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Samsung Galaxy A55 5G cameras
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy A55 5G review: Should you buy it?

The Galaxy A55 5G would be a no-brainer if the Pixel 8a and OnePlus 12R didn't exist.
By

Published onMay 25, 2024

Samsung Galaxy A55 5G

The Samsung Galaxy A55 5G brings a premium design, a few quality-of-life upgrades, and familiar Samsung strengths. But long-standing camera complaints, bloatware, and mostly incremental performance upgrades drag the package down.

What we like

Premium, water-resistant design
Long battery life
Vivid 120Hz AMOLED display
Good update policy
Highly durable screen
Great sustained performance

What we don't like

Photos can be oversaturated
No 4K/60fps video (yet again)
Plenty of bloatware
No wireless charging
No Galaxy AI
Not officially available in the US

Samsung Galaxy A55 5G

The Samsung Galaxy A55 5G brings a premium design, a few quality-of-life upgrades, and familiar Samsung strengths. But long-standing camera complaints, bloatware, and mostly incremental performance upgrades drag the package down.

Samsung Galaxy A55 5G review: At a glance

  • What is it? The Samsung Galaxy A55 5G is a mid-range phone that succeeds the Galaxy A54 5G. The most notable changes here are the switch to a metal frame, improved Gorilla Glass, and a new Exynos chipset with AMD graphics.
  • What is the price? The Samsung Galaxy A55 5G costs £439 in the UK and €469 in Europe. The phone isn't officially available in the US, but a global version (with limited US carrier support) can be picked up from Amazon sellers for under $400 at the time of writing.
  • Where can you buy it? The Samsung Galaxy A55 5G is available at Samsung, Amazon, major mobile networks, and other retail partners.
  • How did we test it? I tested the Samsung Galaxy A55 5G for 10 days. The review unit I tested was supplied by Samsung South Africa.
  • Is it worth it? The Galaxy A55 5G finally brings a premium design to the A series, along with a small but notable performance upgrade and improved screen durability. Unfortunately, long-standing annoyances like a super-saturated main camera, slow wired charging, and no 4K/60fps video remain unaddressed. The A55 5G is definitely worth a look if you want a long-lasting, reliable phone for a relatively fair price, but Google and OnePlus' ever-improving mid-range offerings can't be ignored at this price point.

Should you buy the Galaxy A55 5G?

The front of the Samsung Galaxy A55 5G.
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The Galaxy A55 5G takes a lot of design cues from the Galaxy S24 series, but it also resembles recent iPhones in some ways. It now has an aluminum frame with flat edges and rounded corners, and I’m glad to see the company ditch the cheap-feeling plastic frame of its predecessor, the Galaxy A54 5G — combined with one of Samsung’s ever-stunning AMOLED displays, it goes a long way to making the phone feel like a premium piece of kit. Samsung’s mid-ranger retains a glass back, too, and the Awesome Navy model I tested brings a glossy finish that isn’t a total fingerprint magnet. The phone also features the so-called Key Island, a raised area on the frame that houses the volume and power buttons. But this design element is more subtle in person than renders would have you believe.

Samsung has unsurprisingly retained an IP67 rating this time for dust and water resistance. What is more surprising is the switch to Gorilla Glass Victus Plus protection on the front, which is a welcome upgrade from Gorilla Glass 5 and an impressive commitment to durability for a phone at this price tier. Samsung confirmed that there wasn’t Victus Plus protection on the back, but didn’t reveal any more details.

The Galaxy A55 5G is powered by the Exynos 1480, which is the first mid-range smartphone chipset with an AMD GPU. On the other hand, the processor also uses the same old CPU as last year’s model, albeit with a significant clock speed boost. What does this mean for performance?

Galaxy A55 5G Wild Life stress test
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Geekbench 6 scores show a small single-core CPU bump but a significant ~21% multi-core CPU boost over the Galaxy A54 5G. However, the CPU still lags behind its closest rivals — the Pixel 8a and OnePlus 12R. The PCMark Work 3.0 test yields top-notch results, though, suggesting plenty of system optimizations to beat rivals. Moving to the GPU test, the Wild Life Stress Test shows a notable improvement over the A54 5G, but it also reveals that the phone again lags far behind the Pixel 8a and OnePlus 12R. On the upside, the stress test reveals an impressive 99% stability, suggesting that throttling shouldn’t be an issue at all.

I had no problems with real-world performance. The phone was smooth when switching between home screens, hopping into the recents menu, and launching apps. I was also able to play Genshin Impact at a smooth pace with the default low settings, but there was some room to crank things up to a relatively fluid 60fps. I was, however, a little surprised to see that I could play demanding games on PS2 and GameCube emulators at a mostly smooth pace. It looks like the AMD GPU and four performance cores come in handy here.

