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Samsung Galaxy A buyer's guide: What you need to know about the budget line

Just because some of the phones in this series are very cheap doesn't mean they aren't worth a look!
By
February 16, 2022
Samsung Galaxy A03s rear angle
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

When people think of Samsung phones, they likely think of the Samsung Galaxy S series. That product line contains a few of the best-selling Android phones of all time and is easily the most popular smartphone family outside the iPhone. So what, then, is the Samsung Galaxy A series?

See also: The best budget phones you can currently buy

If you are looking for information on the Galaxy A series, you’re in the right place! Below, we’re going to give you all the details you need on one of Samsung’s other very popular smartphone lines. We’re going to go over what the Galaxy A series is, how to tell the Galaxy A series phones apart, and which phones are worth a look at this present moment.

Samsung Galaxy A line at-a-glance

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G placed on grey fabric showing back panel top down view
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

In a nutshell, the Samsung Galaxy A line is where Samsung puts its budget and mid-range smartphones. A Galaxy A phone, by definition, won’t be as good as a Galaxy S phone. However, a Galaxy A phone will almost always be hundreds of dollars cheaper than a Galaxy S phone.

And when we say a phone in this series “won’t be as good as a Galaxy S phone,” please don’t take that to mean that these are bad phones. In reality, a mid-range Galaxy A phone could offer the core features general shoppers want while saving them tons of cash. In some cases, a Galaxy A phone could even end up being better for a particular buyer when it comes to specs and features.

The Samsung Galaxy A series is where the company puts its budget and mid-range smartphones.

For example, since Samsung Galaxy A phones are not flagships, most of them still come with features premium devices don’t have anymore. Specifically, this includes microSD card slots and headphone jacks. If you’re looking for one of these features, the Galaxy A series is a good place to start.

Unfortunately, Samsung takes a much more fragmented approach to the Galaxy A line when compared to the Galaxy S line. That means, depending on where you live, some Galaxy A phones won’t be available. You’ll need to visit your localized version of Samsung.com to see what’s available in your country.

How to read the numbers

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G close up of screen
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

We won’t hold back here: there are a lot of Galaxy A phones out there. To make matters worse, they are confusingly named. As such, you might not have any idea how to know which Galaxy A device is the best and what the numbers all mean. We’re here to help!

First off, every phone in the Samsung Galaxy A family will start with “Galaxy A” (obviously). After the “A,” you’ll see the first number. This first number represents one of the various lines within the Galaxy A family. The higher this first number is, the more premium the device would be. So far, the highest number available is nine (most premium, most expensive), while the lowest is zero (least premium, least expensive).

Related: Everything you need to know about Samsung

After that first number, there will be a second number. This second number represents the generation of that phone. For now, the highest number here is three, which would represent the third generation of the Galaxy A line (or eighth, if you count the devices Samsung launched before refining the Galaxy A series to make more sense).

As an example, let’s take the Samsung Galaxy A72. The first number there says that it is in the “7” family of Galaxy A phones. The second number says that it is a second-gen device, so it is a 2021 phone. If the second number were a three, it would be a 2022 phone, and so on.

Finally, sometimes Samsung releases “s” versions of Galaxy A smartphones. These phones would have an “s” after the second number, such as Samsung Galaxy A03s. All the “s” means is that it is a slightly refined, upgraded, or simply different version of the Galaxy A03.

Do Galaxy A phones have the same software as other Samsung devices?

Samsung Galaxy A71 5G standing upright showing screen and app icons.
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung is one of the best Android manufacturers when it comes to software. Aside from a few minor differences, every Galaxy smartphone launched in the past few years has the same One UI software. They also all receive very similar update schedules.

This policy applies to the Samsung Galaxy A series. That means the software you find on a cheap Galaxy A phone is relatively the same as what you’d find on a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which is one of the company’s most premium devices.

Required reading: Everything you need to know about One UI

This also means a cheap Galaxy A phone would see a similar update schedule to a more expensive Samsung device. Generally, this means two or three Android upgrades and four years of security patches.

