Samsung Galaxy A42 Review: 5G Cheap, But Could Do Better

With its Galaxy A42 5G, Samsung wants to popularize 5G in the mid-range segment. We tested it, and here is our verdict.

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G, our test!

At the beginning of September, the Korean brand Samsung presented in outline its first 5G-compatible mid-range smartphone: the Galaxy A42 5G. All of its technical specifications were released in the weeks following its announcement. Before being officially available on November 25 for 379 dollars.

After first deploying the new mobile phone standard on its high-end offering, the industry leader here seeks to make it accessible on more affordable smartphones. Like Realme and its X50 5G, which is positioned as one of its main competitors at the moment with the OnePlus Nord.

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G Data Sheet :

Model Samsung Galaxy A42 5G
OS Version Android 10 Q
Manufacturer interface One UI
Screen Size 6.6 Inch
Definition 1600 x 720 pixels
Pixel density 265 PPP
Technology Super AMOLED
SoC Snapdragon 750G
RAM 4 GB
Internal memory (flash) 128 GB
Camera (Back) Sensor 1: 48 Mp
Sensor 2: 8 Mp
Sensor 3: 5 Mp
Sensor 4: 5 Mp
Camera (front) 20 Mp
Video Recording 4K
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 5 (ac)
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC Yes
Fingerprint Sensor Under Screen
Ports (entrées/sorties) USB Type-C
Battery 5000 mAh
Dimensions 164.4 x 8.6 x 75.9mm
Weigh 193 grams
Colors Black, White, Gray

 

An Original Back… But Not Convincing

In terms of design, the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G stands out from the rest with one striking element: it’s back. Its rear facade features a gradient of gray made up of four shades, from the darkest to the lightest starting from the top. In the idea, why not. In fact, the result is not exceptional, at least with the color of the smartphone provided to us.

In prismatic black or white, this risk-taking could pay off. Let’s try all the same to salute this touch of originality which tries here to offer an aesthetic line that goes off the beaten track. Still, on the back, the terminal houses a square module with rounded edges, in which four photosensors are placed. The dark gray on the back is also visible on it: the finding is not very flattering.

The back of the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G

Made up of plastic, the back cover doesn’t really exude high-end, or even mid-range, and catches a lot of fingerprints. After a few manipulations, they abound. For its part, the front is more classic: moderately thick borders (except for the chin), flat screen, and notch in the shape of a drop of water (as on the Galaxy A41), which I find a bit too large for my taste.

READ ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S21 Some Features

On the right side, the volume buttons overhang the power button (which falls well under the thumb). The slot for the dual SIM and the microSD card (storage expansion up to 1 TB) are invited on the left edge while the lower edge accommodates a 3.5 mm jack, the USB-C output, and the only unique speaker grille.

Galaxy A42

164.4mm long, 75.8mm wide, and 8.6mm thick, the Galaxy A42 5G is a big enough smartphone when placed in the palm of your hand. Despite its plastic back, the weight still reaches 193 grams (the 5000 mAh battery plays a role here). The technical sheet available on the official website does not mention any waterproofing or Gorilla Glass protection glass. Be careful, therefore, of water, shocks, and scratches.

Finally, note the presence of a fingerprint sensor directly under the screen, but placed a little too low for my taste.

A Very Pleasant Everyday Screen :

For its Galaxy A42 5G, Samsung has opted for a 6.6-inch Super AMOLED panel (against 6.1 inches on the Galaxy A41) with a definition of 1600 x 720 pixels (HD +) and a resolution of 265 pixels per inch. We would necessarily have preferred Full HD + at least, but we will still have to be content with OLED display technology that brings with it infinite contrasts.

The OLED screen and its infinite contrasts

At maximum brightness, its 518 cd/m² is below the average for OLED screens – generally 650 cd/m² – although I have not encountered any readability problems on a daily basis.

