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You can't go wrong with a Samsung Galaxy A phone, even the cheapest one
We haven’t been shy about celebrating the rise of the mid-range and budget-friendly smartphone segments. We’ve waxed poetic on the golden age that the Pixel A and Galaxy A series are in, and we’ve rated several entries from both Google and Samsung very highly over the years. Most of the time, we’re talking about the upper mid-range segment, including the Pixel 7a and the Galaxy A54, but Samsung is even bringing the quality at the more affordable end. It’s reached the point where you can’t go wrong with a Samsung Galaxy A device — even the most affordable Galaxy A14 5G.
Living in a material world
Don’t get me wrong, dipping into the budget-friendly end of the Galaxy A lineup comes with its sacrifices. After all, you can’t offer Gorilla Glass Victus and Armor Aluminum for the price of a pair of Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. No, once you get into Galaxy A14 5G territory, you’re looking at plastic for the back panel and the frame. Yet, Samsung does an excellent job dressing it up to feel like a more premium device. Its most affordable offering takes right after the premium Galaxy S23 flagship, at least in the overall style.
Yes, you’ll feel the difference between a Galaxy A14 in one hand and a Galaxy S23 in the other, but the gap isn’t as large as it once was. The easily affordable Galaxy A14 has the same slightly curved frame, flat back, and even a similar camera setup with just three little cutouts in a line. Even though the plastic that Samsung used won’t hold up in a battle against Corning’s premium Gorilla Glass, the slight texture is pleasantly fingerprint averse and feels decently tactile, too.
The Galaxy A14 may be plastic, but it's well-built and looks almost identical to the Galaxy S23.
As you move up through the Galaxy A ranks, you’ll pick up some more premium materials, with models like the Galaxy A54 adopting Gorilla Glass 5 to close the gap even more. Samsung’s unified design language is a perk for parents grabbing their kid’s first smartphone, as it makes everything feel a little more premium without worrying about shattering an $800 device.
If you do shatter your Galaxy A14 or even your Galaxy A54, Samsung’s global presence means it’s not even that hard to get repairs. Samsung offers first-party screen module replacements (including the display, battery, and frame) for devices back to the Galaxy A01. Of course, if you’re repairing a Galaxy A01, upgrading to a newer model may make more sense for the sake of longer software support, but it’s still good to know that Samsung has your back at any budget.
Samsung has your back for repairs, regardless of budget.
Of course, Samsung’s more premium Galaxy A offerings also come with extra RAM and processing power for you to work with. The Galaxy A54, for example, features an in-house Exynos 1380 processor, while the Galaxy A14 is just a step behind with the Exynos 1330. The Galaxy A54 will get you to the finish line just a bit quicker, but you might not be willing to spend twice the cost of the Galaxy A14 to get there.
Further, there’s no shortage of accessories for the entire Galaxy A lineup. Samsung offers a pair of first-party cases for the Galaxy A14, with increasing options as you work your way up the ladder. Third-party options are aplenty too. On top of cases and screen protectors, saving money on your smartphone means you can spend it elsewhere, upgrading your Galaxy Buds or Galaxy Watch — both of which work seamlessly with the entire Galaxy family.
All for One UI, One UI for all
While your hardware can vary wildly depending on how much money you spend on your Galaxy A device, you’ll always get a similar One UI experience. It’ll always look pretty much like the image above when you open the app drawer, and you’ll always have tons of customization options to dig into. However, the rest of Samsung’s lofty One UI standards keep it as one of the easiest Android skins to recommend.
For starters, there’s minimal bloatware when you set up a Galaxy A series device. Yes, you’ll get Facebook, a few Microsoft productivity apps, and a smattering of first-party duplicates from Samsung, but you can delete all of them to clean up your software experience. Samsung’s minimal bloat is a far cry from other affordable competitors like Redmi and even Motorola. The Moto G Power 5G now comes with a series of curated bloat apps based on your age and gender and hubs that serve as walking, talking Play Store ads. I’ll take a few removable apps over customized bloatware any day.
Apple still has the best update commitment around, but Samsung isn't far behind.
Further boosting Samsung’s case is its excellent update commitment. It comes second only to Apple from top to bottom, delivering flagship-level support on some of its mid-range devices. If you opt for the most affordable Galaxy A14 5G, you’re still looking at two full Android versions and four years of security patches, which easily tops what OnePlus and Motorola are committed to. For budget phones, it’s not uncommon to see a single Android update and just a few years of security support, but Samsung continues to exceed that mark. If you spend a little more and pick up the Galaxy A54, you’ll get four years of Android version support and five years of security patches, a true flagship commitment.
Don’t get me wrong — the Galaxy A14 5G won’t get its updates as quickly as premium relatives like the Galaxy S23 series. It’s just not as exciting to be the first to bring the latest and greatest to a budget phone. However, the updates will come, stretching your modest cost of entry much further.
Room for everyone
Whether you’re investing in Samsung’s long-term software support or just trying to save money, the important part is that there’s a Galaxy A device for just about everyone these days. The Galaxy A14 5G is a basic, affordable option that’s a perfect first smartphone if you just want something your kids don’t have to worry about. Samsung’s Galaxy A54 takes a step closer to the flagship segment but still only asks for a fraction of what the Galaxy S23 series costs.
As long as you can live without premium Gorilla Glass Victus and aluminum frames, the gap from the Galaxy A series to the Galaxy S series is as small as ever. Budget phones now look like flagships and get nearly identical software support, but you don’t have to break the bank to get there. There are sacrifices here and there — camera quality, processing power, wireless charging — but those are often premium luxuries that not everyone truly needs. If you’re scrolling social media and texting all day, there’s no need to have a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 powering your device — save the money and stick with the Galaxy A series.
Personally, I’d pick up the Galaxy A54 for a few of its extra creature comforts, but the Galaxy A14 5G is all you really need. It proved a reliable budget option over the course of my review, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it (or the rest of the Galaxy A series) to someone looking to save money.
What do you think? Would you pick up a Samsung Galaxy A device? Let us know in the poll below.