Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

GSMArena Team, 1 December 2023.

Design, handling

The Galaxy A54 is definitely a Samsung from 2023. It's unmistakably Samsung in its design, and that could be a good thing (if you're trying to emulate the look of the more expensive S series) or a bad thing (if you've spent much more on an S23+, for example, and despise people who didn't but get to enjoy the same look). To clarify, we're referring to the back here. Unless you are well versed in LED flash positioning across Samsung's lineup, you will definitely mistake this for something like an S23+ from afar. There's just no getting around that.

This, obviously, is an intentional choice on the Korean company's part. Whereas Apple and Google gatekeep a third camera sensor for their more expensive devices, creating some solid artificial differentiation, Samsung gives you three camera circles on the A54, three circles on the S23+, three of them on almost any device regardless of price, and they're pretty much in the same positions too. Samsung is much more poser friendly, if you will.

Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

In our subjective opinion, this look isn't good or bad, it's just starting to feel overdone. That said, we much prefer individual camera circles to some of the one-island monstrosities that are coming out from China from time to time. You, of course, may disagree, and that's fine - you're not looking a whole lot at your phone's back, now are you?

On the front things are different and the posing gig is up. The bottom bezel is so obviously huger than the rest that it screams "mid-range!" in a cheap mid-range kind of way. This is definitely not going to fool anyone into thinking it's more expensive than it is, and before you say that's an inevitability at such price points - it's not. Ask Nothing, ask Poco - bezels that seem symmetrical (even if they technically aren't) are definitely attainable even at the middle of the pricing tiers.

Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

So, again, not having them is a choice on Samsung's part, which leaves us slightly confused. This one can pose as a more expensive phone from the back, but it actually kind of looks cheaper than it is from the front. That's some top level bipolarity right there.

It's slippery, by the way. The back glass on our white model seems to not show any fingerprints at all, which is great - but as you may know, this always comes at the cost of more slipperiness than if it had. The plastic frame (another dead giveaway that this isn't as expensive as it's trying to pass for from the back) isn't helping either. While not as slippery as a matte metal frame would be (few things are, really), it's still amongst the slipperiest of the plastic ones we've handled recently.

Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

Handling is going to be fine for people with large hands, only barely okay for those with mid-size hands, and horrible for those with small hands. The width of this phone is entering unwieldy territory - thanks, bezels. It's not quite there if your hands are generously sized, but it will definitely feel bigger than most mainstream devices out there - even if just by a tad. Any wider and we'd say mid-size handed people are out for one-handed use, but perhaps if you're acrobatic enough you can still pull it off. Props to you, if so.

The weight, like the width, is borderline concerning. It's not really too much, but we assume 5 extra grams might have made it so (like 2 extra mm, for example). It's on the line, not crossing it, but always there. This isn't one you'll forget is in your pocket. Any pocket.

Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

The box is almost empty - not quite Sony-like, but unsurprisingly Samsung-like (hi, Apple). You get the phone and a cable. That's it. No case, no charger, nothing more. Can you buy those separately? Of course. Should you be forced to? That's a different conversation we don't want to get into again. But we will point out that this phone's Chinese competitors generally do pack both a charger and a case in the box. Somehow that can be done in China, but not in Korea.

Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

Circling back to the design, it feels very, very, generic Samsung and overall safe. We're willing to bet you'd be hard pressed to find anyone offended in any way by it. Thus, it works, but it also has the very real potential to feel incredibly boring to a lot of people. Hey, if you like boring - good for you. This will be a match made in Seoul (although most likely Vietnam or India, to be honest). But if you want to be wowed every time you pick up your phone - simply put, look elsewhere.

Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

It's one of those 'gets out of your way and lets you live your life' sort of things. You won't notice it, you won't praise it, you won't be able to describe it even if you have to (that's us, now), you won't remember it, it won't make any sort of impression - but you also won't regret it. And that's important too.

Speakers

The A54's speakers exist, they're dual, which is great, and they work. They're definitely not anywhere near the highest quality phone speakers we've tested, in fact they're quite middling in that regard (or as the kids would say, mid). But they are there and get the job done - not in places with a lot of ambient noise, of course. There you'll need to bring the phone closer to your ear to hear things even on maximum volume.

Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

The fact that the top speaker only has one opening, through the earpiece, also doesn't help. Xiaomi and its sub-brands have been doing this trick recently where there's a separate second opening for that speaker in the top part of the frame, and thus the sound simply sounds fuller, richer, and, most importantly, louder. Thus, the Poco F5's speakers are in fact louder-sounding than these, but not by a lot. Just a tad. And yet, if you don't have these side-by-side to compare, we think it's unlikely the A54's will disappoint you. They just won't wow you either, in any way, shape, or form (and that seems to be a trend with this phone, at least so far).

Vibration motor

The A54 has a vibration motor, and it's fine. It won't win any awards whatsoever, it won't wow you on a regular basis (or ever, really), but it's there and it does the job. For what it's worth, it is marginally better than the one in the Poco F5 we recently reviewed long-term, but that's a really low bar to clear.

They are similar in the feeling you get from them being rather two-dimensional (the best ones sort of feel more "3D" like, for lack of a better explanation), but the A54's does seem to have more oomph. Not a lot of it, just marginally more. If you've never used a phone with a great vibration motor, you're probably wondering what we're on about here. But if you have, don't expect this one to be anywhere near the same league.

Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

We do like how customizable the vibrations are, though - you get separate sliders for vibration intensity for calls, notifications, system stuff, and media, which is more than what's available in most skins. Unfortunately, given how weak this motor is, we had to max all of them out, but with better hardware, the customizability would be extremely useful. And the same goes for the fact that you can enable and disable vibrations for touch interactions, dialing, charging, gesture navigation, and camera feedback. We still would like more vibrations to be used throughout One UI, but it's definitely not the skin that's most devoid of them.

Vibration intensity settings - Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review Vibration intensity settings - Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review
Vibration intensity settings

The "Vibration sound for incoming calls" setting seems like Samsung admitting how weak the motor itself is, and giving you a bandaid for a problem of its own creation - quite funny, really. So the motor is weak enough that you're not likely to feel it very much - hey, here's a setting that will play a vibration sound through the speakers to help. Sure, why not.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 02 Jul 2024
  • HX6

Sorry I bought this phone. When it starts, it's says .Swipe up and I've got to do that 3 or 3 or 4 times es.The screen is just not intereractive. My iPhone SE is the best phone that I ever had .It's so fast , but battery life is hor...

  • Mehran Cheema
  • 14 Jun 2024
  • pRB

Battery is not good

  • Safvan
  • 11 Jun 2024
  • BEc

Bad experience in Samsung galaxy A54 5g because my phone not touch working in corner of phone in nothing problems