Final Test Results: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

This model proves you can still get a great Android phone for under $500

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Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Photo: Samsung

Outfitted with a new processor and a bigger battery, Samsung’s Galaxy A53 5G is a logical evolution from the $500 Galaxy A52 5G, which earned admirable scores from CR’s testers a year ago. And yet this latest Samsung midrange phone arrives with a lower $450 starting price.

That’s a welcome upgrade.

The model uses the manufacturer’s home-brewed Exynos 1280 5nm processor instead of the Qualcomm processor found in the A52. Samsung says the new chip fuels software-based camera enhancements designed to capture better photos and videos in low light and provide more style options for images shot in the popular blurred-background Portrait Mode.

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In CR’s tests, the four rear cameras (64-megapixel main, plus ultrawide, depth, and zoom) perform well for still shots and high-definition 1080p video. The 32-megapixel front camera, however, rates just okay for selfie shots. 

Even though Samsung has packed in the large 5,000mAh battery, the A53 5G lasted only 36.5 hours on a charge in our labs, proving that a bigger battery doesn’t always mean more juice. The 4,500mAh battery in the prior model logged an impressive 45 hours.

And the Google Pixel 5a, which also costs $450, has a 43.5-hour battery life, which puts it just a tad ahead of the A53 5G in our overall rankings.

All things considered, though, 36.5 hours of power is enough to last most people more than a day, depending on the demands you place on the phone.

Other than a slight redesign to the camera housing, which makes the rear lenses more flush with the back (similar to the tweaks in Samsung’s S22 line of phones), the A53 5G looks much like the A52 5G. 

It has the same 6.5-inch energy-efficient AMOLED display with a 120-hertz dynamic refresh rate for speedier scrolling and animations than you get with the standard 60Hz rate. CR testers find the phone’s display quality and durability to be top-notch. On performance, however, the A53 5G rates just okay, much like last year’s model.

Overall, this moderately priced phone gets a CR Best Buy designation. It comes with handy features you might not expect to find in a model that costs under $500: a memory card slot, fast battery charging, and water and dust resistance. Keep in mind, though, that, like other Apple and Samsung phones, the A53 5G doesn’t come with a charger.

Finally, you won’t need to deliberate about color or storage options: The model comes only in black, with 128 gigabytes of internal storage. 

Headshot of CR author Melanie Pinola

Melanie Pinola

As a service journalist, my goal is to help people get the most out of their technology and other tools. Prior to joining CR, my work appeared online and in print for publications including The New York Times, Wirecutter, Lifehacker, Popular Mechanics, and PCWorld. When I'm not researching or writing, I'm playing video games with my family, testing new recipes, or chasing the puppy. Feel free to reach me on Twitter (@melaniepinola).