Samsung Galaxy A13 review

GSMArena Team, 08 April 2022.

One UI 4.1 Core on top of Android 12

The Galaxy A13 ships with an up-to-date software package, including Android 12 and Samsung's custom One UI 4.1. While 4.1 is the latest version of the popular custom software layer, the Galaxy A13 gets the "One UI 4.1 Core" trimmed-down version.

Samsung Galaxy A13 review

We get why Samsung tried to include a light software layer on the Galaxy A13 as possible. Its Exynos 850 chipset is starved for power. So much so that it often struggles to run the UI smoothly and stutters and slows down even while browsing menus. Not a great experience at all.

The Core version of One UI cuts a few apps and services to make the launcher easier on system resources. What didn't make the cut - Samsung Pay service (GPay is available), Easy Mode, the Bixby assistant, Windows Link service, and the Good Lock app for advanced customizations. Secure Folder is missing as well, but interestingly enough, there is Knox on the A13 and even advertised on the official specs page for its malware and threat protection.

Samsung Galaxy A13 review

Samsung's Music Share and Smart View are not available either. We suspect few people will miss these on such a basic phone. The Samsung Game Launcher is absent too, but Game Booster is a part of One UI 4.1 Core. Samsung Smart Widgets, Edge Panels and the fancy Object Eraser in the gallery app are also not available, but the new Color palettes are here.

The Galaxy A13 does not support Always-on Display. Its default lock screen has two shortcuts - dialer and camera, but you can pick different apps. The lock screen has a wellbeing widget - you can now keep track of how much time you've spent on your phone without even unlocking it.

Unlocking the screen with the side-mounted fingerprint scanner is a breezy experience - the reader is always-on and has superb accuracy and speed.

Lockscreen, widgets and unlocking - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Lockscreen, widgets and unlocking - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Lockscreen, widgets and unlocking - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Lockscreen, widgets and unlocking - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Lockscreen, widgets and unlocking - Samsung Galaxy A13 review
Lockscreen, widgets and unlocking - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Lockscreen, widgets and unlocking - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Lockscreen, widgets and unlocking - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Lockscreen, widgets and unlocking - Samsung Galaxy A13 review
Lockscreen, widgets and unlocking

If you are coming from a slightly older version of One UI, you might notice that pulling the notification shade covers the entire screen underneath, even if there's just one notification card or none. Previously, a portion of the screen below the last notification still remained visible, just darkened.

Notification history is a nifty feature that was originally introduced with Android 11, and it is present here. It is turned off by default, though.

Notification shade, quick toggles and notification history - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Notification shade, quick toggles and notification history - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Notification shade, quick toggles and notification history - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Notification shade, quick toggles and notification history - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Notification shade, quick toggles and notification history - Samsung Galaxy A13 review
Notification shade, quick toggles and notification history

All of the standard layout adjustments and toggles for the quick panel and taskbar are accounted for. There are Bubbles notifications for messaging apps - you'll find these in the 'Floating notifications' submenu, where you can alternatively turn both of them off and opt for the old-school cards-only interface.

Another fairly new addition you might notice coming from an older Android is the reworked multimedia controls originally introduced with Android 11. You get the active audio playback apps right below the quick toggles, and swiping to the side switches between the apps.

The Media screen was already available on One UI 2.5 pre-Android 11, and it offers similar functionality for picking the output device. The volume control panel has gotten a makeover too, and now the four sliders are vertical instead of the horizontal ones of One UIs past.

Multimedia and volume controls - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Multimedia and volume controls - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Multimedia and volume controls - Samsung Galaxy A13 review
Multimedia and volume controls

The Android experience with One UI is rather straightforward and familiar.

General One UI experience - Samsung Galaxy A13 review General One UI experience - Samsung Galaxy A13 review General One UI experience - Samsung Galaxy A13 review General One UI experience - Samsung Galaxy A13 review General One UI experience - Samsung Galaxy A13 review General One UI experience - Samsung Galaxy A13 review
General One UI experience

There are plenty of system navigation options, with a few tweaks and layouts available for gestures, as well as old-school button controls, even the really-old original style, with the back button on the right side.