The Galaxy A55 5G is far from the most powerful mid-range phone, but it performed surprisingly well with some demanding apps.

Samsung is also touting a 5,000mAh battery on the Galaxy A55 5G, and the combo of this battery plus a relatively efficient chipset makes for some good endurance. I was able to get well over nine hours of screen-on time with typical usage (browsing Reddit, listening to podcasts, playing some games). You can expect about a day and a half of usage, which is broadly in line with the Galaxy A54 5G.

You’ll need to wait a fair amount of time to fully charge the phone once you’ve exhausted the battery. The phone tops out at 25W wired speeds with a Power Delivery charger and takes over 80 minutes to reach 100% capacity. That’s better than the Pixel 8a’s atrocious charging time (100 minutes), but I’ve been spoiled by mid-rangers from Chinese brands that get a full charge in an hour or less.

The Galaxy A55 5G ships with One UI 6.1 atop Android 14. The phone doesn’t offer any generative Galaxy AI features, as we’ve seen on high-end Galaxy devices. Nevertheless, it’s slated to receive four major OS updates and five years of security patches. That’s not quite as good as the Pixel 8a’s seven-year update policy, but it’s still a great update pledge for a mid-range phone.

I’m a little disappointed but not surprised by Samsung’s commitment to bloatware. In addition to the expected Samsung apps that duplicate Google functionality, we’ve also got four Microsoft apps (e.g., OneDrive and LinkedIn), as well as additions like Facebook, Netflix, and Spotify. Some of these Samsung apps are worthwhile (I enjoy the full-featured gallery app), but I could go without many of these apps.

Samsung continues to excel on the software front, but it still needs to dial back the bloatware.

What’s even worse is that the company displays an unskippable “recommended apps” screen shortly after setting up the device. You’ll have to untick several apps, but the phone will still install several games (like Candy Crush) whether you like it or not. It’s really high time that Samsung gets taken to task for this bloatware, as it feels like the company has been given a pass on this for a while now.

The Galaxy A55 5G also retains the same fundamental affordable camera phone system as the Galaxy A54 5G. That means a 50MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a 5MP macro camera. Images shot during the day are generally detailed, as you’d expect from a reasonably sized 1/1.56-inch sensor, though colors can sometimes be oversaturated to a ridiculous degree. It’s almost like we’re back in the bad old days of Samsung phone cameras at times. Check out the third image below, with the red blanket looking neon and halos around the palm tree fronds. It’s like the HDR and saturation sliders were cranked to 11. Portrait mode shots aren’t great either, with frequent depth estimation errors. These aren’t minor errors, as the last image in the gallery shows (check the area just above my head).

 

On the upside, I’m glad to see that the terrible low-light shutter lag is reduced compared to my experience with the Galaxy A34 5G. It’s not gone altogether, and I would like to see the camera UI better communicate the need to wait for a regular shot. But this is still better than tapping the shutter button, waiting a second or two, and then going to put the phone down, only to see that the phone finally decided to take the damned photo. You’ll generally want to leave night mode enabled when the sun goes down (even if noise reduction can be a bit aggressive), as the main camera produces dark, noisy shots otherwise.

The Galaxy A55 5G is a decent camera phone for the price, but it can't match the Pixel 8a.

The Galaxy A55 5G also brings a 12MP ultrawide lens, although it’s a clear step down in terms of detail and noise compared to the main sensor, particularly in mixed lighting. A 5MP macro camera rounds out the rear camera system, bringing good picture quality for a dedicated macro camera but still displaying that watercolor effect and a lack of resolvable detail when zooming in. Speaking of zoom, the phone offers a cropped 2x option, but it’s not worth shooting beyond 2x as results are grainy and entirely lacking in detail. You can view a gallery of full-resolution sample photos via the Google Drive link here.

Samsung’s phone continues to offer features like the great Single Take mode, a Fun mode for Snapchat filters, dual recording (albeit via the main and selfie cameras only), a nifty Pro Video mode, and a gallery with features like shadow erasing and image clipping. The phone also tops out at 4K/30fps video recording, which is incredibly disappointing when Google and OnePlus’s phones offer 4K/60fps support. At least 4K/30fps selfie videos have returned.

Samsung Galaxy A55 5G camera app
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The Galaxy A55 5G is a mostly iterative upgrade over the already good Galaxy A54 rather than a more ambitious refresh. We’re really glad to see a full-blown premium design this time, the Exynos 1480 chipset is a small but welcome upgrade for gaming, and newer Gorilla Glass should give you more peace of mind. These upgrades join existing A54 5G strengths like a long update policy, good battery life, and a slick display.

Outside of the premium design and smaller upgrades, though, Samsung still has some room for improvement in areas that become increasingly more blatant as the competition continues to raise its game. Samsung continues to crank up the main camera’s saturation levels, the Exynos chip definitely needs a CPU and AI upgrade, and the lack of 4K/60fps video is unacceptable at this price.

