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Samsung Galaxy A55 review: mid tier has never looked so high end
10:43 am | May 28, 2024

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Samsung Galaxy A55 5G: Two-minute review

If you’re shopping for a mid-range phone in 2024, there’s a lot of box-ticking happening in this category. Thankfully, Samsung is a pretty sure-fire bet in this space and its latest release, the Galaxy A55, is another strong contender to become one of the best cheap phones you can get. Like its predecessor, it’s a mid-tier phone with a design that arguably looks and feels as good as its flagship counterpart.

It might not possess all the high-end components and cutting-edge features of the Galaxy S range, but straight out of the box, the Galaxy A55 looks and feels like a premium smartphone – all while costing less than half the handsets that sit atop our list of the best Samsung phones. And while it might be slightly sacrilegious, I think it's even more attractive than the Samsung Galaxy S24. 

The A55 has kept the elegantly smooth and clean design of its predecessor, including the shiny back glass that was a major improvement over the Samsung Galaxy A53. However, what sets the A55 apart from both the Galaxy A54 and other mid-tier phones, and what makes it feel like a premium device, is that it’s completely ditched plastic in favor of a new and strikingly classy metal build. 

Samsung Galaxy A55 on desk

(Image credit: TechRadar/ Max Delaney)

Upgrading the already impressive 6.4-inch display in the A54 to 6.6-inches, you could assume the size increase would make the A55 harder to hold than its predecessor. Don't immediately rule out the A55, however: while I admittedly have big hands and had no issue using the Galaxy A54, I found the A55’s aluminum frame even easier to grip. As a happy side effect, this ensures its bigger Super AMOLED display isn't tarnished by having to put your grubby fingerprints all over it to comfortably hold it.

That's about where the big talking points end. The Galaxy A55 won't leave you disappointed in the photography department, keeping the same 50MP main, 12MP ultra-wide and 5MP macro camera trio that we loved in our Samsung Galaxy A54 review. The photos and videos are detailed, the app is snappy, the autofocus is quick and it does indeed perform well in low-light areas, even if it takes a bit of a learning curve to get the best results. The only real flaw I found was that the photos taken in bright sunshine tended to be overexposed, resulting in a hazy, unsaturated image. 

Despite retaining the same 5,000mAH battery as its predecessor, the Galaxy A55 easily saw me through more than seven hours of screen time during my testing – that’s regular use like social media, YouTube, some light gaming and sitting on the home screen while I stare into the abyss – and that’s thanks to its new Exynos 1480 chipset. It's unlikely to see you through the two-day battery life that Samsung boasts about, but it will last long enough for most users. While I loved the battery life, it's charging was slower than I'd have liked, and it didn't have the convenience of wireless charging to make up for it.

Samsung Galaxy A55 rear glass on natural background

(Image credit: Future/ Max Delaney)

This also isn't the phone for the more intense or passionate mobile gamer, but it can still handle relatively demanding titles (like 3D online shooters) with medium graphics settings. 

These few sacrifices, though, are what make the Galaxy A55 a great budget smartphone – a speedier chipset than before, a bigger display and a premium design at an affordable price tag that matches the launch price of the A54 in some markets.

Samsung Galaxy A55 review: Price and availability

  • Launch price from £439 / AU$699
  • Released March 20 in the UK and March 25 in Australia; unavailable in the US at the time of writing
  • Available in two storage options and four colorways

While it was released across the globe in March 2024, the Galaxy A55 is unavailable in the United States as Samsung places a larger focus on the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE and the even more budget-friendly Samsung Galaxy A35 5G in that market.

In other markets like the UK and Australia, the A55 is available in two storage options –  128GB and 256GB – both with only 8GB of RAM (there is a model with 12GB RAM that seems to be listed only for availability in India). However, the Samsung Galaxy A55 5G provides the rare feature of up to 1TB of additional storage via a microSD card.

In a change to what we see across a span of products, Aussies actually get quite the deal in comparison to their UK brethren, as £439 directly converts to over AU$800. So while we think the Australian price is very fair, UK customers aren't getting the same deal. It's not all bad, though, as the UK price is actually cheaper than the launch price of the Galaxy A54's two £449 and £499 models last year, and the 6GB RAM option is no more.

