Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

samsung galaxy a53 5g review

Introduction

Samsung has been maintaining a particularly strong Galaxy A series of devices for some time now. It has been iterating and improving its value proposition on these phones, and the new 2022 refresh is no different. You can read all about the new Galaxy A73 5G, A53 5G and A33 5G here to see exactly what we mean.

The new Galaxy A53 5G is now here for review. Since the 5X series has arguably been one of the better-geared devices in the series, it is also the toughest one to upgrade. In comparison, this year’s Galaxy A33 5G is a much lower hanging fruit seeing how its predecessor came with an LCD.

Changes going from the A52s 5G to the A53 5G are a lot more subtle. Simply put, not much has changed, certainly not enough to entice current owners of a recent Galaxy A5X series phone, but there are still some noteworthy changes here and there.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G specs at a glance:

  • Body: 159.6×74.8×8.1mm, 189g; plastic body, glass front; IP67 dust/water resistant (up to 1m for 30 mins).
  • Display: 6.50″ Super AMOLED, 120Hz, 800 nits (HBM), 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 405ppi.
  • Chipset: Exynos 1280 (5 nm): Octa-core (2×2.4 GHz Cortex-A78 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55); Mali-G68.
  • Memory: 128GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 6GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM; microSDXC (uses shared SIM slot).
  • OS/Software: Android 12, One UI 4.1.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm, 1/1.7X”, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 12 MP, f/2.2, 123-degree, 1.12µm; Macro: 5 MP, f/2.4; Depth: 5 MP, f/2.4.
  • Front camera: 32 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/2.8″, 0.8µm.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: [email protected], [email protected]/60fps; gyro-EIS; Front camera: [email protected], [email protected]
  • Battery: 5000mAh; Fast charging 25W.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); Virtual proximity sensing.

First up – the straight-up positive change – the A53 5G has a larger 5,000mAh battery than its predecessor. There is also a brand new chipset made by Samsung – the Exynos 1280. A modern 5nm part, still not officially present or detailed on Samsung’s semiconductor website, but very much already in the wild and looking intriguing with a 2×2.4 GHz Cortex-A78 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55 CPU configuration, a Mali-G68 GPU and arguably even more versatile 5G setup than the Snapdragon 778G 5G inside the A52s 5G.

On the flip side, there are some notable downgrades in the A53 5G as well. For one, it lacks the 3.5mm audio jack of its predecessor. It is also missing Wi-Fi 6 support. Though, it does offer slightly newer Bluetooth 5.1.

Other than this, the A53 5G is pretty much identical both in terms of specs and design to its predecessor. Even though, technically, it has shrunk down some in physical size, all the while keeping its display diagonal and weight unchanged. So, you are essentially getting smaller display bezels and a larger battery for “free”. Not counting the 3.5mm jack, that is.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

To sum up, the new Galaxy A53 5G seems to be a slightly “tweaked” variant of what Samsung already knows works and sells well. The slightly bigger battery is always nice to see, but what is going to either make or break the A53 5G is definitely the new Exynos 1280 chipset. To be perfectly frank, it just needs to be as good and not even better than the Snapdragon 778G 5G it is replacing. That would mean another wave of happy customers since every other feature of the A53 5G has been carried over from the previous model, and it’s still a fantastic package.

Unboxing

Let’s kick things off with a quick unboxing. The unboxing itself can’t take much time since the accessory package in many phones has been getting lighter and lighter.

The A53 5G has a white USB Type-C to Type-C cable in its box, a SIM ejector tool and some leaflets. That’s it. There is no screen protector, pre-applied or otherwise, no case and no power adaptor. The A52 5G as well as the A52s 5G at least had a 15W Samsung Adaptive Fast Charge unit in their boxes, and the latter even shipped with a 25W charger in some markets.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

While a bit arrogant on the surface, the assumption that most users will have a charger already is also admittedly quite fair. Then again, assuming users will have a decent Power Delivery charger is a bit much. Plus, Samsung is technically using a bit of fancy PPS in its chargers at the moment, so ultimately, that and the included Type-C to Type-C cable are a not-so-subtle “nudge” to go out and buy the Samsung 25W TA-800 PD charger, which is a good $25 (MSRP) extra.

Design

The Galaxy A53 5G is still rocking the familiar design originally pioneered by the Galaxy A52. It is anything but a tired look since it is still attractive and recognizable. The particular matter finish on the back, combined with the gentle slope up to the camera island, makes it flow into the rest of the body. The pastel colors make for a very appealing overall silhouette.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Despite the A53 5G being a bit smaller than its A52s 5G predecessor – 159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1 mm, compared to 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4 mm, not much has actually changed externally. You would have to actually hold the two devices side by side to notice the said difference in dimensions, and even then, it’s hardly major.

You do technically get a better screen-to-body ratio on the front, but we can’t pinpoint one of the bezels and call it noticeably “thinner”. Perhaps the chin has the most noticeable difference, but in absolute terms, their design is still a mid-range one, and display bezels are still a part of that.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

The front of the phone is almost entirely flat, and the AMOLED screen is protected by a flat piece of Gorilla Glass 5. The glass is known for its good shatter resistance, though it isn’t as great as scratches are concerned. This being a flat panel, you can easily get a glass screen protector on top if you want that extra peace of mind. Note that if you put a glass shield on, you will also need to re-register your fingerprints for better accuracy.

A smaller body and a bigger battery should mean a heavier phone, but this is not the case since the A53 5G weighs 189 grams, just like its predecessor. Perhaps that’s through a combination of improved battery tech and efficiency and some lighter construction for other components. The A53 5G does feel confidently “dense”. There is no hollowness to speak of. It is well filled-out on the inside, which inspires confidence while handling. Weight distribution is also great.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Overall, the A53 5G feels solid and fits snugly in hand. A lot of that has to do with its comfortable rounded body, including a gently-sloping back and rounded middle frame and corners. There is plenty of grip here. Interestingly, despite its glossier finish, the middle frame is even grippier than the back of the phone. It does collect a lot of grease and smudges as well, though.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

By far, the A53 5G’s best angle, however, is from the back. Samsung is mixing up the color selection once again for the A53 5G. You can have it in Black or White as the basic color options, as well as Blue and Peach. Blue has been an option on the A52 and A52 5G, but not the A52s 5G. The first two had the awesome Violet color as well, which you can see in our A52 5G review. The A52s 5G had Purple and Mint as its “fancy” colors. You can check the latter in our A52s 5G review. This year our review unit came in a new color – Awesome Peach. It has a matte pastel tone to it, which we have come to expect and simply looks gorgeous in person, appearing orange or gold depending on the lighting.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Arguably the best part about the back panel is its finish, though. Like older models, this surface has an almost soft and silky-smooth texture. It is really resistant to fingerprints and smudge. Well, those probably do stick, but you just can’t see them. It is not as grippy as it looks, though.

As we mentioned already, the same texture spills out into the sides in a 2.5D manner and also extends up into the camera island. And while we are looking at the quad-camera – it is jutting out of the back just a tiny bit and not sharply, but more like a tiny hill. It makes the phone wobble a bit on a desk or table, but certainly not as much as, say, a Galaxy S22.

Build quality and materials

Living up to the family’s pedigree, the Galaxy A53 5G is sturdy and well-constructed. It employs a trusted three-piece “sandwich’ construction with a rigid middle frame between a back panel and the Gorilla Glass 5 front side. In terms of the rest of the bill of materials, the A53 5G is mostly made from plastic, including the frame and, from what we gather, the back panel, too.

Honestly, we’ve defended the merits of plastic as a building material time and time again and intend to continue doing so. It is lightweight while also sturdy and does not scratch, shatter, or dent in the same way metal does. Plus, while glass might have looked more premium on paper, the finish Samsung has going on the back panel, in particular, is something else and arguably just as premium, if not more.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

It is also worth remembering that proper ingress protection with an official rating is still hard to come by in the mid-range. Samsung has once again managed to deliver IP67 on the Galaxy A53 5G. We are confident that this alone draws plenty of customers to Samsung’s Galaxy A lineup. By the way, this year, the Galaxy A33 5G brings the same IP67 rating to the A3X tier of devices as well, which is one of its major extras for 2022.

Controls, sensors and connectivity

The Galaxy A53 5G has a bog-standard control layout.

