Samsung Galaxy A55 review
Image: Chris Button.

Samsung Galaxy A55 review: a sleek step up

The Galaxy A55 is the slightly fancier version of Samsung’s latest mid-range phones, and is a nice handset, even if the excellent value Galaxy A35 stands out as better value.

It’s undoubtedly an improved phone over last year’s Galaxy A54 model, which was great in its own respect. Getting more features and enhanced build quality without a price increase is rare given today’s economic climate.

For $150 more than the next model down, you get a faster chip, camera improvements, and eSIM compatibility. Most obvious at first glance is the sleek aluminium frame that replaces the plastic build used by previous-gen phones.

Viewed from a broader context, how much do these additions matter to the average user? Arguably the nicer cameras stand out, considering how highly people value decent cameras on a phone.

For most people, the Samsung Galaxy A35 offers more than enough. However, the Galaxy A55 delivers an extra bit of quality and performance for those who need it.

Samsung Galaxy A55 review

First impressions

Like its A35 companion, the Samsung Galaxy A55 is a nice-looking phone. The iridescent Awesome Lilac is flashy without being ostentatious. Not that I’m one to talk, though, given my love for bold and colourful tech.

Side-by-side, the A55 doesn’t look drastically different to the A35. Both have gorgeous 6.6-inch AMOLED screens and an identical-looking triple camera array on the back.

You first notice the difference when picking the phone up, however. One of my few complaints when reviewing the A35 was its slippery design. Thanks to the A55’s aluminium frame, I felt like I had a better grip than I did with the other phone’s plastic chassis.

Not only does the frame feel nicer, but it’s also nice on the eyes, adding an aesthetically pleasing texture to the handset’s sides. More importantly, it makes for a more durable device.

Samsung Galaxy A55 specifications

Display6.6-inch 1080 x 2340 (FHD+) 120Hz Super AMOLED
Dimensions161.1 x 77.4 x 8.2mm, 213g
ProcessorExynos 1480
Memory and storage8GB + 128GB
Cameras12MP F2.2 Ultra-Wide Camera
50MP F1.8 Main Camera (AF, OIS)
5MP F2.4 Macro Camera
32MP F2.2 Front Camera
Battery5,000mAh
25W wired charging
ConnectivityUSB-C
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.3
NFC
Network2G GSM
3G UMTS
4G LTE FDD
4G LTE TDD
5G Sub6 FDD
5G TDD Sub6
SoftwareAndroid 14
One UI 6.1
Price (RRP)$699
WarrantyTwo years
Official websiteSamsung Australia

Performance

One of the main improvements housed within the Galaxy A55 is its faster Exynos 1480 chipset and a higher 8GB RAM count. Powering a smooth overall experience between apps, it’s a good mid-range device for streaming, browsing, and a bit of gaming too.

Run through the Geekbench 6 gauntlet, the Galaxy A55 showed a notable improvement over the A54. Even more impressively, it outperformed the Google Pixel 7, which may be a couple of years old now, but attracted a $999 price tag at launch.

Samsung Galaxy A55 design
A cool quirk of the A55’s design is the rainbow light tricks made possible by the Awesome Lilac’s iridescent finish. Image: Chris Button.

However, is the chip performance $150 better than the Galaxy A35? There’s no definitively correct answer to that question. Plenty of reasonable arguments could be reasonably made – all of which hinge heavily on your needs.

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
Geekbench 6 results.

Gaming performance provides more of a black-and-white answer, with the Galaxy A55 scoring higher on 3DMark’s Wild Life test. Plenty of mobile games run on just about any old thing, but more demanding titles like Genshin Impact and Diablo Immortal benefit from better hardware.

DeviceScoreAverage frame rate (fps)
Samsung Galaxy A553,90923.41
Samsung Galaxy A352,79816.76
3DMark Wild Life results

These aren’t sky-high figures by any means but are fairly reasonable for a sub-$700 phone. If you’re into bigger games, consider the Galaxy S23 FE, a sub-$1,000 device with a beefier GPU.

Like the A35, the Galaxy A55 had no issues getting through a day without needing to charge. 5,000mAh battery capacities are pretty much ubiquitous these days – only absolute power users need worry.

Photography

Samsung highlighted the Galaxy A55’s larger camera pixels as a major selling point. In theory, larger pixels let more light in, capturing a higher level of detail, and producing better-lit photos in dim settings.

When testing phone cameras, I compare them with the devices I have on hand, including my iPhone 15 Pro. While there’s a $1,000 gap between my phone and the Galaxy A55, it gives an indication of where it sits compared to a high-end handset. The following images are also compressed into a web-friendly format, which is worth keeping in mind.

In dimmer light, the Galaxy A55 compensates by doing a bit of image processing to illuminate the subject. My cat notoriously does not sit still during the day, so it was tough to snap a pic in a dim corner of the house.

There’s not much difference between the A35 and A55 phones here, save some motion blur. Once you start zooming in, there’s a noticeable distortion and lack of detail where the processing worked the hardest. This is even evident in the iPhone photo, although it’s not quite as pronounced.

At a night game of football, the Samsung Galaxy A55 favoured a cooler image with highly saturated greens. Particularly on the edge of photos (check the goalposts), you notice some distortion, and zooming in results in a loss of detail. Meanwhile, the iPhone’s photos are sharper and warmer, with the telephoto lens providing more zoom options.

As for the selfie camera, the Galaxy A55 takes a nice snap. Compared to the A35, it produces more even lighting and more accurate colours. I took these photos as the late afternoon sun filtered through the back door – the A55 captures the warm tones, while the A35 is a little on the cool side.

Ironically, the iPhone 15 Pro selfie is the least flattering of the lot. However, loathe am I to concede, it’s because it’s the most accurate photo. The selfie best captures the redness and creases on my face, even getting the most detail out of my shirt collar. Also, my lips were dry and chapped when I took the photo, which the iPhone shows better than the mid-range Samsung phones – thanks, Apple.

In other words, the Galaxy A55 takes a nice selfie, even if it’s not as true-to-life as top-end phone cameras. To get scientific, the benchmarking wizards at DXOMARK also rate the phone’s camera reasonably well, although the Google Pixels are still considered the gold standard.

Who is the Samsung Galaxy A55 for?

If you hate the feel of plastic but don’t want to pay more than a thousand bucks for a phone, the Samsung Galaxy A55 is a solid choice. Its screen is gorgeous, and the aluminium frame adds a premium feel without bleeding your wallet dry in the process.

Between the A35 and the A55, I firmly believe the A35 represents the best value. Both are great phones, although the difference between them is incremental. If you want moderate performance gains, a sturdier body, and eSIM compatibility, pick the A55. Otherwise, you can save $150 by choosing the A35.

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Samsung Galaxy A55
While the A35 might offer better value, the Samsung Galaxy A55 is still a damn nice phone thanks to its gorgeous screen and aluminium frame.
Features
8
Value for money
7.5
Performance
8
Ease of use
8.5
Design
9
Positives
Improved overall performance for the same price
Aluminium frame adds more grip and a premium feel
eSIM support
Negatives
Noisy low-light photos
Very similar to the A35
8.2