The Samsung Galaxy A71 is part of the new 2020 A-series that last year saw it regain lost ground in the mass/mid-market with the 2019 A-series.
Why? All A-series are good value, well made and have features above their price. The Samsung Galaxy A71 comes in 4G and 5G versions – identical apart from the underlying processor/model and cost.
We unreservedly state that it’s a great phone and worthy of consideration. Still, an awful lot is happening in the same market space, and Samsung’s dominance may be a little harder to defend against higher specified latecomers.
Big, beautiful Super AMOLED Screen Plus
Lots of power
And Samsung’s build quality and Australian support
Samsung is a South Korean multinational conglomerate headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It is the world’s largest smartphone maker.
Warning about grey market and parallel importers
We have named and shamed the major grey market and parallel importers here. Do not buy from them as you will not get Samsung Australia warranty; Australian over-the-air OS and firmware updates; and you cannot make a 000 call without a sim. In fact, as these generally do not support LTE Band 28 used by Telstra and Optus, so most of the time all you will get is 3G.
Specifically, do not buy if it has any other number other than those ending in FZ or BZ.
You can’t miss the gorgeous 6.7” 2400×1080, flat, centre O-hole, Super AMOLED Plus screen. It is bright and colourful and a delight in direct sunlight. As for the rest – it is a glass slab with a glossy ‘Glasstic’ back. It is elegant and quite thin.
Last year the Samsung Galaxy A70 impressed the hell out of us scoring 4.9/5. It led the price/feature spiral that saw almost all flagship features in a sub$700 phone. We are pleased that it has kept the good bits and made them better.
Where the 5G version is different, we will show it as 4G or 5G or the latter in ( ) brackets.
Screen – EXCEED
6.7”, 2400×1080, 393ppi, 88% STBR, 60Hz, Super AMOLED Plus with Gorilla Glass 3
Brightness average/typical/max 400/550/665nits
Contrast: Infinity – excellent
Daylight readability – it is AMOLED and better than IPS
Modes: Natural 100% sRGB, Vivid DCI-P3 and white balance
HDR, HDR10, HLG
AOD – customisable
20:9 means easy to use one-handed
Good gaming performance 4.4ms G-T-G
Brighten screen option for face recognition
It is a bright and beautiful screen that offers a choice of vivid saturated or more natural colours.
4G: 6GB LPDDRX4/128GB UFS 2.1, 102GB free/microSD to 512GB
5G” 8GB LPDDRX4/128GB UFS 2.1/microSD to 1TB
Storage has Sequential read/write speed of 558/182Mbps – good
CPU Throttling – PASS++
157,550GIPS, Average 142,425GIPS (84%), Minimum 125,094GIPS (5G not tested)
It starts strongly for the first six minutes then the 2×2.2GHz cores momentarily throttle. The 6×1.8 are rock steady. The maximum temperature was 71° and 30° on the back. All in all, quite good and the GIPS (billion instructions per second) are 30% faster than most phones in this bracket.
Update: The throttling behaviour is intentional and relates to the two high-speed cores ‘dipping’ for one cycle to help manage power. It affects the CPU Test showing an 84% Average when it is more like a 92% average.
Geekbench 5 – EXCEED
Single/multi/compute 421/1566/1143 put it on a par with the 2018 Samsung Galaxy S9 series. It is about 10% faster than the A70 it replaces. Note that these tests are on battery – if using the charger, they are higher.
