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    Samsung Galaxy A35 5G review: A sensible mid-ranger with staying power

    If you want a Samsung smartphone but don’t want to pay the exorbitant pricing for the brand’s flagship models, go no further than the Galaxy A-series. And if you’re seeking the very best deal, you’ll look at the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G . Meanwhile, if you’re willing to spend an extra £100, the Galaxy A55 comes with a few extra features.

    In comparison to last year’s Galaxy A34, the Galaxy A35 has a speedier processor and an updated main camera, but that’s about it in terms of technology. However, you will receive Samsung Knox security for the first time, which encrypts your sensitive data on a hardware level. It’s also £10 cheaper than last year, at £339, and will be available in the United States this year for $399.

    This mid-range price category is more competitive than ever, and with the A35 only gaining minor changes over its predecessor, is Samusng doing enough to compete? I was curious to find out, and after using it as my primary device for a week, here is what I discovered.

    Design & Build

    • Plastic frame and rear
    • Gorilla Glass Victus+
    • 209g
    • IP67 rated

    The Galaxy A35 is a huge phone, and although being primarily composed of plastic, it is rather heavy. It has a flat front and back with a squared-off frame, akin to the iPhone and Samsung’s own Galaxy S24 series.

    The phone’s frame and back are composed of plastic, which feels plasticky, indicating that you’re holding a low-cost device. However, the appearance may mislead you into believing differently.

    It has a lovely pearlescent finish that shifts in the light

    Samsung Galaxy A35 5G

    The phone’s rear, which features Samsung’s iconic traffic light-style camera configuration, looks as good, if not better, than some of the company’s top models. I received the Awesome Lilac variation for testing, and it has a gorgeous iridescent quality that moves with the light.

    It’s shiny yet still feels gripping in the hand, and it’s not a fingerprint magnet. The Awesome Lemon option is just as eye-catching, if not more so, while the Awesome Navy and Iceblue finishes are more discreet.

    The phone’s plastic structure should make it extremely sturdy, and its IP67 classification implies that unexpected weather will not pose a threat to the A35. However, I was able to make a little dent in the corner of the frame when it slid off a table, indicating that it is not indestructible. There is no case in the box, so you might want to pick one up to keep it safe.

    This model, like the most of 2024 mid-rangers, has a headphone jack, but it does support microSD cards. However, you will have to pick between using a second SIM card or a microSD card, as this model does not allow eSIM.

    The haptic motors on this model are quite good. They outperform the Oppo Reno 11 F, for example, but fall far short of the great feedback provided by Samsung’s Galaxy S-series. In any case, they are precise enough to provide confident feedback when typing.

    Screen & Speakers

    • 6.6-inch AMOLED display
    • 1000 nits and 120Hz
    • Stereo speakers

    The display is a big OLED panel with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate and a generous resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels.

    The brightness peaks at 1000 nits, which is adequate for the majority of circumstances and nearly high enough to compete with direct sunlight. However, an anti-reflective coating would be extremely useful in this situation.

    The display is definitely a highlight of this device

    Samsung Galaxy A35 5G

    The display is unquestionably a highlight of this gadget. HDR material from apps like as Netflix and YouTube looks fantastic on this display. The OLED panel provides superb contrast, brilliant colours, and sharp highlights.

    If you prefer to fiddle with your settings, One UI provides rudimentary control over the color output. The settings are identical to those found on Samsung’s flagship models, with an advanced tab for adjusting the white balance and two main profiles for a vivid or natural look. The default settings looked perfect to me, so I never felt the need to change them.

    The only thing I dislike about this monitor is the bezel. It’s rather big all around, with the chin significantly larger than the other sides. It gives the phone a rather archaic appearance, especially given how many other mid-range handsets are able to shrink and even them out.

    This is one of the few phones in its price range with dual speakers, and they deliver well above their weight. There’s plenty of volume, no distortion, and more bass than most. I’ve heard worse from phones that cost three times as much.

    Specs & Performance

    • Exynos 1380
    • 6GB RAM
    • 128GB storage

    The Samsung Galaxy A35 receives an upgrade to the Exynos 1380 processor, which powered last year’s Galaxy A54.

    This comes with 6GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. I’m trying the base model with 128GB of storage, which can be upgraded up to 1TB with a microSD card.

    Samsung Galaxy A35 5G

    Unfortunately, despite the increased processing power, the phone’s performance did not wow me. It scored well in benchmarks, but throughout my testing, I frequently saw stutters and latency when navigating the OS, making the phone feel less capable than the specs suggest.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s easy to live with, and it never completely froze, but those stutters occur with alarming frequency. Phones with lower benchmark ratings, such as the Honor Magic 6 Lite, provide a considerably smoother experience for everyday usage.

    As always, I launched Genshin Impact to get a sense of the gaming performance. It’s playable on the ‘low’ graphics option, but I enjoyed a smoother experience with ‘lowest’, which could only achieve 60fps. In both situations, the phone got warm but never became too hot to handle.

    This phone is better suited to less graphically intensive games, such as Marvel Snap or Angry Birds, which it will run smoothly.

