If you’ve been wanting to get a Samsung phone that fits the budget, the Galaxy A02s is the way to go. Although it’s still not the cheapest in the market. Younger brands like Realme and Xiaomi have quickly become tough competition in the entry-level segment, offering a plethora of features and impressive hardware at jaw-dropping prices. While the Korean tech giant has a few years more of experience under its belt, its expertise does lie in the flagship rather than the entry-level segment. Let’s see if the A02s will bring the bang for your buck.
|OS||Android 11 with One UI 3.1|
|Processor||Snapdragon 450 Octa-Core Processor|
|Display||6.5″ 720×1600 HD+|
|Wireless Connections||Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 b / g / n 2.4GHz, A-GPS, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo|
|Memory||64GB Internal Storage, expandable up to 1TB with MicroSD Card, 4GB RAM|
|Connectors||Type-C USB, 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Cameras||Rear: 13MP, f/2.2 + 2MP, f/2.4 macro + 2MP, f/2.4, depth sensor Front: 5MP, f/2.2|
|SIM Card Slot||2x Nano SIM + 1x MicroSD/MicroSIM slot|
|SRP||3GB+32GB- P5,990/4GB+64GB- P6,990|
Out of the box, you get a pair of wired earphones (to access the FM radio), a power adaptor and USB-type C cord, a SIM tray ejector, and the phone, of course, which runs on the latest Android 11 and Samsung’s One UI 3.1. No free silicone case here, though. The A02s comes a with matte plastic case back spruced up with a geometric-hash pattern.
On our matte black test unit, you can barely see where the first rhombus starts and where the other ends, which gives it an elegant, luxe look. Additionally, its triple rear cameras and a LED flash are edged by a nondescript rounded rectangle that seems sunk into the plastic, adding to the minimalistic feel of the case back. We imagine it’ll look as good on the navy blue colorway, too. The fine hashes on the plastic surface also cleverly hit two birds with one stone—first, it keeps the phone grippy and non-slip and second, it keeps the pesky fingerprints away.
The A02s features a seamless design that melds plastic to bezel up front, separated by a thin speaker grille which holds the earpiece. The front camera accounts for the small dip across the screen while bezels line the 6.5” HD+ display, with the bottom sporting a doubly thick line. On the left side of the phone, you can find the SIM slot, which houses a dual-nano SIM slot plus a Micro SD slot (expandable up to 1TB). Across this are the volume rockers and power button. A setback is that there is no fingerprint scanner to be found—which is disappointing—considering that a lot of its competition in the same price range do have side or back scanners in place. The phone can be unlocked with your usual pin, passcode, pattern, and facial recognition—though the latter is usually not as secure.
If you don’t mind the thick lower bezel, the A02s’ display is generous and does what it should. It struggles with color contrast and brightness but is enough for casual watching and gaming. Likewise, the Snapdragon 450 chipset and Adreno 506 GPU inside are nothing new but manages without any shakes or stutters when playing games like Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Call of Duty Mobile. Low resolution is recommended for smoother gameplay, though. Sound-wise, its bottom-firing speakers produce adequate loudness and crisp mid-tones but bass is practically non-existent.
The A02s has a triple rear camera set-up which comprises of a 13MP main shooter along with a 2MP Macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor. In good light, the main camera produces photos that are pleasantly bright and crisp, with well-captured details and gradation. In poorer-lit areas or at night, it understandably struggles but can produce passable shots sans night mode. Macro shots are alright although it doesn’t pack a lot of detail. Up front, the 5MP selfie camera takes decent Instagram-worthy selfies but also struggles with low-light as well as back-lit setups. Although, it does very well with face unlock even in low-light. Below are some sample shots taken on the A02s:
Who needs a power bank?
With budget-friendly smartphones, we obviously do not expect to max it out on graphics or shoot in 4K. But we do expect it to keep up with a full day of work and then get to play a couple of games with friends afterwards, which the A02s does well. It comes with a 5,000 mAh cell, more than enough for a whole day and more. On PC Mark’s work battery life test, it was able to last for a whopping 18 hours and 6 minutes with 20% more battery to spare. In actual daily use, the A02s was able to go without needing a charge for nearly 2 and a half days. Charging it back to full capacity, takes over 2 hours on the 15W charger included in the box.
Here are the performance benchmarks as well, taken on Antutu and GeekBench. While it surpasses other smartphones also equipped with Snapdragon 450 chipsets, it significantly outperforms when pitted against those sharing the same or sometimes slightly lower price tag.
The Samsung Galaxy A02s is great for day-to-day tasks as well as casual entertainment and gaming. It comes with the latest Android and One UI software, which we appreciate. However, if you really want to get the best bang for your buck, then the A02s sadly doesn’t quite make the cut. Retailing at P6,990 for the 4GB + 64GB and P5,990 for the 3GB+ 32GB, other brands have it beat with better specs and features for close to or the same price.
More information about the Samsung Galaxy A02s can be found here.