There is no sight of a 3.5mm audio jack. Apparently, it didn’t make it over from the Galaxy A52s 5G, and we are certain that will disappoint a few potential buyers. With it no longer taking up space, Samsung has decided to move the SIM tray to the bottom of the phone.

The tray itself houses either a single Nano-SIM card on one side and a microSD card on the other or has a second Nano-SIM hybrid slot that can either take a SIM card or a microSD. Unfortunately, that does mean that you have to choose between a second SIM or more storage. Not ideal.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

The USB Type-C port is also on the bottom bezel. It is wired for USB 2.0 data transfer speeds. It supports USB Host mode, but no video out, though. That means no wired screen mirroring or display out. No DeX support either. That is reserved for high-end Samsung models. Though, you can still do wireless screen mirroring.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Finally on the bottom side – a dedicated bottom-firing speaker. The Galaxy A53 5G has a hybrid stereo setup, which uses the amplified earpiece as the second channel. The earpiece itself is hardly noticeable on the Galaxy A53 5G since it is just a sliver nuzzled away in the top bezel above the display.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Since we are already discussing the top bezel, there is at least one more thing hidden there. We are happy to report that the A53s 5G has a proper ambient light sensor. It is hidden up there. Unfortunately, there is no hardware proximity sensor, and the A53 5G has a less-reliable virtual one instead (Ear Hover Proximity Sensor ProTos). Though that being said, the ambient light sensor is a TCS3701 unit, which also includes color (RGB) sensing and IR proximity detection. So, perhaps, it is lending some assistance in turning off the display. In case you were wondering – there is no notification LED, which is the norm these days.

The other hidden control on the front side is the fingerprint reader. It is an under-display optical unit, which we personally find a bit more reliable and less fiddly than the ultrasonic ones Samsung insists on putting in its higher-end models. These optical units have come a long way since their early days, and the one on the A53 5G is reliable and decently speedy.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

The rest of the Galaxy A53 5G controls are a standard affair. You get a volume rocker and a power button on the right-hand side. Both are well-positioned and with a good tactile feel and feedback.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

The left side of the frame is empty, and the top of the phone just houses a tiny hole for the secondary noise-canceling microphone.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

A few words on connectivity. We already mentioned that Samsung hadn’t detailed the Exynos 1280 chipset inside the Galaxy A53 5G as of writing this review. It does seem to feature a pretty capable 5G modem, though, with optional mmWave support. You can pick one of these up from, say, Verizon to use with their network. It should be noted that Samsung’s website says that the mmWave version is just mmWave and lacks Sub-6 support. All other units get SA and NSA Sub-6 support with plenty of bands and LTE-A and dual-SIM standby.

We appreciate the slightly newer Bluetooth 5.1 stack with LE support for local connectivity, but the A53 5G is notably missing Wi-Fi 6 support, which its predecessor does have. You get the standard Dual-Band Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi Direct and hotspot mode. NFC is a thing in some markets (check locally). There is no on-board FM Radio receiver. The positioning capabilities are also standard – GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO and BDS. And we already went over the Type-C port, which just has USB 2.0 data and no video out.

A familiar gorgeous 6.5-inch, FullHD+, 120Hz Super AMOLED display

The Galaxy A53 5G borrows its display from the A52s 5G, which borrows it from the A52 5G, so it is essentially being carried forward a second time. We are hardly complaining since this is an excellent panel. At 6.5-inches in diagonal and with a FullHD+ resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels (20:9), it has a sharp 405 ppi or so.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

In general, Samsung maintains an industry-leading position when it comes to its OLED panels. Even though the particular one inside the Galaxy A53 5G isn’t a top-of-the-line Dynamic AMOLED but rather a slightly simpler Super AMOLED unit, it is still excellent. Plus, the Korean giant hasn’t stopped innovating and incrementally upgrading any of its OLED lines. While we didn’t manage to track down the particular panel tech generation for the A53 5G, we did verify its excellent performance in testing.

It managed an excellent 427 nits of max brightness on the slider and then hit an impressive 830 nits of max auto when exposed to bright sunlight. That’s more than the advertised 800 nits and a truly great showing, making the A53 5G perfectly usable outdoors.

Display test100% brightness
Black,cd/m2White,cd/m2Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Max Auto)01266
Samsung Galaxy S22 (Max Auto)0982
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G (Max Auto)0830
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G (Max Auto)0800
Samsung Galaxy A52 (Max Auto)0794
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G0792
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G (Max Auto)0787
Samsung Galaxy M52 5G (Max Auto)0777
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G (Max Auto)0760
Poco X4 Pro (Max Auto)0754
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G (Max Auto)0746
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 (Max Auto)0736
Poco F3 (Max Auto)0716
Realme 9 Pro+ (Max Auito)0613
Realme 9 Pro (Max Auto)0.3855671473:1
Poco F30511
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra0494
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G0479
Poco X4 Pro0477
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G0470
Samsung Galaxy S220465
Xiaomi Redmi Note 110465
Realme 9 Pro0.2884611601:1
Realme 9 Pro+0433
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G0427
Samsung Galaxy M52 5G0402
Samsung Galaxy A520386
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G (before second slide)0385
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G0383
Samsung Galaxy A52 5G0378

The minimum brightness at point white we measured was 1.9 nits, so no issues with usage in a dark room either.

Naturally, since this is an OLED panel, you get the benefits of perfect blacks and essentially infinite contrast ratio. Light uniformity is also perfect, which can sometimes be an issue on cheaper LCD panels.

The screen is tuned to comply with the DCI-P3 (Vivid mode) or sRGB (Natural mode) color spaces. The accuracy is great for the Vivid profile – the colors are not too saturated, but the white and grey hues are a bit bluish. The Natural mode yields perfect against sRGB.

Color settings - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Color settings - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Color settings - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Color settings

The Galaxy A53 5G does not officially advertise HDR support. That is to say that its display is not formally certified for HDR and that the OS won’t trigger any special HDR mode when presented with HDR content. The video decoder is more than happy to decode some HDR content for you, though. In software, the A53 5G reports HDR10 and HLG support. The missing standards are Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Of course, to actually display said content on screen, the phone will do some on-the-fly HDR to SDR tone mapping for you.

HDR support - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Widevine DRM - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Netflix playback capabilities - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

HDR support • Widevine DRM • Netflix playback capabilities

Naturally, the A53 5G also has Google’s highest Widevine L1 DRM certification that allows it to stream high-definition video from services like Netflix. Netflix was more than happy to offer up FullHD streams in order to saturate the native 1080p+ display resolution.

High refresh rate handling

The Galaxy A53 5G has a 120Hz Super AMOLED display but lacks any fancy automatic switching logic, like what you would see on Galaxy S devices. The A53 5G just has two options for Motion Smoothness – Normal, which is a fixed 60Hz mode and High, which is a fixed 120Hz mode. Digging through the Android display APIs, there are clearly no hidden additional refresh rate modes either. It’s either 60Hz all of the time or 120Hz all of the time.

Supported refresh rate modes - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Supported refresh rate modes - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Supported refresh rate modes

That’s not necessarily a bad thing either, since it ultimately leads to less confusion regarding day-to-day use and varying refresh rates. It is also good to note that the display refresh rate and the fps the system is rendering are two different things.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

The refresh rate is sort of an “fps cap”, while the Android OS can still decide how many frames a second to render things at in various scenarios, reducing the system load and saving power. To monitor that, Samsung has included a nifty tool in the Developer menu called GPU Watch, which exposes an overlay for what the Android SurfaceFlinger is outputting to the graphical buffer. In other words, this is an fps counter rather than a refresh rate setting for the display.

GPU Watch to monitor UI fps - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
GPU Watch to monitor UI fps - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
GPU Watch to monitor UI fps - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

GPU Watch to monitor UI fps

In 120Hz mode, you can expect almost every app and system UI to render at 120-ish fps while there is some movement on the screen. Once you leave a static image alone for a while, the Surface Flinger eventually drops down to 1fps in terms of rendering, which is good for battery efficiency.

System UI running at 120Hz - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
System UI running at 120Hz - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
System UI running at 120Hz - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
System UI running at 120Hz - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

System UI running at 120Hz

You can observe the same behavior in pretty much any app as well.

Apps running at 120Hz. - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Apps running at 120Hz. - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Apps running at 120Hz. - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Apps running at 120Hz. - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Apps running at 120Hz. - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Apps running at 120Hz. - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Apps running at 120Hz. - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Apps running at 120Hz. - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Apps running at 120Hz.

