- Excellent display
- Great battery life
- Value for money
- Mediocre camera
- Tinny speaker
The battle for supremacy of the mid-range smartphone market rages on more intensely, with companies constantly churning out device after device to throw into the meat grinder. In the past, Xiaomi has been the dominant force in this category, but lately, players such as Realme and Samsung have been hard at work to scalp some of the share away. Recently, Samsung released a host of smartphone to compete in the mid-range market, with phones such as the Samsung Galaxy M10, M20, M30, A50, and A30. We managed to get our hands on the Galaxy A30, and have been using it over the last couple of weeks. So, how does it far as a mid-ranger? Continue reading below to find out!
Design and Build Quality
Across the board of its new mid-range lineup, Samsung has used a similar design for each of its phone. A glossy plastic back, and also a notch on the front are some of the looks that stand out the most. While it is primarily made out of plastic, the phone still looks pretty good, and isn’t a fingerprint magnet like the Galaxy S series. On the front, there’s a Super AMOLED display and also the infinity-U notch up top. Moving to the rear, a dual-camera setup with a single flash, and also the fingerprint scanner are found. The fingerprint reader might be a bit high for those with shorter fingers, but it should be fine for most people. Etched into the back is a Samsung logo, and that’s about it for the rear panel, giving a very clean look. The power button and volume rockers are placed on the right-hand side, while the dual-SIM tray is on the left. As for the bottom, the USB Type-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack, and speaker are placed. All-in-all the Galaxy A30 has a simple but sleek design which doesn’t over complicate things.
Build quality is average, especially with the use of plastic in its build. However, it still feels solid in the hand, not too heavy, not too light, just the right balance. However, in the long term I can see this phone having the paint of its edges start to peel.
Specification and Benchmark
When it comes to specs, the Galaxy A30 sports decent internals including an Exynos 7904 processor. Memory wise, it comes in two options: 3GB RAM + 32GB storage, and 4GB RAM + 64GB storage.
Attached below are the benchmark scores for the Galaxy A30. It should be noted that benchmark scores merely showcase raw performance and may not translate to real life usage. However, it should give you a rough estimation of its capabilities.
The display, one of the best parts of this phone. Being a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display, it is large and also of superior quality. It totally trumps other displays on phones at this price point. The blacks are deep, and also the contrast ratio is near perfect. However, if you’re not satisfied with the way the display looks, you have the option to tweak it in the settings. Using it under direct sunlight was not an issue, as the maximum brightness is pretty high. Minimum screen brightness is also pretty low, and using the phone under low-light shouldn’t be an issue.
Also, the display may be 6.4-inches which is rather large, but it doesn’t seem so thanks to the 19.5:9 aspect ratio. Content viewing is also a pleasure with such a great display.
Powered by an Exynos 7904, and a Mali-G71 MP2 GPU, backed by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of ROM, the Galaxy A30 offers decent performance. Opening and closing of apps is generally smooth, except for a few occasional stutters. There were no forced closes, which is quite typical in mid-range phones. However, a couple of apps were rather slow on this phone, such as Snapchat and PUBG: Mobile. Snapchat would take awhile to start up, and the shutter button takes a couple of seconds to register a touch. Meanwhile, PUBG: Mobile loads fine, but during gameplay, frame rate drops, which results in lag.
The Galaxy A30 is great for casual usage, but if you are a heavy users, you might want to opt for something with a better processor.
Battery Life & Charging
The Galaxy A30 packs a rather large battery, coming in at 4,000 mAh. I’m pleased to report that the battery performed well, and I managed to get more than a full day’s worth of usage from it. I constantly managed to get 4.5 hours to 5 hours of screen-on-time, with my usage consisting of web browsing, social media apps, and also a bit of gaming.
The device charges via a USB Type-C port and it takes about 1 hour and 50 minutes to fully charge from 0%. The included charger is a fast charger.
On the back of the Galaxy A30 is a dual-camera setup placed vertically comprising of a 16 MP, f/1.7 primary shooter, and a 5 MP, f/2.2 ultrawide camera. Meanwhile, selfies are handled by a 16MP, f/2.0 fixed focus shooter. Image quality from the primary shooter is decent, with nice colours and lots of detail. However, the camera does tend to oversaturate pictures, with pictures of food affected the most. Also, outdoor shots get overexposed most times, with or without HDR on. When it comes to low-light shots, the Galaxy A30 suffers quite significantly, with lots of noise in the pictures. This results in grainy images, with lots left to be desired.
Also, there’s a wide-angle shooter which is a nice touch, and I’m glad it’s starting to become a trend among mid-range handsets. While quality is not very great, it does fine under bright conditions, and does its job of capturing a scene too large to fit the primary sensor.
The front-facing camera takes decent pictures as well, but being a fixed focus camera, it is only able to capture images from a certain distance. It isn’t very good at preserving details, but the images captured are good enough for social media.
Speaker & Security
The speaker on the Galaxy A30 is actually rather bad. It gets very tinny, and if you slightly cover it, the sound is totally blocked. At high volumes (which isn’t very loud), the sound is distorted. This is one of the worsts speakers on a smartphone which I’ve come across.
Security wise, the Galaxy A30 comes with the usual unlock methods, such as face recognition, fingerprint scanning, password, and PIN. There’s no dedicated sensor for facial recognition, so it may not be as secure as other unlock methods. However, it does work fast, but the fingerprint reader is a tad faster, and it’s my preferred unlock method.
UI & OS
Out of the box, the Galaxy A30 runs on One UI 1.1 on top of Android 9.0 Pie. It runs on the same software as Samsung’s current lineup of flagships, with very similar features. Some may like One UI, while others may not due to the slight cartoon-ish design. However, I feel that what Samsung has done with its software is great, making it simple and intuitive to use.
Unlike many other brands, there isn’t much bloatware about, though there are a few pre-loaded apps such as Microsoft’s office apps. The app drawer is still available, and the software itself is not buggy in any way. The notification drop down is also great for one-handed usage, thanks to the redesigned layout.
The Samsung Galaxy A30 is a wholesome mid-range device, and it’s a welcomed one indeed. I’ve used mid-range Samsung handsets in the past, and I never enjoyed using them one bit. However, with the optimised software and decent hardware from the company, I had fun using the Galaxy A30 which retails for RM 799. Of course, there are alternatives from the likes of Xiaomi and Realme. Xiaomi has the Redmi Note 7 which retails for RM 799, which sports similar hardware. The Xiaomi Mi A2 is also an option at RM 799 as well, though it is nearly a year old, it does come with stock Android. Meanwhile, the Realme 3 is much cheaper at RM 599, though it does come with slightly watered down specs. As you can see, there are many devices in the same price range, so it’s a matter of picking the device which meets your needs.