While mid-range devices may not receive much fanfare among tech enthusiasts, they provide an affordable gateway for many consumers to access reliable smartphones. For Samsung, the mass appeal of the mid-tier smartphone category presents a unique opportunity to put cutting-edge mobile technology in the hands of everyone.
This forward-thinking approach to budget-friendly devices is perfectly encapsulated by the inclusion of 5G in the Galaxy A51 5G and A71 5G, according to Patrick Moorhead, Founder, President and Principal Analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. In a recently published editorial, the analyst remarked that not only will the two devices make the next-generation connectivity more readily available to consumers, the popularization of 5G devices will also push the technology forward in the long run.
Read on to find out more on what Moorhead has to say about the significance of the Galaxy A series1.
Samsung’s Timing Is Perfect for The Latest A Series Phones
Samsung released its newest lineup of Galaxy A series devices last week. The Galaxy A series lineup targets budget-friendly consumers, but this year Samsung implemented a flagship feature. The A-series lineup features 5G variants at an affordable price range and Samsung released these 5G variants at the perfect time.
Consumers can be put into two categories, those who will buy a flagship device and those who don’t. The first being the power user who wants the best of the best and is a tech enthusiast, or it’s kind of like a status symbol for them. I am one of those people- I feel I need the latest and greatest to get my job done more effectively, giving me an “edge.” The second is the group of consumers who don’t care too much about the device as long as it works and gets them through the day. Their focus is primarily reliability and value.
The way technology trickles down into the hands of all consumers is typically that it starts with enthusiasts in the first category and is passed along to those in the second category. Later on down the road, when 5G is more affordable, and it becomes an expected feature on all phones, not just flagships, the second category will get it. An example of this is multi-camera phones or biometric authentication throughout the years. The flagship phones started with fingerprint sensors, and it slowly moved down to budget-friendly devices. Then flagships started to get more options for biometric security, and now we are at a point where in-screen fingerprint sensors are in the flagships.
5G accelerated into the hands of everybody
Last year, Samsung was one of the first to release 5G-capable phones in the Galaxy S10 lineup for very early 5G networks in the U.S. and Korea. Only a couple of places had 5G, and only the premium flagship devices had 5G. With the release of the A-series phones, 5G is coming to budget-friendly devices at an interesting time for a couple of different reasons.
One of the more obvious reasons is the current times. Right now, COVID-19 has affected all of our lives, and staying connected is more important than ever, not only from an enterprise perspective but also from a social wellbeing perspective. The acceleration of remote workflow means that employees and businesses need to be connected and have access to the network in the most efficient and convenient ways possible. By making 5G widely available to all consumers, 5G goes to those who need it more than they want it. I mentioned here that one of the long term accelerated technologies after COVID-19 is going to be the way we are connected. 5G is a key component to that and doesn’t have a purpose if there are no 5G devices to connect to.
Samsung phones are perfect for this budget-friendly 5G area of the market, specifically because of One UI 2.0. One UI has DeX, which I think is a useful and productive business tool, especially as Samsung continues to refine the software. DeX is a desktop mode for your Samsung device that allows you to open apps and files like you were on a desktop. It has support for many business-level applications like Microsoft 365, Webex Meetings, Adobe apps, and Google apps with growing support. One of the new features of DeX is the ability to run on any Windows laptop or PC. If we see a 5G phone that can connect to any monitor, laptop, or desktop and run like a PC, how popular will that be for consumers who don’t want to spend $500+ on a laptop when they have a 5G device that runs like a laptop. This could be a “stretch” but the most sophisticated users will try it out. DeX still needs a good amount of work to be adopted as laptop “replacement,” however, the technology is there, improving significantly every year, and it is now in the hands of all consumers.
Known specs and my first thoughts
The Galaxy A series consists of the A01, A11, A21, and A51 LTE that are non-5G phones and the A51 5G and A71 5G, which are both 5G and to be released later this Summer. The A series ranges in price from $109.99 to $599.99 and varies in battery size, memory, storage, camera system, and screen size.