As an example of what we mean, take the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G. As a 2021 phone (note the “2” as the second number), it launched with Android 11. It will thus receive Android 12 and Android 13, and then possibly receive Android 14. After its final Android upgrade, it will get another year of security patches before Samsung stops supporting it altogether. This update policy is nearly the same as the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, which launched right around the same time. Not bad, right?

The major downside here is that Galaxy A devices won’t see updates as frequently or as quickly as Galaxy S and Galaxy Z phones. Since customers spend more on those devices, they get priority when it comes to software.

Samsung Galaxy A7 and Galaxy A5 phones

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G camera module in hand
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Although there has been one 9-series Galaxy A device (the Galaxy A90 from 2019), Samsung never launched any others. As such, for the past few years, the “7” series has been the most premium category within the Samsung Galaxy A family. So far, we’ve seen the Galaxy A70, Galaxy A71, and Galaxy A72. There have also been a few variations in there, such as the Galaxy A70s and the 5G version of the Galaxy A71.

Phones in this line have the best cameras, the best processors, and the best displays of the Galaxy A family. They are also quite expensive, with the retail price of the most recent Galaxy A72 starting at £419 (~$566). The Galaxy A72 is not officially available in the United States. If you can get one, though, it does have a huge battery, a decent processor, and a fine camera system, as well as Android 12.

Samsung Galaxy A72

Underneath the 7-series phones, we have the 5-series phones (like the “9” series, Samsung doesn’t make 6-series Galaxy A devices anymore). As one would expect, 5-series Galaxy A devices aren’t quite as good as 7-series devices. On the flip side, they are usually easier to get and not as expensive.

So far, we’ve seen the Galaxy A50, Galaxy A51, and Galaxy A52. As with the 7-series phones, there have also been subtle variations on those devices, such as the Galaxy A52s. That phone is the most recent in the line.

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
£409.00 at Samsung

Samsung Galaxy A4 and Galaxy A3 phones

Samsung Galaxy A42 rear panel
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Stepping down from the top-tier 7-series and 5-series phones, we have the 4-series and 3-series Galaxy A devices. Since the numbers have decreased, the specs and features of the phones will drop accordingly. However, pricing will also drop, making these phones a kind of middle ground between your usual mid-ranger and your ultra-cheap budget phones.

In the 4-series, we’ve seen the Galaxy A40, Galaxy A41, and Galaxy A42, along with the usual variations on each of those models. The Samsung Galaxy A42 is the most recent model and is available in the United States with an MSRP of $399. Notably, it features a huge 5,000mAh battery, which is the same size as the one in the $1,200 Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G
$399.00 at Amazon

In the 3-series of Galaxy A phones, we’ve seen the Galaxy A30, Galaxy A31, and Galaxy A32. As usual, there have been “s” models of some of those, as well as other subtle variations. The 5G version of the Galaxy A32 ended up being one of our favorite budget phones of 2021, so be sure to check it out.

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
$279.99 at Samsung

Samsung Galaxy A2, A1, and A0 phones

Samsung Galaxy A03s on table
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

At the bottom of the heap, we have the 2-series, 1-series, and 0-series Galaxy A phones. In general, these phones have low-end specs, bare-bones cameras, low-resolution displays, and weak processors. However, they are usually incredibly inexpensive. This makes them perfect for a young child’s first phone, a “burner” phone, or a phone for hiking or traveling.

The most recent phones in each series are the Galaxy A22, Galaxy A13, and Galaxy A03s. Each one has an MSRP that is at or below $250, with the Galaxy A03s starting at an incredibly low $150.

Samsung Galaxy A03s
$159.99 at Samsung

Remember that just because these phones are super cheap doesn’t mean they are of poor quality. That $150 Galaxy A03s has a 5,000mAh battery that charges at 15W, a triple-lens rear camera, and a huge 6.5-inch display. That’s a lot for $150.


That’s everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy A series! Be sure to bookmark this page as we will update it frequently as Samsung launches new devices and updates the line.