Samsung Galaxy A50 review

GSMArena team, 18 April 2019.

One UI and Android Pie

The Galaxy A50 is among the first mid-rangers to come with the brand new One UI based on Google's latest Android Pie. It premiered on the Galaxy S10 phones a couple of weeks ago, but it's a promising replacement of the previous Samsung Experience UX. Just as expected, it packs heavy customizations and tons of old and new features but presented in a cleaner and simplistic way.

Samsung Galaxy A50 review

If you've used Samsung UX over the past few years, you will probably work your way around easily. However, there are a couple of major revamps that may seem strange or even uncomfortable at first, but we think it's for the best.

Aside from the colorful new icons that might not be to everyone's taste (you can swap the default ones with another icon pack), Samsung has implemented numerous changes towards more effective and comfortable one-handed use. Now all system menus, including the drop-down menu with all the quick toggles, are located on the bottom half of the screen, so they are within reach of your thumb. It takes some time getting used to, but we think it's a pretty smart solution.

Home screen, recent apps and app drawer - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Home screen, recent apps and app drawer - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Home screen, recent apps and app drawer - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Home screen, recent apps and app drawer - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Home screen, recent apps and app drawer - Samsung Galaxy A50 review
Home screen, recent apps and app drawer

Speaking of one-handed use, there are still some small tidbits that Samsung forgot about. For example, the app folders still open in full-screen with the icons placed on the upper half of the display, which means you'll have to use your other hand to reach them.

Notification shade - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Notification shade - Samsung Galaxy A50 review
Notification shade

And just like everyone else, Samsung has its own way of implementing Google's new gesture-based navigation. They work as conventional buttons - swiping from the bottom-left brings out the recent apps menu by default and swiping from the bottom-right takes you a step back. You can swap them in the settings menu, but the home button remains as a single swipe from the bottom-center. If you swipe and hold, it will summon Google's Assistant.

In the end, Samsung saved a couple of pixels on the bottom, but the gestures still feel half-baked.

Gesture navigation options - Samsung Galaxy A50 review
Gesture navigation options

What doesn't feel half-baked, however, is the Always On Display feature. It gives you plenty of options although not as many as on the Galaxy S10 phones (there is no brightness setting or wallpaper option here). You can choose different clock styles and font colors, what notifications to be displayed, and when the AOD to be shown - on tap, always, or scheduled.

Always On Display - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Always On Display - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Always On Display - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Always On Display - Samsung Galaxy A50 review
Always On Display

In line with the rest of the UI changes, the general Settings menu has been revamped too. It's pretty compact, and some of the settings you might be looking for have ended up elsewhere. For example, the Device care sub-menu now accommodates the Battery settings and information, storage and memory management and the security features. Tapping on the Battery icon will open up the familiar battery menu full of settings and adjustments. Aside from the usual info and features which you'd find on pretty much every other Android handset, Samsung has added a couple of additional options.

Settings and other apps are redesigned for one-handed use - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Settings and other apps are redesigned for one-handed use - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Settings and other apps are redesigned for one-handed use - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Settings and other apps are redesigned for one-handed use - Samsung Galaxy A50 review
Settings and other apps are redesigned for one-handed use

You have three power modes - Optimized, Medium-power saving and Maximum power saving. Optimized is the default one with performance cranked up to the maximum. In the upper right corner of the battery menu sits another sub-menu giving you more granular control over your power consumption.

Battery settings - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Battery settings - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Battery settings - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Battery settings - Samsung Galaxy A50 review
Battery settings

Speaking of granularity, the Advanced menu gives you the option to set notifications to pop-up in a small view with which you can interact.

Google's push for the so-called Digital well-being has reached Samsung's One UI too. If you were ever wondering how much time you spend on your phone and which apps you mostly used, the Digital well-being sub-menu would give you the details. It's cool, but it will probably stay unused by most users.

Advanced settings and Digital Wellbeing - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Advanced settings and Digital Wellbeing - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Advanced settings and Digital Wellbeing - Samsung Galaxy A50 review
Advanced settings and Digital Wellbeing

As before, Samsung's own take on the custom Android is full of features and pre-installed apps. We are overwhelmed, and it's hard to go over every one of them. And besides, there are plenty of carry-overs from the previous software versions. Some users may be annoyed with the heavy customization and set of pre-installed apps, especially if you are coming from a vanilla Android.

For multimedia you have the new Gallery app by Samsung for browsing photos and videos, while Play Music handles well, your music. There is also an FM radio app on board, a proprietary My Files file manager app, Samsung Health app, Bixby assistant, among others.

Gallery - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Play Music - Samsung Galaxy A50 review FM radio - Samsung Galaxy A50 review My Files - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Health - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Bixby - Samsung Galaxy A50 review
Gallery • Play Music • FM radio • My Files • Health • Bixby

And although not perfect, we kind of like where Samsung is going with this. It's addressing an issue that's been overlooked for quite some time since the new wave of huge smartphone displays. One-handed operation on the One UI is much more pleasant and comfortable. Oh, and the inclusion of the Night mode was a long-awaited feature for more than just a few users. Only using the phone's UI as a daily driver will help establish a more objective opinion but we like what we see so far.

