The Samsung Galaxy A51 proves to be a good overall package in our test and is especially convincing with its bright and colorful display. The long battery life also speaks for the Galaxy A51. Moreover, the generous internal memory offers enough room for numerous apps, pictures and games. The overall impression is especially clouded by the camera, which is not usable outside of good lighting conditions. Moreover, the fingerprint sensor under the display proves to be unreliable and slow. All in all, a good phone for buyers who simply need a functional smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy A51 in review: chic design and a great display
The Samsung Galaxy A51 belongs to the lower middle class. However, neither the design nor the value of the smartphone has suffered from this. Although the back is made of plastic, it is still a real eye-catcher and discreetly shows a chic pattern depending on the incidence of light. The front also conceals the low price of the Samsung Galaxy A51 surprisingly well: over 85 percent of the surface is covered with display, the screen edges turn out correspondingly small. So there is no trace of old-fashioned and cheap design. Only the three buttons on the smartphone’s frame have a somewhat cheap pressure point and the vibration motor isn’t particularly accurate either. However, this is grumbling on a high level.
The oblong 20:9 display is very convincing for a smartphone of the lower middle class. It measures 6.5 inches diagonally and relies on the high-quality OLED technology. Colors thus appear more vivid, black values are top. It’s therefore not surprising that the A51 can display an extensive color space: 147.7 percent of the sRGB color space, as well as an almost complete dcip3 color space speak for the smartphone.
With the “Full HD Plus” resolution (2,400 x 1,080 pixels), the mid-range Samsung brings it to a pixel density of just under 404 ppi. This is roughly on a par with the much more expensive Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and is more than sharp enough for everyday use. The display’s brightness is also convincing. It can be manually calibrated to up to 463.8 cd/m², which is absolutely sufficient for use indoors or on cloudy days. Should the environmental conditions require it, for example in direct sunlight, the display boosts to almost 700 cd/m². This means that screen contents can be read easily under almost all lighting conditions.
Samsung installs a 4,000 mAh battery in the Galaxy A51. Thus, it has the same capacity as the current flagship Galaxy S20. However, since the hardware inside the A51 is weaker than that of the flagship Samsung, it achieves a much better battery life of 11:41 hours despite the same capacity. Even long-term users should therefore be able to use the phone for a day without stopping at the power outlet without any problems.
The A51 offers no surprises in terms of charging time. The included power adapter has a maximum output of 15 watts, which is even below the level of Qualcomm’s QuickCharge technology. After 30 minutes of charging time, only 29 percent of the battery is refreshed; for a full battery charge it takes over two hours. This isn’t unusual for the price range, though; charging times well under two hours are rather the exception in the midrange.
Truly no performance miracle
For its mid-range smartphone Galaxy A51, Samsung has installed its own mid-range processor Exynos 9611, which distributes its tasks over eight cores and clocks up to 2.3 GHz. At its side are four gigabytes of RAM, which is roughly equivalent to the current level of lower mid-range smartphones.
On paper, the hardware sounds quite potent, but when used, the result often doesn’t correspond to what the numbers promise: Frequent commemorative seconds, longer loading times and many jerky animations are usually the reality that users of the Samsung Galaxy A51 have to put up with. For everyday use for chatting, emails and even a few elaborate games, the smartphone is quite sufficient, especially if you always keep in mind how much money the smartphone has cost. But you shouldn’t trust the A51 with either a brisk performance or demanding tasks.
The performance of the A51 is at a perfectly adequate level. But for more demanding tasks, the smartphone quickly reaches its limits.
Four camera lenses sound like more than it is
Samsung is already prominently displaying the camera module of the Galaxy A51 on the outer packaging. It carries four camera lenses, in addition to a regular wide-angle lens with 48 megapixels and an f/2.0 aperture, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a bokeh lens and a macro lens. None of the camera lenses is optically stabilized. The choice of video resolutions is a little surprising, as the Galaxy A51 can record 4K videos at 30 frames per second, but fails due to Full HD at 60 frames per second.
The quality of the pictures in daylight is quite convincing. The colours get a bit too vivid in some places, but this tendency can also be seen in most other Samsung smartphones. In dark light situations, however, the quality of the pictures decreases so massively that the results are almost unusable. Even if the smartphone stands still while taking a picture, the results are more or less unusable; if you shoot from the free hand, the results are a single pixel mush. No trace of object details or clear edges. At least selfies are usable, the front camera is sufficient for the typical social media post or for video telephony.
Samsung has installed four camera lenses in the Galaxy A51; the design is somewhat reminiscent of the new Galaxy S20 devices. Picture: CHIP/Marcus Kämpf
Samsung Galaxy A51: Great connectivity, but difficulties with biometrics
Samsung delivers the Galaxy A51 with Android 10. On top of that, the manufacturer has added its own software interface, OneUI 2.0, which brings some additional features and functions and is always kept up-to-date by Samsung. After the first setup, the user still has about 111 gigabytes of the 128 gigabytes of internal memory available. Enough space for many photos, apps and more. But if that’s not enough, Samsung leaves the option open for easy expansion via microSD card. The dual-SIM functionality of the smartphone doesn’t limit this. So two SIM cards and a microSD memory card can be used in parallel without any problems.
A headphone jack is also on board, so you are not forced to use wireless headphones. The smartphone’s connectivity is also very pleasing in the test: apart from WLAN-ax, the smartphone copes well with all WiFi bands. Bluetooth 5.0 and an NFC chip are also inside the Galaxy A51.
We are a bit disappointed with the quality of the mono loudspeaker. It’s pleasantly loud, but can’t convince with either special clarity or particularly good bass. The smartphone also doesn’t have an IP certification. Moreover, the Galaxy A51’s fingerprint sensor doesn’t do a good job. It sits remarkably below the display for this price class and works on an optical level. Unfortunately, the sensor works remarkably slowly in our practical test and usually needs several attempts to recognize the finger, sometimes the recognition doesn’t even work at all. Here, a more reliable sensor in the frame or on the back would probably have been more useful.
Samsung offers the Galaxy A51 at a RRP of 349 euro. Meanwhile, the device has already fallen considerably in price. Depending on the provider and offer, prices around 300 euro or even lower are possible. Nice to see: Headphones and a pre-installed display protection foil are included in the scope of delivery.
The Samsung Galaxy A51 is the most sold phone in the first quarter of 2020. We made an entire post dedicated to the most sold smartphones of 2020, click here if you would like to check it out.