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Smellmet

macrumors 6502
Dec 15, 2012
367
131
Goole, UK
I'm interested in either of these to replace my battered A71 (which is still chugging on nicely and can do 24 hours between charges still).

I'm gutted there's not going to be an A74 as it's likely spec would have been exactly what I'm looking for in terms of value for money based on the specs of the A73 (which I still may purchase). I'm a big lad and a big screen appeals to me.

Initially I'm leaning towards the A54 but I'm not sure if I want to downgrade my screen from 6.7 to 6.4 inches, and I'm not keen on the glass back despite it being more 'premium'. From what I can see the SoC should be on a par with the Snapdragon 778 which is absolutely fine.

After a bit of research I may go for the A34 as from what I can see the Dimensity SoC it has is actually a relatively powerful chipset and is apparently comparable to a snapdragon 7x series (it's way better then the SG 730 in the A71 in the benchmark tests I've read and only slightly behind the 778), which is very decent for an A3x series phone and enough for my needs (I don't play games on my phone). It also has a bigger screen and a 'glasstic' back which appeals to me.

I think the pricing of both of these new models is on the high side in my opinion, but still in budget for me.

I'll definitely have to play with one before I buy as the only thing I don't like about my A71 is the camera performance - the quality of the photos are fine, it's the speed of it that drives me mad. In all the S series phones I've had I've felt like I can press the shutter at will and it would take a shot instantly but there's this frustrating delay on the A71 which makes it difficult to snap stuff on the fly. If these phones cameras perform well then I'll be very tempted.

Which has brought me into researching other options...

The S21/S22/S23 series, FE or otherwise are a non starter as SD card support is a complete deal breaker for me as I have my entire photo and music library on mine which almost fills my 256GB SD in my A71.

Maybe I could still purchase a new S20 plus or Ultra with my budget of £500 (I wouldn't want to go down the refurbished route).

The A52S is also a possibility as it can be purchased very cheaply now and has the 778 on board but is obviously a bit older.

Failing that the A73 ticks pretty much all the boxes, but I really like the styling (and colours) of the A54/34 they look very clean and modern.
 
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ian87w

macrumors G3
Original poster
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
I'm interested in either of these to replace my battered A71 (which is still chugging on nicely and can do 24 hours between charges still).

I'm gutted there's not going to be an A74 as it's likely spec would have been exactly what I'm looking for in terms of value for money based on the specs of the A73 (which I still may purchase). I'm a big lad and a big screen appeals to me.

Initially I'm leaning towards the A54 but I'm not sure if I want to downgrade my screen from 6.7 to 6.4 inches, and I'm not keen on the glass back despite it being more 'premium'. From what I can see the SoC should be on a par with the Snapdragon 778 which is absolutely fine.

After a bit of research I may go for the A34 as from what I can see the Dimensity SoC it has is actually a relatively powerful chipset and is apparently comparable to a snapdragon 7x series (it's way better then the SG 730 in the A71 in the benchmark tests I've read and only slightly behind the 778), which is very decent for an A3x series phone and enough for my needs (I don't play games on my phone). It also has a bigger screen and a 'glasstic' back which appeals to me.

I think the pricing of both of these new models is on the high side in my opinion, but still in budget for me.

I'll definitely have to play with one before I buy as the only thing I don't like about my A71 is the camera performance - the quality of the photos are fine, it's the speed of it that drives me mad. In all the S series phones I've had I've felt like I can press the shutter at will and it would take a shot instantly but there's this frustrating delay on the A71 which makes it difficult to snap stuff on the fly. If these phones cameras perform well then I'll be very tempted.

Which has brought me into researching other options...

The S21/S22/S23 series, FE or otherwise are a non starter as SD card support is a complete deal breaker for me as I have my entire photo and music library on mine which almost fills my 256GB SD in my A71.

Maybe I could still purchase a new S20 plus or Ultra with my budget of £500 (I wouldn't want to go down the refurbished route).

The A52S is also a possibility as it can be purchased very cheaply now and has the 778 on board but is obviously a bit older.

Failing that the A73 ticks pretty much all the boxes, but I really like the styling (and colours) of the A54/34 they look very clean and modern.
Yeah, this is the first time A5x model has smaller screen than A3x. Really weird decision.

The A52s is so good, but it’s getting hard to find nowadays.

If you don’t mind an older device, the S20FE might be an option, although it’s on its tail end of software support (it was released back in 2020).

In your case, it might be a good idea to just find the A73 while it is still available. If not, then the A34 might be your option if you want longest software support.
 

Smellmet

macrumors 6502
Dec 15, 2012
367
131
Goole, UK
Yeah, this is the first time A5x model has smaller screen than A3x. Really weird decision.

The A52s is so good, but it’s getting hard to find nowadays.

If you don’t mind an older device, the S20FE might be an option, although it’s on its tail end of software support (it was released back in 2020).

In your case, it might be a good idea to just find the A73 while it is still available. If not, then the A34 might be your option if you want longest software support.
Yeah I have considered the S20 series but like you say they are just getting a little on the old side - I'm not overly concerned about software updates, it's more that the styling is almost identical to my A71 and is looking a bit dated. I tend to keep my phones until the end of their lives so they'll look ancient soon.