In bright mode, its temperature is 7012 K and therefore tends slightly towards blue. In standard mode, 6700K approximates the ideal temperature of 6500K, based on calculations by our probe and Portrait Displays Calman Ultimate software.

If you want to keep the vivid mode and get as close as possible to a perfect balance, just add a little red. The phone also offers excellent color plurality, since the RGB color space is 202% covered, while the larger and therefore, more difficult-to-manage DCI-P3 is 136% covered. This is an excellent score for a smartphone in this range.

It's pretty blatant: red and green aren't really true to each other

The average Delta E on the DCI-P3 is 5.22, a result far from the benchmark which is the number 3. In other words, the color fidelity is not complete. respected. This is felt a lot in red and green. Finally, we regret the refresh rate of 60 Hz, when its rivals Realme X50 5G and OnePlus Nord offer one of 120 Hz (but with an LCD panel) and 90 Hz, respectively.

The Galaxy A42 5G would have deserved a slightly higher frequency to bring a little more fluidity.

The Efficiency Of One UI 2.5 :

The Galaxy A42 5G comes with the One UI 2.5 software interface, running Android 10, and will benefit from One UI 3.0 (based on Android 11) during the month of April or May 2021. One UI has already proven it’s worth time and time again. And it offers one of the most popular interfaces among consumers.

The native dark mode is very effective thanks to the AMOLED panel which turns off the pixels to offer a pure and deep black, while the customization of the interface is extremely thorough in order to build a software experience according to your preferences. Gesture navigation (two to choose from) is obviously required, while the notifications panel is as usual very comprehensive.

When you turn on your Galaxy A42 5G for the very first time, you will come across several preinstalled applications: Samsung Pay, Spotify, the Google suite (Chrome, Gmail, Maps, YouTube, Drive, YouTube Music, Photos, Duo) or even LinkedIn, all of which you can uninstall. On the other hand, Game Launcher and Netflix cannot be permanently removed from the phone.

READ ALSO: Huawei Mate 40 Pro Full Review 

By default, the device uses Samsung Internet as the navigation application. You can however switch to Google Chrome via settings. These are a bit of a mess with a large number of tabs and sub-tabs. Fortunately, the search bar provides easy access to specific features.

The main software flaw in Samsung’s mid-range smartphones, the under-screen fingerprint sensor is certainly effective, but once again deserves more speed when unlocking. You can always turn to 2D facial recognition, which is very responsive if not very secure compared to 3D systems.

You will have no problem watching HD content on SVOD platforms like Netflix and Disney + since the device supports Widevine DRM at the L1 level (the highest). The camera app is prone to a few issues, which we cover just below.

Camera :

Samsung hasn’t gone halfway for its Galaxy A42 5G with a total of four rear sensors, one more than the Galaxy A41. Before, only one camera was installed. Is this photographic paraphernalia legitimate and convincing? Reply.

  • 48-megapixel main sensor (f/1.8).
  • Ultra wide-angle 8 megapixels (f/2.2).
  • 5-megapixel depth sensor (f/2.4).
  • 5-megapixel macro sensor (f/2.4).
  • 20-megapixel front camera (f/2.2).

The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G photo module

First, let’s try to focus on the application itself. The latter is subject to some rather unpleasant slowdowns on a daily basis. I happened to press the “Video”, “Single take” or “More” tab several times to access a particular mode or additional options. The first try did not bring me to said options. Annoying.

Also, be careful not to “strafe” a subject by pressing your shutter button several times consecutively: the phone is not able to take on this task. Once a photo is captured, it sometimes takes a while to display in the circle at the bottom left of the interface. The 48-megapixel mode is found in the 3: 4 tab and not in “More” for no apparent reason. An ergonomic problem in my opinion.

Highlight: the application even crashed while writing these few lines.

Let’s get down to business: the main sensor. The photos below were taken without Scene Optimizer, but with HDR mode enabled. Overall, the device offers a good score when conditions are right, with overall dynamics management under control.

