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Review of budget smartphone Samsung A02

When choosing a smartphone costing up to 150-200$, users do not always evaluate performance and hope to see a large number of functions in the device. In the budget segment, criteria such as a durable, reliable case, a bright screen and good call quality often come to the fore. The Samsung Galaxy 02 has all this, but you need to take into account some of the disadvantages that you will have to face.

Equipment

The smartphone is sold in a cardboard box, inside which the user is greeted with standard equipment consisting of the following items:

  • charger with a power of 7.8 W (5 volts, 1.55 amperes);
  • cable with micro USB connector;
  • a needle for removing the tray with cards;
  • brief user manual in English.
Samsung a02

Design

In this review, we will look at a black device, but there is also a Galaxy A02 on sale with a blue or even red body. Due to the corrugated back cover and matte non-slip plastic, the smartphone fits comfortably in the hand, so it is not at all necessary to purchase a case, although such protection will certainly not be superfluous. On the front side there is only a screen, an earpiece and a front camera located in the middle of the waterdrop notch.

Samsung a02

Instead of a separate proximity sensor, a screen that reacts to conductive objects is used, and the front camera acts as a light sensor. There is no LED event indicator, but instead you can use the feature to automatically turn on the display when there are missed notifications.

Samsung a02

You won’t find anything on the top edge, but on the bottom there is a mini-jack (3.5 mm), a microphone, an increasingly outdated micro USB connector and the main speaker.

Samsung a02

The right side has a volume rocker and an on/off button. You can quickly double-click the power button to quickly launch the camera, turn on the flashlight, or launch any installed application. Pressing the volume up and power buttons simultaneously also has its own unique actions, such as inverting colors, opening a screen magnifier window, turning off all sounds, launching a voice assistant, etc.

The upper part of the left side is a full-fledged tray for two nano-sized SIM cards and a microSD memory card.

The block with two cameras on the back side does not stick out too much, which does not lead to strong swaying of the smartphone lying on the table when you press the screen. The flash under the cameras is represented by a single diode, and as a flashlight it shines dimly, but this is enough to illuminate something in the dark.

Samsung a02
MatrixPLS (a type of IPS)
Diagonal6.5 inches
Permission1600×720
Pixel Density270 PPI
Screen refresh rate60 Hz
Multi-touch5 touches
Maximum brightness with completely white screen556 cd/m²
Minimum brightness with completely white screen4.75 cd/m²
Contrast1525:1
Response time when transitioning from black to white and back24 ms
Response time when transitioning from 50% gray to 80% gray and back34.8 ms
Operating mode with glovesNo
Meaningful backlight modulationNo
Oleophobic coatingNo

The smartphone display stands out for its good brightness levels and relatively high contrast, as well as good responsiveness and far from the longest response time for the PLS matrix used. The resolution is low, but in budget models the HD+ indicator is most often found with a pixel density of less than 300 PPI, which will not interfere with the use of the device for most users. You need really good eyesight to see individual pixels. The actual screen diagonal, taking into account the rounded corners, is 6.34 inches.

Samsung a02

To obtain maximum brightness, you need to activate the “Outdoor” mode in the display settings, without which the brightness of white color displayed on the entire screen is reduced from 556 to 469 cd/m². The mode automatically turns off after 15 minutes of inactivity on the part of the user, which is inconvenient, although it has a positive effect on saving battery power. Taking into account the good anti-glare properties, the information on the screen remains visible outdoors on a bright sunny day.

The color gamut of the screen has deviations in comparison with the gamut of the sRGB color space, and you should not count on the most accurate color rendition. The color temperature is too high (~8200K), which is why there is a shift to cool shades. There is no separate color temperature adjustment — only a blue filter is found, the disadvantage of which is that the value will vary too much depending on the output color, which ideally should not happen.

Hardware, operating system and software

To ensure the operation of the device, the MediaTek MT6739WW single-chip system with 4 Cortex-A53 cores with a frequency of 1495 MHz, announced back in 2017, but still found in budget models, is used. We must admit that this is far from the most successful solution in terms of performance and energy efficiency, and the Helio A22 MT6761 chipset or something newer would look much more appropriate.

Galaxy A02 can be thoughtful even when navigating menus or desktops, not to mention heavy games, which in almost all cases are too much for the device, but in general the device can be used, especially for calls, navigation and communication on social networks and messengers. There is not much built-in memory — just over 22.6 GB, taking into account the space occupied by the operating system, and you cannot transfer software to a memory card.

Significant heating of the case does not appear even at a room temperature of 27°C, but throttling is strong — even in flight mode and applications unloaded from RAM (and these are ideal conditions), the Trottling Test software shows that performance decreases to 62% of the maximum level.