Samsung’s rivals, like the OnePlus 12R and Google Pixel 8a, are moving much faster to close the gap between the mid-range and bonafide flagships. The Pixel 8a, in particular, brings much better performance, wireless charging support, superior photo quality, and AI features. Don’t get me wrong — loads of people will buy the Galaxy A55 5G (though less than normal due to the baffling lack of an official US release). But they’ll do so because it’s a safe, sensible, and familiar upgrade, not because it’s the most exciting purchase nor the best that you can buy at its price tag.

Samsung Galaxy A55 5GSamsung Galaxy A55 5G
Samsung Galaxy A55 5G
Premium, water-resistant design • Long battery life • Vivid 120Hz AMOLED display
MSRP: $470.00
The top Galaxy A series phone for 2024.
The Samsung Galaxy A55 5G is a mid-range phone that succeeds the Galaxy A54 5G. The most notable changes are a switch to a metal frame, improved Gorilla Glass, and a new Exynos chipset with AMD graphics.
See price at Amazon
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Samsung Galaxy A55
See price at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy A55

What are the best Galaxy A55 5G alternatives?

Samsung Galaxy A55 5G and box
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

There’s no shortage of great Galaxy A55 5G alternatives, so check out our picks below:

  • Samsung Galaxy A35 5G ($359.99 at Amazon): The Galaxy A55 5G isn’t available in the US, but the A35 5G is a decent alternative. You’ve still got an IP67 rating, a long-term update policy, and Samsung’s feature-packed software. But you further lose out on performance, camera hardware, and build quality. The gap between the A series and the S series is pretty huge in 2024.
  • Google Pixel 8a ($499 at Amazon): Google’s latest mid-range Pixel is the closest Galaxy A55 5G rival, and it is notably superior in many ways. The Pixel 8a stands out from the Samsung phone thanks to wireless charging, a high-end chipset, AI features, and flagship-tier camera quality. But the A55 5G brings faster charging and a bigger battery.
  • OnePlus 12R ($599.99 at Amazon): Value performance, charging speed, and/or screen quality? Then the OnePlus 12R is definitely worth considering over the Galaxy A55 5G, bringing a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, 100W charging (80W in the US), and a super-bright, sharp screen. Unfortunately, it lacks water resistance while the cameras are mediocre at best.
  • Nothing Phone 2a (£319.99 at Amazon): The Nothing Phone 2a is only available in the US via a developer program, but it’s a great pick in other markets. That’s due to the unique design, great screen, and good cameras. Unfortunately, network support is hit-and-miss in the US, while the limited IP rating pales in comparison to Samsung’s IP67 rating.

Samsung Galaxy A55 5G specs

Samsung Galaxy A55 5G
Display
6.6-inch Infinity-O Super AMOLED
FHD+ (2,340 x 1,080)
19.5:9 aspect ratio
120Hz dynamic refresh rate
1000 nits peak brightness
HDR support
Gorilla Glass Victus Plus
Processor
Samsung Exynos 1480
GPU
Samsung/AMD Xclipse 530
RAM
8/12GB
Storage
128/256GB
MicroSD card support up to 1TB
Battery and charging
5,000mAh battery
25W wired charging
No wireless charging
No charger in the box

Cameras
Rear:
- 50MP main
ƒ/1.8 aperture, OIS

- 12MP ultrawide
ƒ/2.2 aperture, 123-degree FoV, 1.12μm

- 5MP macro
ƒ/2.4 aperture

Front:
- 32MP
ƒ/2.2 aperture, 1/2.8-inch, 0.8μm
Video
Rear:
4K at 30FPS
1080p at 30/60FPS

Front:
4K at 30FPS
1080p at 30FPS
Audio
Stereo speakers
Dual mics
No 3.5mm port
Security
In-display fingerprint
Samsung Knox
4 major OS updates
5 years of security updates
Water resistance
IP67
Connectivity
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.3
NFC support
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou
Software
One UI 6.1 based on Android 14
Materials
Gorilla Glass Victus Plus on the front
Aluminum frame
Dimensions and weight
161.1 x 77.4 x 8.2mm
213g
Colors
Awesome Ice Blue
Awesome Lemon
Awesome Lilac
Awesome Navy

Samsung Galaxy A55 5G review: FAQ

No, the Galaxy A55 5G doesn’t have a headphone jack.

Yes! The Galaxy A55 5G has a hybrid SIM slot that lets you insert either a second SIM card or a microSD card.

No, the Galaxy A55 5G doesn’t support wireless charging functionality. It does, however, offer 25W wired charging speeds.

Unlike previous A5X phones, there is no official US model of the Galaxy A55 5G. You can buy global versions from stores like Amazon, but it won’t have full US carrier band support.

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