While playing video, you can also see the rendering fps mostly match the video fps, but with the display still refreshing at 120Hz the whole time, which is not the most efficient setup. If you consume a lot of video, you can probably benefit from switching manually to 60Hz.

Playing video in 120Hz mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Playing video in 120Hz mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Playing video in 120Hz mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Playing video in 120Hz mode

There are very few special apps that can still force the Galaxy A53 5G down to 60Hz even when it is set to 120Hz. Google Maps is a notable example since some of the rendering of the map is tightly tied to a 60Hz refresh rate.

Google Maps always runs at 60Hz - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Google Maps always runs at 60Hz

The app itself can request a 60Hz refresh rate if the developer deems it necessary. Technically, nothing is preventing Samsung from implementing a system-wide, per-app refresh rate selector in place of automatic refresh rate switching that would arguably even be simpler and clearer to deal with. That’s not a thing yet on One UI, though other manufacturers have already implemented the feature. But, we digress.

All of the browsers we tried (Samsung Internet, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox) were perfectly happy to run in 120Hz mode and render at more than 60Hz for smoother scrolling and animation. Using the popular UFO test, in particular, none of the browsers actually managed to lock a 120fps rendering pace, which suggests the hardware is not powerful enough to do so. Even so, you can easily get fps numbers above 60 and benefit from smoother browsing.

Web browsers working at 120Hz: Samsung Internet - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Web browsers working at 120Hz: Google Chrome - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Web browsers working at 120Hz: Mozilla Firefox - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Web browsers working at 120Hz: Samsung Internet • Google Chrome • Mozilla Firefox

High frame rate gaming remains one of the most viable use cases for a high refresh rate display. We tried a few Android games known to be able to render at more than 60fps and are happy to say that all of them did so on the Galaxy A53 5G. That being said, it is still evident that the GPU inside the Galaxy A53 5G isn’t super powerful and can’t push 120fps on some more graphically-intense titles. However, any simpler and especially 2D games, however, are perfectly happy to essentially lock at 120fps.

Games making use of the 120Hz refresh rate - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Games making use of the 120Hz refresh rate - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Games making use of the 120Hz refresh rate - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Games making use of the 120Hz refresh rate - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Games making use of the 120Hz refresh rate

On a side note, we appreciate that Samsung has a way to display an in-game FPS counter that works on many of its phones. However, it is still not baked into the default Game Launcher for some odd reason and is poorly advertised overall. The feature is called Perf Z and is actually a plugin that adds an in-game FPS counter, presumably taken from hooking directly into the graphics rendering pipeline. You need to obtain it through the Game Plugins app available for many Samsung phones on the Samsung app store. We used it for our game testing.

Quickly summing up our observations, the Galaxy A53 5G basically has two static refresh rate modes – 120Hz and 60Hz. No automatic switching or fancy logic is in place, and that has its negatives and plenty of positives. You can expect most apps and games to render at over 60fps and as near to 120fps as available performance permits while running in 120Hz mode – no further complexities.

Battery life

The Galaxy A53 5G has a 5,000mAh battery which stands out with the A52s 5G, the A52 5G and the A52 all rocking 4,500mAh batteries. An argument could be made that with a 5nm manufacturing process, the new Exynos 1280 chipset should be theoretically more efficient than the 6nm Snapdragon 778G it is replacing. That’s, unfortunately, not as simple or nearly as straightforward, especially when trying to compare manufacturing processes across different chip foundries. Regardless, with the display essentially the same as last year, all of the responsibility for battery life falls on the new Samsung chipset and its network modem.

The Galaxy A53 5G managed a solid 113 hours of total battery endurance in our standardised testing. Exactly the same as its predecessor, but with slightly different individual scores.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

The A53 5G managed to squeeze a few more hours of standby from a single charge but then fell short in the 3G call test. Both on-screen endurance ratings are nearly identical to those on the A52s 5G, with just a slight uptick. Just to clarify, the web test was done at 120Hz, whereas the video playback was at 60Hz.

While overall, we can’t complain about the battery endurance at all, we can’t glance over the fact that the A53 5G has 500 mAh of battery extra, which isn’t translating into obviously better battery scores. Of course, some of this might de down to tuning and tweaking. The Exynos 1280 is a brand new chip, after all. Then again, there is also the possibility that the Exynos 1280 simply isn’t as efficient overall as Qualcomm chips from past Galaxy A5X devices, like the Snapdragon 778G. In that sense, the 500 mAh extra battery might have been a necessity rather than a bonus. Though, since its neither increasing the weight nor the girth of the phone, it is hard to complain once more.

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating denotes how long the battery charge will last you if you use the device for an hour of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. More details can be found here.

Video test carried out in 60Hz refresh rate mode. Web browsing test done at the display’s highest refresh rate whenever possible. Refer to the respective reviews for specifics. To adjust the endurance rating formula to match your own usage patterns check out our all-time battery test results chart where you can also find all phones we’ve tested.

Charging speed

The Galaxy A53 5G supports 25W fast charging, just like its predecessor and quite a few other recent Samsung devices. In fact, it has sort of become the de facto standard for the Korean Giant lately. Said 25W is achieved using USB Power Delivery, which is great to see for its universal nature.

Although Samsung does include some funky PPS profiles in its own chargers, they don’t seem to make much difference, and you can just as easily get a good, standard PD charger. Something you’ll probably have to do since, in most markets, the Galaxy A53 5G ships without a charger in the box.

As is typically the case with charging wattages, that figure is merely the peak output and hardly tells the whole story. In reality, the A53 5G is far from a speedy charger and gets outperformed by its predecessor in a 30-minute charge race.

30min charging test (from 0%)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    100%
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    78%
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    77%
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    75%
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    74%
  • Poco F3
    67%
  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    63%
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (25W)
    61%
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (25W)
    57%
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    54%
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    53%
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 (25W)
    52%
  • Realme 9 Pro
    52%
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    51%
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    51%
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G (25W)
    50%
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    45%
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    34%
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    27%
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    23%
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    23%
  • Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
    23%

Time to full charge (from 0%)

Lower is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    0:16h
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    0:45h
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    0:48h
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    0:49h
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    0:49h
  • Poco F3
    0:56h
  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    1:03h
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (25W)
    1:04h
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (25W)
    1:10h
  • Realme 9 Pro
    1:14h
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    1:15h
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    1:15h
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    1:18h
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G (25W)
    1:19h
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    1:24h
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    1:28h
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 (25W)
    1:30h
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    1:39h
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    2:18h
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    2:20h
  • Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
    2:24h
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    2:29h

Once we factor in the larger battery capacity, charging curves and trickle charge, however, a gull charge on the A53 5G takes just under an hour and a half or basically the same as last year’s model and pretty much what we’ve come to expect from mid-range Galaxy devices lately.

Speakers

The Galaxy A53 5G has a hybrid stereo speaker setup with the earpiece acting as the second channel. Not a perfect approach, but quite decent when executed correctly. The A52 5G isn’t particularly loud, but even so, its GOOD loudness score in our testing is consistent with what we’ve seen from other recent Samsung phones.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

That being said, though, the speaker setup on the A53 does seem like a bit of a downgrade compared to last year’s A52s 5G. They don’t get quite as loud, but more important still, the frequency response curve isn’t as tight, with slightly muddier mids. A competitor with an actual symmetric stereo setup, like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11, can offer more powerful sound.

On a more positive note, despite its disadvantage in size, the earpiece produces a well-balanced sound compared to the dedicated bottom-firing speaker. Perhaps that tuning required running the latter at less than its potential power, but it’s worth it in our book for the sake of a better multimedia experience. Plus, neither speaker distorts audio even at max volume, which is great.

Audio quality can be cleaned up a lot either by using the included equalizer or one of the Dolby Atmost profiles. There is a selection of general multimedia ones as well as a version specifically for games and enhancing things like footsteps for an extra edge. Both do take away from the max loudness of the phone, though. There is also a UHQ upscaler and Adapt sound that lets you tune the sound to your liking or hearing needs.

Audio settings, equalizers, Dolby Atmos and additional audio features - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Audio settings, equalizers, Dolby Atmos and additional audio features - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Audio settings, equalizers, Dolby Atmos and additional audio features - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Audio settings, equalizers, Dolby Atmos and additional audio features - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Audio settings, equalizers, Dolby Atmos and additional audio features - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Audio settings, equalizers, Dolby Atmos and additional audio features - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Audio settings, equalizers, Dolby Atmos and additional audio features - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Audio settings, equalizers, Dolby Atmos and additional audio features - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Audio settings, equalizers, Dolby Atmos and additional audio features

Separate app sound is a particularly nifty trick that lets you play the sound from just a given app on a separate audio device like a Bluetooth speaker or headset while the phone is free to play other audio. And Music Share is also on board the A53 5G. It lets nearby friends see a Bluetooth speaker or another audio device already connected to your phone and lets them play audio on said device without connecting to it themselves.

Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal “0db” flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.

One UI 4.1 on top of Android 12

The Galaxy A53 5G runs the latest Android 12 and One UI 4.1 combo. It is still missing the occasional feature here and there compared to the flagship Galaxy S22 line, but nothing unexpected or too major for most users.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

One major selling point Samsung has for many of its mid-range devices is the promise of extended software support. This is the case with the A53 5G as well. You can expect 4 OS upgrades and 5 years of security patches. A sweet deal if you tend to keep your phones for a while.

One UI remains one of the best and most popular custom Android implementations out there. In recent years, most changes to the UX have been careful and incremental and have mostly amounted to extra polish and flair. Even users coming from older Galaxy devices should feel right at home, but some new additions to the mix are still worth mentioning. We’ll just do a quick overview.

The lock screen looks the same as before with two monochrome shortcuts – dialer and camera. The under-display fingerprint reader will likely be the primary method of unlocking for most, but you can still use face unlock either instead of or alongside it. It can be more convenient in certain situations, but it generally is less secure since it’s just using the selfie camera.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

An always-on display is available – it’s the simplified version from One UI 3. You can choose between a few clock styles or opt for an Image Clock. Music info is also supported. The feature can be always-off, always-on, scheduled, shown only when new notifications are available, or you can opt for tap-to-show for 10s.

Always-on display options - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Always-on display options - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Always-on display options - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Always-on display options

The lock screen is largely unchanged, as mentioned, and has a lot of customization options available.

Lockscreen options - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Lockscreen options - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Lockscreen options - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Lockscreen options - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Lockscreen options

One UI 4.1 looks even cleaner than v.3.x, but its logic remains the same – there are homescreen, widgets, notification centre, task switcher and an app drawer.

One UI 4.1 - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
One UI 4.1 - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
One UI 4.1 - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
One UI 4.1 - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
One UI 4.1 - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

One UI 4.1

As we mentioned, the Galaxy A53 5G doesn’t have all of the One UI 4.1 features. Samsung’s new Smart Widgets are one of the weirder omissions. Perhaps these are on their way and simply haven’t reached the A53 yet. They are really convenient since they allow joining data from a few widgets into a single one.

No Smart Widgets yet - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
No Smart Widgets yet - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

No Smart Widgets yet

One of the new One UI 4 features is Color Palettes. This is the implementation of the vanilla Android 12’s Wallpaper colors. There are usually four Color Palette suggestions in addition to the default One UI Blue/Black one. Those are picked automatically by the software, depending on your current wallpaper. The color you choose will become the main one in the newly created theme (think Windows’ “accent color”).

These accent colors are applied on the dialer, the quick toggles, and other tiny UI bits. You can choose to apply them to the app icons as well.

Color palettes - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Color palettes - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Color palettes - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Color palettes - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Color palettes

One UI has always offered great customization. You can use one of a few wallpaper services to automatically change your lockscreen or homescreen. The powerful Theme engine is here as well.

Wallpaper services - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Galaxy Themes - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Galaxy Themes - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Wallpaper services • Galaxy Themes

The dialer allows you to pick between two layouts for the in-call screen. You can also set up a background image or video for that screen, though it’s going to be all the same for all of your calls – you can’t have a different one on a per-person basis.

Dialer customization - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Dialer customization - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Dialer customization - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Dialer customization - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Dialer customization - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Dialer customization

Navigation is highly-customizable as well. You can go with gestures and tweak them to your liking or revert back to old-school buttons and even swap the home and back buttons for a truly retro navigation scheme.

Navigation settings - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Navigation settings - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Navigation settings - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Navigation settings

The Settings menu contains a new Privacy Dashboard. Here, you can easily see which apps use some of the most important permissions (for privacy). You can control the camera and control access across apps, opt for clipboard access alerts (useful if you copy passwords, social security numbers, IBANs, among others), and a full-blown permission manager if you like to dig deeper.

Privacy Dashboard - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Privacy Dashboard - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Privacy Dashboard - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Privacy Dashboard - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Privacy Dashboard - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Privacy Dashboard - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Privacy Dashboard - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Privacy Dashboard - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Privacy Dashboard

You get a whole bunch of options for using your Galaxy with other devices to enable various use cases. Wireless display is the most obvious one. You can just do display mirror this way though since the Galaxy A53 5G lacks Samsung DeX. It is still reserved for Samsung’s flagship devices and hasn’t made its way down the chain. Plus, the A53 5G can’t do video out from its USB Type-C port, which is kind of the primary way to use DeX.

The Link to Windows feature provides you with an interface to your phone from your computer so you can exchange images, manage notifications on your PC or even make calls from it.

Another option along those lines but with more limited potential is Continue apps on other devices. This requires you to be logged in to your Samsung account on both devices, hook them up to the same Wi-Fi network with Bluetooth enabled and use the Samsung Internet browser or Samsung Notes. You’ll then be able to copy and paste text and images across and open the same tabs in the browser.

No DeX - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Continue apps on other devices - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Link to Windows - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Android Auto - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Android Auto - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

No DeX • Continue apps on other devices • Link to Windows • Android Auto

Other staples of proprietary Samsung software include the Edge panels – the panes that show up when you swipe in from the side and provide tools and shortcuts to apps and contacts. Game launcher, the hub for all your games, which also provides options for limiting distraction when gaming is here to stay as well.

Otherwise, the software package is similar to other Samsung phones, with an in-house Gallery app, the Game Launcher app, and a proprietary file manager. Naturally, Samsung’s Internet web browser is also available.

Gallery - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Game Launcher - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
File manager - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Edge panel - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Edge panel - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Gallery • Game Launcher • File manager • Edge panel

The Gallery is where you’d find the new Object Eraser feature. Once you enter photo edit mode, you can opt for object eraser from More options. This is a fancier way of saying smart delete – you either paint over an object or tap on it for automatic selection. And then you hope for the best – if the object’s surroundings aren’t too complex, you will get a good outcome. Otherwise – it’s a mixed bag. Samsung’s fancy experimental shadow and reflection erasers are not present for now, though.

Object Eraser - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Object Eraser - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Object Eraser - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Object Eraser

Beyond all of this, the Galaxy A53 5G comes loaded with a standard set of apps from Samsung, Microsoft and Google.

Pre-installed apps - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Pre-installed apps - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Pre-installed apps - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Pre-installed apps - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Pre-installed apps - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Pre-installed apps

Granted, the list has gotten a bit extensive, but there is nothing here that we would consider bloat in the traditional sense. Anything you don’t personally like or appreciate having on your device can be easily uninstalled or, failing that – disabled.

As always, One UI runs incredibly smooth and provides a truly industry-leading custom Android experience, chock-full of extra features and customizability.

Performance and benchmarks

The Galaxy A53 5G is equipped with Samsung’s new Exynos 1280 chipset. It is replacing the Snapdragon 778G inside last year’s Galaxy A52s 5G and is new silicon from Samsung’s own foundries. So, overall, pretty interesting on multiple levels. At least we think so, though the Korean giant doesn’t seem to share the same enthusiasm. For one, the official specs for the A53 5G don’t even mention the particular part number. And even after we confirmed it on the review unit itself, Samsung’s official semiconductor website still lacks an entry for it as of writing this review. This has happened before, though. It’s almost like Samsung doesn’t like to draw attention to any of its Exynos chipsets, which are less than flagship-grade. It definitely doesn’t mean that the Exynos 1280 is bad in any way.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

The Exynos 1280 is made on Samsung’s 5nm manufacturing process. So not the latest and greatest flagship 4nm one, but still impressive and essentially last year’s tech. In the CPU department, the Exynos 1280 is packing two “big” Cortex-A78 cores, clocked at up to 2.4GHz and six “small” Cortex-A55 ones, working at up to 2.0GHz. The Snapdragon 778G in last year’s Galaxy A52s 5G that is getting replaced technically uses the same basic ARM cores, though in their custom Kryo variants, but with a symmetrical 4+4 configuration. So, technically, we expect the Exynos 1280 to be less potent than it in some multi-core scenarios. Let’s kick things off with GeekBench and CPU runs.

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    3682
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    3296
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    3049
  • Realme GT Master
    2917
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    2832
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    2801
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    2796
  • Poco X3 Pro
    2574
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    2335
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    2225
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    2063
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    2063
  • Realme 9 Pro
    2020
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    1891
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    1848
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    1820
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    1780
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    1738
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    1729
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    1719
  • Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
    1673
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    1662
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    1627
  • Realme 9i
    1581
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    1577
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    1372
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    588

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    1171
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    1096
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    906
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    814
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    787
  • Realme GT Master
    785
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    771
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    743
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    736
  • Poco X3 Pro
    735
  • Realme 9 Pro
    694
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    688
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    687
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    636
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    608
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    603
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    592
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    569
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    560
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    537
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    525
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    511
  • Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
    505
  • Realme 9i
    384
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    376
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    376
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    153

This expectation checks out in actual benchmark scores. The Snapdragon 695 5G with its 2 + 4 CPU configuration seems to be a closer match to the Exynos 1280 in terms of CPU performance. Oddly enough, despite its lower clocks speeds, the former seems to be doing a bit better in an all-core load scenario, while the latter is more powerful in single-thread execution.

Interestingly, the Galaxy A52s 5G with its Snapdragon 778G seems to have its A53 5G successor beat in the CPU department. Noticeably so in multi-threaded workloads.

This unfortunate trend continues with AnTuTu and its more compound tests. It incorporates GPU testing and also takes into account things like storage and memory. We can clearly see the Galaxy A53 5G getting outpaced by both the Galaxy A52s 5G and the older Galaxy A52 5G.

For the sake of thoroughness, our review unit has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Testing was done with RAM Plus, which Samsung’s name for virtual memory set at the default 4GB. It can go down to 2GB or up to 6GB, but it didn’t make any actual difference in benchmark scores. The feature is geared towards keeping more apps open in the background and restoring them quickly more than anything else.

AnTuTu 8

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    745496
  • Poco F3
    631850
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    566529
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    543986
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    495096
  • Poco X3 Pro
    453223
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    429675
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    375528
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    335353
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    334981
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    329802
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    295442
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    288914
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    286216
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    279579
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    279342
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    261309
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    261282
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    242155
  • Realme 9i
    229368
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    228044
  • Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
    226561
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    185358
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    122822

AnTuTu 9

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    881428
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    719696
  • Realme GT Master
    529263
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    527663
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    506432
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    504424
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    437872
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    416031
  • Realme 9 Pro
    401894
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    386474
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    384646
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    382902
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    379313
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    345223
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    333668
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    319093
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    244526
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    223188
  • Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
    222125
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    165959
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    136286

Don’t get us wrong, the Galaxy A53 5G is still a decent mid-range performer and it is holding its own. However, the Exynos 1280 chipset is a bit of a downgrade from earlier Qualcomm chips and that generally means the Galaxy A53 5G is often underperforming within its competitive price bracket.

The Mali-G68 GPU inside the Exynos 1280 while also decent in itself, is also a notable downgrade from the Adreno 642L inside the Galaxy A52s 5G.

GFX Aztek ES 3.1 High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    53
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    38
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    30
  • Poco X3 Pro
    26
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    19
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    19
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    18
  • Realme GT Master
    18
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    15
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    12
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    12
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    11
  • Realme 9 Pro
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    10
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    10
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    9.2
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    8.4
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    7.9
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    5.7
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    4.6
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    3.3

GFX Aztek ES 3.1 High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    31
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    24
  • Poco X3 Pro
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    13
  • Realme GT Master
    13
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    13
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    10
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    7.8
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    7.8
  • Realme 9 Pro
    7.8
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    7.2
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    7
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    7
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    5.8
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    5.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    5.5
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    3.3
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    3.1
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    2.2

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    44
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    38
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    30
  • Poco X3 Pro
    27
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    20
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    20
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    19
  • Realme GT Master
    19
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    15
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    12
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    12
  • Realme 9 Pro
    12
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    10
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    10
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    9.4
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    8.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    7.8
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    7.3
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    4.8
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    3.4

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    29
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    25
  • Poco X3 Pro
    18
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    14
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    14
  • Realme GT Master
    14
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    14
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    10
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    10
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    8.8
  • Realme 9 Pro
    8.2
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    8.1
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    8
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    7.5
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    7
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    7
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    5.8
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    5.1
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    3.1
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    2.9
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    2.3

On the plus side, it is encouraging to see that the Galaxy A53 5G is performing about on par in graphics tests with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G and the Realme 9 Pro+ both of which are equipped with a MediaTek Dimensity 920 chipset that has the same Mali-G68 GPU. A four-core variant, to be exact, which, given the similar scores likely means the Exynos 1280 is using four GPU cores as well. We still don’t know why Samsung is reluctant to publicly share that data.

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    69
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    56
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    45
  • Poco X3 Pro
    38
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    28
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    28
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    28
  • Realme GT Master
    27
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    23
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    22
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    19
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    17
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    16
  • Realme 9 Pro
    16
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    15
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    12
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    12
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    12
  • Realme 9i
    7.3
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    6.8
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    5.2

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    74
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    57
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    52
  • Poco X3 Pro
    45
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    33
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    33
  • Realme GT Master
    33
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    33
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    27
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    25
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    23
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    20
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    19
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    19
  • Realme 9 Pro
    19
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
    19
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    14
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    14
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    14
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    14
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    9.3
  • Realme 9i
    8.2
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    8
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    6.2

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    98
  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    97
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    77
  • Poco X3 Pro
    67
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    49
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    49
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    47
  • Realme GT Master
    46
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    41
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    38
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    35
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    30
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    30
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    30
  • Realme 9 Pro
    29
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    28
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    26
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    26
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    23
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    22
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    21
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    21
  • Realme 9i
    14
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    12
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    8.3

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    108
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    103
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    89
  • Poco X3 Pro
    75
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    56
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    56
  • Realme GT Master
    56
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    56
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    45
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    43
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    38
  • Realme 9 Pro
    35
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    34
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    34
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    32
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    29
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    29
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    26
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    26
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    24
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    24
  • Realme 9i
    23
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    15
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    9.4

GFX Manhattan ES 3.0 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    116
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    116
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    108
  • Poco X3 Pro
    93
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    69
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    68
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    64
  • Realme GT Master
    57
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    57
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    56
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    55
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    42
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    42
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    41
  • Realme 9 Pro
    41
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    39
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    37
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    35
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    35
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    34
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    31
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    29
  • Realme 9i
    20
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    18
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    14

GFX Manhattan ES 3.0 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    173
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    133
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    127
  • Poco X3 Pro
    102
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    78
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    77
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    77
  • Realme GT Master
    77
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    68
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    64
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    60
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    47
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    47
  • Realme 9 Pro
    47
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    43
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    39
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    39
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    37
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    35
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    32
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    32
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    24
  • Realme 9i
    23
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    21
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    16

We remind you that when comparing GFXBench scores across different devices only the offscreen scores are relevant and only kind of since the resolution of the phone’s display need to be taken out of the equation.

3DMark paints a very similar picture of graphical performance on the Galaxy A53 5G.

3DMark SSE ES 3.1 (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    7215
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    5015
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    5010
  • Realme GT Master
    4988
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    4979
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    3631
  • Realme 9 Pro
    2946
  • Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
    2638
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    2529
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    2517
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    2391
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    2166
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    2135
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    1361
  • Realme 9i
    1339
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    1316
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    886

3DMark SSE Vulkan 1.0 (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    6605
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    4608
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    4274
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    4231
  • Realme GT Master
    4020
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    3570
  • Realme 9 Pro
    2773
  • Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
    2509
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    2406
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    2395
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    2257
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    2012
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    2002
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    1383
  • Realme 9i
    1291
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    1267
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    931

3DMark Wild Life Vulkan 1.1 (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S22
    7526
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
    5432
  • Poco X3 Pro
    3401
  • Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
    2491
  • Realme GT Master
    2481
  • Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE
    2477
  • Samsung Galaxy M52 5G
    2470
  • Realme 9 Pro+
    2296
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    2292
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G
    2014
  • Poco X4 Pro 5G
    1211
  • Realme 9 Pro
    1211
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G
    1204
  • Samsung Galaxy A32 5G
    1185
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    1107
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    1104
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro
    1101
  • Samsung Galaxy A52
    1040
  • Samsung Galaxy A72
    1031
  • Sony Xperia 10 III
    825
  • OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    811
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    691
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    510
  • Realme 9i
    452
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    439

The is well-behaved when it comes to thermals and throttling, but not perfect. The phone never gets uncomfortably hot to the touch, which is good for comfort, but also means that the chassis is not doing any heavy lifting when it comes to thermal dissipation and most of the heat remains trapped inside. Naturally, as that builds up, some thermal-throttling is inevitable and expected.

Thermal throttling - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Thermal throttling - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Thermal throttling - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Thermal throttling - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Thermal throttling - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Thermal throttling

The A53 5G mostly does that gracefully over a longer period, which is what you want to see. There were some sudden drops, followed by peaks in the initial portion of the test, which is not ideal and can cause in-game stutters. That said, we never actually saw a drop significant enough to pose a potential issue, so we’ll give thermal management a pass. It’s not perfect, but decent enough.

All things considered, we kind of get why Samsung is in no hurry to share details regarding the Exynos 1280 chipset or to parade it in press materials for the new Galaxy A53 5G and A33 5G. While it is a decently-powerful chip, it is also a clear downgrade from the Snapdragon 778G used by last year’s Galaxy A52s 5G and even falls short of the Snapdragon 750G inside the Galaxy A52 5G in some respects.

Even so, there is plenty of power here for One UI to run smooth and snappy. We also had no issues with any app we threw at the A53 5G. Even some games that can render at over 60fps that we tried got close to the 120fps “cap” in 102Hz mode. It’s a capable phone, just not as capable as its predecessor.

A familiar quad-camera setup

The Galaxy A53 5G basically carries forward the camera setup of its A52s 5G predecessor. A wide, ultrawide, macro and depth sensor setup is fairly standard these days. More and more phones have started adopting a 50MP Quad-Bayer main unit, which seems to be trendy. Samsung is sticking to last-gen but tried and true Quad-Bayers. In particular, it opted for the higher resolution 64MP one instead of 48MP, which is commendable. The same goes for the rest of its cameras, actually. All of them are high resolution relative to the alternatives, like a 12MP ultrawide, instead of 8MP and the two 5MP supplementary sensors, where many opt for 2MP units instead. And, of course, the 32MP selfie cam.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Still, we can’t go overboard with the praise here. Even though this is a tried and tested camera setup, there are no upgrades compared to last-gen. After some poking around system files and paths, we unsurprisingly discovered that the A53 5G has the same list of supported sensors as its predecessor. The main camera (f/1.8, 0.8µm and around 1/1.7X” sensor size with PDAF and OIS) can either use a Samsung s5kgw1p sensor, commonly known as the GW1 or a Sony IMX682. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing which one our unit has. The same goes for the 32MP selfie (f.2,2, 0.8µm, 1/2.8″, fixed focus), which can either be the Samsung s5kgd2 or the Sony IMX616.

We couldn’t find any specific info on the ultrawide (f/2.2, 1.12µm, fixed focus), but since all of the other cameras match up, logic dictates it should be using the same Samsung s5k3l6 sensor as the Galaxy A52s 5G.

Camera UI

Just like the camera hardware itself, Samsung hasn’t really changed anything with the camera app on the A53 5G. It is a familiar affair.

Samsung main camera UI - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung main camera UI - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung main camera UI - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung main camera UI - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung main camera UI - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung main camera UI - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung main camera UI

Samsung did not skimp on the available modes either. Samsung’s signature SINGLE TAKE is here and so are FOOD MODE and AR DOODLE. Most of these originally debuted on flagships but have since made their way onto midrangers.

Bixby Vision - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
AR DOODLE - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Bixby Vision • AR DOODLE

Fun Mode seems to be in a different location this time. It’s a collaboration with Snapchat to have a constantly-rotating selection of its filters integrated into the main camera app. More of a gimmick than anything, but still fun to play around with.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

The camera settings menu and the available options haven’t changed either. It is worth noting that the options change depending on whether you enter settings from a photo or video come. The latter is where you will find a toggle for the always-on by default video stabilization in case you want to do some tripod shooting.

Camera settings - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Camera settings - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Camera settings

You get Pro mode for both photos and videos as well, with a similar, in-depth set of features. It offers adjustments for ISO from 50 to 4000, shutter speed from 1/6000 to 10 seconds, white balance from 2300K to 1000K, as well as exposure compensation and the ability to set different spot metering for the expose and autofocus. You also get manual focus with focus peaking.

Pro photo mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Pro photo mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Pro photo mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Pro photo mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Pro photo mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Pro photo mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Pro photo mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Pro photo mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Pro photo mode

One interesting and not-so-common addition to the Pro model is the separate Levels menu, which offers control over contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation and tint. These are parameters you typically find and tend to adjust in editors, but it’s kind of nifty to have them separated as you capture the shots.

Levels in Pro video mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Levels in Pro video mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Levels in Pro video mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Levels in Pro video mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Levels in Pro video mode - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Levels in Pro video mode

Daylight photo quality

Seeing how the Galaxy A53 5G borrows its camera hardware from last year’s A52s 5G, we’re going to use it as a frame of reference. Logic would dictate that the two phones should capture pretty much identical photos, but likely due to the major chipset swap from Qualcomm to Samsung, that’s not the case here.

16MP photos from the main camera are decent but distinctly different and honestly a bit overboard compared to those on the A52s 5G. Detail is good, and the colors could be to your liking if you prefer a bit more saturation and “pop”. The A52s 5G has a noticeably more muted palette but is also more true-to-life.

There is practically no noise in uniform areas such as the sky, which was an issue on the A52s 5G. And textures on building facades seem to have a bit more detail than on the Dynamic range is decent for a midranger as well.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1325s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2874s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2217s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2208s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2703s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1992s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1344s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2012s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2141s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera samples

You can shoot in 64MP mode on the main camera. These shots gain a bit of finer detail, with the main benefit being much cleaner and less-blurry surfaces with more texture to them. Sharpening is also a bit more noticeable in these photos, though. In most other aspects, these look identical to the regular 16MP stills.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 64MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2833s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 64MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2342s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 64MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2203s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 64MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2717s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 64MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2049s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 64MP main camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2273s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 64MP main camera samples

By the way, all of these samples were captured in the A53 5G’s default state, which means Auto HDR and Scene optimizer were enabled. Both appear to be available in 64MP mode as well, and it only takes a second or two more to capture these high-res photos.

Before we move on, here’s how the Galaxy A53 5G stacks up against the competition in our photo compare database. We made sure to include samples at both 16MP and 64MP. Pixel-peep away.

Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G against the Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G and the Realme 9 Pro in our Photo compare tool

Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool

64MP: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G against the Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G and the Realme 9 Pro in our Photo compare tool

You can capture portraits using the main camera and additional data from the depth sensor. For some odd reason, these get saved in 12MP instead of 16MP. They look great, with plenty of detail, pleasant tones and good texture. Subject detection and separation are also nearly perfect. The bokeh effect looks pleasant and convincing.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP main camera portrait samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/50s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP main camera portrait samples - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/50s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP main camera portrait samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/50s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP main camera portrait samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/50s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP main camera portrait samples

The mode works well on non-human subjects too. It can take a bit more work to trial and error for the subject detection to kick in, though.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP main camera portrait samples, non-human subjects - f/1.8, ISO 320, 1/50s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP main camera portrait samples, non-human subjects - f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/50s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP main camera portrait samples, non-human subjects - f/1.8, ISO 250, 1/50s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP main camera portrait samples, non-human subjects

The Galaxy A53 5G lacks a dedicated telephoto camera. It can do zoomed crops from the main camera at up to 10x digital zoom, with presets at 2x, 4x and 10x in the camera app. At 2x, shots look as good as the 1x ones without any noticeable deterioration. There is plenty of detail, practically no noise and clean and sharp lines.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera zoom 2x samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2160s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera zoom 2x samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1684s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera zoom 2x samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2475s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera zoom 2x samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1838s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera zoom 2x samples

Even at higher zoom levels, these shots remain impressively usable. Of course, as the zoom level goes up, so do the effects of algorithmic processing, like sharpening and noise suppression.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera zoom samples: 4x - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2309s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 4x - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/3610s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 4x - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1988s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 10x - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2155s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 4x - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2179s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 10x - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1451s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 4x - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2519s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 10x - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/4566s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera zoom samples: 4x • 4x • 4x • 10x • 4x • 10x • 4x • 10x

Shots from the 12MP ultra-wide camera look decent but are nothing to phone home about. The most defining feature of these photos is their general softness all throughout the frame. It’s not horrible, but definitely prevalent.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/749s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/1348s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/1387s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/2288s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/1420s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2049s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/831s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/1490s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera samples

On a more positive note, the colors look much more natural than the main camera. We kind of like them more. Unfortunately, that also means that consistency across the two cameras is not great.