Games – EXCEED
It should play most common games at over 30fps
Comms – EXCEED
Wi-Fi 5 AC, dual-band, 1×1 MIMO, -48dBm, 433Mbps – single stream maximum bandwidth
BT 5.0 LE
GPS – single band suitable for <5m accuracy and turn-by-turn navigation
Both have a 4500mAh battery. We expect the 5G version to deliver about 10% less life
USB-C PD 2.0 5V/2A or 9V/1.67A and 11V/2.25A 25W fast charger
Video loop, 50% screen, aeroplane mode – 21 hours
Audio MP3 from storage, aeroplane mode – 100 hours
Video loop over Wi-Fi – 17 hours
Scree- on, Wi-Fi and Web – 12 hours
T-Rex: 471.2 minutes, 3298 frames
100% load – four hours
Idle discharge260mA – should last screen off for at least 15 days
1.5-hour charge (can use higher capacity fast chargers)
Typical use – 24 hours plus
Sound – PASS for speaker and EXCEED for BT/Cable
Maximum volume 80dB (loud ringer) and 75dB voice
3.5mm combo audio
Earpiece and Dual Mics – good handsfree
Down-firing bottom speaker – we don’t measure frequency response for mono speakers but suffice to say it has no bass, no lower mids, good 3-10kHz for clear voice and no treble.
Qualcomm aptX Adaptive, SBC, AAC and LDAC
EQ for headphones
Adaptive sound profiles for different ages
Dolby Atmos DAC: 32-bit/348kHz for great BT and cable headphone quality.
Android 10 – EXCEED
Security Patch 1 April 2020. The A-series should receive quarterly updates.
A full suite of Google Apps
Samsung One UI 2.0 includes dark mode, gestures and edge features
A suite of Samsung Galaxy alternatives like Bixby plus Facebook, Spotify, Netflix, Microsoft
One UI is a light overlay over Android and offers different interface modes
Build – EXCEED
Gorilla Glass 3 on the front, plastic (aluminium) frame and Glasstic (polycarbonate/glass) back.
4G: 163.6 x 76 x 7.7 mm x 179g
5G: 162.5 x 75.5 x 8.1 mm x 185g
Under glass optical fingerprint sensor – fast but failed 2 out of 10 tests
2D face recognition – patchy failing 6 out of 10 tests
Missing: No IP rating
Comes with combo earphone/mic
Quite light and grippy
Samsung Galaxy A71 Camera – PASS++
DXOMARK has spoken rather harshly, and it has 84 points – 89 Photo, 74 video and 83 selfie mark. (10 April assessment) While I am not going to argue the point that is way less than my test results show. DXOMARK puts it on a par with the likes of Motorola One Zoom, Apple iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy S7 Edge ad LG G7 ThinQ – OK I can live with that image quality.
It revealed weaknesses in slow Autofocus (+500ms to 1 second in low light), macro focus and the ultra-wide-angle lens. Now we have seen the 64MP primary sensor on the realme X3 and realme 6, and it’s a terrific sensor. So at least we have some benchmarks.
GadgetGuy’s take The Samsung Galaxy A71 plays it safe
It is an update to the highly successful A70. But not so much that you need to rush out and buy it if you have one already. It is a nice, reliable, competent phone for the price but the excitement of the A70 breaking new ground last year is not there.
Whereas the A70 led the pack at 4.9/5 a lot has changed in 12-months. All the real action is around $499 or less (where the Galaxy A31 sits at $449), and there are excellent phones like the realme 6 ($469), OPPO Reno 2 Z ($549 with 3-series coming), OPPO A91, Samsung Galaxy A51 ($599), and the real standout realme X3 265GB ($799).
Here you would be hard-pressed to pass up the Galaxy A-51 at $599 – all you are really sacrificing is the 64MP (binned) camera.
The Samsung Galaxy A71 5G ($899) is competing with the OPPO Find X2 Lite ($749), and OPPO Find X2 Neo ($999). Still, this 5G market based on the Qualcomm SD765/768G 5G SoC is about to take off with the LG Velvet, OPPO Reno 4-series, Xiaomi, Motorola Edge, TCL 10, vivo X50, realme X50, Nokia and more.
That is not to suggest the Samsung is not good value – it is and it offers a non-Chinese manufactured phone.
Anyway, value is what people will pay and the Samsung Galaxy A71 in both versions scores well for features and price. It is going to sell heaps to happy Samsung customers.
This rates well on all counts. Because we know what is around the corner we have perhaps been conservative in the rating of specifications and price.