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Samsung Galaxy A34 5G back cover
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy A34 5G review: Should you buy it?

The Galaxy A34 5G's biggest challenge might come from Samsung itself.
By
November 21, 2023

Samsung Galaxy A34 5G

The Samsung Galaxy A34 5G is a modest upgrade over its predecessor, but with superb battery life, a durable build, and a long-term update pledge, you're still getting decent value.

What we like

Fantastic battery life
Durable, water-resistant build
Long-term update promise
Decent main camera
4K selfie video support

What we don't like

Poor low-light image quality
Super-slow charging speeds
Mediocre secondary cameras
Limited upgrades over predecessor
Some app bloat

Samsung Galaxy A34 5G

The Samsung Galaxy A34 5G is a modest upgrade over its predecessor, but with superb battery life, a durable build, and a long-term update pledge, you're still getting decent value.

Samsung Galaxy A34 5G review: At a glance

  • What is it? The Samsung Galaxy A34 5G is a mid-range Android phone that picks up where the Galaxy A33 5G left off. It offers a MediaTek Dimensity 1080 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, 6.6-inch FHD+ 120Hz OLED screen, and a 5,000mAh battery.
  • What is the price? The Galaxy A34 5G will set you back £349 (~$445) in the UK for the 128GB model.
  • Where can you buy it? The Galaxy A34 5G is currently available in Africa, Asia, the UK, the rest of Europe, and Latin America. It is not currently available in the US.
  • How did we test it? I tested the Galaxy A34 5G for two weeks. The review unit was supplied by Samsung South Africa.
  • Is it worth it? The Samsung Galaxy A34 5G is a modest upgrade over its predecessor, bringing precious few upgrades. But while the performance and design aren't flashy, you're still getting an impressive commitment to updates, great battery life, a durable build, and a nice display for the price.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy A34 5G?

Samsung Galaxy A34 5G in hand showing display
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The Galaxy A34 5G is an all-plastic affair, including the rear cover and frame, though there are individual cutouts in the rear cover for the triple camera system. My first impression was that the Galaxy A34 5G looks a little dated compared to many other budget phones, though that’s largely due to the use of a waterdrop notch here rather than a punch-hole cutout. It also bears a bit of a resemblance to older iPhones owing to the rounded corners and relatively thick design.

The best thing about the Galaxy A34 5G’s design is the IP67 rating for water and dust resistance, following in the Galaxy A33 5G’s footsteps. This rating means it should survive a dunk in the bath or pool. It’s also worth noting that the Awesome Lime model we’ve got is more vibrant than the photos here suggest.

The Samsung Galaxy A34 5G looks and feels like a budget phone from 2019, but that IP67 rating is very welcome.

The phone brings a 6.6-inch 120Hz FHD+ OLED screen to the table, and it defaults to low auto-brightness at first. Thankfully, that’s just the usual adaptive brightness quirk and the phone gets bright enough for viewing in all conditions after you’ve made some tweaks. You’ve also got an optical in-display fingerprint sensor. It’s no surprise that this is noticeably slower than Samsung’s flagship ultrasonic scanners, but I also found it was slower to unlock than some of its rivals.

Samsung’s mid-ranger is equipped with a MediaTek Dimensity 1080 chipset, 6GB to 8GB of RAM, and 128GB to 256GB of storage (we’re using the 6GB/128GB model). The MediaTek processor is more of a sideways move than a proper upgrade over the Galaxy A33 5G’s Exynos 1280, although the decision to use 6GB of base RAM is a welcome one as the cheapest A33 5G model only had 4GB of RAM. The Galaxy A34 5G supports microSD card expansion too, so you don’t need to juggle media between your phone and the cloud or constantly transfer content between your PC and phone.

Benchmarks show the Galaxy A34 5G to be firmly in budget territory, lagging behind the Galaxy A54 5G when it comes to multi-core and graphical performance. In saying so, PCMark’s Work 3.0 benchmark yields a score that’s competitive with flagship phones, suggesting great overall system optimization.

Real-world system performance is mostly smooth, although I did find the phone was a little aggressive with background app management. Titles like Call of Duty Mobile ran at a good pace with some settings turned up, but more demanding titles like Genshin Impact default to jaggy visuals and feature noticeably more judder. You should also forget about the most taxing games in more modern emulators, although I found that some GameCube games were very playable (but not without performance hiccups).

Thankfully, Samsung’s phone delivers fantastic battery life. I was able to eke out over two days of moderate usage (using Reddit, Instagram, and podcasts), complete with roughly nine hours of screen-on time. I also used the phone to watch YouTube videos during the workday, play a few games, and browse the internet, yielding an impressive 11 hours of screen-on time and just under two days of usage. That’s top-notch endurance right there. More intensive use cases (e.g. demanding games) will undoubtedly knock a few hours off that time, but you can get two days out of this phone without sacrificing much.

Samsung delivers 25W wired charging speeds here, but you’re not getting a charger in the box. In any event, the phone went from zero to 100% in just over 100 minutes when I used a 65W USB-PPS charger. That’s pretty slow when some rival budget phones are touting charging times of an hour or less.

Otherwise, the Galaxy A34 5G ships with One UI 5.1 atop Android 13 (but Android 14 is available as of November 2023). You’ve got a distinctive design and plenty of features, but between the Microsoft apps, some Samsung apps, and random third-party apps (Spotify, Netflix, Disney Plus, a few games), there’s a lot of pre-installed software here, much of which you may never use. At least you can uninstall some of them, bar OneDrive, Bixby, and the Samsung Messages app.

