The $400 Samsung Galaxy A42 5G is essentially a scaled-down version of the superb $500 Galaxy A52 5G, and sacrificing a few capabilities for a $100 discount looks appealing.
If there’s one thing you should know about the Galaxy A42 5G right away, it’s that the carrier’s super-fast 5G UW (ultra wideband) network is only available to Verizon customers. The unlocked Galaxy A42 5G from Samsung or Amazon only works on AT&T and T-Sub6 Mobile’s 5G networks, which aren’t as fast as mmWave 5G.
Both phones have the same processors and function nearly identically, but you’ll lose out on a few features like water resistance, a smoother and crisper screen, and a better camera system if you save $100. And don’t forget about AT&T and T-5G Mobile’s networks.
Even yet, savings are saves, and the Galaxy A 42 5G does provide a big-phone experience worth considering. Just make sure to check out Google’s Pixel 4a 5G before making a purchase. Or, at the absolute least, wait a bit longer, as a new Pixel 5a 5G is expected to be announced soon.
Samsung Galaxy A42 5G
Cons: Poor camera performance and lack of water resistance
|Samsung Galaxy A42 5G||Specifications|
|Display||6.6-inch 720p (1,600 x 720) 60Hz AMOLED|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G|
|Memory and storage||4GB RAM with 128GB storage; expandable up to 1TB with microSD card|
|Rear cameras||48-megapixel main wide, 8-megapixel ultra-wide, 2-megapixel “depth” zoom|
|Connectivity||Sub6 5G (N2, N5, N66,N77, N78), mmWave 5G (N260, N261)|
Display and design
Because the Galaxy A42 is on the lower end of the mid-range spectrum, it has a plastic back. Despite this, the phone’s metal frame feels robust, and the back design is nice and required to make it less basic. It’s a comfortable and lightweight phone, despite its very large screen and dimensions.
On the Galaxy A42 mid-ranger, Samsung made little concessions to the screen. Although the 720p resolution may appear poor for a screen as large as 6.6 inches, the bright AMOLED screen that is typical of Samsung phones compensates. AMOLED screens are smartphone versions of TV OLED screens that have more contrast than regular LCD screens. As a consequence, you get a phone that pops everything on the screen and gives you a premium experience.
I didn’t realize it was 720p rather than a higher resolution until I looked at the specs sheet, but the vibrant colors and contrast of Samsung’s AMOLED screens give it a near-premium feel for a $400 tablet.
A fingerprint sensor is hidden beneath the display, and it’s shockingly fast and accurate. It feels even faster than the under-display fingerprint sensor on the high-end Galaxy S21 series, which has accuracy difficulties and sometimes make simply unlocking the phone a tedious experience.
Battery life and performance
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 750 5G processor (CPU) and 4GB of memory (RAM) power the Galaxy A42 5G, resulting in a fairly seamless experience that’s hard to complain about given the phone’s $400 price tag. To be sure, if you’re used to premium phones that cost closer to $1,000, the Galaxy A42 will feel sluggish and stuttery, but it happily opens and runs your apps and the Android 11 operating system with the zeal of a B-team.
One of the most appealing features of the Galaxy A42 5G is its inexpensive 5G connectivity, but you’ll only be able to take advantage of it if you’re a Verizon customer. This includes the super-fast mmWave 5G UW networks. Users on AT&T and T-Mobile should get the unlocked model, but they will miss out on the speedy mmWave 5G. Just keep in mind that access to Verizon’s 5G UW network isn’t a huge advantage right now, as coverage is still very limited within metropolitan regions.
The 128GB of built-in storage is ample, and you can extend it with a microSD card up to 1 terabyte (TB). With a 128GB performance microSD card, you can virtually quadruple the storage on the Galaxy A42 5G for under $20. On the bottom edge, you’ll also locate a headphone jack.
The Galaxy A42 5G comes with a big 5,000mAh battery that can comfortably withstand a day of moderate to heavy use. With normal usage, the Galaxy A42 5G might last up to two days. A 15W quick charger is included, which isn’t particularly fast in today’s world. Even Apple’s iPhone SE 2020, which charges at 18W, outperforms this charging pace. Quicker charging with a faster provided charger would not have made this phone more appealing, but it would have been a nice addition.
Triple camera systems aren’t uncommon on budget phones these days, so the Galaxy A42 5G‘s inclusion of wide, ultrawide, and 2x macro cameras isn’t surprising. These cameras’ quality isn’t that impressive, either.
By default, the main 48-megapixel (MP) camera condenses all of those pixels into 12MP, which improves lighting. The photos are acceptable, but don’t expect flagship performance just because the megapixel count is high.
Although having an 8MP ultra-wide angle camera is appealing, the Galaxy A42 5G’s ultra-wide images are unlikely to impress. Around the periphery of ultra-wide photos, there are a lot of undesirable artifacts like purple fringing and loss of detail, and only the very center is sharp and clear.
The 2MP depth sensor camera’s purpose is to help the primary camera create the blurry-background look for portrait modes. It can be used as a 2x zoom lens, but with a 2MP sensor, shots aren’t as sharp, and we’d prefer to see a true zoom lens. Unfortunately for Samsung, our camera expectations for mid-range phones have risen as a result of Google’s efforts. Indeed, like the Google Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G, we’d prefer to see one or two outstanding camera lenses rather than three serviceable ones. Even so, the Galaxy A42 5G will do a good job of capturing what you’re looking at.
Is the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G worth your money?
When it comes to selecting a mid-range 5G phone, the Galaxy A42 5G isn’t the first phone that springs to mind, and I’d advocate investing $100 more for something that easily provides a better experience that’s worth the extra money. If you aren’t ready to spend more money, the Galaxy A42 5G will suffice.
Compare with similar items
|Galaxy A42 5G||Galaxy A52 5G||Motorola One 5G Ace||Galaxy S20 FE 5G|
|Screen Size||6.6 inches||6.5 inches||6.7 inches||6.5 inches|
|Item Dimensions||0.34 x 6.47 x 2.99 inches||0.33 x 6.3 x 2.96 inches||6 x 4 x 2 inches||6.7 x 3.4 x 2.44 inches|
|Item Weight||6.81 ounces||6.67 ounces||7.48 ounces||7.05 ounces|
|Operating System||Android||Android||Android 10.0||Android|
What other options do you have?
You’d be better off with Google’s Pixel 4a 5G, which features a 6.2-inch screen that’s still quite huge. The Pixel 4a 5G features a faster chipset and vastly improved wide and ultra-wide cameras. Although it costs $100 more than the Galaxy A42 5G, you get a far better phone. If you’re willing to wait a few months longer, Google is expected to release a replacement to the Pixel 4a 5G soon.
Samsung’s $500 Galaxy A52 5G is another option at this price point, with superior cameras, water resistance, and a premium 120Hz refresh rate with clearer 1080p quality. While the Galaxy A42 5G is a better phone, the Google Pixel 4a 5G offers greater performance and cameras for the same price.
Apple’s $400 iPhone SE, on the other hand, goes all-in on flagship performance and capabilities, but the design is old, the screen is small, it lacks 5G, and the battery life isn’t quite as long. It just has one camera, but it’s a far better one, which we prefer to the Galaxy A42 5G‘s muddled dual camera setup.
Last but not least
If $400 is your absolute limit, the Galaxy A42 5G will suffice – you get a modestly appealing, decently performing phone with great cameras for that price. Get the Google Pixel 4a 5G for greater performance and cameras if you have an extra $100, or wait for the anticipated Pixel 5a 5G.
Samsung Galaxy A42 5G
Cons: Poor camera performance and lack of water resistance
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