Night mode - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Night mode - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Night mode - Samsung Galaxy A50 review Night mode - Samsung Galaxy A50 review
Night mode

Performance and benchmarks

The Galaxy A50 is the first smartphone we meet powered by the Exynos 9610 chip designed by Samsung. Contrary on what the model number suggests, the 9610 SoC is part of the mid-range Exynos 7 Series, so you shouldn't hope for flagship-grade speeds.

Samsung Galaxy A50 review

Still, the Exynos 9610 seems rather well-packed with processing punch. There is an octa-core processor with four A73 cores running at 2.3GHz and four A53 ones ticking at 1.7GHz. Those should be more than enough to handle even the most demanding tasks today.

Then there is the Mali-G72 MP3 (read tri-core). We've already seen three G72 cores in action as part of the Helio P60 and P70 chips, and those turned out to be enough for a balanced gaming experience on a budget.

Finally, the A50 comes with either 4GB or 6GB of LPDDR4x RAM depending on the market and base storage.

And now let's run some benchmarks, shall we?

As usual, we'll start our benchmark tests with Geekbench. In single-core performance the Cortex-A73 cores matche the Kryo 260 Gold in the Snapdragon 660 (Redmi Note 7), and beat everything but the Kryo 360 Gold within the Snapdragon 710 (Xiaomi Mi 8 SE).

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    1890
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    1715
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    1650
  • Realme U1
    1567
  • Oppo F11 Pro
    1560
  • Realme 2 Pro
    1462
  • Nokia 7.1
    1344
  • Sony Xperia 10 Plus
    1340
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    1325
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    1313

Multi-core operations are an easy task for the Galaxy A50. It does as well as the S660 chip, close to the S710 performance, while the Helio P70 that has the same CPU configuration is a bit faster because its CPU cores have a higher clock.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Oppo F11 Pro
    6020
  • Realme U1
    6004
  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    5908
  • Realme 2 Pro
    5531
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    5411
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    5396
  • Nokia 7.1
    4975
  • Sony Xperia 10 Plus
    4780
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    4160
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    4112

The tri-core Mali-G72 is a solid performer - and in this price range it's among the best GPUs you can get in a 1080p smartphone. It is only beaten by the Adreno 616 within the Qualcomm's Snapdragon 710 (Mi 8 SE).

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    22
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    13
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    13
  • Realme 2 Pro
    12
  • Realme U1
    12
  • Oppo F11 Pro
    12
  • Nokia 7.1
    9.7
  • Sony Xperia 10 Plus
    8.4
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    7.4
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    7.1

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    12
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    8
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    7.7
  • Oppo F11 Pro
    7.4
  • Realme 2 Pro
    7.2
  • Realme U1
    7.1
  • Nokia 7.1
    5.9
  • Sony Xperia 10 Plus
    5
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    4.6
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    4.4

3DMark SSE 3.1 Unlimited

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    1409
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    1353
  • Realme 2 Pro
    1291
  • Oppo F11 Pro
    1275
  • Realme U1
    1133
  • Sony Xperia 10 Plus
    1002
  • Honor 10 Lite
    954
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    647
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    587

Over at the compound AnTuTu test the Galaxy A50 shows some real muscle and is on par with its peers.

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 8 SE
    170218
  • Oppo F11 Pro
    150218
  • Samsung Galaxy A50
    144574
  • Realme U1
    144436
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
    139075
  • Realme 2 Pro
    132958
  • Sony Xperia 10 Plus
    120573
  • Nokia 7.1
    117175
  • Samsung Galaxy M20
    108658
  • Samsung Galaxy A40
    106388

The Galaxy A50 is plenty fast for its asking price. It is a very dependable performer thanks to its Exynos 9610 chip. It's as great for gaming as it is for daily operations and browsing the social media. The Android OS and One UI are fast and fluid on this hardware, although once you populate apps with personal content you may notice some prolonged loading times.

We didn't notice any hot spots around the Galaxy A50 even when running those benchmarks for longer duration and there was no throttling at all. Overall, the A50 offers great performance for the class and nobody should be experiencing major hiccups whatever the tasks at hand.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

Why Are you that used to paying £50 60 a month for the dogs and the cheap stuff is never going to fit with your tesla

  • nakazatogtr

Using one now. Remember that any phone having to upgrade to a newer android version (ie; Android 10 to Android 11) may BENEFIT a lot by factory resetting (after backing up data, ie; via Google Account) before even downloading the update. My A50 ...

  • Carl B

After much research I purchased A50. This is an excellent mid range smartphone with high end quality without the sticker shock price. I don't need a $ 1400 phone A50 gets the job done. I'm happy with A50. Thanks for the truthful and accu...