Samsung Galaxy A02s review: unbeatable price, limited ambitions



Every smartphone maker needs a starting point for their lineup, and the Galaxy A02s has that honor for Samsung. It’s a real budget smartphone at just $ 129, but how much do you get for your money? Is the modest datasheet suitable for everyday tasks? We’re here to break it down and find the value in our Samsung Galaxy A02s review.

What you should know about the Samsung Galaxy A02

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

  • Samsung Galaxy A02s (3 GB / 32 GB): $ 129.99 / £ 139.99 / € 149.99
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s (4 GB / 64 GB): $ 159.99

The Galaxy A02s were launched in early 2021 as the entry-level model of the Galaxy A series. Samsung offers its affordable device in six configurations, starting with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. However, only two versions are readily available in the United States (both listed above). Whichever version you choose, you can buy the Galaxy A02 in red, black, blue or white.

The Samsung Galaxy A02s comes with Android 10 and One UI 2.5 on board, but it has since received the Android 11 update. This put One UI 3.1 and the August 1, 2021 security patch in the picture for the duration. of our tests. Like most Samsung Galaxy A devices, we expect the phone to receive two years of software version updates and four years of security patches before it’s retired. This means it could get One UI 4 before end of support, although Samsung hasn’t specified exactly how long it will be supported for.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 450 SoC keeps the lights on and is the heart of Samsung’s economic operation. You can pair it with up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or add a microSD card for a little extra space. Samsung brought the same 5,000mAh battery and 6.5in HD + display from its Galaxy A12, so the Galaxy A02s should look great and last for hours. It also retained the Infinity-V notch, although the selfie lens only offers 5MP instead of 8MP.

See also: The best Samsung phones you can buy

There’s not much to say in the package – Samsung includes a charging pad and USB-C cable as well as a SIM eject tool. Otherwise, you will only find paperwork, although the getting started guide has information on the Galaxy A02 and Galaxy A12.

The Samsung Galaxy A02s doesn’t face too much competition in the under $ 150 price bracket, but the market gets more crowded the closer you get to $ 200. Nokia’s G10 is one of the few real rivals at $ 149, with an equally massive battery and a triple camera system. Many would consider Motorola the king of budget devices, and it brings a rear-mounted fingerprint reader for $ 169. If you want a better-performing but still affordable Samsung device, the Galaxy A12 brings a long list of upgrades to the $ 179 table.

What is good?

The rear panel and cameras of the Galaxy A02s

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

One of Samsung’s best design choices for the Galaxy A02s was to skip a glossy finish. Shine seems to be a popular choice among budget devices, but I much prefer the slightly textured matte that Samsung has chosen. It’s not completely free from fingerprints or smudges, but you won’t be climbing the wall trying to keep the phone clean. The patterned back panel also adds an extra touch of style to the basic black finish.

Samsung’s large 6.5-inch HD + display is solid, especially for the price tag of $ 129. It’s big enough to stream your favorite shows and you probably won’t really notice the lower resolution. You can take advantage of the convenient headphone jack mounted along the bottom edge or turn up the volume with the single down speaker. I didn’t notice a lot of distortion with the speaker, which was a nice surprise.

Samsung’s 6.5-inch display is ideal for everything from social media to the frenzy of your favorite shows.

The triple rear camera might not be one of Samsung’s best, but the 13 MP main shooter can provide good light. It also works with macro and depth sensors to offer wide / ultra wide support without having a dedicated lens. I was pleasantly surprised with Samsung’s Live Focus mode given the limited hardware, especially on the selfie camera. It raised the edges of my hair correctly for the most part, although Live Focus had less success with the cow seen below.

See also: The best budget camera phones you can buy

A 3.1 user interface helps keep Galaxy A02s smooth and up to date, despite hardware limitations. It’s nice to see an affordable phone receiving the updates that Samsung promised, and there are a few features that I’ve grown to love. One is Samsung Free, which connects Samsung TV Plus, Samsung Podcasts, Taboola News, and Instant Plays into one app.

You’ll also get great battery life with the Galaxy A02s – I was able to push the 5,000mAh cell for two days of moderate use. It might not hold up well to intensive gaming, but you can answer emails and browse social media for hours without a hitch.

What is not so good?

The Galaxy A02s camera app in hand

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Samsung hasn’t left much wiggle room for a solid processor in the Galaxy A02s, and it shows. The Snapdragon 450 has often fallen behind, even on tasks as simple as navigating settings. It got worse when I bounced between apps, especially if I tried to stream from Spotify at the same time. The limited 3GB of RAM in the version I tested probably didn’t help much, and you just need to consider the version with 4GB of RAM instead. However, at this point you’re in Galaxy A12 territory, which is a much better phone overall.

Despite decent main lens performance in good lighting, the rest of Samsung’s cameras leave something to be desired. The macro camera needs an incredible amount of light to stand a chance, and even then the 2MP resolution means you can’t blast the footage. You don’t have access to a true night mode on the Galaxy A02s, which significantly limits what you can do to brighten up images.

At least you have time to catch up on a few shows as you slowly load into a take.

I can’t get anything out of Samsung’s heavy 5,000mAh battery, but I can say that the 15W charger doesn’t have enough oomph. When you bring the phone down to 0%, you need to be prepared to make yourself comfortable in a point of sale. It took me 30 minutes to go from a 20% dead battery, and over two hours to a full charge.

We are also in an age where biometrics is a standard feature on most smartphones. Whether it’s a less than $ 100 device like the LG Premier Pro Plus or a $ 1,000 beast like the OnePlus 9 Pro, you’re likely to find some type of fingerprint reader on board. Not on the Galaxy A02. There is no fingerprint reader of any kind, only a software-based facial recognition feature which is not the most secure, if not slow.

Examples of Samsung Galaxy A02s cameras

Samsung Galaxy A02 Specifications

Samsung galaxy a02
Display 6.5 inch
1600 x 720 (20: 9)
Processor Snapdragon 450
RAM 1 GB up to 4 GB
Storage room 16 GB up to 64 GB
Cameras Triple rear camera:
13MP wide (f / 2.2)
Macro 2MP (f / 2.4)
Depth 2MP (f / 2.4)

5MP (f / 2.2)

Drums 5,000 mAh
15W wired charging
IP Rating Nothing
Software Comes with Android 10
Update to Android 11 available
Samsung One UI 3.1
Dimensions 164.2 x 75.9 x 9.1 mm
Colors Black
Security Face recognition

Samsung Galaxy A02s review: should I buy it?

Google apps on Galaxy A02s over a cove

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Galaxy A02s is a good smartphone if all you need is the basics and you’re working on a tight budget. It’s by far the most affordable way to get your hands on Samsung’s One UI 3.1, but the processor can’t always keep up, and cameras won’t be your choice for a lot of family photos. That said, if you want a cheap way to watch your favorite shows and use your wired headphones, the Galaxy A02s is happy to oblige you.

The Galaxy A02s is a great way to get your hands on One UI 3.1 on a tight budget.

If you’re willing to crank up your budget a bit, there are plenty of Galaxy A02 competitors to consider for under $ 200. Samsung’s own Galaxy A12 ($ 179) might be one of the best, with a much better camera and side fingerprint reader for not much more money. There is also the Motorola Moto G Play ($ 169) which ditched the third camera but offered an Android almost in stock and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Finally, the Nokia G10 ($ 149) offers splash protection, a slightly larger battery and better base configuration.

samsung galaxy a02s standing on a table

Samsung galaxy a02

Samsung’s most affordable smartphone covers all the bases: a triple rear camera, a headphone jack, and a large 6.5-inch screen.


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