The Samsung Galaxy A05s is Samsung’s latest budget offering, promising an “impressive” feature set. How does it compare to other devices at the same price point?
While the rumour mills are busy churning up potential details around the Galaxy S24 series, expected early in 2024, Samsung’s been rather busy releasing more affordably priced fare. Recently it was the Galaxy S23 FE, which I’m still hoping to get in for review, and today it’s announced the Galaxy A05s, an even more affordable Galaxy phone which will set you back just $249 outright.
But what does $249 buy you in a smartphone in late 2023? Here’s the baseline specifications of the Samsung Galaxy A05s:
|Samsung Galaxy A05s|
|Processor||Octa-Core 2.4GHz, 1.9GHz (Probably Snapdragon 680)|
|Display||6.7 inch 1080×2400 LCD|
|Rear Cameras||50MP primary, 2MP macro, 2MP depth sensor|
|Biometrics||Side-mounted fingerprint sensor|
|Operating System||Android (Probably Android 13)|
|Updates||Up to 2 generations of OS upgrades, four years of security updates|
|Size||168.0 x 77.8 x 8.8mm|
|Buy The Samsung Galaxy A05s!||Buy On Amazon|
There’s some interesting detail there to unpick; the baseline model is indeed $249 but only has a meagre 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage; if you want more storage the 128GB model — which at the time of writing appears to be the only model that Samsung’s selling on its Australian web site — will run you $299.
There’s a few specifications I’ve thrown into brackets there because Samsung Australia’s local specification sheet for the Samsung Galaxy A05s doesn’t say what version of Android or which processor sits beneath the hood — but international model specs suggest it’s Android 13 on a Snapdragon 680.
It’s probably the same phone worldwide… but Samsung might just have a local variant, and it’s not saying!
The Snapdragon would be fine, but the use of Android 13 on a system only guaranteed two OS upgrades is a little less enticing, given Android 14 is 2023’s current version.
Then again, a lot of Samsung’s competitors don’t specify OS upgrades at all, so Samsung’s still ahead there. But what are your other options?
Motorola has a number of plays in this market, most notably the Motorola Moto G54 5G, which I’ve reviewed recently. That’ll run you $299, the same price as the Samsung Galaxy A05s higher storage tier model.
How does that compare at a specification level?
|Motorola Moto G54 5G|
|Processor||MediaTek Dimensity 7020|
|Display||6.5 inch 2400×1080 120Hz LCD|
|Rear Cameras||50MP primary, 2MP macro|
|Biometrics||Side-mounted fingerprint sensor|
|Operating System||Android 13|
|Updates||One OS upgrade|
|Size||161.56 x 73.82 x 7.99mm|
Samsung’s better on the OS upgrades, and the presence of a focusing sensor might give it an edge in photography, though I’m sensibly not expecting miracles out of its 2MP macro sensor.
Conversely, the Moto G54G has more RAM, a faster display and 5G capability where the Samsung Galaxy A05s is 4G only. While I haven’t dropped it into the spec table above, the Moto G54 5G also has NFC for contactless payments where the Samsung Galaxy A05s doesn’t.
Nokia’s got two plays that fit into the same kind of price space as the Samsung Galaxy A05s, in the cheaper Nokia C32 and the more expensive Nokia G22. Here’s how those phones stack up at a specification level.
|Nokia C32||Nokia G22|
|Processor||Unisoc SC9863A1||Unisoc T606|
|Display||6.52 inch 720×1600 LCD||6.52 inch 1600×720 90Hz LCD|
|Rear Cameras||50MP primary, 2MP macro||50MP primary, 2MP macro, 2MP depth sensor|
|Biometrics||Side-mounted fingerprint sensor||Side-mounted fingerprint sensor|
|Operating System||Android 13||Android 12|
|Updates||2 years of security updates||2 years of OS upgrades, 3 years of security updates|
I’ve seen the C32 going for even less than this asking price, but I’m yet to actually put one through its paces. I have tested the Nokia G22, a phone whose key selling point was that it is “repairable” with HMD Global’s blessing — though as I found out, self-repair can be a tricky business even if you’re “allowed” to do it. While its list price is higher than the $299 price of the Galaxy A05s, I have seen it selling a little cheaper through some retailers lately.
Repairability aside, Samsung has an in-specification level advantage here on most fronts, as the Unisoc processors that Nokia/HMD favours for its low-cost smartphones are rarely great performers even at this price point.
No. Apple just doesn’t play this cheap, and any “refurbished” iPhone you’re likely to see at the $249/$299 price point is going to be a seriously old one, probably on its last legs in terms of iOS updates.
What about Oppo?
Oppo does have budget phones in this price bracket, but I can’t recommend them at all at the current time, simply because Oppo won’t even send me details about them, or review units of any Oppo phones — and it’s been that way for more than a year now.
Why? Oppo took objection to the headlines in some reviews I wrote elsewhere, and as a result won’t provide me with much in the way of detail about anything at all, or for that matter review phones. I’d happily and fairly review any Oppo gear that came my way… but as I can’t, I can’t recommend consumers buy them.
If Oppo doesn’t have confidence in its phones to undergo fair and independent reviews, then I can’t recommend you buy them based simply on specifications. It’s a pity (and 100% Oppo’s call, because I’ve liked quite a few of its handsets in years past) but it’s not within my control to change.