It was released alongside the Galaxy A52. And it bears more than a striking resemblance to it in more ways than one, be it in design or specs. But while the A52 was targeted at those considering a OnePlus Nord, the Galaxy A72 tries to offer an alternative to those looking to spend close to Rs 35,000 on a smartphone – a zone occupied by far more premium devices. So is the Samsung Galaxy A72 just a bulked-up Galaxy A52, or does it have some new tricks up its sleeve to attract this audience? Let us find out in this Galaxy A72 review.
Honey, I gave the A52 some Complan!
With the Galaxy A52, Samsung took a very different path when it comes to design. It ditched the whole glass/glass-like (glasstic?) back design ethos and not only embraced polycarbonate with open arms but also turned it into a cause for celebration. The design of the Galaxy A52 was so distinct that it became one of the highlights of the smartphone.
Fortunately, Samsung has followed the same design blueprint quite religiously in the case of the Galaxy A72 as well. So religiously that the Galaxy A72 pretty much looks like the Complan-ed version of the Galaxy A52. For those not familiar with the health drink with claims to boost height, it basically means that the Galaxy A72 looks like a taller and slightly wider version of the Galaxy A52. If not for the height, you might not be able to tell the two phones apart – the A72 is 165 x 77 x 8.4 mm, as compared to the A52’s 159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4 mm. But the length really is the only visible physical difference between the two phones. It has the same port placements, the same Infinity-O display with thin bezels surrounding it, and a very similar-looking camera arrangement on the back. You can read our detailed first cut of the Galaxy A52 and think of the Galaxy A72 as the same phone, only slightly taller and heavier. It has the same solid feel to it as the A72 did (it is slightly heavier at 203 grams instead of 189 grams) and comes with a similar IP67 rating to make it dust and water-resistant.
This is definitely a good thing in our books, as, after all, the Galaxy A52 is a good-looking phone. We got the Awesome Violet version, and it stands out in the crowd of glass backs and backs trying hard to look like glass. The polycarbonate back not only gives the phone a youthful edge but also makes it comparatively lighter. Because there is no element of glossy shine in the back, it also keeps smudges and scratches at bay, plus one does not have to keep wiping it incessantly in order to keep it spotless. The phone may be a Complan-ed version of the Galaxy A52, but it has chosen the right phone to be the Complan-ed version of.
A slightly larger display
The smartphone comes with a 6.7-inch full HD+ Super AMOLED display with a 90 Hz refresh rate. It is slightly bigger than the Galaxy A52, which comes with a 6.5-inch display, but has the same resolution and refresh rate. The added 0.2 inches do make a slight difference in the whole smartphone experience – content viewing and gaming does feel better on the Galaxy A72 as opposed to the Galaxy A52. Still, the difference does not exactly leap out at you. You might not even miss the 0.2 inches if the two phones are not kept next to each other.
The display is also home to an in-display fingerprint scanner which works very efficiently. The stereo speakers support also are a major plus point and make the phone the perfect binge-watch partner. And yes, there is support for Galaxy SmartTags as well.
Wish the chip had been Complan-ed too
While we made our peace with the fact that the Galaxy A72 looks exactly like the Galaxy A52 (only taller) because the Galaxy A52 is a good looking smartphone, we must confess to feeling a little let down by the fact that it comes with the exact same processor as the Galaxy A52, despite a much higher price tag. Yes, the Samsung Galaxy A72 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G processor, which is the same processor we saw on the Galaxy A52, with our unit being paired with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage (there are 6 GB/ 128 GB and 8 GB/ 128 variants too), storage being expandable to 1 TB.
We do not have anything against the Snapdragon 720G – it has done a great job on many devices – but let’s face it, not only is the processor a bot on the old side, but we have also seen it on much more affordable devices as opposed to the Galaxy A72. Placing it on the Galaxy A52 was stretching matters a little. Putting it in the more expensive A72 makes it look really out of place, especially as its price puts it close to the budget flagship segment. Good though the Snapdragon 720G, it is no flagship challenger.
In all fairness, the chip is more than capable of handling your day-to-day chores and can keep up with heavy-duty multitasking and app jumps. The phone also sails smoothly through casual games. It will need slightly longer to load heavier games and might not run as smoothly on maxed-out settings but can pull through even the heaviest and power-hungry games in the medium setting. Mind you, the phone tends to heat up slightly while playing high-end games. Gaming is incidentally improved with those superb speakers.
Samsung has followed in the footsteps of the Galaxy A52 when it comes to the design and processor of the Galaxy A72, but there’s a whiff of originality when it comes to cameras. The main camera on the Galaxy A72 is also a 64-megapixel sensor (with OIS) like the Galaxy A52, but it is accompanied by an 8-megapixel telephoto 12-megapixel ultrawide and a 5-megapixel macro sensor. The A52 did not have a telephoto sensor, opting instead for a depth sensor. The telephoto on the A72 has OIS as well, which is always a good thing given the tendency of hands to shake a little as one zoom in. In essence, the Galaxy A72 has sensors for all three functions – a wide shot, a zoomed-in shot, and a close-up shot. Now, that is impressive.
