Samsung Galaxy A35 review
Image: Chris Button.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G review: all the phone you need

How much do you really need to spend on a phone? Yes, they’re one of the most important devices we own these days, but that doesn’t mean we need to pay thousands for a phone that meets our needs. After using the Samsung Galaxy A35, I’ve certainly adjusted my expectations for sub-$600 phones.

I paid roughly $1,600 for my latest phone, an iPhone 15 Pro, which made a decent dent in my bank balance. My reasoning was to get something future-proofed that’ll last me for the next five years. Could I have spent $1,000 less and still been happy? If the Samsung Galaxy A35 is anything to go by, most of my needs would easily be served.

It’s a big and beautiful device to look at, with a reasonable level of power to boot. It may not have the same photography chops as its premium S24 Ultra cousin, but most people will be more than happy with the A35.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G review

First impressions

I’m normally not a fan of big phones. Trying to fit a bulky handset into a jeans pocket is a frustrating exercise I’d rather avoid. However, the 6.6-inch Samsung Galaxy A35 somewhat warmed me to the sizable form factor. It’s big, with a correspondingly-sized display, yet the phone still sits nicely in the hand.

Heed my recommendation: get a case for this thing. As nice as the A35 looks, it sure is a slippery sucker. Such a slick build spells danger for sweaty-handed folks like me. It even slipped out of my pocket when sitting on the floor, clattering onto the hard surface below. Unlike the Galaxy A55, the more affordable A35 sports a plastic casing, making it more prone to damage for accident-prone users.

Samsung Galaxy A35 design
Even taking this photo was nerve-racking thanks to the slipperiness of this phone. Image: Chris Button.

Those anxieties quickly fade when you look at the A35’s gorgeous AMOLED screen. Vibrant and smooth to the tune of 120Hz, watching, playing and scrolling all look fabulous. The screen defaults to “Vivid”, which I quickly changed to “Natural” because I prefer a less saturated image. Regardless, the Vivid setting wasn’t anywhere near as oversaturated as some devices I’ve seen.

Samsung Galaxy A35 specifications

Display6.6-inch FHD+ 120Hz Super AMOLED
Dimensions161.7 x 78.0 x 8.2mm 209g
ProcessorExynos 1380
Memory and storage6GB + 128GB
Cameras8MP F2.2 Ultra-Wide Camera
50MP F1.8 Main Camera (AF, OIS)
5MP F2.4 Macro Camera
13MP F2.2 Front Camera
Battery5,000mAh
25W wired charging
ConnectivityUSB-C
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.3
NFC
Network2G GSM
3G WCDMA
4G LTE FDD
4G LTE TDD
5G Sub6 FDD
5G TDD Sub6
SoftwareAndroid 14
One UI 6.1
Price (RRP)$549
WarrantyTwo years
Official websiteSamsung Australia

Performance

Equipped with Samsung’s own Exynos 1380 chip, the Galaxy A35 uses the same processor as last year’s A54 – for about $150 less, I might add. As a result, the new mid-range phone produces a fairly smooth experience suited to everyday use with a spot of gaming.

Samsung Galaxy A35 A55 comparison
On the surface, the A35 (left) shares plenty in common with the A55 (right). Image: Chris Button.

In terms of raw numbers by way of synthetic benchmark tests, the Samsung Galaxy A35 delivers power levels nearly on par with the Google Pixel 7, a phone that cost $999 in 2022. It sits nicely in the mid-range category of phones, delivering solid performance at its $549 price tag.

DeviceCPU single-coreCPU multi-coreGPU (OpenCL)
Samsung Galaxy A551,1533,4283,086
Google Pixel 71,0553,276N/A
Samsung Galaxy A351,0112,8973,001
Samsung Galaxy A549912,7973,000
Motorola Razr 401,0192,808N/A
Nokia G426441,9261,083
Geekbench 6 results

On a recent flight, I caught up on some anime, which looked spectacular on the Galaxy A35. Mob Psycho‘s kaleidoscopic colour palette came through beautifully, and the display’s excellent contrast levels helped make each frame pop.

After two hours of watching videos on the plane, the phone’s charge only drained by 6%, leaving no doubts about its multi-day battery life.

Camera

Camera quality is one of the biggest selling points in modern phones. When announcing the Galaxy A35, Samsung pointed to the camera sensors’ larger pixels. In theory, this means capturing more light and detail in a wider range of lighting conditions.

Photos I took with the A35 were largely impressive, capturing a decent amount of detail and producing good colour levels. Although its low-light photography wasn’t up to the same level, I’ve certainly seen worse. At this price, you can’t expect the absolute best camera quality, but the results outperform plenty of similarly-priced phones.

Compared with my iPhone 15 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy A35 took some damn nice snaps in well-lit conditions. Keep in mind these images are compressed for online viewing, but they still provide good comparisons. I also disabled Samsung’s Scene Optimiser setting that automatically boosts the brightness and vibrancy of photos to get the most natural shots possible.

Beach photos during an overcast morning showed minor differences. The A35 favoured a brighter exposure on automatic settings, while the iPhone 15 Pro took dimmer, albeit slightly more detailed photos.

At night, the difference between the A35’s sensors presents more prominently. Look at the colour variation between the ultrawide sensor versus the main sensor. Meanwhile, the iPhone 15 Pro captures colour more consistently between sensors. Here, the colours are more lifelike, and you can see more individual details like the patches on the playing surface.

Selfies and pets

With good lighting, you can take a nice photo using just about any camera within reach. Want to take a good selfie (or at least a well-lit one)? Go take it facing a window: bonus points if there’s a sheer curtain softly diffusing the natural light coming in.

Both of these selfies, taken before a work function, are nice and evenly lit photos. The iPhone 15 Pro captured more light, so you can see the pattern on my jacket better, and even the hotel room background. Although the A35 smoothed over some of my facial blemishes, I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

Moving to a dim corner of the room, the Galaxy A35 cranked up the brightness at the expense of detail, but it’s still a perfectly usable photo. Even the iPhone 15 Pro encountered some blur, which is reasonable considering my hands aren’t the steadiest.

Last and arguably most importantly: animal photos. Cats are tricky critters to photograph, often not sitting still when you want them to. Fortunately, my friend’s cat, Mojo, posed superbly for his glamour shots.

Here, the results are a little skewed thanks to my unsteady hands striking again. Both phones took nice photos despite dim lighting. While the iPhone 15 Pro result is slightly blurry (user error), the colours are more natural and there’s less noise. I’m thrilled with the photo taken by the A35, although visual noise kicks in earlier once you start zooming in.

Remember, we’re comparing phones with a $1,000 gap between them. With that considered, the Samsung Galaxy A35 performs well above its pay grade. Even the hardcore testers at DXOMARK consider its cameras among the best in its category.

Who is the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G for?

The Samsung Galaxy A35 is an easy phone to recommend to most people. Its display looks fantastic, the battery lasts ages, and the cameras hold up strongly alongside more expensive devices. Four years of operating system upgrades plus five years of security updates certainly doesn’t hurt either.

You’d only really need to spend more if you want best-in-class night photography, maybe a telephoto lens, and enough power to play the most demanding games. Otherwise, the Galaxy A35 is an all-around phone at an even better price.

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Samsung Galaxy A35 5G
One of the best mid-range phones on the market, the Samsung Galaxy A35 has everything you need at a reasonable price.
Features
8.5
Value for money
9
Performance
8.5
Ease of use
8.5
Design
8
Positives
Excellent AMOLED display
Good performance at a cheaper price
Decent cameras
Negatives
Slippery design
Low-light photography is inconsistent
8.5