At this point it's a 3 way tie between the A34, A54 and A73

I'm already missing Samsung offering a phone for every budget, especially the A7x series which really gave me what I'm looking for - big, flat screen, decent specs and camera for a good price. I'll wait til the reviews are fully out before making my mind up.
 
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ian87w

macrumors G3
Original poster
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
Wow I've just looked this up. I never knew these existed! Snapdragon 778, headphone jack AND removable battery? Has to be a contender
Yes, but it’s a much bulkier device, larger and much heavier than your A71. Of course, the upside is that you probably don’t need any case. It has limited availability as it’s designed for enterprise use. It’s not even available in my country. 😅
 

ozaz

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2011
1,609
563
I wish Samsung privided a 6" midrange option. Don't understand why they cluster them all around 6.5", and yet have 6" option in the S Series.
 

Smellmet

macrumors 6502
Dec 15, 2012
367
131
Goole, UK
The M54 that's just been announced/released looks like an excellent option now too. Same chipset as the A54 with a bigger 120hz screen, plastic back (which I much prefer), 108MP camera (which I'm assuming is the same unit as the A73), and a massive 6000mAh battery. The only downgrade I can see at the moment are the secondary cameras, which is by no means a deal breaker - I couldn't care less about the macro lens and I wish Samsung would cease using them and put something more useful in it's place.

Assuming I can buy one in the UK that could well be the one I go for.
 

ian87w

macrumors G3
Original poster
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
The M54 that's just been announced/released looks like an excellent option now too. Same chipset as the A54 with a bigger 120hz screen, plastic back (which I much prefer), 108MP camera (which I'm assuming is the same unit as the A73), and a massive 6000mAh battery. The only downgrade I can see at the moment are the secondary cameras, which is by no means a deal breaker - I couldn't care less about the macro lens and I wish Samsung would cease using them and put something more useful in it's place.

Assuming I can buy one in the UK that could well be the one I go for.
Note that the M series lacks IP rating and have shorter software support (and only quarterly security patches) than the A series. If those are not important to you, they are pretty good bang for the buck.
 

Smellmet

macrumors 6502
Dec 15, 2012
367
131
Goole, UK
Note that the M series lacks IP rating and have shorter software support (and only quarterly security patches) than the A series. If those are not important to you, they are pretty good bang for the buck.
An IP rating is desirable but I've put up with the lack of one on my A71 for the last 3 years and it hasn't really bothered me tbh, the software support isn't a deal breaker either.
 

Breaking Good

macrumors 65816
Sep 28, 2012
1,449
1,225
Don't understand why they cluster them all around 6.5", and yet have 6" option in the S Series.

Simple, that's what sells.

Smartphone stopped being phones at least five years ago. They are now mobile computing devices that you can also make calls on.

I think it is quite telling that Apple discontinued the iPhone mini with the release of the iPhone 14.

I'm not saying demand for small phones isn't there. It just isn't enough for any manufacturer to justify keeping a variant in production and updating each year.

Perhaps Apple will bring back the mini in a year or two. I think at this point Apple has a good idea of who is their customer and their buying habits. I imagine they know the segment that wants a small phone and how often they upgrade. So it is possible they will release another mini in the future.

I'm only referring to Apple in the above comment because it is easy to use them as an example. The Android side is much more diverse so it is harder to observe trends. But overall the trend seems to be larger phones with 6.5" seeming to be the sweet spot right now.
 

ozaz

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2011
1,609
563
I think it is quite telling that Apple discontinued the iPhone mini with the release of the iPhone 14

iPhone mini (5.4") was up against 6" phones (i.e. regular iPhones of ~ 6"). So I don't think the lack of success of the mini really speaks to any lack of demand for 6" phones.

Samsung obviously feels there is demand for 6" phones as its an option in the flagship S series. For this reason it seems odd to me that they don't provide this size amongst their midrange offerings.
 

ian87w

macrumors G3
Original poster
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
Finally have a chance to play with the A54 physically.
The glass back does make the phone feel more solid and hefty. But cannot hide the added weight. The overall design pretty much is very similar to the S23, meaning very sharp corners for the flat back glass. Personally, I don't find that to be comfortable. It feels too sharp to my liking, sharper than the iPhone 12-14 flat design. It's as if Samsung designed it so people would buy a case for it.

General responsiveness seems to be good, very close to the S21. I'm guessing due to the 4x performance cores. Previous A series tend to have a bit of hesitations when you do things (eg swipe around, start an app, going to the home screen, etc). It's very subtle, but it gets obvious once you compare it with the S series. The A54 feels to have improved in that regards.
 

Smellmet

macrumors 6502
Dec 15, 2012
367
131
Goole, UK
Finally have a chance to play with the A54 physically.
The glass back does make the phone feel more solid and hefty. But cannot hide the added weight. The overall design pretty much is very similar to the S23, meaning very sharp corners for the flat back glass. Personally, I don't find that to be comfortable. It feels too sharp to my liking, sharper than the iPhone 12-14 flat design. It's as if Samsung designed it so people would buy a case for it.

