Samsung rolls out two mid-range devices in SA – We go hands-on with the Galaxy A51 and A71


Samsung unveiled two new smartphones in its A series of handsets in Johannesburg today, the first of several devices in the range intended for the first half of this year. The phones are the Galaxy A51 and the Galaxy A71, both decent contenders for your time and money.

Before Samsung got around to the details of the phones, though, there where more than a few details surrounding the company, its brand, the A Series handsets (which grew 190%, selling four million units in South Africa over the past year) and the company’s focus for the range. Expect to see these words a whole bunch in future: “Awesome screen, awesome camera, long-lasting battery life.” That’s Samsung’s new mantra, and the subject of a massively ear-wormy commercial that will get a localised version soon.

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy A51

We got some time to play with Samsung’s new mid-tier handsets, with the Galaxy A51 being a surprisingly full-featured handset at its price point. Samsung’s punting — you guessed it — the screen, camera, and battery.  It’s packing a 6.5in Infinity Display, with a centre hole-punch 32MP front facing camera. At the back? A huge 48MP sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide, a 5MP depth and a 5MP macro camera. On the battery front, there’s a 4,000mAh battery with 15W fast charge. There’s 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the A51 totes along an in-display fingerprint sensor.

The phone is excellent on paper and in-hand, it looks the part. The screen is as bright as any you’ll find on a Samsung flagship, while the battery… isn’t something we could test in the few minutes we had to play with it. The design… is obviously Samsung but takes a few queues from Huawei’s Honor range with interesting colour gradients on the rear. Heft is lighter than you’d expect from a high-end Samsung — a concession to the materials used for construction. It might not feel like a flagship but it doesn’t feel cheap either.

We’ve got a review unit for this one already, so stay tuned for a review. The A51 launches next week, while Samsung will share proper pricing for the device later today. This one will retail from R7,000.

Hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy A71

The Galaxy A71 has a couple of digits on the A51 and, as expected, it’s got higher specs across the board. But, also, focused on Samsung’s big three for 2020 — screen, camera, battery. For this one, there’s a 6.7in hole-punched display (with the same 32MP camera as the A51), 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Yeah, the fingerprint sensor and Dolby Atmos audio are available here as well.

Most of the camera sensors are shared between the devices — the only difference is the main sensor, which scales up from 48MP to 64MP. The battery is bigger at 4,500mAh and it supports 25W fast charging. These were flagship-scale specs not long ago at all.

In-hand, the Galaxy A71 is extremely similar to the A51. If not for the size, it’d be hard to tell them apart — it’s a little like holding Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and S10+ — most of the differences are beneath the surface. Build quality is the same — not premium enough to charge R20k for it, but still… pretty good. The quad-camera setup is decent, though we’re keen to see what the phone can do when it’s not tied to a table.

Samsung’s Galaxy A71 is due for launch in February, and the price we’ve got is R9,000. Up next? Samsung’s got more A Series smartphones due, from the A11 to the A31 and beyond. A few of the later models will get 5,000mAh batteries, Samsung’s largest in this product tier. We’re not sure of the spec but they’ll probably be quicker than the pair above.

UPDATE: Samsung had pricing swapped for these handsets — the A71 starts at R9,000 while the A51 starts at R7,000.


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