Navigation options - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Navigation options - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Navigation options - Samsung Galaxy A13 review
Navigation options

One UI has always offered plenty of customizability, and One UI 4.1 Core on the Galaxy A13 is no exception. You get wallpapers and services like Dynamic lock screen and Samsung Global Goals. There is also a whole tone of themes and wallpapers to choose from through Samsung Themes - many free as well.

Rich customization and theming options - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Rich customization and theming options - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Rich customization and theming options - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Rich customization and theming options - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Rich customization and theming options - Samsung Galaxy A13 review
Rich customization and theming options

As we mentioned, the new Color palette feature is present. It allows you to match the accent colors of the UI and even stock app icon colors to the colors in your wallpaper.

The One UI dialer app lends itself to plenty of customization too. There are two different layouts for the in-call screen to choose from. 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.

Samsung Galaxy A13 review

The settings menu has recently undergone a subtle but meaningful makeover. Subcategories are made more legible by using a dot separator and extra spacing, while recent searches are now shown as bubbles instead of a list. Additionally, there's a newly added feature to search settings by hashtags - for conceptually related things found in different places in the menu.

Settings menus - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Settings menus - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Settings menus - Samsung Galaxy A13 review
Settings menus

The Galaxy A13 comes with Samsung's own Gallery, Internet browser and Notes app. The gallery notably lacks Samsung's fancy new Object Eraser feature. The Galaxy Store offers its own different selection of apps compared to the Google Play Store, though many do overlap and can be downloaded and updated through either repository.

Samsung apps - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Samsung apps - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Samsung apps - Samsung Galaxy A13 review
Samsung apps

Beyond all of this, the A13 comes loaded with a standard set of apps from Samsung, Microsoft and Google.

Pre-installed apps - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Pre-installed apps - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Pre-installed apps - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Pre-installed apps - Samsung Galaxy A13 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. Well, Facebook and LinkedIn are a bit borderline. Anything you don't personally like or appreciate having on your device can be easily uninstalled or, failing that - disabled.

Overall, One UI remains one of the best and most polished custom Android experiences out there. It is chuck-full of useful features. Even in this lighter One UI 4.1 Core version, the Galaxy A13 is running. Unless you simply have a preference for a clean AOSP experience, there really isn't much to dislike about One UI itself.

There is, however, plenty to be unhappy about the way it runs on the Galaxy A13. It is very much not a fluent and smooth experience. There are plenty of slowdowns and stutters all over the place in animations and transitions. Slow app load times and even app switching and background operation issues due to the limited resources of the phone. The Exynos 850 seems to really be struggling to keep up with the otherwise excellent One UI 4.1 Core.

Performance and benchmarks

Power is arguably the biggest Achilles' heel of the Galaxy A13. It is equipped with the Samsung Exynos 850 chipset. On the surface, it doesn't look too bad. It is a chip from 2020, built on a reasonably efficient 8nm LPP process.

Samsung Galaxy A13 review

The CPU setup consists of eight symmetrical Cortex-A55 cores, which came out in 2018 and are starting to show their age. All eight cores are capable of speeds up to 2.0 GHz.

Our review unit is equipped with 4GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB of eMMC 5.1 storage, which makes it the second best available config, with the top one upping RAM to 6GB. Probably the weakest link in the proverbial chain here, though, is the GPU. The Exynos 850 is running a single Mali-G52 graphical core, and that's it. It's not a particularly powerful core, to begin with, but for some odd reason, Samsung decided to just include one of it. It really struggles to deliver, especially on the Galaxy A13, which has a FullHD+ display.

Let's kick things off with some CPU loads and GeekBench. The Galaxy A13 is struggling. Even more so, in fact, than its Samsung Galaxy A21s sibling, which is also running the Exynos 850 chipset. Perhaps the Android 10 OS that the device was running at the time of its review and potentially its One UI skin were lighter, or it might be optimization issues.