  • Value Score: 4/5

Samsung Galaxy A55 review: Specs

Samsung Galaxy A55 on desk

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)

There's a few considerable changes from the Galaxy A54, including improved glass durability, a larger display and greater size generally. Here's a quick breakdown of the Samsung Galaxy A55's specs.

Samsung Galaxy A55 review: Design

Samsung Galaxy A55

(Image credit: TechRadar/Max Delaney)
  • Aluminum build
  • IP67 rating means it can handle a splash
  • Fingerprint sensitive
  • Bigger and heavier than it predecessor

With no plastic in its build, Samsung has continued its lean towards sustainability by opting to use aluminum for the Galaxy A55’s chassis, giving it a premium-looking, exceptionally classy and functional metal build. When combined with its stylish back glass, it amounts to a supremely elegant design that brings the handset physically more in line with Samsung's Galaxy S series. 

It's not beauty over function, though, as the upgraded Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Plus – the toughest yet – adds even more durability to its front and back than what we saw in the A54, and the pretty aluminum build increases sturdiness while making it easier to grip. During my testing period, it's strong build and IP67 rating had no problems handling the trials of everyday life – in and out of bags, a few small drops onto a carpeted floor and some water-laden situations when listening to podcasts while in the shower – the A55 is almost as durable as it is beautiful.

Samsung Galaxy A55 showcasing fingerprint smudges on its rear glass

(Image credit: TechRadar/Max Delaney)

Unfortunately, that big sleek, glossy back glass isn’t without drawbacks, as I found out as soon as I picked up my Navy Galaxy A55, which was anything but ‘Awesome’ in this respect. It picks up smudges as easily as my niece picks up germs from preschool. Even leaving some room for the possibility that I have an above-average knack for smudges, the phone is extremely smudge sensitive. However, it's safe to assume fingerprint marks on the lilac, lemon and ice blue models will be less visible.

It's also probably worth mentioning that the A55 doesn't lie evenly on its back due to its floating camera design – and placing it face down just put the abundance of fingerprint smudges on display. This little niggle is not exclusive to the Galaxy A55, but I did find it bothersome.

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Samsung Galaxy A55's rear outdoors

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Samsung Galaxy A55

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Samsung Galaxy A55

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)

While UK customers will have access to the full gamut of colorways, a design factor that the Galaxy A55 5G has retained from its predecessor, Australian customers only get two colors. Last year it was Awesome Violet and Awesome Graphite, and now in 2024 it's Awesome Lilac and Awesome Navy. Apparently Aussies only like near-black shades and variants of purple. The UK has a little more room for taste, with Awesome IceBlue and Awesome Lemon added into the fold.

  • Design Score: 4.5/5

Samsung Galaxy A55 review: Display

Samsung Galaxy A55 display

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
  • Bigger display than the Galaxy A54 (6.6-inches)
  • 1000-nit peak brightness
  • 120Hz variable refresh rate
  • Protected with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+

It would be unreasonable to expect immense display upgrades with such heavy improvements to the A55's design, but there are a few slight improvements from the A54 that make a definitive difference. Most notably being a slight increase in size, moving up to 6.6 inches from the A54's 6.4 inches. Otherwise, you'll get the same 1080 x 2340 resolution Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR 10 support and the same 19:5.9 aspect ratio. 

While Samsung makes a clear point of saying the A55 peaks at 1000 nits, and did not say that the A54 did, our time with both shows that the difference, if any at all, is negligible. In comparison to the Google Pixel 8a's 2000-nit maximum, let alone something like the OnePlus 12 that boasts an insane 4500 nits, the A55's output can't be considered much more than a pass mark.

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Galaxy A55 display reflecting the sky

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Galaxy A55 display

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Samsung Galaxy A55 display playing PUBG Mobile

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)

The Samsung Galaxy A55 5G has a wonderful display that makes swiping through socials, watching videos and playing games an absolute blast. Heck, I could almost taste LeBron James' wine while watching the Mind the Game podcast. With a passable peak brightness you'll be able to enjoy its beauty even in direct sunlight and its minimum brightness is more than comfortable laying in bed. The A55's display is vibrant, detailed and strong, so while there might be better displays on more expensive phones, I have very few complaints.

