Samsung Galaxy A04s in-hand review

Introduction of Samsung Galaxy A04s

Looking for an affordable way to experience Samsung? In the hierarchy of Samsung products, the Galaxy A04s is at the bottom. However, being cheap does not always imply that anything is a good value, so it is worthwhile to take a deeper look at this well-liked entry-level gadget.

Introduction of Samsung Galaxy A04s
Introduction of Samsung Galaxy A04s. Image credit: GSMArena.com

Surprisingly, we also discovered that Samsung is selling the almost similar Galaxy M13, which differs somewhat in the camera category. The Galaxy M13 in India is virtually the same device as the Galaxy A04s, but with a larger battery. Another phone that was released earlier this year that almost exactly matches the A04’s specifications is the Galaxy A13.

We won’t hold it against you if you’re perplexed, but the main point to remember is that the Galaxy A04s likely provides a similar user experience to the two M13s. For all intents and purposes, the M13 and M13 (India) can also be used as a reference from this evaluation.

In any case, the Exynos 850 SoC, along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage with a microSD card expansion slot, power the Galaxy A04s. Although it is obvious that we are discussing a mid-range smartphone priced at €100, we were astonished to see a display with a high refresh rate. Despite having a resolution of 720 x 1600 pixels, the 6.5-inch IPS display operates at 90Hz.

Front display
Image credit: GSMArena.com

We anticipate excellent battery life in our testing because the Exynos 850 chipset depends on an energy-efficient CPU with eight low-power Cortex-A55 cores. The 5,000 mAh battery will keep you going for a while, but it will take more than an hour to charge completely.

Last but not least, the gadget runs on One UI Core 4, a slimmed-down variation of Samsung’s user interface that is based on Android 12.

Unboxing of Samsung Galaxy A04s

Only the user manuals and a pin for the SIM card tray are included in the little retail packaging the device comes in.

Unboxing of Samsung Galaxy A04s
Unboxing of Samsung Galaxy A04s. Image credit: GSMArena.com

Unfortunately, neither a charger nor a case were provided by Samsung. However, you do receive a USB-C to USB-C cable.

Design and In-hand feel

The phone has a very straightforward and minimalist appearance. The polycarbonate unibody of the Galaxy A04s offers nicely rounded corners for a secure grip. Additionally, the front panel has a modest radius, removing any protrusions or gaps. We like how the chassis nearly appears to be composed of a single piece.

Front display Design
Image credit: GSMArena.com

The back’s plastic surface, however, is a fingerprint magnet and rather scratch-prone. The Green shade we received appears to be much darker than it does in the official product images. The phone can also be painted Black, White, or Copper.

Back design Image credit: GSMArena.com

The fact that plastic has a tendency to be less slippery and that the glossy surface of the A04s promotes good skin contact is another benefit of the design. It is undoubtedly less slick than the typical glass sandwich phone. Samsung didn’t have much leeway with materials, though. We don’t think a glass or metal construction will allow the Galaxy A04s to reach its intended pricing point.

camera design. Image credit: GSMArena.com

The power button, which also serves as a fingerprint reader, is located in a small indentation on the sides. The volume rocker, which is located directly above the power key, is within easy reach with only a little bit of stretching. The 3.5mm audio jack, speaker grille, and USB-C port are all located on the bottom.

Near the upper-left edge of the A40s, the SIM card tray is positioned on the left side of the frame. It has a separate microSD card port and two SIM card slots.

The Galaxy A04s has a 6.5-inch teardrop-shaped notch for the front-facing camera on its display. The bottom lip is substantially thicker than the side bezels, which are fairly small. In this price range, such is standard practise.

Top Bezels Image credit: GSMArena.com

It’s noteworthy to notice that despite being a 6.5-inch smartphone with an all-plastic construction, the gadget is relatively heavy. Although it’s not a major deal, 195 grammes typically refers to a larger gadget or a glass structure.

bottom Bezels. Image credit: GSMArena.com

Overall, the Galaxy A04s is lovely and easy to hold and has a decent build quality. Although it falls short of our expectations, we weren’t expecting quality components and cutting-edge design at this price point.

