The battle to sell the best affordable smartphone is heating up in 2020. Big names including Apple and Samsung want to sell you the best of the best for $1,000 or more but also want to capture that sub-$500 market. The good thing is, this is great for consumers. I took the new $400 Samsung Galaxy A51 for a test.
The A51 feels like a nice phone. The 6.5″ screen is large, bright and clear. There was a time when lower priced phones used cruddy screens but that’s just not the case anymore. The screen on the A51 is great. There is a fingerprint sensor built into the screen for unlocking the phone.
There are 4 cameras on the back including a 48 Megapixel main camera, an ultra wide-angle camera, a macro camera and a depth sensing camera. In my testing the pictures looked great under normal conditions. The stabilization on video is impressive too. It uses the power of a 48MP sensor to digitally stabilize your video. This is a feature that I was happy to see pulled over from Samsung’s high-end phones. Overall, most people will be really happy with the cameras on the A51. Samsung was smart to focus on maintaining great pictures and video even on a budget phone.
One of the sacrifices you’ll make with most lower priced smartphones is the processor. The A51 uses a quad-core Samsung processor. It’s not the powerful Snapdragon processor that some of us are used to on high-end phones. Will you notice it? Probably not. This will depend on how much of a “power user” you are. If you need speed and power you should look at a higher-end phone but most users won’t notice the reduced power.
With any lower cost smartphone there will be sacrifices. I just mentioned the slower processor. There also is no wireless charging on the A51 but it does have fast charging via the USB-C port. While the phone feels great you will notice a plastic backing that clearly cuts costs a bit.
The Samsung Galaxy A51 is clearly another evolution in the budget smartphone. At $400 you get a phone that would have been top of the line just a year or two ago. It’s not for everyone, especially those who need the latest and greatest, but most people will find it to be a great option with a great price tag.
You can buy this A51 from Sprint, Verizon or at&t but you can also grab it unlocked and contract-free directly from Samsung.