Samsung wants to sell you a Galaxy phone, and it doesn’t care how much you’re willing to spend. It’s two folding phones and three new Galaxy S20 flagship phones are all priced somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000. If that’s too costly, try one of its six older Galaxy S10 models and Note 10. They’re going for $600 to $1,100.
And if you’re unwilling to spend $600 to buy one of those 11 phones? Well, Samsung is now plugging that hole with a half dozen more Android phones that start as cheap as $110.
Samsung’s new Galaxy A range includes the A01, A11, A21, A51, A51 5G, and A71 5G. Each model has an escalating mix of capabilities, which we’ll get to below, but all of them run Android 10 and come with a MicroSD card slot so you can add more storage if you need (and you might). Samsung hasn’t commented on whether these phones will receive regular security or version updates, or for how long.
The Galaxy A01 and A11 ($110 – $180)
At $110, the A01 is the cheapest of the lot. It has a 5.7-inch nearly HD (720p) screen with a notch to house the selfie camera on the front. You get a dual-lens camera system: the main camera is paired with a depth camera used for improved portrait mode. There’s a 3,000-mAh battery, which should keep the phone running for a day considering its low-power specs, and there’s no fingerprint sensor. You only get 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage, so don’t expect it to run any intensive apps or games like Fortnite well. It won’t have the storage to hold them, either. It will debut exclusively at Verizon starting April 9 and will release on other networks in the following weeks.
If you want a bigger screen, the A11 costs $180 unlocked and steps things up with a larger 6.4-inch (still 720p) screen. Instead of a notch, this phone’s display has a hole-punch cutout on the top left for the selfie camera, mimicking Samsung’s higher-end devices. You also get a 5-megapixel ultrawide angle camera. The battery is bigger at 4,000 mAh and so is the 32 GB of storage (though you should still aim for a minimum of 64 GB storage). You still only get 2 GB of RAM, but hey, at least there’s a fingerprint sensor. It’s launching later this summer, but Samsung hasn’t mentioned what networks it will operate on.
Typically, we do not recommend phones this cheap because they tend to feel laggy. The amount of storage and RAM on these two devices will likely hamper performance and annoy you, so we advise caution.
The Galaxy A21 and A51 ($250 – $400)
The unlocked A21 costs $250, and has a 6.5-inch HD (still 720p!) screen with a fancy 13-megapixel selfie camera in its display’s hole-punch cutout. The rear camera array has four lenses: a higher-end 16 megapixel lens, 8-megapixel ultrawide lens, a depth camera for portrait shots, and an added macro camera so you can snap super up-close photos of almost anything. The battery, storage, and existence of a fingerprint sensor remain the same as the A11, but you get faster charging to juice the phone up a little quicker. RAM has been bumped to 3 GB, so performance should be a little better. This phone is somewhat comparable to the Motorola Moto G, but the display won’t be as crisp.
The $400 A51 (also unlocked) is the first on the list with a Full HD (1080p) pixel resolution for its 6.5-inch screen. This phone has a similar quad-camera array as the A21, but Samsung bumped the megapixel count with a 48-megapixel main camera and bumps for the other lenses. The fingerprint sensor is built into the screen in this phone, just like Samsung’s flagships, and you get 128 GB of storage with 4 GB of RAM. The A51 will be available from Verizon starting April 9, Sprint on April 10, and will come to other networks and retailers in the following weeks.
The Galaxy A51 5G and A71 5G ($500 – $600)
There’s another version of the A51 with a 5G modem inside it, allowing you to access faster internet speeds—if you happen to have a data plan that supports it and live in one of the few places where 5G is available. This A51 also bumps the RAM and battery to 6 GB and 4,500 mAh, respectively.
Finally, there’s the A71 5G. It’s the most powerful, adding a 64-megapixel main camera leading the quad-camera array and a 6.7-inch Full HD screen.
Samsung says it hopes to support both sub-6 and millimeter-wave 5G, two different types of 5G technology. But it hasn’t clarified if that goal applies to these phones. We’ll have to wait until they launch this summer. They will join a wave of affordable 5G phones, including the Nokia 8.3 5G. For more details, you can check our in-depth 5G guide.
More Cheap Phones Ahead
As high-end smartphone prices have skyrocketed past $1,000, a battle has begun over lower-end handset sales. There’s already plenty of competition. Apple is heavily rumored to announce its $400 iPhone very soon and Google is expected launch a new Pixel 4A in the next few weeks. New affordable Motorola Moto G phones are launching this month and there are plenty of great offerings from OnePlus, Nokia, Asus, and soon, TCL.
Samsung’s A series might sound robust, but with 17 devices in its portfolio, the sheer volume of choices may leave many buyers overwhelmed. We’ll do our best to help make sense of the options as they come out this spring and summer.
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