Display

A 6.5-inch IPS LCD panel, which is typical for devices in this price range, serves as the foundation of the Samsung Galaxy A04s. LCDs are still rather widespread and frequently enable cost-saving. It’s interesting that Samsung chose a 90Hz display over a 60Hz one, possibly forcing the product planning team to accept a 720 x 1600px resolution. The majority, if not all, of the phone’s rivals feature screens with a higher resolution than 1080p.

Display Image credit: GSMArena.com

The phone’s brightness came quite near to the 400 nits stated, however it fell short. In our tests, the display’s brightness in automatic and manual modes was 389 nits. In Auto mode, there is no brightness enhancement.

Color accuracy

The absence of ambient light and physical proximity sensors is somewhat problematic. The notoriously inconsistent performance of virtual proximity sensors when it comes to shutting off the screen during calls. The front-facing camera on phones without ambient light sensors is used to gauge the lighting. This implies that it uses less energy, takes too long to respond to changes, and occasionally is wrong.

If there is a significant difference in ambient light levels from when you last used the phone, it may take a few seconds after you pull it out of your pocket for the software to adjust the brightness. More often than not, we found ourselves using the brightness slider. Additionally, the entire outside experience could be improved when you take into account the slightly modest maximum brightness.

On the other side, colour accuracy isn’t too awful, with an average dE2000 of 3.8. However, there is no option to change the colour mode or temperature, and the whites and greys look extremely blue.

HRR Control

The Galaxy A04s’ high refresh rate control is rather simple: an idle screen equals 60Hz, and using it implies 90Hz. All the apps we tested, including video players and streaming ones, operated at 90Hz. However, the screen dials down to 60Hz once you leave the video or movie playing for a few seconds without touching it.

Battery Life

The Galaxy A04s has an enormous 5,000 mAh battery and an energy-efficient Exynos 850 chipset, therefore battery life is excellent as can be expected. The results of both the screen-on and screen-off tests are excellent. Given that both phones have nearly equal technology, we also anticipated a general endurance rating that is comparable to the Galaxy A13. In either case, 114 hours of overall endurance is a fantastic ranking.

Charging speed

The Galaxy A04s doesn’t come with a charger but, like the Galaxy A13, it supports standard 15W charging. Even charging times are comparable; the Galaxy A04s charges to 28% of its capacity in the first 30 minutes while taking 2 hours and 14 minutes to fully recharge.

While by no means quick, this is at least reasonably appropriate for the entry-level class.

Speakers

One bottom-firing speaker, which is the standard audio configuration for handsets in this price range, is present on the Galaxy A04s. The little speaker’s volume is a little disappointing since our test scenario yielded a “Average” score of -30.3 LUFS.

Bottom speaker Image credit: GSMArena.com

The speaker is also far from spectacular in terms of quality. All tracks sound quite flat because the bass is absent and the vocals and highs begin to ring at higher volumes. We won’t criticise the Galaxy A04s for it though because this is something that can be fairly expected in this class.

Software

The Galaxy A04s may not have the most recent version of Android installed, but given that it was introduced in September and is a budget device, expecting Android 13 is ridiculous. The A04s’s customised One UI has been scaled back to One UI 4.1 Core because it is a low-end Samsung device. This indicates that while the essential elements of the One UI are there, some cutting-edge features were left out.

Image credit: GSMArena.com

As One UI is somewhat resource-intensive and the Exynos 850 isn’t the quickest processor available, Samsung has chosen to use a lite version of the software on the Galaxy A04s. The One UI user experience might be improved even as it now stands, with its constrained range of capabilities.

To reduce the launcher’s demand on system resources, One UI’s Core version eliminates a few programmes and services. The Samsung Pay service (GPay is accessible), Easy Mode, Bixby, Windows Link, and the Good Lock software for sophisticated customizations are among the features that weren’t chosen. Secure Folder is also absent, although oddly enough, Knox is present on the A04s and is promoted there for its malware and threat protection.

Image credit: GSMArena.com

However, the Android experience with One UI 4.1 Core is rather simple and well-known. Everything is operating normally, including the app drawer, notification shade, recent apps, lock screen, and home screen. even the Settings menu in general.

Additionally unavailable are Samsung’s Smart View and Music Share. On such a basic phone, we believe few people will miss these. Although Game Booster is a part of One UI 4.1 Core, the Samsung Game Launcher is also missing. The new Color palettes are here, but Samsung Smart Widgets, Edge Panels, and the fancy Object Eraser in the gallery app are not.

