Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Review: Canada's premium midrange gets an upgrade – WhistleOut Canada

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
When WhistleOut Canada reviewed last year’s Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, we appreciated its beautiful display, powerful cameras, and long battery life. However, the retail price was much higher than the previous year’s model. This year’s Galaxy A53 5G further improved the hardware and software, but Samsung dropped the price by about $70.
Our experts look at what’s new, the same, and missing on Samsung’s midrange flagship smartphone. If you’re considering a Samsung Galaxy S22 but aren’t interested in the $1,099+ price tag, you might want to consider the Galaxy A53 5G.
Samsung’s new Galaxy A53 5G is a great option for casual smartphone owners and gadget lovers who don’t want to break the bank on a new device. It took a few years, but Samsung got the balance right with its price, features, and performance in a midrange Android smartphone. 
The display is above average, there’s sufficient storage for most people (and expandable storage for those who need more), the battery lasts two days, and it’s water-resistant with an IP67 rating. The camera hardware shows its age, but Samsung’s exclusive apps make it easy to shoot fun social media pictures and videos.
To get full use out of the Galaxy A53, you’ll need to subscribe to a 5G plan. Five Canadian wireless providers offer 5G network services: Telus, Bell, Rogers, Videotron (QC), and SaskTel (SK). However, you can save hundreds by choosing a 4G LTE flanker brand like Fido, Koodo, or Virgin Plus. Since it’s Samsung’s only midrange smartphone model this year, expect to find the Galaxy A53 5G everywhere, including discount carriers like Freedom Mobile and Cityfone.
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G retails for $589.99, but carriers may charge more when you buy it outright. WhistleOut data experts recommend waiting for a promotion from your favourite carrier when you can pick it up on a two-year contract for $20/month or less.  
We find that the Galaxy A53 5G balances current-gen features like a big display, powerful cameras, and two-day battery life with an affordable price tag. You can go cheaper with devices like the affordable Samsung Galaxy A13 5G, but low-end phones can be frustratingly slow. Premium flagship smartphone prices start well over $1,000, so a midrange smartphone hits that sweet spot between performance and price.  
The screen is quite large—measuring 6.5” diagonally. The AMOLED display with a sharp full HD+ resolution runs at 120Hz, giving you buttery-smooth scrolling in your apps and web pages. When we get into the details, you’ll see the screen’s hardware specs aren’t different from Samsung’s midrange phone last year; instead, the difference is in the processor.
In our Galaxy A52 5G review last year, we loved the 120Hz display but found it was wasted on sub-par 3D gaming performance. However, the Galaxy A53’s new Exynos 1280 chip produced framerates 2x faster than the Snapdragon 750G used last year. This device still isn’t a premium gaming phone, but it does a good job of helping you forget that it’s a midrange device.  
Earlier this year, Samsung committed to four software upgrades and five years of security updates on all Galaxy S, Z, and A-series smartphones. The Galaxy A53 5G will get Android 16 when it comes out, and security updates will protect your phone until 2027. 
A few years ago, even the most expensive Android smartphones received only two software upgrades and maybe three years of security updates—forcing you to upgrade devices just after paying off that two-year contract. A phone without software upgrades doesn’t get any new features, and a lack of security updates leaves your phone vulnerable to malicious hackers. The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G still offers years of service after you finish paying it off. 
Samsung continues to improve its camera app, and the flagship Galaxy S lineup features some of the best camera hardware on the market. Our experience testing the Samsung Galaxy S22+ demonstrated exceptional performance in photos, videos, and playback. That advanced software is transplanted to the midrange Galaxy A53 5G giving its owners a powerful camera app. 
The camera sensors and lenses are the same as those found on last year’s Galaxy A52 5G. It has a 64MP sensor for the primary camera and can shoot up to 4K at 30fps or 1080p at 30fps in Super Steady mode. Pro Camera Mode lets you control the focal length, shutter speed, and ISO and see the results in real-time before snapping the shutter. 
The macro camera takes sharp 5MP photos, and the ultrawide camera produces stunning 12MP landscape photos. On the flip side, the 32MP front-facing camera takes good photos in its own right, but more importantly, the high resolution renders enough data to produce unique real-time effects for your selfies.  
While we have a lot of good things to say about the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G when it comes to casual photography, you might look somewhere else if you love snapping quick photos. A precious moment may be lost to time waiting for the camera to be ready. 
It took 3-4 seconds from Sleep mode to take a photo; it took another 1.5 seconds before we could snap the next shot in our tests. These results aren’t uncommon for a midrange device, but a premium smartphone can shoot the first photo in under two seconds and a follow-up shot in less than a second. This timing is less a fault of the Galaxy A53 5G than a performance limitation of its category. If you frequently take photos on your smartphone, you may consider a premium option instead. 
While a powerful processor and intelligent image processing can compensate for older camera hardware, limited connectivity is another issue. The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6 (or Wi-Fi 6E).
