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Samsung Galaxy A-Series (2024) - Spot the Difference

Glenn Hart,
Publish Date
Wed, 27 Mar 2024, 1:18PM

Samsung Galaxy A-Series (2024) - Spot the Difference

Glenn Hart,
Publish Date
Wed, 27 Mar 2024, 1:18PM

It's that time of year again... when it becomes a real challenge to understand the difference between all the phones Samsung has to offer.

By now the three Galaxy S24 flagships are well and truly out and about. They're pretty pricey though, so you might be considering the S23 FE from late last year as a more budget-friendly alternative.

Of course, if you want something bendy, the Z Flip and Fold are both great options, although there'll be new models out in a few months time.

And as if things weren't complicated enough, the 2024 A-Series has just hit the shelves. That's another six phones to add to the mix. Oh boy.

Samsung loaned me an A55 and an A35 for this review and i can tell you straight off the bat, the only thing that would keep me from buying either one for my own personal use is a lack of wireless charging. I'm afraid that's become a dealbreaker for me which is a shame because wireless charging seems to be one of the first "premium" features to be sliced off the list when manufacturers design a sub $1000 phone.

This year's A-Series handsets almost make up for it though by supporting 25W fast charging right across the range. Both my review devices had excellent battery life too - coasting through two full days on a single charge.

Both the A35 and A55 carry an IP67 dust and water resistance rating - that's pretty unusual for a phone in this price range. 

What I found even more unusual was how good the camera quality was - in both devices. While these phones obviously aren't capable of producing the unrivalled photo and video performance of their S-Series big brothers, they don't fall too far short. The main difference between camera arrays is the A55 has a 12MP Ultra-Wide sensor, while the A35's is only 8MP. The A55 also boasts an impressive 32MP selfie-cam, as opposed to just 13MP on the A35. That said, both rock a decent 50MP main shooter and both sport fairly advanced features like Super HDR Video, both optical and digital image stabilisation and advanced "Nightography" for better low-light shooting.

Neither device really offers the advanced on-device AI processing Samsung was so emphatic about with its S-Series launch at the beginning of the year but if you can do without live translation and AI-assisted Google searches, you can definitely save somne serious cash and still end up with a very decent phone.

At $NZ799.00 the A55 comes in Awesome Navy or Awesome Iceblue (which is really white with a slightly blueish tinge). It feels evey bit as premium in the hand as any other flagship that sells for more than twice the price. This is thanks to the glass back, metal rails around the edges and upgraded durability for the glass over the display.

Although the NZ$649.00 A35 is essentially exactly the same shape and also comes in Awesome Navy, its other option is Awesome Lilac and while it still has a glass back, the sides are plastic instead of metal. As you would expect, the chip on the A35 is a step down from the A55... but not that far down. In fact, it's the same chip that ran the A54 last year.

Confused yet? I don't blame you.

Perhaps the most confusing thing of all is although both these phones cost less than half of their S-Series stablemates, they're way better than half as good. I was expecting slow app launches, stuttering performance in the camera app and jittery tranistions between apps but I experienced none of that. Instead I got smooth, trouble-free performance, crisp, colourful displays and excellent video and photo quality - I'm not just talking above-average either.

Check out these shots from the A35 - taken at 1x, 2x and 3x zoom. They're very clear and true-to-life, even once the digital zoom takes over.




This next pic was from the A55 - successfully capturing every detail of both dog and heron in flight. (Don't worry, the dog didn't catch the heron!)


These phones also slot easily into the wider Samsung ecosystem. Thanks to the latest One UI operating system and updates to the Wear app and WearOS, swapping my Galaxy Buds Pro2 and Galaxy Watch5 from one Samsung phone to another is now quite painless - no resets required.

Slightly less painless is moving from physical sim to eSim - something I did earlier in the year when changing phone plans. This is where the A55 sets itself apart from the rest of the "A"s - it's the only one in the series that's eSim compatible, although the rest all have dual-sim trays that can also be used to expand storage using a microSD card.

Other than that, I found the user experience on both the A35 and A55 to be very similar - and that experience surprised me by just how good it was. That means Samsung has made life very hard for itself; both these phones come dangerously close to premium performance at a far lower-than-premium price tag. If you don't believe me, get to a local Samsung dealer and try them out for yourself. I'm confident you'll be just as impressed as I was at how well they stack up.




Click here for more information and pricing on the Samsung Galaxy A-Series (2024).

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