The main camera performs well in sufficient light conditions, just as it did on the Galaxy A52. It is able to capture a lot of detail in well-lit conditions. We thoroughly enjoyed the presence of a telephoto lens on the arrangement as opposed to a number-making “depth” sensor. The 3X optical zoom on the Galaxy A72 made a visible difference (quite literally) in our pictures. It comes in very handy when you need to take a picture without disturbing the subject and is very handy if you are fond of capturing pets and animals around you. That said, the phone did heat up a little while we used the telephoto lens for a while, which was a bit surprising (shades of the S21 Ultra).
[Click here for full resolution pictures plus additional samples]
The ultrawide sensor on the A72 also works well as long as the light is right (which is fine by us), and so does the macro sensor (we would have liked a few more megapixels on the macro, though). The low-light performance of the A72 is pretty good. The phone manages to capture a lot of detail, and the colors are surprisingly good, although zooming in makes some of the details appear a little “smudgy.” Of course, there is a lot of camera software goodness on board, including Single Take (which automatically takes stills and short videos, adds effects and filters, and lets you choose the content you want to keep), and Fun which adds Snapchat filters to the camera (really cool!). There is a 32 megapixel on the front, which is pretty much on par with what we got on the A52 – it takes good selfies that work just fine for social media and is good for video calls too. The cameras do well in the video department as well. Still, without being exceptionally ahead of the competition – we would have appreciated better sound (a failing in many phone cameras at this price point).
The cameras are perhaps the biggest point of distinction between the Galaxy A52 and the Galaxy A72. Unfortunately, they share the same shortcoming, too – they do not reproduce real colors. The colors often turn out to be quite saturated. They might seem bright and poppy but sometimes look like something out of an animation film. The phone also can struggle to focus sometimes, which is surprising because we did not face this issue with the Galaxy A52, which was quite swift in the focus department. The camera app does seem a little buggy as well – the phone would sometimes freeze while shifting from front to rear camera and vice-versa, and using Single Take and Fun occasionally crashed the app. We hope it can be fixed with a software update because the cameras are definitely good ones.
Bigger battery, similar performance, and a slightly bloated OneUI
The bigger size of the Galaxy A72 brings in a bigger battery as well. The phone is powered by a 5,000 mAh battery which is 500 mAh more than the Galaxy A52’s 4,500 mAh battery. That said, the battery performance of the two phones seemed on par with each other. Whether it was because we used the cameras more or whether that slightly larger display chewed up more battery, we do not know, but the fact is that we got battery life similar to that of the Galaxy A52. The phone managed to see us through a day and then some of the heavy-duty usage, while it lasted for a whole day and a half when used for basic, daily chores.
Like the A52, the A72 comes with support for 25W fast charging, but unlike the A52 which shipped with a 15W charger, the A72 comes with a 25W one in the box. No, 25W does not seem quite as impressive as the 50W and 65W chargers with some devices in this (and even lower) price range, but it does charge up the phone in about an hour and a half, which is very acceptable indeed.
The Samsung Galaxy A72 is powered by Android 11 with Samsung’s OneUI 3.1 on top of it. Now, OneUI is very feature-rich, which means the phone is loaded with functions and features, but it also comes with a number of pre-installed apps, which some might like, and some might not. There is lesser bloatware than in previous times, but it is very much there.
Galaxy A72 Review: Would need hardsell as it might be hard to sell
We think Samsung has shown some major guts in launching the Galaxy A72 with a starting price of Rs. 34,999. The phone not only comes with an older processor but also does not really bring anything too unique to the table. Yes, we love the design; the cameras and display are very good, and the battery life is impressive, but there is a lot of competition lurking around at that price point. There is the Mi 11X which comes with a Snapdragon 870 at around Rs 30,000, as does the iQOO 7. And well, there will be those who might think of the OnePlus 9R, the Vivo X60, which cost a little more but come with better processors and equally formidable specs. And well, all of those worthies also bring 5G to the table, which is a welcome bonus.
The stark fact is that cameras (and the 25W charger) aside, there is not even too much of a difference between the performance of the A72 and the A52, which is available at a much lower price. The Galaxy A72 is a very good phone, but it does not stand out from the competition on any parameter other than design. If only they had given some Complan to that processor too! Right now, it seems more like the Galaxy A52 Plus than the Galaxy A72.
Buy Samsung Galaxy A72
- Good design
- Beautiful tall display
- Telephoto lens
- Very similar to the Galaxy A52
- Glitchy camera interface
- Bloatware ridden
|Build & design|
Samsung Galaxy A72 faces some major competition from the new budget flagships such as the Mi 11X and the Vivo X60, which boast much better processors. Here is our Samsung Galaxy A72 review.