REVIEW | Samsung Galaxy A30 smartphone

By Ajay Joseph

Samsung is the undisputed leader in the Android space and that has been the case for several years now. Its Galaxy S lineup is the benchmark of sorts in the flagship segment. On the other end of the spectrum, Samsung is not the first name that comes to mind in the more cost-conscious value or lower end of the mid-range segment. Let’s take a closer look at the Galaxy A30, boasting ample specs and a low price to boot.

Design and Ergonomics   

The design is slick, and the test unit has a pearly white color, which looked and felt premium. The construction incorporated Gorilla Glass 3 at the front, and plastic at the rear. Sandwiched between the 2 layers is an aluminum frame, with rounded edges. The horizontal ends of the device taper, creating for an ultra-slim feel when held in the hand. At its thickest the device is 7.7mm.

The rear plastic houses a fingerprint reader and the dual camera module. The buttons are on the right — one for power and one long one for the volume rocker, which is placed fairly high, making it difficult to reach for one hand use. At the bottom is a 3.5mm audio jack, and a USB Type-C connector; interesting inclusions at this price point. The SIM tray is on the top left and supports dual SIM and micro-SD card simultaneously. 

Specs and Performance 

The Galaxy A30 is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 7904, a midrange SoC. When compared to the Snapdragon 660, it does perform a little lower, thanks to the 660’s newer 8 Kryo cores and more competent Adreno 512 GPU. That said, it’s no slouch and in day to day use, it’s hard to fault. The A30 is coupled with 4GB of ram and 64GB of storage.

Having also used 2018’s A7 from Samsung, a midrange offering, performance is pretty comparable, though the A7 comes with 6GB of ram and costs a fair bit more.

The screen is a 6.4 inch Super AMOLED display, which is again an interesting inclusion at this price point and segment. The resolution is 1080p. Colors are vibrant, and there is certainly a pop to the video. Atop is a tiny cutout notch for the front camera.

Worth calling out is the rather slow face-unlock implementation, but it does work okay under dim lighting conditions.

Battery and Charging   

Included in the A30 device is a massive 4000 mAh battery, offering easy all day use without needing to be charged; unless usage and screen-on time are very high. The battery does support fast charging at 15W, but given that the test unit did not come with a charger, there was no way to test this. Charging it with another brand’s flagship device charger, it took nearly 2.5 hours to go from 0 to 100%.

Below is the Charge Matrix:

  • 0% at 4.55pm
  • 20% at 5.20pm
  • 48% at 6.07pm
  • 89% at 6.55pm
  • 100% before 7.20pm

On nearly a full charge status, recording an hour worth of continuous video only took the battery down to 79%, which was pretty impressive.

Software and User Experience

The Galaxy A30 runs Android 9 Pie, with Samsung’s One UI 1.1. The user interface is light and modern. It features a Floating Button with options, for those who like that functionality. Personally, I didn’t care for it and preferred to disable it. The Bixby smart assistant is included on the device, but I didn’t bother with it.

Since the device allows for some pre-installed Samsung and Google apps to be uninstalled, I cleaned up the ones I don’t use and was left with 48.3 GB of usable space. Which accounts for the OS, some system apps, the core Google and Samsung apps, including Maps, Chrome, YouTube, etc.  The Storage section within settings allows for cache cleanup and other device optimization.

Game Launchers seems to be pretty standard nowadays, and the A30 includes Samsung’s version of this. It allows for call blocking, suppression of chat notifications, temporary deactivation of auto-screen brightness adjustment, and other useful game aids. Also included are video recording and screenshot features.

Connecting the devices via USB to the PC is hassle-free, with the A30 being readily detected and appearing under My Computer. Browsing through the phone contents revealed that screenshots taken on the device were appropriately named, based on where they were taken, with suffixes such as One UI Home, Settings, etc.

Camera and Optics

Camera optics include dual cameras at the rear, a primary 16-megapixel sensor, and a secondary 5-megapixel ultra wide angle sensor. At the front is a 16-megapixel sensor for selfies.

After testing the device under various conditions, it’s safe to conclude that while decent, the camera is nothing special. Under good lighting, photos come out well with impressive detail. For food photography colors are good, and the results are Instagram worthy. Portrait mode or Bokeh effects are good, with edge detection being accurate. The software also has a Live-Focus mode that allows for adjusting background focus post taking the picture.

Low light and night shots though are a different story altogether. With partial lighting, and selecting the focus manually, output it about okay, but as light reduces picture quality degrades.

Night Shot with Auto Focus
Night Shot with Manually Selected Focus

The Ultra-wide angle feature is nice to have and captures quite a wide angle with results having a Go Pro sorta look. Quality is noticeably lower though, as compared to the primary sensor. Night pictures using this lens are quite poor, and what I’d consider unusable.

Taken on Primary Rear Sensor
Taken on Ultra Wide Angel Lens
Low Light Shot on Ultra Wide Angel Lens

Selfies come out pretty decent, but similar to the rear sensor, low light results are poor. The software is possibly employing some sort of light enhancement techniques that result in bad looking selfies in low light conditions.  

Taken on Front Camera

Value and Competition

With an official price of P 13,990 and cheaper online options going down to P 12,400, the Galaxy A30 is worth considering if you’re looking to have a Samsung device. That said, the competition in this segment is fierce, with options including the Huawei P20 Lite, the Realme 3 Pro, and the Nokia 7 Plus. Given those options, it’s not so easy to suggest the Samsung A30. I’ve used the Nokia 7 Plus, and it’s a superior device.

Having said that, the A30 is a good option compared to say Samsung’s own A7 from 2018. Especially considering that the A7 only trumps the A30 in the memory department with 6GB; while the A30 has a larger screen, bigger battery, and offers a comparable user experience. All that given the A7’s price tag of P18,000 just six months ago, means as a consumer you have better options now.

Conclusion   

The Samsung Galaxy A30 is a nice device, offering good value with its slick premium feeling package, and ample specs including the 4000 mAh battery, 6.4 inch Super AMOLED screen, and 4GB of memory. But given its average camera optics and fierce competition in the segment, if you’re willing to consider older devices from six months to a year ago, there may be choices that could fit your needs better. But if you’re particular about owning a new device, and keeping with the Samsung brand, the A30 is a perfect option to go with.

  • Model: SM-A305F/DS
  • Price: P13,990
  • Verdict: Well-priced for a new Samsung device with all the essentials covered

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