Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

GSMArena Team, 1 December 2023.

Conclusion

For the price, the Galaxy A54 has an excellent screen and excellent cameras. The battery life is, in our book, outstanding at any price. And the same goes for software support: monthly updates arrive each month as they should, and big Android updates come out very quickly once Samsung gets the ball rolling on those, which generally takes no more than two months from when Google outs a new release.

Those are the high points. Given that this is a mid-ranger, there are a lot of things that are, perhaps understandably, just average: we're talking about handling for anyone who doesn't have big hands (and if you have small hands you probably want to stay away entirely), the fingerprint sensor, the speakers, and the vibration motor.

Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

One UI itself is a known quantity at this point, which could be a positive or a negative depending on your personal perspective. On one hand, it's incredibly easy to start using this phone when coming from another Samsung. On the other hand, every new One UI release is incremental and it's been a while since any big changes were introduced.

There are, however, no bugs - unless you count the weird behavior when doing the 'go home' gesture, which almost always results in a bit of scrolling inside the app you were in before you are actually taken to your home screen. But that might just be something that annoys us way more than it would you.

The skin's by now well known idiosyncrasies are still present: you get two app stores and two of a lot of built-in apps, one from Google, one from Samsung. The Korean company still desperately wants to play the ecosystem game, and if you're into that, then you'll love this. We see a lot of needless duplication, but, for what it's worth, it's quite easy to just ignore Samsung's apps and solely rely on Google's if that's the way you want to go.

Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

The main downside of the A54 has to do with performance, and especially smoothness. It's rather lacking in the former regard, which we could presumably give it a pass on since it's not trying to be a flagship, but the amount of micro stutters and lag throughout our use with it do not make for a smooth phone at all. In fact, this is the least smooth phone we're reviewed long-term in the last two years. And yes, the A54 is cheaper than any top shelf device, but so is the Poco F5 which runs circles around it in terms of smoothness.

Then again, the Poco has its downsides too, as you might expect: the vibration motor and cameras are worse, even if not by a whole lot, but the difference is quite apparent. Additionally, there are bugs that go unfixed for (many) months, and the software updates that do come are fewer and further apart. The Poco has other upsides, however, like the much better fingerprint sensor, and the fact that it looks more expensive than it is when viewed from the front - unfortunately, the A54 pulls off that illusion only from the rear. When you flip it around, it actually seems cheaper than it is due to the unreasonably thick bezels.

We're making these comparisons because these two handsets are rather close in price at the moment, but we can't tell you which one is 'best' per se - if you want the better software support, screen, battery life, and cameras, and can live with a mediocre fingerprint sensor, vibration motor, and overall lack of smoothness, the A54 should be your pick. Conversely, if performance and especially smoothness are paramount, and you don't mind small compromises in cameras, battery life, and software support, then you should probably go for the Poco F5.

Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

The Galaxy A54 isn't a bad phone, it's a good phone that could have been so much better if Samsung had paid more attention to actually making it compete with similarly priced devices from other brands. It seems like the company feels it can do no wrong with the A5x line, that people will buy these no matter what, so since that's the case of why not maximize some profits here and there, right?

This appears to be quite a theme with Samsung lately, as it can be said that it's been on a similar path with its foldables. And it works as long as there aren't any obviously better alternatives out there, available internationally. But sometimes such alternatives do appear, like the OnePlus Open did this year, and then it quickly becomes pretty clear just how much Samsung has been resting on its laurels.

Samsung Galaxy A54 long-term review

It's the same story at this particular point of the mid-range. The A5x line seems to most people to be the best bang for your buck, and it may very well be, but only if you just look at Samsung's roster. The moment you compare with phones from other brands, it gets to a point where you really have to value the software support and marginally better screen and battery life a lot in order to rationally justify such a purchase. Of course, you can also just play the posing game, wanting something that from afar looks like a high-end Samsung, and then it's all good, the A54 delivers.

But it doesn't deliver in all the areas it should, and that's a huge missed opportunity in our book. We have nothing against Exynos chipsets, unlike a lot of people, but this one simply isn't fit for a device at this price, in 2023. And this isn't some big surprise, it was obvious from when the A54 was announced that this would be the case, but Samsung still went its own way.

Let's put it like this: with a better chipset (say, the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2) and a better (even if side-mounted) fingerprint sensor, this would easily have been a "just go and buy it, don't think about it twice" recommendation at this price. As it is, we would definitely suggest you think about it a lot, and very carefully weigh the pros and cons we have laid out for you in this long-term review, according to your particular needs and priorities.

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Reader comments

  • 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

  • Anonymous
  • 04 Jun 2024
  • KAp

Battery is not good enough !