One thing I did like about the A55's display was the built-in fingerprint sensor. While it's not the snappiest I've experienced, it was accurate and faster than typing in a passcode or pattern. Even if it's a bit slow for your taste, the payoff of the A55's flawlessly clean design – with no fingerprint sensor or button below the screen or on the back glass – is well worth it. However, I was unimpressed with the A55's facial recognition, too often finding myself swiping to unlock before it was ready, despite my face being unobstructed. 

  • Display Score: 4/5

Samsung Galaxy A55 review: Software

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Samsung Galaxy A55 software

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Galaxy A55 homepage, app library and control panel

Galaxy A55 homepage, app library and control panel (Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
  • Android 14 w/ One UI 6.1
  • Four years of OS updates
  • Knox Vault and Seamless Updates

If you were expecting the Galaxy A55’s software to mimic that of the Galaxy S24, you've set yourself up for disappointment. This is a mid-tier phone that costs a lot less than the S24, so expecting mass upgrades from the A54's output would be unfair. That said, the OS is far from bad, it's just a minimal update to that of the A54, running on the Android 14-based One UI 6.1.

Despite reported issues for older phones and rumored impact on charging speed from the One UI 6.1 update, the Galaxy A55 runs very smoothly, and will be familiar to those with some Samsung experience. While it doesn't have the Galaxy AI functionality of the S line, and only four major upcoming OS updates to the latter’s seven, One UI 6.1 is a perfectly fine operating system that works seamlessly within the A55.

One positive feature worth noting – a very happy introduction that comes years after Google launched a similar function with the first Google Pixel – is the introduction of a new era of update functionality for Samsung devices. 'Seamless Updates' adds the ability to download system updates in the background, and the A55 is the first Samsung phone to feature it as part of the brand's March 2024 security patch.

Shutting your phone down for 20 minutes while it updates is, or should be, a thing of the past, and this patch means only a speedy 3-minute restart is needed to complete updates. Along with seamless updates, the A55 also sees the addition of Knox Vault – a new addition passed down from the S24 – that secures important data like passwords and biometrics.

Now, while those two little features aren't much, when put together with the design and display developments we've already looked at, it makes for quite the enhancement. Combined with smooth performance and everything Samsung fans already enjoy about the Galaxy software – squircles and all – there's a lot to like about the software of the A55.  With guaranteed four years of software updates coming, you can rest easy knowing your phone will remain up to date, at least for a while.

  • Software score: 4/5

Samsung Galaxy A55 review: Cameras

Galaxy A55 camera trio

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
  • 50MP f/1.8 main camera w/ OIS
  • 12MP ultra-wide + 5MP macro camera
  • 32MP f/2.2 front-facing camera
  • Improved low-light photography

Photography is a crucial part of the modern handset, and a phone's camera can make or break it in the eyes of the user. In the best way possible, the Galaxy A55's camera does neither. 

Providing a rear trio of cameras that can take wonderful photos in various ways, and a front camera that you'll have no problem taking flattering selfies with, the camera is a huge upgrade… over the Samsung Galaxy A53's 64MP main camera. But, a lack of massive change from the A54 isn't what disappointed me about it.

Whether it's selfies, ultra-wide shots, high-detail pics or snaps of your morning coffee, the Galaxy A55 has an objectively good camera system that will be more than serviceable, even for the most photo-obsessed. My biggest problem was that it just didn't capture the reality of what I was looking at when I most expected it to – aka in bright sunlight. Whether it was photos of my sun-baking dog, the book I was reading or a cat-holding selfie out in the garden, the results were a toned-down, dull version of what my eyes were seeing due to overexposure. They were still clear, beautiful images, but a touch too hazy for my liking.