General responsiveness seems to be good, very close to the S21. I'm guessing due to the 4x performance cores. Previous A series tend to have a bit of hesitations when you do things (eg swipe around, start an app, going to the home screen, etc). It's very subtle, but it gets obvious once you compare it with the S series. The A54 feels to have improved in that regards.

I read an initial hands on review the other day that said the A34 performed nicer in day to day use. It said that the A54 had the odd stutter here and there and the A34 didn't.
 

ian87w

macrumors G3
Original poster
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
I read an initial hands on review the other day that said the A34 performed nicer in day to day use. It said that the A54 had the odd stutter here and there and the A34 didn't.
Interesting. The store I went didn’t have the demo A34 yet, only the A54.
The A54 definitely feels more responsive than the A52 and A53, although there is still a very subtle hesitations. It’s not as smooth as even the S21, but it’s closer than any previous A5x series I have observed.

If one has the budget and don’t mind a year older phone, the S21 FE is definitely a better performing phone, along with actual flagship chip and cameras. But I can see future promos, cutting down the A54 price to almost half of the S21FE.
 

ian87w

macrumors G3
Original poster
Feb 22, 2020
8,704
12,636
Indonesia
This is one of the reviews that I've found that says the A34 performs better

Gaming performance, Exynos will always behind due to waiting for optimizations from the developers.

As for heat, this is what I’m afraid of. Exynos obviously used Samsung fab, and we all know how bad they are. I believe Dimensity uses TSMC, so it fares much better.

I’ll be watching for an A34 demo unit to play around with. The A54 is supposed to be superior on paper due to 4x performance cores and UFS3.1.
 

Smellmet

macrumors 6502
Dec 15, 2012
367
131
Goole, UK
I need to get my hands on an A34. If the camera works better than my A71 (ie no shutter lag) then I'll be very tempted to purchase one. If not, I'll pick up an A73, which have now come down in price considerably.
 

Smellmet

macrumors 6502
Dec 15, 2012
367
131
Goole, UK
Well I’ve had my A34 for a day now, and I’m very impressed with it.

The display is excellent, though I can’t really see the difference when I switch between 60 and 120hz so I’ll leave it on 60 for the time being to save battery. It seems more crisp and detailed than the A71.

The performance so far has been spot on, very smooth and responsive, I haven’t done anything that taxes the phone particularly but I don’t anticipate any lag or slowdown based on my use so far. The haptics are better than the A71 too.

The fingerprint scanner is faster and works better than the A71 also. I could never get the A71 to work properly using my thumb to unlock it but it's a breeze with this phone.

The camera is also superior to the A71, both in terms of image quality and the capture performance. Images seem more detailed in general, and I did a side by side low light shot with the A71 and the A34’s image looked better in every aspect.

I like the styling too and prefer the slightly wider screen to the taller display of the A71. It looks very clean and modern and doesn’t look cheap at all.

My only gripes so far are the the rear panel could do with feeling a bit more solid, lack of headphone jack, and the charging speed is not great but I can live with all three of these issues no problem.

Right now I don’t regret getting this over the A54 one bit, and I think this phone represents excellent value for money considering I paid £430 for my 128GB/6GB A71 3 years ago and only £399 for this 256GB/8GB (with free Galaxy Buds 2) version that seems superior in every way so far despite being 2 steps further down the A series line.
 
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snow755

macrumors 68000
Sep 12, 2012
1,877
832
I wish they would offer just one 7 inch A series option. I'd be all over that.

just buy a tablet at that point lol we don’t need tablet size phones the 6.1 to 6.8 screen sizes is all ready big enough anything bigger you be getting in too the tablet sizes it will all so be harder to be able to put in your pocket and depending on battery size the phone would probably be heavy to hold has well
 

Smellmet

macrumors 6502
Dec 15, 2012
367
131
Goole, UK
just buy a tablet at that point lol we don’t need tablet size phones the 6.1 to 6.8 screen sizes is all ready big enough anything bigger you be getting in too the tablet sizes it will all so be harder to be able to put in your pocket and depending on battery size the phone would probably be heavy to hold has well

I'm a big guy (6ft 7) with big hands. The biggest current smartphones look normal in my hands and fit in my pockets just fine. sub 6.5 inch phones look like kids toys in my hands.

No harm in offering options.
 

Smellmet

macrumors 6502
Dec 15, 2012
367
131
Goole, UK
So I've had this phone a few days now and it continues to impress me with it's performance, display, camera and build quality.

My only issue at the moment is the battery. When I charge it to 100 percent it says it'll last 23 hours, which doesn't seem right to me, that's around the same as my battered old A71 which has had 3 solid years of hard use - when I first got that phone it said 2 days plus standby time once charged and was frequently saying over 1 day only recently. This new A34 has a 20 percent bigger battery and is obviously brand new. Is there something I'm doing wrong? Do I need to drain it to zero a few times? Do new smartphone batteries take time to get to their peak performance? I've seen reviews that says this phone has well over 2 day standby time
 
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