 

It’s also worth noting that part of the deferred setup process includes Samsung shoving more apps in your face to consider. You can’t simply say you’re not interested, as Samsung forces you to either tap the “later” button or “continue.” Tap the latter and you’ll need to manually untick several apps that were pre-selected for installation (seen in the second image below). It’s not a great experience, to say the least.

The Samsung Galaxy A34 5G brings a typically budget-tier rear camera system, consisting of a 48MP main camera, 8MP ultrawide lens, and 5MP macro camera. The main camera performs well enough, delivering saturated shots that don’t go overboard during the day. In saying so, I did notice a fair amount of noise in images when pixel-peeping, as well as a very contrasted look in general. That 8MP ultrawide camera unsurprisingly cranks up the saturation to neon levels while offering smudged corners too. The macro camera delivers better shots than many 2MP macro lenses, but noise and the watercolor effect are still common occurrences.

Night-time scenes continue to be a challenge for some mid-rangers, and the Samsung device is no different. The automatic night mode has plenty of shutter lag, which can often lead to blurring if you (understandably) assume the picture was taken. I occasionally tapped the shutter in this mode, waited a second or two, then lowered the phone, only to see the camera app finally catching up and initiating the exposure. These shots also see a ton of noise and aren’t just limited to the darker parts of a scene.

You only need to take a look at the Galaxy A34 5G images to know this is undoubtedly a lower mid-range phone.

The mid-ranger also tops out at 4K/30fps for video recording, which is in line with the Galaxy A54 5G. Fortunately, much like the Galaxy A33 5G, the new model also supports 4K/30fps video via the front camera. You can check out full-resolution photo samples via our Google Drive folder.

Overall, Samsung’s Galaxy A34 5G doesn’t exactly deliver on what I was hoping to see from a yearly upgrade. There’s the increased base RAM and better screen but little else in the way of additions or improvements. Nevertheless, you’re still getting perks like an IP67 rating, Samsung’s feature-filled software, impressive battery life, and a decent (but not great) main camera. Toss in a long-term update pledge and this seems like a pretty solid proposition.

The Samsung Galaxy A34 5G doesn't bring much new to the table, but you're getting an impressive commitment to updates, great endurance, and a durable design.

There’s still a ton of room for improvement, though. The phone lags behind Google and Xiaomi’s budget phones when it comes to sheer horsepower, you’ve got glacial charging speeds, and the overall design feels a little cheap and dated. But if all you want is a durable, long-lasting mid-ranger that will keep getting updates over time, this is a solid pick.

Samsung Galaxy A34 5GSamsung Galaxy A34 5G
Samsung Galaxy A34 5G
Fantastic battery life • Durable, water-resistant build • Long-term update promise
MSRP: €349.00
The Samsung Galaxy A34 5G is a capable phone with a large display and a big battery. It's lightweight and offers everything an entry-level user would hope for.

What are the best Galaxy A34 5G alternatives?

Samsung Galaxy A34 5G vs POCO F5
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

There’s no shortage of alternatives to the Galaxy A34 5G, but these are the most notable devices.

  • Samsung Galaxy A33 5G ($99 at Amazon): The Galaxy A34 5G’s predecessor offers some of the same features, such as a large battery, water resistance, an OLED screen, and a great update pledge.
  • Redmi Note 12 Pro 5G ($285 at Amazon): This Redmi model brings a higher quality main camera on paper, faster wired charging, and a sleeker design. Just don’t expect water resistance or a lengthy commitment to updates.
  • Google Pixel 6a ($314 at Amazon): Google’s 2022 mid-ranger has received a permanent price cut to $349, and it also brings an IP67 rating and a lengthy update pledge. It lacks a high refresh rate screen but brings plenty of horsepower in exchange.
  • Motorola Moto G Power 5G ($249 at Amazon): The Moto G Power 5G is a solid alternative in the US, bringing a mid-range Dimensity 930 chip, 256GB of base storage, and a 5,000mAh battery. But you’ll be missing out on an OLED screen, ultrawide camera, and water resistance.

Samsung Galaxy A34 5G specs

Galaxy A34
Display
6.6-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED, waterdrop notch, 1000 nits
120Hz refresh rate
Processor
MediaTek Dimensity 1080
Mali-G68 MC4 GPU
RAM
6/8GB
Storage
128GB/256GB
MicroSD card support up to 1TB
Power
5,000mAh battery
25W wired charging

Cameras
REAR:
- 48MP Main F1.8 OIS
- 8MP Ultra Wide F2.2
- 5MP Macro F2.4

FRONT:
- 13MP F2.2
Software
Android 13
One UI 5.1

Colors
Awesome Graphite
Awesome Lime
Awesome Silver
Awesome Violet
IP rating
IP67
Weight & Dimensions
161.3 x 78.1 x 8.2mm, 196g
Other specs
On-screen fingerprint

Samsung Galaxy A34 5G review: FAQ

The Galaxy A34 5G has an IP67 rating, which means it’s water-resistant.

The Galaxy A34 5G only supports sub-6GHz 5G.

Yes, the Galaxy A34 5G does indeed support storage expansion via a microSD card slot.

The Galaxy A34 5G lacks a 3.5mm port. So you’ll need to use Bluetooth, USB-C, or a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle.