Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G vs A52 5G vs Galaxy S21: What's the difference?

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(Pocket-lint) - Samsung announced three new Galaxy A devices during an event in March 2021, sitting below the Galaxy S21 series in terms of cost, but borrowing some of its key features and specs, for nearly half the price. It then added the Galaxy A52s 5G to the line up in August.

You can read about how the Galaxy A52s 5G, A52 5G, A52 and A72 compare to each other in our separate feature, but here we are focusing on how the Galaxy A52s 5G and Galaxy A52 5G compare to the flagship Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+.

Design

  • Galaxy A52s 5G/A52 5G: 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4mm, 189g
  • Galaxy S21: 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm, 169g
  • Galaxy S21+: 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8mm, 200g

The Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G and A52 5G have a flat display with a centralised punch hole camera at the top. On the rear, there is a rectangular camera housing with four lenses, three of which are more prominent. The camera housing is positioned in the top left corner as an island.

The A52s 5G and A52 5G have a plastic rear, are IP67 water and dust resistant and they comes in five different colour options. The A52s 5G comes in black, white, purple and mint, while the A52 5G comes in black, white, purple and blue.

The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ meanwhile, also both offer plastic rears and flat displays with a centralised punch hole camera at the top of the screen. They have a rectangular camera housing on the rear with three prominent lenses, but the housing is a different colour to the rear and wraps around into the frame of the devices, offering a slightly different look to the A52s 5G and A52 5G. 

The Galaxy S21 comes in four colour options, while the Galaxy S21+ is available in five options. Both devices are IP68 rated for water and dust.

All four devices have under-screen fingerprint readers.

Display

  • Galaxy A52s 5G/A52 5G: 6.5-inches, 2400 x 1800 pixels, 120Hz
  • Galaxy S21: 6.2-inches, 2400 x 1080 pixels, 48-120Hz
  • Galaxy S21+: 6.7-inches, 2400 x 1080 pixels, 48-120Hz

The Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G and A52 5G have a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 2400 x 1080 resolution, which delivers a pixel density of 405ppi. 

They offer a maximum brightness of 800nits and they comes with a 120Hz refresh rate, but they don't support HDR.

The Galaxy S21 has a smaller 6.2-inch display, which also has a 2400 x 1080 resolution, resulting in a slightly sharper pixel density of 424ppi. The Galaxy S21+ has a larger 6.7-inch display, again with a 2400 x 1080 resolution, for a slightly softer pixel density of 393ppi. 

Both the Galaxy S21 and S21+ have a maximum brightness of 1300nits, support HDR10+ and come with an adaptive refresh rate of 48Hz to 120Hz.

Hardware and specs

  • Galaxy A52s 5G: Qualcomm SD778G, 6/8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, microSD, 4500mAh
  • Galaxy A52 5G: Qualcomm SD750G, 6/8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, microSD, 4500mAh
  • Galaxy S21: Qualcomm SD888 or Exynos 2100, 8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, 4000mAh
  • Galaxy S21+: Qualcomm SD888 or Exynos 2100, 8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, 4800mAh

The Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G chipset, which is an upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G that runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G processor, supported by 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. Both offer microSD support for storage expansion up to 1TB - something the S21 series doesn't offer.

There's a 4500mAh battery capacity under the hoods of both the A52s 5G and A52 5G, which supports 25W fast charging but there is no wireless charging or reverse wireless charging on board. 

The Galaxy S21 and S21+ both run on either the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, or the Exynos 2100, depending on the region. There is 8GB of RAM support and storage options of 128GB and 256GB but neither supports microSD, as mentioned. 

The Galaxy S21 has a 4000mAh battery, while the Galaxy S21+ has a 4800mAh battery. Both support fast wired and wireless charging.

All four models being compared in this feature are 5G enabled.

Camera

  • Galaxy A52s 5G/A52 5G: Quad rear (main, ultra wide, depth, macro), 32MP front
  • Galaxy S21/21+: Triple rear (main, ultra wide, telephoto), 10MP front

The Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G and A52 5G come with a quad rear camera. This is made up of a 64-megapixel main camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS) and an aperture of f/1.8, along with a 12-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens with a f/2.2 aperture, a 5-megapixel depth sensor with an f/2.4 aperture and a 5-megapixel macro sensor with an f/2.4 aperture.

On the front, there's a 32-megapixel camera with f/2.2 aperture.

The S21 and S21+ both have a triple rear camera, made up of a 12-megapixel main sensor with 1.8µm pixel size, f/1.8 aperture and OIS, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor with 1.4µm and f/2.2, and a 64-megapixel telephoto sensor with 0.8µm, f/2.0 and OIS. 

There's a 10-megapixel, 1.22µm, f/2.2 front camera.

Price

  • Galaxy A52s 5G: £409
  • Galaxy A52 5G: £399/€429
  • Galaxy S21: £769/€849
  • Galaxy S21+: £949/€1049

The Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G costs £409 in the UK and will be availabe to pre-order from 24 August, with an on sale date of 3 September.

The Galaxy A52 5G costs £399 in the UK and €429 in Europe. 

The Galaxy S21 starts at £769 in the UK and €849 in Europe.

The Galaxy S21+ starts at £949 in the UK and €1049 in Europe.

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Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G and A52 5G are almost half the price of the Galaxy S21, and less than half the price of the S21+. 

They doesn't have an adaptive refresh rate, a telephoto lens for optical zoom, the top-of-the-range processor - though the A52s 5G should be more powerful than the A52 5G, HDR support or wireless charging, but that's pretty much all they miss out on compared to the more expensive S21 and S21+ in terms of specs.

The A52s 5G and A52 5G still offer a 120Hz refresh rate, a display size in the middle of the S21 and S21+, 5G capabilities, a larger battery capacity than the S21 and it has microSD support, which the S21 and S21+ do not offer. The cameras aren't as good as the S21 however so bear that in mind.

For the money, it is well worth considering the A52s 5G - or the A52 5G if you can't afford the extra £10 - over the two flagship models though, depending on what features matter to you most. 

Writing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published on 17 March 2021.

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