Always-on Display is not supported by the Galaxy A04s. There are two shortcuts for the dialer and camera on the lock screen by default, but you can choose other apps. You can now keep track of how much time you’ve spent on your phone without even opening it thanks to the Wellbeing widget on the lock screen.

It’s easy to unlock the screen with the side-mounted fingerprint scanner because it’s always on and offers excellent accuracy and speed.

Due to many inadvertent palm touches to the fingerprint reader, we frequently find ourselves locked out of the iPhone. As a result, we chose to activate the setting that would delay trying to read your fingerprint until you touch the power button.

The fast panel and taskbar have all of the usual layout tweaks and toggles. There are Bubbles notifications for messaging apps; you can turn them off and choose the traditional cards-only display by going to the ‘Floating notifications’ section.

Prior to Android 11, One UI 2.5 included a similar functionality for selecting the output device called the Media screen. The four sliders in the volume control panel have also seen an update, and now they are vertical rather than horizontal as they were in previous One UI versions.

Performance

This isn’t our first experience with Samsung’s Exynos 850 chip; after all, it’s 2020 hardware, which is a little dated in terms of smartphones. It is built using the business’s 8nm LPP technology, which lags somewhat behind the existing low-end processors at 6nm.

Since the CPU package only has 8 Cortex-A55 energy-efficient cores, it is rather straightforward. As a result, they are not designed for rigorous number crunching. At 2.0 GHz, all eight are operating. The GPU division, which frequently struggles to produce any appreciable performance, is led by the Mali-G52.

Unfortunately, the memory options for the gadget start at 3GB/32GB and can go all the way to 4GB/128GB. However, even in the low-end market, we think 3GB/32GB configurations are obsolete. Although there is a dedicated microSD card socket, 32GB is simply insufficient, especially considering that the majority of competitors offer 64GB as a standard.

This is probably not going to be a problem or a bottleneck in any way because the single-core Mali-G52 GPU is adequate for budget gaming on a 720p display.

The Galaxy A04s’ worst point is arguably its subpar CPU performance. Even if an eight-core CPU is currently the norm, the most, if not all, of the competition offers at least two potent cores, like the Cortex-A75. The underpowered CPU used here results in a lacklustre UI performance, and once you begin filling those homescreens and apps with content, some lag or stutter does occur.

Due to its underwhelming processor, the A04s falls short of the competitors in terms of performance. Even though it is a budget phone, we had hoped for a little bit more.

Camera

Three cameras are located on the back of the Galaxy A04s, with the primary one being a 50MP Tetracell Samsung sensor. This sensor is probably the same one seen in a number of other Galaxy phones, including the Galaxy A13 and M13. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that this sensor is an ISOCELL JN1 (S5KJN1). The aforementioned sensor features an f/1.8 aperture and PDAF capabilities.

Camera app interface Image credit: GSMArena.com

Unlike other phones with comparable prices, this one does not have an ultrawide camera. The ultrawide camera quality in this area is never great, so this is not a major problem.

Instead, Samsung has added two 2MP sensors in addition to the primary one, one of which is a depth sensor and the other is a macro camera. It goes without saying that neither of these cameras is very useful.

The 5MP selfie camera only has an f/2.2 aperture.

Camera Menu

With a few exceptions, the camera software is the same as what you’d find on the majority of modern Samsung phones.

All of the various modes may be switched between by swiping left and right, and some of the modes can be moved around or eliminated entirely from the viewfinder. Swiping vertically will toggle between the front and back cameras.

You can fine-tune the cameras using the settings icon, which is in the upper left corner of the screen. Gridlines and position information are there, as expected. The Auto HDR feature can also be turned on and off.

There are some entertaining add-ons to check out, such as Deco Pic’s AR stickers. Additionally, a Pro mode is offered, however it only works with the main camera and has a small number of options. Manual ISO adjustments extend from 100 to 800, two stops of exposure compensation, and 2300K to 10000K for white balance. No controls for shutter speed, manual focus, or focus peaking.

The Galaxy A13 camera experience is also noticeably lacking in Scene Optimizer, Night Mode, and Video stabilisation.