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Photos of my sun-loving doggo

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Some flicks of a morning coffee and some very handsome limes

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Galaxy A55 excels at pet photos

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Galaxy A55 Camera

(Image credit: TechRadar)
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Night photography

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Samsung Galaxy A55 camera

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Samsung Galaxy A55 camera

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Samsung Galaxy A55 camera

(Image credit: TechRadar/ Max Delaney)

Combine that issue with a macro camera that was near-impossible to hit the sweet spot with – as you can see by my best results below – and you have a camera that is little more than good. There is just too much high-quality competition, even within this price range, to give it any further praise.

Samsung does make up for that slightly, though, with an abundance of options to help you take the best photo possible, even before you get to the pool of editing tools waiting for one to be taken. Within the four main photo-type options in the camera app (Fun, Portrait, Photo and Video) are tools to help you smooth out the image, get the right framing, activate a timer, turn the flash on and enter the camera settings to ensure you're ready to click away.

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Samsung Galaxy A55 macro camera

macro camera results (Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Galaxy A55 macro camera

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)

While the modes within More, like macro, slow-mo and Pro, will undoubtedly be put to good use by some users, they remain mostly unused by me. However, the one mode hidden here that I do think is worth a special mention, is night mode. I wasn't blown away by the A55's ability to take photos in low-light areas at first. However, when I put it to the test in a pitch-black room its performance was truly impressive.

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Galaxy A55 night-mode photography

Testing the night mode on the Samsung Galaxy A55 (Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Galaxy A55 low-light photography

The before: the books are invisible in normal, standard photo mode (Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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Samsung Galaxy A55 low-light photography

The after. The same lighting but with night mode turned on (Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)

While it might not be a breathtaking photo of the night sky, I think the night mode better portrays how well the Galaxy A55's camera performs in low light. As you can see from my sample images, it works pretty darn well. From freezing cherished moments at dimly-lit restaurants, taking selfies under the hazy ambiance of street lights and snapping pics of your puppy snoozing under the TV’s silver glow,  the A55's nighttime performance will be there for a really good shot.

  • Camera score: 4/5

Samsung Galaxy A55 review: Performance and Audio

Samsung Galaxy A55's rear glass shining in the midday sun

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
  • New Exynos 1480 Chipset
  • 8GB RAM (12GB in select locations) with no more 6GB model
  • Stereo speakers
  • Up to 256GB of storage with up to 1TB additional storage

With a new chipset, I had high hopes for a noticeable performance improvement over the Galaxy A54, but I was prepared for the more-than-likely event that it would be hardly noticeable. Thankfully, the Exynos 1480 chipset provided much more of the former than the latter. 

With scores of 1155 and 3468 in the two single-core and multi-core Geekbench tests, and solid results in the 3D Mark: Wildlife, Wildlife Extreme and Sling Shot Extreme stress tests of 3996, 939 and 6216, the Galaxy A55 won't be getting any awards on the test front. However, its results were consistent. For reference, the Google Pixel 7a and Samsung Galaxy S24 results can be seen below.

Despite what the numbers might say and how they compare, the A55 felt excellent during my time with it. From Spotify, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, Netflix to the camera, the A55 ran each one of them perfectly, even when I switched haphazardly between them to try and force some lag – it didn't break a sweat.

Galaxy A55 rear glass reflecting the sky while resting on a red hat

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)

One area the Galaxy A55 did slow down slightly was within high-performance apps like the Camera after considerable use. With a day’s worth of apps open and some considerable time spent within the camera app, load times started to get noticeable when switching between camera modes. Though it was little more than slight stutters, the lag did stand out compared to its otherwise smooth performance.

Perhaps due to its upgraded cooling system and adaptive refresh rate that better uses its battery, the A55 will be more than adequate for even a heavy casual mobile gamer. I had no problems earning 20 eliminations and a win in my first game of PUBG Mobile, even if it was against a bot, and was happy to see PUBG automatically set the graphics and framerate to their mid-range settings, with the A55 remaining smooth even when turned up to Ultra HD and the highest framerate. However, some rendering issues did start to occur at those high settings, but didn't impact gameplay. Whether it's PUBG Mobile, Apex Legends or hours of Candy Crush interspersed with regular phone use, the Galaxy A55 will handle it all, with battery to spare.