The 5MP macro camera can produce very nice close-up shots with plenty of detail and nice colors.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 5MP macro camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 200, 1/33s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 5MP macro camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 250, 1/25s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 5MP macro camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 200, 1/33s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 5MP macro camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 50, 1/445s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 5MP macro camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 50, 1/514s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 5MP macro camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 50, 1/247s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 5MP macro camera samples

This camera has fixed-focus and a relatively narrow focal plane, so you do have to exercise patience and capture a few stills to get it right.

Selfies

The Galaxy A53 5G has a 32MP selfies camera, which, just like the main cam, is a Quad Bayer module. Hence, it is meant to natively produce 8MP stills. And indeed, in its default mode, it shoots at 3264 x 2448 pixels, or right around 8MP.

However, the selfie cam has a narrow and wide mode in typical Samsung fashion. We wish this would become a thing of the past already. Anyway, in wide mode, selfies come out in 4000 x 3000 pixels or exactly 12MP. Presumably, there’s some interpolation going on because a 32MP Quad Bayer camera should output 8MP photos. That being said, we can’t notice any noteworthy difference in quality and detail between the two modes.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G 12MP (wide) selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/528s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G 12MP (wide) selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/566s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G 12MP (wide) selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/1244s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G 12MP (wide) selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/1235s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G 12MP (wide) selfie samples

Overall, the selfie quality is solid, with plenty of detail in decent noise performance. Skin tones can be a bit inconsistent from time to time. Thankfully, both Auto HDR and Scene optimizer are available on the selfie.

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G 8MP selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/555s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G 8MP selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/565s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G 8MP selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/1211s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G 8MP selfie samples - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/1233s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G 8MP selfie samples

FUN mode is available for selfies, and so is an extensive set of beauty filters, including the ability to create your own filters based on an existing image or photo and its overall color palette. You can also shoot 32MP selfies-a nifty idea.

Video recording quality

The Galaxy A53 5G can capture up to [email protected] on its main and ultrawide cameras and the selfie. All of these get recorded in h.264 with an AVC video stream at around 48 Mbps and a stereo 48 kHz AAC audio feed inside an MP4 container. There is no option for HEVC (h.265) capture for videos. You can just do HEIF for photos if you choose so. We’re only noting this since the Galaxy A52s 5G does offer HEVC video recording, which is yet another minus for the new Exynos 1280 chipset.

Videos from the main camera are solid overall, but far from perfect. Detail is great, and noise is non-existent. Dynamic range is reasonably wide. Colors are a bit saturated, just like with photos, which, again, is a departure from the overall natural color reproduction of the Galaxy A52s 5G. It’s not necessarily a bad look, though. It depends on your preference.

You can capture zoomed videos as well, and at 2x, the clips look quite similar to 1x ones and hence perfectly decent.

The ultrawide camera captures very respectable 4K clips in its own right. Compared to the main camera, the ultrawide does leave behind a bit more noise.

Hardly enough to ruin the experience, though. The difference in color rendition between the two is also quite noticeable. Also, not a dealbreaker by any means. Just worth pointing out. There is a bit of softness around the edges of the frame, but that’s to be expected as well and perfectly reasonable.

Video stabilization is available for both the main and the ultrawide cameras on the Galaxy A53 5G, but only at FullHD resolution. Actually, stabilization comes in two “stages”, for lack of a better term. There is a toggle in the general camera settings menu, which is enabled by default. That would be the basic stabilization, which works on the ultrawide and main camera at every zoom level. It does a very decent job at smoothing-out jitters and handles pans well. Here is a sample showcasing the primary camera with and without the basic stabilization.

Then there is Super steady. It gets its video feed from the ultrawide camera and also only works at FullHD. The extra smoothness is there, but the step-up from the regular stabilization to Super steady isn’t all that major. You just have to decide whether it is worth the extra crop of the field of view. Here is the ultrawide with just basic stabilization against Super steady.

Before we close off the video section, here are some screen grabs from the video samples to compare against our vast database in the video compare tool.

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G against the Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G and the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G in our Video compare tool

Low-light camera quality

The Galaxy A53 5G is a competent low-light shooter. The main camera offers plenty of detail with relatively low noise. Samsung is noticeably applying some selective sharpening to the shots, but it’s not too aggressive. Light sources are handled well, and so are shadows.

Since there are fewer colors in the frame as a whole, it is harder to notice the extra saturation the A53 5G is generally applying. Even so, we can’t ignore that most lights just seem too yellow.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 400, 1/25s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 800, 1/20s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 640, 1/20s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 1000, 1/17s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera low-light samples

Zooming from the main camera on the A52s 5G results in very decent 2x shots, with just a bit more noise and sharpening artifacts, compared to 1x shots.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera 2x zoom low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 320, 1/50s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera 2x zoom low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 320, 1/25s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera 2x zoom low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 320, 1/25s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera 2x zoom low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 800, 1/20s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera 2x zoom low-light samples

Low-light shots from the ultrawide camera are unfortunately quite messy. There is a lot of softness all throughout the frame. Dynamic range is limited, and shadows, in particular, are crushed more often than not. Light sources don’t look too great either. And exposure, in general, tends to be too dark.

Overall, we feel like the Galaxy A52s 5G captures notably better low-light shots with this ultrawide hardware setup, making this another downgrade, if you’ve been keeping score.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 500, 1/20s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 400, 1/7s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 500, 1/7s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 1000, 1/17s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera low-light samples

The Galaxy A53 5G has automatic Night mode, which kicks in through its own volition via the Scene optimizer, so many of our general low-light shots already got some treatment. There is a manual dedicated Night mode beyond that, which is available for the main and ultrawide cameras and the selfie. It employs longer exposure times, more stacking and processing and is generally a bit on the slower side as far as modern Night modes go.

That would be perfectly acceptable if it made a major difference to the quality of the shots, but unfortunately, the mall benefits it provides in the dark areas of photos come with huge tradeoff in general sharpness. It’s almost as if Night mode disables image sharpening – the photos are just too soft for their own good. We’d recommend against using it.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera Night mode samples - f/1.8, ISO 400, 1/25s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera Night mode samples - f/1.8, ISO 800, 1/20s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera Night mode samples - f/1.8, ISO 500, 1/20s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera Night mode samples - f/1.8, ISO 1000, 1/17s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 16MP main camera Night mode samples

The situation with the dedicated Night mode in the ultrawide camera is quite the same as on the main one. It’s as if enabling Night mode disables additional image processing which includes sharpening and you get photos, which are only marginally better in the tonal extremes, but a lot softer. The tradeoff is really not worth it.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera Night mode sample - f/2.2, ISO 640, 1/20s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera Night mode sample - f/2.2, ISO 800, 1/17s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera Night mode sample - f/2.2, ISO 1000, 1/14s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera Night mode sample - f/2.2, ISO 800, 1/13s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP ultrawide camera Night mode sample

The selfie camera struggles noticeably in low-light conditions. Not uncharacteristically so for a mid-ranger, but we’ve seen better. Faces come out looking quite soft and with little to no actual skin texture.

