The Samsung Galaxy A70 was a good phone when I reviewed it early last year. Even my wife loved it then. The screen is huge and the AMOLED display is vibrant. Yup. The A70 was, or is a good phone.
Few months later, Samsung announced the Samsung Galaxy A71 which replaces the A70 with an upgrade in processing power and memory. The size and look is pretty similar between the two but is the upgrade worth it? Is it more powerful? How’s the camera like? Well, let’s find out.
First Look and Design
As I said earlier, the A71 and A70 looks quite similar with each other. The screen size is the same, button placements are almost at the same place and it still looks good. The most obvious differences that you will see between the A70 and A71 are the rear camera setup and the front facing camera. For the rear main shooters, it’s now placed on a rectangular shape “platform” similar to most of the flagship phones out there. As for the front camera, you may mistaken the Galaxy A71 with the Note10. I prefer the hole punched in the middle rather than a notch any time. The colour variations for the new A71 is much nicer in my opinion. I received the blue one for my review and it does look good.
Galaxy A71 Specifications
- SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 (8 nm), Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Kryo 470 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 470 Silver)
- GPU: Adreno 618
- OS: Android 10, One UI 2
- Memory: 128GB ROM/6GB RAM, 128GB ROM/8GB RAM
Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
6.7 inches, 108.4 cm2 (~87.2% screen-to-body ratio)
1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~393 ppi density)
- Build: Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3), plastic back, plastic frame
- Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 4500mAh battery
64 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.7″, 0.8µm, PDAF
12 MP, f/2.2, 12mm (ultrawide)
5 MP, f/2.4, 25mm (macro), 1/5.0″, 1.12µm
5 MP, f/2.2, 1/5.0″, 1.12µm, depth sensor
- Selfie Camera: 32 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/2.8″, 0.8µm
- Sensors: Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, ANT+
- Colours: Prism, Crush Black, Silver, Blue, Pink
The button placements are similar to the A70. On the right side, we have the volume rocker and the power button below it. On the left side is the SIM/MicroSD slot. At the top you will find nothing but a small microphone hole while at the bottom is where the USB type-C port, headphone jack (nice to have this), the speaker and another tiny microphone hole.
The overall size of the A71 is a little too big for someone with small hands but it still feels comfortable to handle. It weights about 179 grams so it does feel a little heavy for some people. The large AMOLED display at 20:9 screen ratio made this a really nice device for watching videos, movies or even playing games. The sound from the single speaker is good, I wouldn’t great because I do wish that it has dual stereo speakers. That would be a blast.
Other standard items you can find in the box are the USB type-C cable, clear silicone case and handsfree kit/earphone.
Android 10 with One UI 2 made this phone feel much smoother while the upgraded SoC pushes more power at its core. When I was using this A71, it feels liquid smooth without any lags or stutter. Would I recommend this phone to someone who needs extra power without breaking their wallet? Yes I would.
Performance and Usage
As we jump in to the performance category, I have to say the usual thing. PUBG Mobile is my main platform to gauge the overall performance for any devices that I review. That, and Antutu 3D Benchmark. Needless to say, PUBG is the first app that I installed in the Galaxy A71. Reason? I was excited to know how it performs for heavy gaming and whether I can set the graphic to its maximum settings. Turns out, I can.
Upon firing up the PUBG on the A71, it auto detects which type of graphic that I can use. And yes, I can set to the highest graphic settings and that made me feels even more excited. I can safely say that this new Galaxy A71 can be made as an affordable gaming phone for those who wants to have beautiful graphic rendering. It renders flawlessly and the AMOLED screen brought out the solid punchy colours. No lags, liquid smooth, what else can I say? I love it. Of course it may be able to match the quality from my previously reviewed Galaxy Fold and Tab S6 (both being a Snapdragon 855) but this A71 matched closely to the other two.
Gameplay is a joy with this one. I even got a chicken dinner on my first game with the Galaxy A71. I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t want to put the phone down. The large battery capacity helps with retaining enough power for several games. And the A71 doesn’t heat up under heavy graphic usage. So that’s another plus point.