Some connectivity features, including Bluetooth 5.1, 4G LTE, 5G, NFC, and a USB-C port (2.0), help retain the feel of a premium smartphone. Still, we’re disappointed Samsung removed the audio jack from this year’s model. Most premium smartphones dropped the analog jack generations ago, but it’s remained a consistent and essential feature of midrange and low-end models. Even Samsung’s budget devices released this year—the Galaxy A03s and Galaxy A13 5G—include headphone jacks. 
We recommend buying a 5G-capable cell phone but not necessarily a compatible wireless plan. Canadian 4G LTE networks are among the fastest in the world. For national 5G coverage, you need to spend $85/month or more for access since only premium wireless carrier plans include 5G connectivity in Canada. However, we expect the wireless landscape to look very different by 2025, and affordable 5G devices available today include at least three years of software updates.
The latest smartphone doesn’t need to cost a fortune, no matter what Samsung and Apple say. The Galaxy A53 5G is for gadget lovers who want cool features but aren’t interested in the high price tags. If you own a Samsung Galaxy S10 or older smartphone, this is an affordable alternative that will last you for years to come.
When Samsung relaunched the Galaxy A-series line a few years ago, it focused on bringing the latest smartphone innovations to a wider audience. The midrange devices are now a favourite of longtime Samsung fans who are no longer interested in spending more than $1,000 for a smartphone. 
The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G includes futuristic features like in-screen fingerprint recognition, a 6.5” display with 120Hz refresh rate, multiple lenses with a 64MP main camera, and 5G connectivity. Only the newest premium smartphones had these features just two years ago, and four years ago, they were completely absent in the Canadian market.  
A recent problem with Android smartphones was their short lifespan. Premium smartphones received one or two OS upgrades, and cheaper models often saw none. However, as of this year, Samsung will upgrade all A-series smartphones—including the Galaxy A53 5G—with four OS versions and five years of security updates. That means Galaxy A53 5G owners get feature updates all the way to Android 16, and the phone receives security patches until 2027 before reaching end-of-life status. 
It’s hard to look at a midrange device when Samsung is advertising cool features like Nightography video mode on its Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. I mean, it’s just so awesome, but it costs $2,000. How much bleeding-edge performance do you really need on your pocket device?
We were pleasantly surprised by how well the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G performed in benchmark tests. It matches the old Samsung Galaxy S8 in 3D gaming, and the CPU is nearly as powerful as the Galaxy S10. If you’re still holding onto an old Samsung flagship device, the Galaxy A53 5G is a worthy upgrade for half the price you paid for your last phone.  
Both of these smartphones have similar hardware features and target the same audience. Pick up the older Galaxy A52 5G at a cheap price if you want to save a few extra dollars and don’t mind upgrading after a few years. 
There haven’t been a lot of hardware upgrades since last year’s Galaxy A52 5G, and many carriers will continue to offer the older model at a reduced price for months to come. Still, it’s worth considering a new device if the Galaxy A53 5G upgrades and longer support window are worth the price difference.  
Apple is Samsung’s biggest competitor in the smartphone market, and for Android phone sales, Google is in second place to Samsung. Let’s see how these competitors fare against the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G. 
Apple’s midrange iPhone SE (2022) focuses on compact size and fast performance rather than fancy features. The Pixel 6 is Google’s cheapest model on the Canadian market, making it one of the most affordable flagship phones.
The Galaxy A53 5G is a great smartphone for longtime Samsung fans who want a new phone without shelling out a lot of money. It matches the performance of older flagships while including current-gen features such as an in-screen fingerprint reader, multiple cameras, and longer battery life. However, the One UI 4.1 interface may be jarring for longtime Google, LG, or Motorola users since Samsung relies heavily on its custom-built apps.  
Even if you’re happy with your old Galaxy smartphone, it’s worth the device upgrade because yours may no longer receive new security or feature updates. We think the Galaxy A53 5G is a great investment because you’ll receive security updates until 2027. 
Here’s what you get from the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G:
There aren’t many big upgrades compared to last year’s Galaxy A52 5G, so we recommend taking advantage of any clearance pricing on that model. Apple fans don’t get as many bells and whistles, but the new iPhone SE (2022) is one of the fastest smartphones on the market yet fits comfortably in your pocket for less than $600. If you’re not interested in Samsung’s ecosystem but want a great camera phone that will receive years of upgrades, spring for Google’s Pixel 6.
Our cellular experts used data from proprietary research to evaluate the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G according to performance, battery life, display, cameras, and connectivity. Our overall score is an average of these five ratings. WhistleOut experts also researched the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, Apple iPhone SE (2022), Google Pixel 6, and more to weigh the Galaxy A53 5G’s value against competitive products.
No. You cannot charge the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G wirelessly. The 5000 mAh battery is larger than last year’s model and can fast-charge at 25W. We reached 15W with a third-party charger in our tests, and a 50% charge took 40 minutes.
The Canadian retail price from Samsung for the Galaxy A53 5G is $589.99. Carriers may sell for more, but it typically costs $25/month or less on two-year plans. We recommend waiting for a promotion that drops the price to under $20/month.
Yes! The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G comes with 128GB of onboard storage expandable with a microSDXC card up to 1TB in size.
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