All variants are equipped with a varying Infinity Display, a multi-lens camera system, reasonably sized battery with Fast Charging, and an SD card slot with up to 512 GB of upgradeability. Samsung did a great job of implementing features that consumers who focus on value would appreciate. It matters to value customers to have a good quality display with upgradable storage and reliable battery life throughout the day. Oh also, a headphone jack. Headphone jacks have become the hallmark of a budget-friendly phone, and these are the first Samsung phones that are 5G with a headphone jack.
One of the things I noticed immediately about the A-series (excluding the A21) from the renders is that they have a slight camera bump. I don’t have any devices on hand, but I could imagine that when the phone is on a table there will be some screen wobble. That is unfortunate because I could imagine that many users will use these devices without a case. They are made of plastic and do not have curved displays, so a case isn’t particularly necessary.
The Galaxy A01 is the smallest in price and in screen size, probably the most appealing parts of this device. It has a 5.7-inch HD+ infinity V-display that I think many people will find attractive. Not everybody enjoys a large 6-inch+ screen, especially those who are looking for a budget-friendly device. It has a rear 13MP Main camera and 2MP Depth camera and a 5 MP front-facing camera. The Galaxy A01 has a 3,000 mAh battery with fast charging and starts at very attainable $109.99.
The Galaxy A11 has a larger 6.4-inch HD+ Infinity-O display and moves from the teardrop design of the A01 into the hole punch design we see in Samsung’s flagship devices. The A11 adds on a 5MP Ultra-Wide camera to the rear camera system and bumps the 5MP front-facing camera to an 8MP front-facing camera. It also adds a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone. It has a larger 4,000 mAh battery with fast charging and starts at a reasonable $179.99.
I think the Galaxy A21 is my favorite out of the non-5G lineup. It doesn’t have a camera bump on the back and has less of a rounded design and has a slightly larger 6.5-inch HD+ Infinity-O display. It has a Quad-Lens camera system with a 16MP Main, 8MP Ultra-Wide, 2MP Macro, and 2MP Depth camera with a 13MP front-facing camera. It was a little odd to me that the cameras were positioned differently compared to the A51, considering they are both Quad-lens cameras. The Galaxy A21 has a 4,000 mAh battery with fast charging and starts at $249.99.
The Galaxy A51 is where we see less of a difference between the A-series and flagship S Series devices. It is the first of the A series to have 5G support. However, the 5G version of the A51 won’t be released until this Summer. I imagine Samsung originally set the release date of the A51 5G and A71 5G to be this Summer; around the same time T-Mobile planned to release its 5G network. I believe if Samsung knew T-Mobile’s network was going to be released sooner, it would have released its 5G variants alongside the network. The A51 has a 6.5-inch HD+ Infinity-O Super AMOLED Display with a design that looks very similar to the Galaxy S20 Ultra until you touch it and see that its plastic. The A51 has a Quad-Lens camera with a 48MP Main, 12MP Ultra-Wide, 5MP Macro, and 5MP Depth with a 32MP front-facing camera. It has an On-Display fingerprint scanner instead of a rear fingerprint scanner. The A51 has a 4,000 mAh battery with fast charging and starts at $399.99 with the 5G variant starting at $499.99.
The Galaxy A71 5G is the most premium of the A-series. It has a 6.7-inch FHD+ AMOLED Plus Infinity-O display with a 64MP camera over the 48MP camera in the Galaxy A51. The A71 can have up to 1TB of additional microSD card slot memory and is only available in the 5G variant. It is set to come out this Summer starting at $599.99, and unfortunately, there are no renders of the device.
Samsung intelligently released its A-series lineup at a time where 5G networks are more widely available. It is putting 5G technology in the hands of all users so that they can stay connected during the COVID-19 crisis.
There is plenty of competition in the budget-friendly category of smartphones across the world. Still, I think the release of 5G variants is going to really change the game, not only for the budget-friendly category but also for the flagship category.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.
From innovative cameras to 5G connectivity, the Galaxy A series is built to deliver unmatched value to consumers. Visit Samsung Mobile Press to learn more about Samsung’s latest Galaxy A series smartphones.
1 A version of this article was originally published on the Moor Insights & Strategy blog.