Galaxy A51 and A71 hands-on: Samsung's mid-rangers bring great specs

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Samsung’s previous Galaxy A50 is an incredible value for the mid-range segment, and really outperformed its price in terms of display, battery life and cameras. Its next-generation follow-up comes in two flavors: the Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71.

The two phones basically look and feel the same, with a plastic build that’s incredibly similar to the A50 as well as the new Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite. It’s frankly uninspired design in both looks and materials, but I can understand it on devices in this price range ($300-500). There’s a little bit of flair in the back design, and it’s a very “Samsung” look, but there’s no part of holding these phones that’s particularly enjoyable or would make you proud to carry it. They are almost completely devoid of any interesting design elements.

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Like their predecessor, the A51 and A71 are more focused on giving you solid specs and capabilities for the money. You get 4-6GB of RAM and 64-128GB of storage on the A51, and 6-8GB and 128GB on the A71. The 6.5 and 6.7-inch displays are typically great Samsung in terms of brightness and colors and really stand out in this price range — whether you care about the center-cut front-facing camera or not.

There’s nothing visually interesting about these phones, but they have great value in specs and capabilities.

The quad cameras on the back are a slight misnomer, since you really only use two regularly: a 48MP main sensor and a secondary 12MP with an ultra-wide lens; the other two are dedicated depth sensor and macro shooter. But the A50 definitely out-performed its price point with its 48MP shooter, and I’d expect the same again here. And getting those extra lenses is a plus in a more budget-minded device.

Obviously it’s tough to gauge software performance in a brief time using the phones, but it’s great to see them launch on Android 10 with One UI 2 to match the updates that have arrived for Samsung’s flagships. I fully expect battery life to out-perform most people’s expectations, too, with 4000mAh in the A51 (same as the A50) and 4500mAh in the only marginally larger A71. That’s paired with 15W and 25W charging, respectively. Though there could be subtle differences between the two because oddly they’re using different processors — Exynos 9611 for the A51 and Qualcomm 730 for the A71.

Samsung has announced pricing for Europe at €370 and €470, which is a really good deal for capable mid-range devices. And if the A50 was any indication, you should be able to grab an imported model in the U.S. at a reasonable price as well. Even though it’s slightly disappointing to see such lackluster hardware offered in a market where even mid-range phones have gotten really good looking, it’s tough to argue with the value offered in specs here.

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