Running a test on Antutu 3D was not as smooth but it still scores some high marks at 236316. True, the score doesn’t pass the 400k mark like the Galaxy Fold, Tab S6, and even the Note10 but the graphic rending is surprisingly smooth. The Snapdragon 730 is a good upgrade and it’s a capable SoC for gaming. And the huge 8GB of RAM does help. So lets thank the guys in Samsung for putting a large RAM in the A71. Oh yeah, if you’re getting the A71, just go for the one with 8GB of RAM version. It will be more worth it.
The A71 can last me the whole day and more on a single charge. With all the power that comes with the phone, it still able to last for a long time. I don’t have to plug it in to my powerbank in the middle of the day when I’m out and about. With only 30% left in the charge, I was not worried of it running out at all. That 30% can last for at least another 3 hours or so.
Camera and Photography
Now the camera setup has something different than other Galaxy series. Apart from having a main shooter and an ultra-wide angle camera, it also comes with a macro camera setup. Yes, no other current Galaxy has this camera setup…yet.
The big upgrade on the main shooter is the megapixel count. It has doubled up from its predecessor from 32MP to now 64MP. The ultra-wide angle has been upgraded too from 8Mp to 12MP. The macro camera is set at 5MP but I’m sure if this works well, they will bump it up in the next version. Too bad the macro camera setup does not have autofocus, otherwise it will be great. Nevertheless, I never say it doesn’t perform well. So now I let the photos to the talking.
Showing the differences between the normal wide angle (above) and the ultra-wide angle (below). The sky looks way better in the ultra-wide angle. Details are sharp in both photos but you can see a slight blur at both sides in the ultra-wide angle shot. You see it?
HDR shot looks superb here. The tree blocking the sun is supposed to be dark but in this shot, it clearly shows the colour and detail of the leaves. Can also see the details on the tree bark. I’m impressed!
Sample shot from the macro camera setup. Can you spot the single ant?
Colours are punchy and vibrant without losing the details.
Another macro close-up shot. This is taken indoors and can still shoot with good details. I never knew there’s a mesh thingie covering the microphone hole between the camera and LED flash there.
Indoor shot of this beautiful car. I like Volvo.
Close up shot of my lunch. But this is taken using the main 64MP shooter with “food mode” setting.
From the photo of the playground in the earlier photos, this was taken from the same spot but I hit the zoom to 100%. I do expect it to be like this. Digital zoom still need a lot of work.
Selfie shots are quite good. You can also set it to shoot in live view to get that bokeh effect. Need good lighting to get the best bokeh shot though.
Galaxy A71 taking photo of it’s big brother, the Galaxy S20+. Indoor shot looks good in low lighted area too.
Do I like the overall camera performance? Yes. Was it a good upgrade from A70? Yes. I like the punchier colours that I get from the Galaxy A71 as shown in some of the photos above. The HDR mode works good too. The balance of exposure and colour is just right. Autofocus works fast too especially for the main 64MP shooter. But I think they can do better with the selfie camera. Details are good but sometimes I get some blurry image around the edges that I had to take a few more shots to get it right. Other than that, it’s good.
After two weeks of testing and playing with this new Galaxy A71, I am happy with it’s performance. The size is good for entertainment and gaming. What I like about it most is that it has a macro camera setup which is something different than other Galaxy series out there. But I don’t get to use it much because I was too busy gaming on this baby.
Would I recommend this new A71 as an upgrade for A70 users? I hesitated a little bit here because the A70 is still a good phone. But since the SoC and RAM has been upgraded, and not forgetting that the A71 has a macro camera setup, I would say 75% yes. This will be a great upgrade if you’re into heavy gaming while not wanting to invest on a flagship device.
The camera works well too. Like I said earlier, I love how it properly renders the punchy colours without losing details. And the HDR mode looks really good too.
At one glance from the front, you may thought this is a Note10 because of the punch hole selfie camera. That doesn’t sound bad actually. That means this A71 is also a head turner. People will give it a double take to see what device it is.
Finally, if you’re thinking of purchasing this new Samsung Galaxy A71, it is already available at Samsung’s online store at a very reasonable price. It is going for RM1,799.00 and you can go and get it here.