Samsung A35 Review: Better value than the Galaxy A55

Samsung Galaxy A35 (Image: Alex Kidman)

Samsung’s A35 presents an interesting balance in terms of value and features – but it’s a balance it strikes just that little bit better than its pricier sibling, the Galaxy A55.

Pros Cons
Cheaper than the A55, if you like your Galaxy A phones Cameras are quite ordinary for its price
Good battery life Plastic frame with bezels
Four years of Android OS updates Exynos 1380 is fine, not great at this price point

Score: 3/5


Samsung Galaxy A35 (Image: Alex Kidman) Buy The Samsung Galaxy A35! Buy On Amazon

Samsung’s Galaxy A35 treads a fine line between compromises at its price point while still competing against not only its siblings – the cheaper Galaxy A05s ($299), the Galaxy A15 ($349), the Galaxy A25 ($499) – as well as the pricier Galaxy A55 ($699).

Also read:
Samsung Galaxy A05s review
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review

Sitting in “second best” is often a really hard spot for a smartphone to sit in, because the temptation is to buy the one that’s just slightly better, because it’s typically not that much more, especially if you break it down over the number of years you’d hope to keep a smartphone rolling for.

However, Samsung’s choice to more-or-less make the Galaxy A35 a reskin of the Galaxy A54, plus a $50 price cut that creates a $150 price difference between it and the Galaxy A55 makes it a much more compelling option.

It’s not without its flaws, of course, but if I was keen on buying a Galaxy A series phone this year, the Galaxy A35 is the one I would purchase.

In this review

Samsung Galaxy A35 Specifications
Samsung Galaxy A35 Design
Samsung Galaxy A35 Camera Tests
Samsung Galaxy A35 Performance Tests
Samsung Galaxy A35 Battery Tests
Samsung Galaxy A35 Conclusions



Samsung Galaxy A35 (Image: Alex Kidman)

Where the Galaxy A55 tries quite hard to mimic the style of the more expensive Galaxy S phones with a metallic frame, the Galaxy A35 plays it much more mid-range, with a rounded plastic finish, available in Australia in “Awesome Navy” and “Awesome Ice Blue” finishes – it’s the latter that Samsung loaned me for review.

Predictably there do appear to be a couple of additional colours available in other markets – Lilac and Lemon – but if you wanted those you’d have to import them.

The use of plastic in the frame does denote a cheaper handset, but testing it directly after testing the Galaxy A55 left me with a distinct favourite – and it isn’t the Galaxy A55.

The metal frame on that phone was just a little more harsh in the hand compared to the smoother curves of the plastic-framed Galaxy A35. As a result it’s just a fraction more comfortable to use, even if it doesn’t look quite as fancy.

The Galaxy A35 is built around a 6.6 inch 120Hz capable Super AMOLED display, essentially unchanged from last year’s Galaxy A34, not that I’ve tested that model per se. 120Hz is always nice to have, but Samsung absolutely can’t claim first mover advantage here, as brands such as Motorola have been offering faster mid-range screens on smartphones for some time now.

Contentiously, like the Galaxy A55, the Galaxy A35 also has prominent bezels. Based on the feedback from my Galaxy A55 review, there’s a lot of sheer hatred for any bezels on a smartphone at all out there.

While they don’t fuss me quite as much as they seemingly do some folks, I will say that the framing combination of the Awesome Ice Blue finish and the black bezels does draw your eye to them a little more than they might otherwise.

On the control front, it’s all a very similar story to the Galaxy A55, with right hand side volume and power buttons above a lightly curved groove that makes them easy to find without looking.

At the top there’s a SIM card slot that supports either dual SIM or single SIM plus microSD, though unlike the Galaxy A55, there’s no support for eSIM on the Galaxy A35.

Camera Tests

Samsung Galaxy A35 (Image: Alex Kidman)

So many mid-range phones maintain their price points by having rather simple cameras, keeping the best of the best for the premium range devices. I’m sure that’s just coincidental, right?

OK, it totally isn’t, but in the case of the Galaxy A35, there’s a fair drop in camera specs between it and the Galaxy A55.

You do get a 50MP f/1.8 primary wide sensor, same as the A55, but you then drop to an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and 5MP macro, while selfies are taken via a front-facing 13MP camera.

The results are deeply average – but it is worth remembering that deeply average in 2024 is quite a bit different to deeply average on a mid-range phone in 2020, 2016 or 2010. In other news, I may have been reviewing mobile phones for a bit too long now.

What that means is that it’s possible to get pleasing shots from the Galaxy A35, but it will take a bit of work and especially a bit of patience. Switching between lenses is a slow process, so if you suddenly work out you actually want to use the ultra-wide lens, be ready for a pause as it jumps to that lens. Good luck if you’re trying to get a moving shot in that timeframe, however.

There’s no zoom capability, just cropping at between 2x to 10x, with a predictable dip in quality as you zoom closer and closer to your subject.

So for example, here’s a shot taken in Sydney’s CBD with the Galaxy A35’s ultra wide lens:

Samsung Galaxy A35 Ultrawide photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

The same shot with the standard 50MP lens:

Samsung Galaxy A35 Wide photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

At 2x magnification, it’s fine, albeit nothing you couldn’t do with a good photo editing app.