Additional features of the One UI 2.5 shell include gesture control, Direct share (data exchange via the sharing panel in any application), double-tap screen switching, parental controls, flash notifications, an equalizer, and Dolby Atmos headphone sound. What I didn’t find was a dual-window mode or a one-handed control mode.

Samsung a02

The set of sensors is small, and the software proximity sensor may not work if you press the smartphone not against your skin, but against your headgear, which is a feature of all such solutions.

Unlock methods

Unlocking by face or fingerprint is not provided, so you will have to limit yourself to a code, password or pattern. After enabling at least one of the listed methods, access to the Smart Lock function appears, through which unlocking via Bluetooth is added by adding Reliable wireless devices.

Connection

There is no NFC module in the device, and Wi-Fi turned out to be single-band, which was not a surprise, given the low cost of the Galaxy A02. Both SIM cards can simultaneously work in the 4G network, and when traveling around the city I had no complaints about the quality of communication (a very subjective point, which is influenced by the telecom operator, the quality of coverage and other conditions).

The volume of the speakers is sufficient for most cases — the only thing is that high-level sound distortion does not allow you to listen to music comfortably. The strength of the vibration is felt to be average at best — sometimes the vibration alert may not be heard/felt.

Wired headphones or headsets are required for FM radio to work. The standard Radio application contains functions for broadcast recording, audio output to the main speaker, sleep timer and teletext, and not all competitors have such a large set.

Cameras

The rear camera consists of two modules — the main version has a resolution of 13 megapixels (f/1.9, autofocus, flash). Despite the fact that the photos sometimes turn out overexposed, in general the quality of the images pleased with the correct color rendition and good detail, provided that the shooting took place in good lighting. The Samsung Galaxy A02 is no longer suitable for shooting at night, since it also lacks Night and many other modes.

Sometimes a flash can be very helpful, but you should photograph objects from a short distance.

The eight-fold digital zoom is designed more to try to see something at a long distance, since the quality of the pictures when using it deteriorates significantly. On the plus side, the magnification adjustment is smooth and provides 80 points for selecting the desired distance.

The macro module (2 MP, f/2.4), designed for shooting from a distance of 3-5 cm, is also not admirable, but it is better than the often unreal depth sensor in a large number of budget smartphones.

Samsung a02

Video shooting with the main camera is available in Full HD 30 FPS resolution with automatic focusing, 8x magnification, the ability to turn on the flash and take pictures while recording.

For the front camera (5 MP, f/2.0, Full HD 30 FPS video) there is a set of 12 color filters, a timer of up to 10 seconds and a flash, which acts as a screen filled with yellowish color at high brightness. Color rendition most often again pleases with its natural shades, but there are highlights, and in poor lighting the results are expectedly weak. This option is quite suitable for video communication, although the module is not suitable for selfie lovers.

Only GPS satellite systems (single-band L1) and GLONASS are supported, which does not negatively affect the quality of navigation in urban environments. In theory, it is still possible to detect the Chinese BeiDou system — the smartphone chipset allows this, but, it seems, not in the Moscow region. There are no satellite losses, which can be seen on the recorded GPS tracks.

perating and charging time

A large-capacity 5000 mAh battery partially compensates for the non-energy-efficient hardware of the smartphone, so the result is a good, but far from record-breaking battery life even compared to budget competitors. Autonomy tests were carried out with one working SIM card and the Wi-Fi module turned on.

PUBG Mobile game with backlight brightness 150 cd/m², graphics settings Balance/Medium (cannot be set again)8.5 hours
24 hours standby time15% charge
HD video (offline) in MX player with backlight brightness 150 cd/m²14 hours 45 minutes
PC Mark with recommended backlight brightness of 200 cd/m²11 hours 27 minutes

Fully charging the review hero takes a considerable 3.5 hours (17% in 30 minutes and 34% in an hour), which is explained by the low power of the included power supply. However, even with any third-party adapters, the maximum charging power does not exceed 7.59 W (5.23 volts, 1.45 amperes). Wireless charging is not supported.

Results

At the end of July 2021, the cost of the Samsung Galaxy A02 was around 150$, and with such a price tag, the hero of the review has plenty of competitors produced by Chinese brands. Many of them will have face and/or finger unlocking, call recording and more powerful hardware, and some even have an NFC module. Let me remind you that the device we are considering is devoid of all this.

The Korean device has a durable, practical body, a capacious battery, and a main camera that takes good pictures in sufficient light. The main advantage is the screen, which is brighter than most displays and more expensive models. The smartphone can cope with basic tasks, but sometimes you have to put up with the slowness of the operating system — first of all, the Galaxy A02 should be considered by fans of the Samsung brand, who for some reason do not like the numerous Chinese analogues and absolutely do not need heavy games.

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