I appreciate its colorimetric treatment, which turns out to be relatively faithful to reality although the photos are sometimes a bit contrasting. Samsung is known to push the saturation level of its phones: the Galaxy A42 is entitled to it but is not abused either. The level of detail is quite correct.

The phone doesn’t benefit from any optical zoom: it’s x2 digital zoom will do, but beyond that, expect poor-quality shots.

The ultra-wide-angle of the Galaxy A42 5G, unfortunately, suffers from several small flaws, without being dramatic.

First, some optical distortions are visible to the naked eye.

Second, the captured images lose sharpness. A slight blur on the corners also comes to the party depending on the scene.

But for this price range, the result is not bad.

At night, the mobile device does well, especially when the light conditions are favorable thanks to street lamps. A few small luminous halos appear here and there, without spoiling the image. In photo 3, the lack of lights makes it more difficult for him. As you can see, the foreground remains hidden in the dark.

The 48-megapixel mode results in pretty images relatively faithful to reality in terms of colorimetry. But I would always ask myself the question of the legitimacy of such a sensor: in the end, do we use it that often? I think I have my answer.

MACRO MACRO

The portrait mode is neither excellent nor mediocre: it benefits from a happy medium which brings an effect most of the time well placed. However, we will notice small errors that are easy to avoid, such as a lock of my colleague Omar’s hair in photo n°1. The blur could also have been more precise in his sweater (left shoulder) and his fingers. But overall, it will meet your expectations.

Portrait Mode

In the selfie, the portrait mode is convincing with an easy subject, much less when the situation becomes more complex. My somewhat twirling locks of hair in photo #2 have been completely blurred by the software. My curls hadn’t asked for anything.

READ ALSO: Oppo Enco W51 TEST

The 20-megapixel front sensor delivers classic, yet effective, selfies. The level of detail doesn’t reach the top, but it will suit the majority of users. Outdoors, the exhibition is well managed.
Finally, note that the Samsung Galaxy A42 5G is capable of filming in 4K at 30 FPS.

Samsung Lets MediaTek For A Qualcomm Processor :

Samsung has taken a radical turn from one generation of phones to the next. If the Korean group called on MediaTek and its Helio P65 chip for the design of the Galaxy A41, the situation is quite different for the Galaxy A42 5G. The market leader in smartphones relies on Qualcomm and its 750G processor (successor to the S730) presented in September 2020.

An SoC equipped with the X52 modem for 5G, therefore, but also and above all geared towards gaming thanks to a raw performance gain compared to the previous generation. How does the mobile device behave in real life? Overall the experience is fine, but not perfect either. Remember that we are dealing here with a mid-range phone, and not an overpowered flagship.

Modèle Samsung Galaxy A42 5G OnePlus Nord Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite Samsung Galaxy A41
AnTuTu 8 300083 322107 276347 327083 N/C
AnTuTu CPU 117180 N/C N/C 113885 N/C
AnTuTu GPU 55252 N/C N/C 78187 N/C
AnTuTu MEM 64423 N/C N/C 66493 N/C
AnTuTu UX 63228 N/C N/C 68518 N/C
PC Mark 2.0 7839 9270 7704 7533 6058
3DMark Slingshot Extreme 2803 3324 2518 2776 1152
3DMark Slingshot Extreme Graphics 2642 3292 2371 2627 1009
3DMark Slingshot Extreme Physics 3566 3441 3214 3464 2285
3DMark Wild Life 1094 N/C N/C 1095 N/C
3DMark Wild Life framerate moyen 6.60 FPS N/C N/C 6.60 FPS N/C
GFXBench Aztec Vulkan/Metal high (onscreen / offscreen) 21 / 7.5 FPS 13 / 8.5 FPS 10 / 6.7 FPS 11 / 7.6 FPS 3.9 / 2.5 FPS
GFXBench Car Chase (onscreen / offscreen) 31 / 19 FPS 19 / 21 FPS 16 / 18 FPS 16 / 19 FPS 7.1 / 8.1 FPS
GFXBench Manhattan 3.0 (onscreen/offscreen) 58 / 44 FPS 50 / 56 FPS 38 / 42 FPS 40 / 45 FPS 19 / 21 FPS
Sequential read/write 942.5 / 474 Mo/s 960 / 475 Mo/s 500 / 205 Mo/s 951 / 455 Mo/s 299 / 214 Mo/s
Random read/write 44812 / 36968 IOPS 36400 / 33900 IOPS 34400 / 29000 IOPS 46120 / 44688 IOPS 19800 / 18200 IOPS

