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Hands on: Samsung Galaxy A51 Review

The Samsung Galaxy A51 might be affordable (It'll retail for £329 in the UK) but it still packs enough 'flagship' features to make it seem like a great buy

First Impressions

While I am not sold on the plastic design, the Samsung Galaxy A51 is a winner thanks to plenty of high-end features and low-end price.

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £329
  • 6.5-inch OLED display
  • Exynos 9611
  • 4/6GB RAM
  • 4000mAh battery
  • 48MP main camera
We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals. If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.

Samsung’s desire to bring out as many mid-range phones as possible continues as the Galaxy A51 joins the Galaxy A71 and the Lite versions of some of the brand’s most popular flagships.

The Samsung Galaxy A51 might be affordable (It’ll retail for £329 in the UK) but it still packs enough ‘flagship’ features to make it seem like a great buy. As long as you don’t mind a phone that feels very plasticky, that is.

Let’s start with the specs, as this is the area Samsung has clearly focussed the most on with the Galaxy A51. Inside you’ve got a Samsung-made Exynos 9611 running the show paired with 4 or 6GB RAM (depending on the region – the UK will probably get the 4GB version) and 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. You can expand that storage too with a microSD card.

Cameras are a big focus here and you’ll find four dedicated sensors in a new cluster on the back. This design looks like it’ll be used on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S20 if the rumours are to be believed.

Related: CES 2020

The main camera is a 48-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and that’s paired with a 12-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide, 5MP f/2.4 telephoto (40mm equivalent) and a 5-megapixel depth sensor for, hopefully, adding some extra data to portrait shots to improve the blur effect. Video can be shot at 4K 30 and 1080 up to 120fps. Selfies are taken care of by the 32-megapixel camera around the front.

As my demo with the phone was in a very dark room with neon lighting it was hard to properly judge the camera, however the app opened quickly with a double click of the lock button and the general UI is very easy to navigate through. I’ll have much more to say on the camera, including plenty of test shots, when we put the phone through our full review process.

I was impressed by the display during my time with the device as, like Samsung’s flagships, it uses Super AMOLED display tech to produce bright colours, plenty of punch and perfect blacks. The 6.5-inch display here has a slim bezel running around the side, a very small cutout for that front camera and a fingerprint sensor tucked inside. The FHD+ resolution is perfectly adequate for this price too.

The overall look of the phone sticks on the side of caution and it’s very clearly a Samsung device. The plastic body won’t be for everyone though and it does feel a little bit ‘cheap’. I guess that’s to be expected for a device with this price tag and those internals. It’s also a bit smaller and easier to handle than the Galaxy A71 even if it remains a larger product.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite

There’s a headphone jack on the bottom alongside the USB-C port, responsive buttons on the side and various colour options.

Sacrifices have been made for Samsung to reach this lower RRP though. Wireless charging has been ditched, there’s no IP rating and Samsung couldn’t confirm whether the display would support HDR content.

Samsung Galaxy A51 price and release date

In the UK the Galaxy A51 will cost £329 when it launches sometime in Q1 2020.

Early verdict

While I am not sold on the plastic design, the Samsung Galaxy A51 is a winner thanks to plenty of high-end features and low-end price.

We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals. If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.

We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals. If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

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