While the whole world is drooling over the latest and greatest flagship smartphones from their respective manufacturers, many have forgotten about the once popular mid-tier segment of affordable devices. These devices weren’t exactly the best performers out there nor were they made from the most premium materials. However, they did offer the perfect balance between price and performance that made them the perfect choice for some.
The device we’ll be talking about today is the Samsung Galaxy A70. No, it’s nowhere near the range-topping Galaxy S10 when it comes to performance but the same can be said about their prices. Let’s take a look at the A70 and see how if it really does hit the sweet spot.
Design & Display
The Samsung Galaxy A70 follows a similar construction to modern flagships, meaning you get two panels of glass on the front and back. However, where the change has been made is in the middle, where instead of metal, plastic is used. The front glass is protected with Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3, which isn’t the best but acceptable in a phone at this price range.
Come to the back though and you’ll be greeted with the triple-camera setup, which is impressive. The device comes in 3 color options: Black, Coral, and White. The option to go for would be black as it comes with an amazing rainbow gradient that makes it look much more premium and beautiful. The rest of the back is clean except for a traditional Samsung script in the middle.
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The display on the A70 is a 6.7″ 2400×1080 Super AMOLED panel. Calling it massive would be an understatement, as it’s even larger than the one on the OnePlus 7 Pro. Unlike the OnePlus 7 Pro, however, the Galaxy A70 does have a small teardrop-shaped notch up top which might make it less worthy for content consumption. Nevertheless, the panel is AMOLED and is made by Samsung, which makes it the best in the business.
As mentioned earlier, the Galaxy A70 comes with 3 cameras in the rear. They consist of a 32MP main shooter with f/1.7 aperture, an 8MP ultrawide with f/2.2 aperture and 12mm focal length and lastly, a 5MP depth sensor also with f/2.2 aperture. Personally, I believe depth sensor cameras are pretty much useless as we’ve seen how devices like the Google Pixel can manage portrait modes with just a main shooter. The ultrawide makes up for it, however, with an effective focal range of 123°, which is impressive.
As far as video performance goes, you get 4K@30fps, which seems to be the gold standard for a decent camera. You can also record in 1080p@30fps and even 240fps for a nice slow-motion shot. However, that’s as far as it gets and the lack of OIS might introduce shake into your videos.
Up front, inside the notch, you get a single selfie camera. It has an amazing 32MP resolution with an f/2.0 aperture, which results in nice and crisp looking selfies. However, it lacks OIS as well and can only record up to 1080p@30fps. Also, since it is a Samsung device, it also has an annoying beauty mode set as default every time you open the front camera, which can make you face look artificial.
Under the hood, the Galaxy A70 has a 2.0 GHz 11nm Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 675 processor paired to an Adreno 612 GPU. It definitely isn’t the best out there with the Snapdragon™ 855 powering all the flagships but it gets the job done fairly well. You will be able to run all the latest apps and games without a problem though that won’t be the case after a year.
When it comes to RAM, the Galaxy A70 has 6 GB of it, which touches the entry-level flagship mark. The storage is also an impressive 128 GB and yes, you can expand it up to 512 GB with an external MicroSD card slot.
The battery on the A70 is a massive mom-removable 4500 mAh Li-ion unit, which is tested to have an endurance rating of 103 hours. In addition to that, it also comes out of the box with a 25W fast charger, which is more than what you get with the Galaxy S10. As impressive this is, the Galaxy A70 lacks wireless charging so I guess that balances things out.
Software & Security
Out of the box, the Galaxy A70 with Android 9.0 (Pie), which is the latest so far. On top of it, you get Samsung’s own OneUI user interface. I’ve talked about it before and I’ll say it again that OneUI is one of the best Android skins out there. It’s loads better than TouchWiz, the UI it replaced. It is fast and mostly clutter-free but still falls short from the likes of OxygenOS found in OnePlus devices.
As far as security goes, you get an in-display fingerprint scanner, which seems to be the trend nowadays. Samsung, however, hasn’t specified what type of scanner they have used in the A70. I reckon it might be similar to the ultrasonic one found on Galaxy S10. If that’s true then this may be the best security option you can get at this price point.
Price & Verdict
At $395 the Samsung Galaxy A70 does seem to be a great mid-tier smartphone. It offers decent performance, has a considerable amount of premium features and certainly doesn’t look outdated. However, I would only recommend it if either you love Samsung and won’t settle for any other brand or if you really don’t intend to use this phone for over a year. If you fall beyond these parameters, you’d be better off with the $399 Redmi K20 Pro, which is practically a budget flagship that offers better performance, has a premium build, and will last longer.