GeekBench 5 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Poco M4 Pro
    1836
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    1797
  • Poco X3 NFC
    1777
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    1719
  • Realme 8
    1690
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    1662
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    1599
  • Poco M3
    1398
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    1372
  • Xiaomi Redmi 10
    1294
  • Nokia G21
    1193
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    1100
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    1034
  • Samsung Galaxy A03s
    889
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    588
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    495

GeekBench 5 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    597
  • Poco X3 NFC
    568
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    560
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    534
  • Realme 8
    533
  • Poco M4 Pro
    523
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    376
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    376
  • Xiaomi Redmi 10
    361
  • Nokia G21
    311
  • Poco M3
    308
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    184
  • Samsung Galaxy A03s
    179
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    169
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    153
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    131

Even the Galaxy A03s with its meager MediaTek Helio P35 and the A12 with the same chipset embarrassingly have the A13 beat. Even the Nokia G21, with its exotic and unpopular Unisoc T606, has a lead in the CPU department.

Basically, any other chipset you can get in this price range seems to be more capable.

AnTuTu is a bit more favorable to the Galaxy A13 since it gets to strut its higher resolution, newer software and newer features and APIs over some of its rivals. Even so, the A13 is still miles behind the most powerful phones in its price range.

AnTuTu 8

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    298328
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    296721
  • Poco X3 NFC
    283750
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    242155
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    228044
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    218788
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    185358
  • Poco M3
    177904
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    122822
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    107189
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    107157
  • Samsung Galaxy A03s
    103465
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    90811

AnTuTu 9

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    357488
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    353663
  • Poco M4 Pro
    318444
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    244526
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    223188
  • Nokia G21
    171299
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    165959
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    136286
  • Samsung Galaxy A03s
    101299

The meager single Mali-G52 core is significantly contributing to these poor compound AnTuTu benchmark scores. Some of the higher difficulty tests like the Aztek runs even failed to execute and crashed due to limited resources a few times.

GFX Aztek ES 3.1 High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    12
  • Poco X3 NFC
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    9.2
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    8.4
  • Poco M4 Pro
    8.3
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    7.1
  • Nokia G21
    6
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    5.6
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    4.6
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    4.6
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    3.5
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    3.3
  • Poco M3
    2.8

GFX Aztek ES 3.1 High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    7.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    5.5
  • Poco M4 Pro
    5.5
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    3.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    3.3
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    3.1
  • Poco M3
    2.8
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    2.2
  • Nokia G21
    1.9
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    1.5
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    1.2

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    11
  • Poco X3 NFC
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    9.4
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    7.8
  • Poco M4 Pro
    7.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    6.6
  • Nokia G21
    5.6
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    5.3
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    4.8
  • Poco M3
    4.1
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    3.8
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    3.5
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    3.4

GFX Aztek Vulkan High (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    7.5
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    5.1
  • Poco M4 Pro
    5.1
  • Poco M3
    4.2
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    3.5
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    3.1
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    2.9
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    2.3
  • Nokia G21
    1.8
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    1.2
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    1.1

The numbers are firmly in the single digits, and hence we can't even begin to have any discussions about "playable frame rates".

Even as we go lower down the stack into older OpenGL ES 3.1 tests, the Galaxy A13 just can't break double-digit territory.

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    18
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    16
  • Poco X3 NFC
    16
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    12
  • Poco M4 Pro
    12
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    11
  • Nokia G21
    8.9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    7.9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    6.8
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    6.1
  • Poco M3
    5.9
  • Samsung Galaxy A03s
    5.5
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    5.2
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    5

GFX Car Chase ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    20
  • Poco X3 NFC
    19
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    14
  • Poco M4 Pro
    14
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    9.3
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    9.3
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    8
  • Poco M3
    7.2
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    6.2
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    6
  • Nokia G21
    5.2
  • Samsung Galaxy A03s
    3.5
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    3.4
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    3.3

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    30
  • Realme 8
    29
  • Poco X3 NFC
    27
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    23
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    21
  • Poco M4 Pro
    21
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    19
  • Nokia G21
    17
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    15
  • Samsung Galaxy A03s
    14
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    12
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    12
  • Poco M3
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    8.3

GFX Manhattan ES 3.1 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    33
  • Poco X3 NFC
    33
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    26
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    24
  • Poco M4 Pro
    24
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    15
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    15
  • Poco M3
    13
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    9.4
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    9.4
  • Nokia G21
    8.5
  • Samsung Galaxy A03s
    7.9
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    7.7
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    6.1

Mind you, there is an extra layer of unfortunate circumstance here. While we appreciate the inclusion on a FullHD+ display on the Galaxy A13 for its added sharpness that meant that the already struggling Mali-G52 is forced to render at that native resolution in benchmarks.

