Samsung Galaxy A35 5G Hands-On: Pixel 7a Competition

(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

The Galaxy A35 5G appears to be a very strong competitor in the low-cost market given its pricing. Still, there's more that could be done with the program.


  • + Affordable cost
  • + Brilliant looking display
  • + Plenty of camera features


  • - Bland overall design
  • - No Galaxy AI features

I'm partial to inexpensive phones. The Google Pixel 7a is among the greatest inexpensive phones I've used in the past year, in part because of its outstanding value and powerful camera performance. Although it's one of the few phones under $500 that we include in our list of the best camera phones, the debut of the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G in the United States may put an end to its popularity as the cheap phone.

Despite being the best mid-range phone to beat in the previous year, the Galaxy A55, its replacement, isn't going to be available in the United States. Due to this sudden change, the Galaxy A35 5G and other new midrange smartphones like the Nothing Phone 2a and Moto G Power (2024) will be competing head-to-head with the Pixel 7a.

I had the opportunity to play with the new Samsung Galaxy A35 5G for a short while, so there's a lot to learn about it in order to determine whether or not this phone has what it takes to become the standard for all other phones this year that are less expensive.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G Specifications

Specification Details
Model Galaxy A35
Starting price $399
Display 6.6-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED
Refresh rate 120Hz
Processor Exynos 1380
Storage 128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras 50MP f/1.8 main, 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 5MP f/2.4 macro
Front camera 13MP f/2.2 selfie
Battery 5,000 mAh
Charging 25W wired
Software Android 14 with One UI 6.1
Colors Awesome Navy, Awesome Lilac

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G: Price and Release Date Revealed

(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy A35 5G's starting price of $399 is perhaps its most alluring feature. You'll receive 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for that much. This clearly beats competitors like the $499 Pixel 7a and the $429 iPhone SE (2022), albeit Apple's lowest-cost iPhone is in dire need of an update right now.

The Galaxy A35 5G comes in two color options: Awesome Navy and Awesome Lilac. I personally like the latter because of the way the glass shimmers and creates a rainbow effect when light strikes it at the perfect angle. In addition to other significant carriers and merchants, Samsung is now the only place where you can purchase it directly. To make the deal even sweeter, Samsung is also knocking 30% off the Galaxy Buds FE when you buy the A35.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G Design Review: Hands-On Impressions

(Image credit: Future)

Upon first appearance, the Galaxy A35 5G appears to be just like any other phone in Samsung's lineup. This pricing range normally makes me wary of phones, mostly due to their often shoddy build quality. Nevertheless, I must admit that the Galaxy A35 seems well-made given how its flat metal trim bezel holds the device's metal front and back together.

I adore the rainbow pattern that shimmers on the Awesome Lilac edition of the Galaxy A35 5G, even if it lacks style points when compared to the glittering attractiveness of the transparent design of the Nothing Phone 2a.

Aside from this characteristic, the A35 design is very traditional. Nonetheless, the Samsung phone has an IP67 classification that shields it against liquids and immersion.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G Display Review: Hands-On Impressions

(Image credit: Future)

Additionally, phones in this pricing category typically make concessions with their screens. For example, in my review of the Moto G Power (2024), I discussed how the display is absurdly dull and has poor viewing angles due to cutouts around it. Fortunately, the Galaxy A35 5G is immune to this.

When I first used the A35, I was actually taken aback by its 6.6-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display. I immediately opened a YouTube clip in 4K HDR 60 frames per second and was struck by how brilliant the colors looked. The phone's 120Hz display refresh rate made it feel incredibly quick to navigate around the software, and distortion was hardly visible at broader viewing angles.

As far as I can tell, the display is bright enough for me, but I'm interested to know what its maximum brightness could be after doing some serious display benchmarking. But I must say, as far, there are a lot of endearing things about this place.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G Cameras: Hands-On Review

(Image credit: Future)

The cameras are without a doubt the one feature that all low-cost phones try to economize on. I'm hoping the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G will disprove my assertions. Having said that, it's great to see a low-cost phone with three cameras given the most only have two or three cameras.