I didn’t notice any slowness while browsing the internet or tapping on my keyboard, which is a good point. However, opening an application would have deserved more speed: I sometimes found it a bit long at startup. Performing an invigorating scroll down (no, it’s not a cocktail) on the Team app also caused some slight slowdowns. Overall, it would have been nice to have more fluidity. In the long run, it gets frustrating.

With this chip designed for gaming, we had to rush to Fortnite to see what it really was in the stomach. The title of Epic Games is a very greedy 3D game that may take a bite out of some mid-range phones. As for the Galaxy A42 5G, the findings are mixed.

Fortnite

Comfortable Autonomy :

With its large 5000 mAh battery, the Galaxy A42 5G has plenty to come in terms of autonomy. Samsung does not hesitate to highlight this point, and rightly so. It took me 24 hours to drop from 97 to 4% with intensive use: 5 hours of YouTube, 1h30 of Netflix, 50 minutes of Fortnite (including an update), greedy benchmarks, Internet browsing, Messenger, and photos post-processing software.

A 20-minute Fornite session lost me “only” 5%, a very decent result. In short, with mixed and classic use, the phone will accompany you without any problem for a day and a half, or even two days if you use it sparingly. On this point, the Korean giant has done a good job.

Long battery life, but very slow charging

When it comes to charging, don’t be fooled by the words “15W fast charge” written on the official product sheet. Since it took a bit more than 2 hours to climb from 4 to 100%. That’s a long time, a 5000 mAh battery requires. Allow 30 minutes to reach 30% and 23 additional minutes to exceed 50%, which is almost an hour. The 4th to 80% is completed in 1h27.

The other little nasty surprise is the cable, which turns out to be very short compared to the average: 73.5 centimeters, by my calculations. It was impossible for me to put the phone on my living room table despite my power strip nearby. Nothing too bad, but let’s note it all the same.

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5G Cheap :

As its name suggests, the Galaxy A42 is compatible with the new standard of mobile telephony, which I named 5G. He can therefore take advantage of the offers deployed by the European operators Orange, Bouygues Telecom, SFR, and Free,

This Samsung model is compatible with the following 5G frequency bands: n1 (2100 MHz), n3 (1800 MHz), n5 (850 MHz), n7 (2600 MHz), n8 (900 MHz), n28 (700 MHz), n40 (2300 MHz), n41 (2500 MHz) and n78 (3500 MHz). The latter is also the one used (with n28 and n1, shared with 4G).

5G

The Galaxy A42 benefits from a dual SIM if you want to use it as a professional terminal, but also a MicroSD card to extend the storage up to 1 TB. Always practical, the NFC chip paves the way for contactless payments and dematerialized transport tickets. Add to it compatibility with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0, and geolocation by GPS, Glonass, Beidou, and Galileo satellites.

The telephone experience is convincing. External noise pollution is quickly picked up and then erased and your voice, although a bit compressed, remains quite intelligible. In short, this smartphone perfectly fulfills what it was originally designed for. I finally noticed no clumsiness with GPS.

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G Price And Availability :

The Samsung Galaxy A42 5G is available on the brand’s official website at the recommended price of 379 dollars in Prism Gray, Prism Black, and Prism White colors. There is only one internal storage option available: 128 GB, for 4 GB of RAM. The mobile device is being sold for a few dozen dollars less on several merchant sites.

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