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PUBG Mobile on the Samsung Galaxy A55

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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PUBG Mobile on Galaxy A55

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)
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PUBG Mobile on Galaxy A55

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PUBG Mobile on the Samsung Galaxy A55

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PUBG Mobile on the Samsung Galaxy A55

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)

As for audio, whether you like to listen to podcasts through the phone's stereo speakers or blast music through a pair of the best wireless headphones, the days of muffled speakers from the A-series handsets are gone. You'll find little problems in how the A55 handles its audio. 

The phone's earpiece and down-firing speakers combine to offer clear, balanced sound, providing easy listening when you don't feel like using headphones – and you won't unless you need to. While audiophiles might want to stick with their high-powered stereo units, the A55 does more than well enough for the average person, retaining some clarity even at high volume. And, in regards to connecting wireless devices via Bluetooth, I had absolutely no issues – even when pairing Apple AirPods 3, which don't always easily connect to Android devices.

  • Performance and Audio score: 4/5

Samsung Galaxy A55 review: Battery

  • 5000mAh battery
  • 25W wired charging
  • Advertised two-day battery life

Simultaneously great and disappointing might sound strange, but the Samsung Galaxy A55's fantastic battery life was slightly tarnished by its disappointing charge speed.

The surprisingly good battery life of the Galaxy A55, improving on the A54, more than offsets the slight disappointment I felt when my handset went from only 18% to 48% after 30 minutes of charging. That's far from terrible, and fully charging in around 90 minutes to reach 100% isn't the worst thing in the world, but it took longer than I had hoped. Unfortunately, Samsung's claims that the A55 has “super fast charging”, burying in the fine print that the fast-charging wall adapter is sold separately, sets the phone up for some disappointment.

Samsung Galaxy A55 on-screen battery and charging information

(Image credit: TechRadar / Max Delaney)

Retaining its predecessor's 5,000mAh battery, Samsung created high expectations once again, and fell short once again. While you won't get two days of use unless you leave your phone untouched and unopened, I was still impressed by the A55's battery life. Whether it was the seven hours of continuous Stranger Things – after which it still had more than 15% battery left – or hours of Candy Crush, plus everyday actions like social media, video calling, browsing and audio playing – the battery life of the A55 more than held up. I racked up around seven hours of screen time from a full charge, far more than my personal average of just over five, and there was still ample battery at the end of the day.

While the A54 charges slightly faster than the A55 in my experience, the Exynos 1480 chip the Galaxy A55 uses helps it to outlast its predecessor – if by a miniscule amount – leaving enough charge left that could be the difference between ordering an Uber and being left stranded. In short, the Samsung Galaxy A55 5G has more than enough battery life to get you through work, fun and be there when you need it. Just don't expect it to charge to 50% in 15 minutes before you head out.

  • Battery score: 4/5

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy A55?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider...

If this review of the Samsung Galaxy A55 has left you wondering about other mid-tier alternatives, take a look at a few listed below. I’ve also compiled a specs comparison between them and the A55 for a clearer snapshot.

How I tested the Samsung Galaxy A55

  • Review period: Three weeks
  • Testing included: everyday use including web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used: 3D Mark: Original, 3D Mark:Extreme, 3D Mark: Slingshot Extreme (unlimited), Geekbench 6.2.2, Geekbench, native Android stats

Once I received the Samsung Galaxy A55, I put it to the test immediately by running it through some benchmarking tools. I then used it as my main phone through the first week and this included playing games, taking photos and watching content.

Across the final two weeks of my testing time, I put it under the stresses, both technical and physical, of everyday life. From scrolling sessions at home to podcasts on the bus to being pulled in and out of my bag and accidentally walking into the doorway of my bedroom. These activities allowed me to see how the battery holds up over the course of time with normal use, not just how it handles high-impact stress tests.

With a heavy coverage focus on phones here at TechRadar, I'm knowledgeable of the phone market, what it has to offer and how different phones aimed at different budgets fit into it – making me the perfect candidate to test a mid-tier phone like the Samsung Galaxy A55 5G. 

Read more about how we test

[First reviewed May 2024]