Selfie portraits work decently well in terms of subject detection and separation. Night mode is a bit more universally beneficial when it comes to selfies. Faces have more texture to them, and some extra detail is often salvaged from the background.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 2500, 1/13s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 2500, 1/13s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 1600, 1/8s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 3200, 1/13s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 3200, 1/13s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples - f/2.2, ISO 2000, 1/8s - Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: 12MP selfie camera low-light samples

Finally, we have a playlist with some low-light video samples for you to check out. The Galaxy A53 5G captures very decent 4K videos from its main cam. There is some noise, and light sources are not as well-contained as on a recent flagship, but overall the detail is there. Even things like road surfaces look good. The same goes for 2x videos, with just a bit more noise thrown in.

The ultrawide camera is struggling quite a bit with low-light video as well. While still usable to an extent, these clips are noticeably darker and softer with a lot less detail, crushed dark areas, blown-out light sources and clipped highlights. Still, not necessarily throwaway footage.

Competition

The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G starts at an official MSRP of €450/£400/$450. That’s for a base 6GB + 128GB unit, with an 8GB + 256GB unit going for a bit over €500. Prices have already started to come down some, and at the time of writing this review, you can get a base unit for around €400 or $400. A bit more reasonable, but far from cheap. And frankly speaking, we expected to see a more rapid price drop than that since the sad reality is that the A53 5G isn’t all that competitive in the current market.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

This should, however, not be misconstrued as it being a bad phone. On the contrary, it is a great device with an eye-catching design and solid build quality, complete with IP67 ingress protection, which is still mostly unattainable at this price point outside Samsung’s lineup. The display is great, too, and so is battery life. The new Exynos 1280 chipset, though not without its deficiencies, is still a very decent performer. And, of course, you get the latest One UI 4.1 software package on top of Android 12 and extended software support (four OS updates and five years of security patches).

So, overall, the particular Samsung mid-ranger value package is still present on the A53 5G. However, Samsung didn’t exactly get away scot-free with the few yet surprisingly-impactful changes it made on the A53 compared to last year’s model. Namely the move to an in-house Exynos 1280 chipset instead of the tried-and-true Qualcomm solution. The Exynos 1280 is just an all-around downgrade compared to last year’s Snapdragon 778G 5G. No way around that. Not a major downgrade, but still enough to beg the obvious question – why would anyone want to get the A53 5G instead of the still-available Galaxy A52s 5G?

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Samsung really is its worse enemy in this particular case. The A52s 5G is an incredibly similar offer to the A53 5G. You get the same overall features and hardware. Even the cameras are the same and arguably perform better with the Snapdragon 778G chipset. Battery life is also practically identical, despite the fact that the A53 5G has a bigger battery. The difference in chipsets evens that out. On top of that, the Snapdragon 778G offer more raw performance. Both CPU- and GPU-wise. Plus, the A52s 5G is now notably cheaper. At the time of writing this, a base 6GB + 128GB unit retails for under €300 online. We doubt slightly longer software support on the A53 5G will justify an extra €100 for anybody. It really shouldn’t.

And if you have €400 burning a hole in your pocket, then that’s pretty much enough to get you a Galaxy S20 FE 5G. It is a bit closer to a flagship device specs and feature-wise overall. You get a more potent camera setup and chipset. Also, a better HDR10+ display. Faster USB port, with DeX support. Just to name a few extras. Of course, the newer S21 FE 5G is also an option, but it’s notably out of budget. Plus, Samsung did quietly launch a 2022 edition S20 FE in its domestic market at an even lower price. If that ever goes international, it looks like an even better deal.

There are plenty of good options outside camp Samsung too. Oftentimes cheaper, as well, since the likes of Xiaomi and Realme tend to go hard on competitive pricing. You will be giving up on that IP67 ingress protection and One UI, but other than that, there is great hardware to be had. Like in the Redmi Note 11 series, which is so hard to navigate that it’s become a bit of a joke. We’ll do our best to help. The Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G seems like the most direct competitor to the Galaxy A53 5G. It costs a little under €400, and some of its highlights include a 6.67-inch, 120Hz Super AMOLED display with 1200 nits of peak brightness, a 108MP main camera, and a large 5,000 mAh battery with 67W fast charging and a stereo speaker setup. The Xiaomi Poco X4 Pro 5G is essentially the same hardware with a slightly different design and a lower price tag, though, making it the better deal.

Xiaomi Poco X4 Pro 5G
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11

Xiaomi Poco X4 Pro 5G • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11

If you are willing to give up just a few extras and settle for a lesser 90Hz 6.43-inch AMOLED display, a less potent camera setup built around a 50MP snapper and slower 33W charting. To name a few of the bigger points, then you can save a good bit of money going for the vanilla Redmi Note 11, which is currently selling for under €200/$200. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G adds features like HDR10 support on its 120Hz display and 4K video capture but is notably more expensive and harder to find in some markets.

It should come as no surprise that Realme has some competitive offers in this price segment as well. The Realme GT Neo3 is an excellent all-around device with a 6.7-inch, 10-bit, HDR10+ 120Hz display, Dimensity 8100 chipset, stereo speakers, large 5,000 mAh battery and 80W charging or 4,000 mAh and a whopping 150W of charging. Also, a solid triple main camera setup with a 50MP unit at the helm. It is notably a bit hard to find in some markets at the moment. The Realme 9 Pro+ is a bit of a step down from it, but also cheaper and a bit easier to acquire. It has a 90Hz AMOLED, Dimensity 920 5G chipset, stereo speakers, 4,500 mAh battery with 60W charging and essentially the same camera setup.

Realme GT Neo3
Realme 9 Pro+
OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G

Realme GT Neo3 • Realme 9 Pro+ • OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G

Last but not least, the more “Western-friendly” OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G is a pretty good contender too. It is not too dissimilar from the Realme 9 Pro+. You do have to settle for a single loudspeaker and a less potent camera setup with a 64MP main snapper without OIS. Among other differences.

Our verdict

The Galaxy A series has been Samsung’s best-selling line for quite some time now. That’s no coincidence since the “A family” went through a transformative period a while back and has been laser-focused on consistently delivering great value across the midrange and budget segments. Unfortunately, that focus seems to be blurring a bit lately. We didn’t particularly like the Galaxy A13, which we reviewed not long ago, and now the Galaxy A53 5G underdelivered as well.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Don’t get us wrong. It is still a solid overall device. One that is very well built and still delivers that IP67 ingress protection rating that continues to elude its peers and a few-year-old but still incredibly trendy and eye-catching design. It has a great 120Hz AMOLED display, great battery life and an awesome, smooth and feature-rich One UI 4.1 experience, based on the latest Android 12 and with a promise for extended software support. As a self-contained package, in isolation, so to say, the Galaxy A53 5G is awesome and won’t disappoint any prospective buyers.

It’s just that Samsung has already raised the bar with previous Galaxy A models, and the A53 5G fails to meet those expectations. The move to a new Exynos 1280 chipset, while more than likely fiscally sound and great for Samsung, actually constitutes an all-around downgrade compared to last year’s Snapdragon 778G 5G chipset. And speaking of the Galaxy A52s 5G, it also has a 3.5mm audio jack and Wi-Fi 6, unlike the A53 5G. It also arguably makes better use of its camera hardware and produces better photos. Also, despite its smaller battery, it has essentially the same and overall solid battery endurance. Oh, and definitely not least, it is noticeably cheaper than the A53 5G.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review

Taking all of this into account, we just can’t bring ourselves to outright recommend anybody go out and deliberately seek an A53s 5G. Again, at the risk of repeating ourselves, it’s a solid and well-rounded Samsung that won’t disappoint in any major way if you happen to get one through a great deal, on contract or as a company unit. If it’s your money on the line, though, you are much better off getting last year’s Galaxy A52s 5G or perhaps the Galaxy S20 FE 5G instead.

Pros

  • Stylish, standout design, IP67 rating.
  • Bright AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate.
  • Solid battery life.
  • Latest One UI 4.1 and Android 12 setup.
  • Versatile quad camera setup, with OIS on the main 64MP snapper. Decent overall quality.
  • 4K video recording with every camera and at every zoom level.

Cons

  • Still priced a bit too high compared to viable alternative devices.
  • No charger included in the box unless your retailer bundles one.
  • 3.5 mm audio jack is gone this year.
  • No Wi-Fi 6 support and no FM radio.
  • The new Exynos 1280 chipset performs worse than the Snapdragon 778G it replaces.
  • Camera quality is a mixed bag.
  • Video stabilization only available in 1080p.

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