GFX Manhattan ES 3.0 (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    48
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    42
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    37
  • Poco M4 Pro
    33
  • Poco X3 NFC
    33
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    31
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    28
  • Nokia G21
    24
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    21
  • Samsung Galaxy A03s
    19
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    19
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    18
  • Poco M3
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    14

GFX Manhattan ES 3.0 (offscreen 1080p)

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    53
  • Poco X3 NFC
    44
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    40
  • Poco M4 Pro
    37
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    32
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    24
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    24
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    21
  • Poco M3
    19
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    16
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    16
  • Nokia G21
    14
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    12
  • Samsung Galaxy A03s
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    9.3

This explains the major disparity in on-screen test numbers between the Galaxy A13 and the A21s, which, although running the same chipset and GPU has and HD+ display.

Granted, you can set games to run at lower resolution and most modern mobile game engines are smart enough to drastically scale back quality and all sorts of graphical parameters to accommodate even the weakest of chips.

3DMark SSE ES 3.1 (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Poco X3 NFC
    2689
  • Realme 8
    2610
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    2391
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    1471
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    1361
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    1316
  • Poco M3
    1175
  • Nokia G21
    962
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    888
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    886
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    438
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    365

3DMark SSE Vulkan 1.0 (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    2639
  • Poco X3 NFC
    2495
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    2257
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    1383
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    1372
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    1267
  • Poco M3
    1106
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    931
  • Nokia G21
    930
  • Samsung Galaxy A21s
    901
  • Samsung Galaxy A12
    612
  • Samsung Galaxy A02s
    489

3DMark Wild Life Vulkan 1.1 (offscreen 1440p)

Higher is better

  • Realme 8
    1486
  • Poco M4 Pro 5G
    1232
  • Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
    1104
  • Poco M4 Pro
    1099
  • Samsung Galaxy A22
    691
  • Samsung Galaxy A13
    510
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
    482
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
    439
  • Nokia G21
    403
  • Poco M3
    368

Even so, the Galaxy A13 is only suitable for the most basic and lightweight casual games. Preferably ones with 2D graphics.

The Galaxy A13 remains cool to the touch even with prolonged loads. That, however, doesn't mean that the chipset itself doesn't accumulate heat over time. Plastic is just a good insulator. This is apparently exactly what's happening since the Galaxy A13 still thermal-throttles and loses a chunk of its performance after a while of sustained load. Not a major chunk, but there isn't a lot of it. Still, there are no jarring and sunned drops down and then back up, so we can't criticize the thermal-throttling behavior overall.

Thermal throttling - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Thermal throttling - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Thermal throttling - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Thermal throttling - Samsung Galaxy A13 review Thermal throttling - Samsung Galaxy A13 review
Thermal throttling

There is no point beating about the bush. Overall performance on the Galaxy A13 is poor. The Exynos 850 chipset is simply not capable of delivering a fluent experience in most modern games and is even struggling to drive the Samsung One UI 4.1 Core. This might be a case of simply asking too much of said hardware and optimization, or further stripping down the UX could potentially help. In its current state, however, the Galaxy A13 simply fails to deliver a satisfactory user experience in terms of speed, responsiveness and fluidity. And sadly, that is an unfortunate conclusion we rarely arrive at these days.

Reader comments

  • Sin
  • 05 Aug 2022
  • 0Fj

My experience is better with the Nokia brand then Samsung As a phone I think the Nokia g21 is the better phone then the Samsung phone The Nokia phones have really good software support clean stock AndroidOne and big battery and excellent ba...

  • Mike
  • 03 Aug 2022
  • rv5

G10 nokia isn't good for gaming, better go for a sumsung a13

  • Leo
  • 26 Jul 2022
  • X5u

I really like the phone , buh I don't know if I should get it or purchase the Nokia G21. Does it handle gaming very well?