Daylight photos

Main camera

When there is adequate light, the Galaxy A04s performs admirably. The colours are true to life, there is no noise, and the sharpness and degree of detail are excellent for the class. The Galaxy A04s outperforms devices in its class. The dynamic range is also accurate.

The specialised 50MP mode, however, offers no advantages because the images are of poor quality and appear to have been upscaled rather than taken at the sensor’s natural resolution. The Exynos 850 chipset is said to offer a camera output of only up to 48MP in resolution, thus it is also probable due to hardware restrictions.

2X zoom

Samsung showed a lot of optimism by including a separate 2x zoom slider in the standard Photo mode. As one could anticipate, the quality is far from optimum. The samples at a 2x zoom are soft, occasionally grainy, and lack fine detail.

Macro camera

It’s really just a numbers game at this point, but the widely-liked 2MP macro camera makes it to the Galaxy A04s as well. Due to its poor resolution, which negatively affects detail, and its small sensor, this camera is seldom useful and only performs tolerably under ideal lighting circumstances. However, even in favourable lighting, images lack contrast, are drab, and have a low level of overall detail. Another significant drawback is the absence of autofocus.

low-light photos
Main Camera

In light of the Galaxy A04s’ entry-level status, the low-light photographs are adequate. Despite having good exposure, HDR processing is unable to significantly reduce the risk of highlights clipping. The contrast and colours are barely passable. On the other hand, there is a surprising amount of detail and the noise is well-controlled.

Unfortunately, there is no Night mode available to use in dim situations. It most likely results from the SoC’s constrained processing speed and ISP capabilities.

Selfie camera

As is traditional for Samsung, the viewfinder has two toggles: one for a full-sized 5MP image that uses the entire field of vision, and the other for a slightly zoomed-in option that crops from the centre of the image and generates photographs that are about 3.6MP in size. It’s fortunate that Samsung decided against upscaling because doing so to 5MP would have looked terrible. However, in terms of clarity and detail, both settings are comparable. It thus relies on whether or not you want a little bit more FoV.

Portraite mode

Portraits have strong colour saturation, are sharp, and are detailed. We were even taken aback by how realistic the fake bokeh effect is; the background blur looks nice, and the edge detection is fairly precise. It is advantageous to select a scene with moderate light differences because of the limited dynamic range.

video recording

While it should come as no surprise that video capture is limited to 1080p, there is also no option for 60 frames per second. Only 720p or 1080p videos at 30 frames per second are supported. Once more, the Exynos 850’s ISP is the limiting element because the 50MP sensor can otherwise shoot 4K video without incident.

In any case, these 1080p videos look great. The dynamic range is adequate, the colours are correct, the sharpness is acceptable for the Full HD resolution, and there is barely any noise. It’s mostly noticeable in places with consistent surface textures, like green grass or asphalt.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy A04s is a low-cost entry-level gadget and may be the least expensive Galaxy smartphone available. It is a good improvement over the Galaxy A03s from the previous year because it boasts a high refresh rate screen, a passable primary camera, and excellent battery life. But sadly, this scarcely tips the balances in its favour.

Image credit: GSMArena.com

The performance of the phone is poor, and the standard memory configuration’s storage space is insufficient. It might be useful for someone who prefers to communicate primarily through phone conversations and sporadic text messages. However, we find it difficult to suggest the A04s for use cases that require more. There are better options available, some even coming from Samsung’s own camp, with a low maximum brightness and low resolution, a sluggish software experience, and delayed charging.

Pros ans Cons

Pros

  • long-lasting battery.
  • Selfies taken outside have good camera quality. The 1080p resolution cap doesn’t affect the quality of video capturing.
  • On top of Android 12, One UI 4.1 Core is adaptable, sophisticated, and packed with features.
  • NFC, microSD, and a 3.5mm jack.

Cons

  • Lag, slowdowns, and poor performance are frequent.
  • Display is merely 720p, and the smooth 90Hz refresh rate serves little purpose when the UI lag is thus bad.
  • Virtual proximity sensors can be unreliable, and poor brightness adjustment results from a lack of an ambient light sensor.
  • Single speaker with often poor quality.
  • There is no night mode or video stabilisation on the camera.
  • doesn’t include a charger in the package.

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