Samsung Galaxy A35 2x photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

4x struggles:

Samsung Galaxy A35 4x photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

And 10x has all sorts of issues:

Samsung Galaxy A35 10x photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

All of that is largely par for the course. For much of its target audience, the Galaxy A35 will be just fine. I’m a little pickier, and the biggest annoyance I had with the Galaxy A35 was undeniably the very slow shifting between lenses and speed of its camera app generally.

Galaxy A35 Sample Photos

Samsung Galaxy A35 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Samsung Galaxy A35 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Samsung Galaxy A35 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Samsung Galaxy A35 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Samsung Galaxy A35 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Samsung Galaxy A35 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Samsung Galaxy A35 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)

Samsung Galaxy A35 Sample Photo (Photo: Alex Kidman)


Samsung Galaxy A35 (Image: Alex Kidman)

The Galaxy A35 is built around Samsung’s Exynos 1380 processor with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage… and those specifications felt very familiar to me for some reason.

It’s not because it’s the same as the Galaxy A55, because that phone sports an Exynos 1480 instead.

No, it’s because that’s the beating heart of the Galaxy A54, last year’s “premium” Galaxy A series offering.

Essentially, the Galaxy A35 is the Galaxy A54, and that opens up all sorts of interesting conversations about whether or not that might be as good a buy if you can find one new. More on that in a second.

Also read:
Samsung Galaxy A54 Review

Having tested the Galaxy A54 previously, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect out of the Galaxy A35 in terms of performance.

First stop benchmarks, showing how it compares to similarly priced phones as well as the more pricey Galaxy A55, because it’s reasonable to expect that Galaxy A35 buyers might also be pondering the more expensive model. Here’s how it compares using Geekbench 6’s CPU test:

Here’s the same comparison using 3DMark Wild Life Extreme:

No great surprises there seeing the Galaxy A35 and Galaxy A54 essentially mirroring each other in performance terms, given they share the same underlying hardware engines.

However, before you jump up and down and declare that the Pixel 7a comparison is an unfair one because it’s a much more expensive phone… it really isn’t right now, and that’s a comparison that does the Galaxy A35 no favours at all. It’s not exactly a secret that the Pixel 8a is coming along any day now, and that means that Pixel 7a bargains abound.

Also Read:

Google Pixel 7a review

It’s getting a little into my process here, but my standard approach for these comparisons is to do a market price check against the RRP of a given phone to work out the other options you would have at that price.

Right now that includes the Pixel 7a, and it’s absolutely a better buy in performance terms. If you’re reading this review long after publication those metrics will have shifted, naturally, but then I’d expect the Galaxy A35 to get cheaper over time as well.

However, if you’re in the market for Samsung specifically because you like OneUI, there are some definite upsides to the Galaxy A35.

Last year the gap between the A34 and A54 was $100, but this year it’s $150, a decent little additional saving for which you only take a smallish performance hit. You don’t get eSIM, but you do get the same 4 years of OS upgrades and 5 years of security upgrades, meaning that it’ll stay relatively current for a decent span of time, about as long as many people keep a smartphone in fact.


Samsung Galaxy A35 (Image: Alex Kidman)

Like just about every Android phone that doesn’t twist in the middle, the Galaxy A35 runs off a 5,000mAh battery. My review sample was just the phone, but it’s entirely likely that the full Australian retail models won’t ship with a charger in any way.

I had some concerns with the Galaxy A35 prior to testing, because the A54 it shares its engine with was a fair but not superb battery performer. What’s pleasing here is that the Galaxy A35 simply does it better, possibly due to Android 14 OS optimisations.

Putting it through my standard YouTube streaming test showed this off rather well. What I look for here is battery performance above 90% -- below that is problematic for all day battery life – with every percentage point above 90% giving it even more endurance. Here’s how the Samsung Galaxy A35 compared:

Again, given the choice and at that price the Pixel 7a is still the superior buy because it's a much more powerful phones, but the Galaxy A35 absolutely holds its own against the rest of its siblings, and well ahead of the distinctly rugged Nokia XR21 too.

While that battery test is meant to replicate a real-world scenario (which reminds me, go subscribe to my YouTube Channel now!), in more ad-hoc testing over a week or so, the Galaxy A35 has generally lasted the distance well.

That’s very much on par with other Exynos phones I’ve tested over the years. They’re basically never the fastest in class, but they’re often very good at gently sipping at batteries.

Samsung Galaxy A35: Alex’s Verdict

Samsung Galaxy A35 (Image: Alex Kidman)

Is the Galaxy A35 the best mid-range smartphone at its price point?

Not quite, but that’s only really because there’s a bigger and shinier phone that’s seen a significant price cut as it prepares to be replaced by a newer variant within the next month or so.

Exclude the Pixel 7a from the equation (if, for example you were not able to source one) and it does make for a more compelling phone story at this price point.

It’s certainly the phone I would pick over the Galaxy A55; while it’s slightly less stylish and you don’t get eSIM support, in return you get a more comfortable phone to hold with better battery life, and you get to walk away having spent $150 less in the process.

Samsung Galaxy A35: Pricing and availability

The Samsung Galaxy A35 retails in Australia for $549 outright.

Samsung Galaxy A35 (Image: Alex Kidman) Buy The Samsung Galaxy A35! Buy On Amazon

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