The Galaxy A35 5G's rear camera configuration consists of a 5MP macro lens, an 8MP ultrawide lens, and a 50MP primary camera. I think most people would say that having a dedicated macro camera is kind of useless, mostly because phones utilize the ultrawide lens instead, but I may be surprised by the A35's macro lens.

I'm delighted to say that after opening the camera app, it functions essentially the same as other high-end Galaxy phones I've been using, such the Galaxy S24 Plus and S24 Ultra. Enthusiasts will like the Galaxy A35's several settings, which include ones that offer complete manual control over both images and movies.

I did capture a few nice-looking pictures with the sample, but before I can tell for sure if Samsung's new phone can beat what Google has to offer, I'd need to compare the same pictures to photographs from the Pixel 7a.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G Performance Review: Hands-On Analysis

(Image credit: Future)

As previously said, the A35 5G performs admirably when it comes to navigating the UI, running apps, and viewing videos—you know, everyday activities. All phones I test, nevertheless, consistently do these fundamental tasks correctly.

Samsung equips the Galaxy A35 5G with an octa-core CPU, most likely an Exynos 1380, but I won't be able to confirm this until I reclaim the device and do accurate benchmark tests. Although I have faith in the processor's performance, I'm interested to see how the A35 performs in a variety of GPU-intensive tests.

I bring this up because the Moto G Power (2024) does terribly in a lot of GPU tests, which causes jerky frame rates in a lot of the games I play. Every inexpensive phone will occasionally slow, but persistent lagging is unacceptable.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G Battery Performance: Hands-On Review

(Image credit: Future)

I find it difficult to accept that the Galaxy A35 5G has a 5,000 mAh battery, especially considering how light the phone feels. But one of the main features of the phone—and what makes it so appealing—is just that. Samsung says that the Galaxy A35 has a long-lasting battery life, but given how phones' battery lives have improved little by little, it will need to go above and beyond in this regard.

The OnePlus 12R is the budget department's undisputed champ, and the Galaxy A35 must not only persuade me (and everyone else) that it has the endurance to outlast similarly priced phones like the Nothing Phone 2a in Tom's Guide's battery benchmark test. The combination of the Galaxy A35 5G's powerful 5,000 mAh battery and adaptable 120Hz display refresh rate gives it a decent chance of keeping up.

Regarding recharging, the 25W wired charging speed of the Galaxy A35 is adequate, however it is not exceptionally fast in comparison to other phones of a same caliber.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G Software Review: Hands-On Analysis

(Image credit: Future)

The Galaxy 35 lacks all of the Galaxy AI capabilities that were recently made available to previous Galaxy phones via the software upgrade, even though it runs One UI 6.1 on top of Android 14. This makes some sense because Samsung could be drawing the boundary between phones that support them and those that don't. Alternatively, it could just be the result of the A35's CPU, which might not be sufficiently designed to handle Galaxy AI capabilities. But in the absence of these AI-assisted capabilities, the Galaxy A35 5G feels and looks just like the other Samsung phones I've examined.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G Outlook: Hands-On Review

(Image credit: Future)

As I stated at the outset, the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G offers an alluring bundle for less than $400, so the Pixel 7a has to be wary. I don't think Samsung's phone is very stylish, save from its rainbow shimmer, but I hope it improves upon the Galaxy A54 in areas that matter.

Returning to price, Samsung's S24 flagship series, which starts at $800, serves to broaden the company's offering. Not everyone wants to spend a lot of money or requires the newest and best things. To bridge that gap, low-cost phones like the Galaxy A35 5G are available.

Since Samsung has positioned the Galaxy A35 as the A54's replacement, at least for American consumers, I only hope it can live up to the reputation set by the A54 last year.

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