    Samsung Galaxy A35 benchmarks

    Benchmarks:

    • Geekbench 6 multicore – 2940
    • Geekbench 6 single core – 1002
    • GFXBench (various tests)
      • Aztec Open High – 19fps
      • Aztec Vulkan High – 19fps
      • Car Chase – 25fps
      • Manhattan 3.1 – 46fps
    • PCMark for Android battery test (screen set to suggested 200 nits brightness) 12 hours 18 mins
    • Charging with Ugreen Nexode 300W from 0% in 15 minutes – 27%
    • Charging with Ugreen Nexode 300W from 0% in 30 minutes – 53%

    Cameras

    • 50Mp main sensor
    • 8Mp ultrawide
    • 5Mp macro
    • 13Mp selfie camera

    The Samsung Galaxy A35 has three lenses on its back.

    The 8Mp ultrawide and 5Mp macro cameras remain unaltered from last year’s model, but the main camera’s resolution is increased from 48 to 50Mp, and the sensor is somewhat larger.

    The portrait mode cutouts and the artificial bokeh effects are just as impressive on this phone as they are on Samsung’s flagship models

    The main camera outperforms the others by a wide margin. In the daylight, it shoots colorful, lifelike images with outstanding dynamic range, and when it goes dark, it’s not too bad – especially with night mode enabled.

    Samsung’s image processing significantly improves images, albeit the default sharpening is a little more severe than I’d want. The portrait mode cutouts and artificial bokeh effects on this phone are equally spectacular as on Samsung’s top models.

    The ultrawide is useful on occasion, but it loses detail, and you won’t be impressed if you examine the images on a larger screen than the phone. It can’t handle low-light settings very well either.

    Meanwhile, the 5Mp macro is largely ineffective and serves just to increase the camera count, as is common on phones of this price range.

    Samsung Galaxy A35 5G test photo
    Samsung Galaxy A35 5G test photo

    Because there is no telephoto camera, all zoom photos are made by digitally cropping the main sensor and applying some AI image improvement. 2x zoom looks pretty excellent, but if you push it too much, you’ll be disappointed. You can shoot at a maximum zoom of 10x, although the best results are achieved at less than 5x.

    Around the front, there’s a 13MP punch-hole selfie camera, and while the specifications aren’t particularly impressive, the photos are excellent. It captures clear, detailed images with beautiful skin tones. It’s also quite wide, which makes it ideal for group pictures.

    Samsung Galaxy A35 5G test photo

    There is a 13 Megapixel punch-hole selfie camera on the front, and although the specs aren’t particularly noteworthy, the pictures turn out rather well. It produces crisp, detailed images with superb skin tones. It’s also rather broad, which is beneficial for group photos.

    Battery Life & Charging

    • 5000mAh battery
    • 25W wired charging
    • No charger included

    When combined with a mid-range CPU like this one, the Samsung Galaxy A35’s respectable, if rather ordinary, 5000mAh battery will last an extremely long time.

    I frequently had 50% charge left at the end of the day during my testing, indicating that two days of life with moderate use is definitely possible. The A35 lasts a strong 12 hours and 18 minutes in our standard PCMark for Android battery evaluation.

    However, on days when you used your phone more, that percentage reduced to about 20%. Of course, this all relies on how you use your phone. It won’t ever have trouble getting through the day, anyway.

    The phone can be charged via cable up to 25W, but you’ll need to find your own charger because one isn’t included in the package. It’s not the quickest available, but it’s also not bad. You can reach full capacity with a suitable charger in approximately one and a half hours. In the meantime, 30 minutes is all that is needed for a 50% charge.

    Wireless charging is not supported, however at this price point, that is not unusual.

    Software & Apps

    • One UI 6.1
    • Based on Android 14
    • Some bloatware
    • Long support

    Based on Android 14, Samsung’s One UI 6.1 is the operating system for the Galaxy A35. Although it might be a little difficult for those switching from another Android handset, longtime Samsung users will feel completely at home here.

    With its own versions, Samsung essentially doubles up on all of Google’s services, so you have a lot of apps to manage and things get a little crowded. Additionally, bloatware is preinstalled, which is typical for this price level, but it exacerbates the issue.

    One UI effortlessly connects with Samsung’s other devices, has some fantastic features built in, and has some of the greatest widget handling available. However, in comparison to Samsung’s flagship series, there are a few things you lose out on here. There is also no Circle for Google Search, nor any glitzy Galaxy AI features.

    The duration of support is arguably the best feature of the product. Samsung guarantees five years of security fixes and four significant OS upgrades. It is still superior to the great majority of phones in this price range even though it doesn’t quite equal what it offers on its flagship handsets.

    Price & Availability

    The Samsung Galaxy A35 5G carries an MSRP of £339/$399.99/€379 and it’s available to purchase now in most regions across the globe, either from Samsung directly, or a third-party retailer like Amazon.

    Specs

    • One UI 6.1, based on Android 14
    • 6.6-inch, 2340×1080, AMOLED, 120Hz
    • In-display fingerprint sensor
    • Exynos 1380
    • 6GB RAM
    • 128GB storage
    • Cameras:
      • 50Mp main sensor
      • 8Mp ultrawide
      • 5Mp macro
      • 13Mp selfie camera
    • Up to 4K @ 30fps rear video
    • Stereo speakers
    • Dual-SIM
    • MicroSD card slot
    • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
    • Bluetooth 5.3
    • 5000mAh battery
    • 25W charging
    • 161.7 x 78.0 x 8.2 mm
    • IP67 certified
    • 209g
    • Colours: Ice Blue, Lilac, Navy

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