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Samsung Galaxy A53 5G vs. Samsung Galaxy A33 5G

Looking for an attractive midrange smartphone? Samsung has recently announced some additions that may be of interest to you. The first, the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, is a high-powered midrange smartphone with a 5mn Exynos processor, a quad-lens rear camera module, a 120Hz refresh rate, and, of course, support for 5G. At $450 it’s a real steal, and we’re looking forward to getting to grips with it in our review.

The second smartphone, the Galaxy A33 5G, is a weirder beast. It’s a slightly pared-down version of the Galaxy A53 that doesn’t seem to be getting a U.S. release. Still, it’s a great-looking phone, sharing many specs with the Galaxy A53, but at an even lower price point. If you’re in the U.S. you’re denied the choice between the two, but for those outside of the States (or those curious about the differences) here’s how the two stack up against each other and where the major differences lie.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G Samsung Galaxy A33 5G
Size 159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1mm (6.28 x 2.94 x 0.32 inches) 159.7 x 74 x 8.1mm (6.29 x 2.91 x 0.32 inches)
Weight 189 grams (6.67 ounces) 186 grams (6.56 ounces)
Screen size 6.5-inch Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display, 120Hz refresh rate 6.4-inch Super AMOLED, Infinity-U Display, 90Hz refresh rate
Screen resolution 2400 x 1080 pixels (405 pixels per inch) 2400 x 1080 pixels (411 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 12 (OneUI 4.1) Android 12 (OneUI 4.1)
Storage space 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB
MicroSD card slot Yes Yes
Tap-to-pay services Samsung Pay Samsung Pay
Processor Samsung Exynos 1280 Samsung Exynos 1280
RAM 6GB, 8GB 6GB, 8GB
Camera 64-megapixel wide, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP depth, 5MP macro rear. 32MP front. 48MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP depth, 5MP macro rear. 13MP front.
Video Up to 4K at 30 frames-per-second, 1080p at 60 fps Up to 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 120 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.1 Bluetooth 5.1
Ports USB-C USB-C, headphone jack
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Water resistance IP67 IP67
Battery 5,000 mAh

25W fast charging

5,000 mAh

25W fast-charging

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support All major carriers All major carriers
Colors Black, White, Blue, Orange Black, White, Blue, Purple
Price $450 329 British pounds (about $430)
Buy from Samsung Samsung
Review score Hands-on review Hands-on review

Design, display, and durability

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Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

These two phones are extremely similar to each other. They’re available in the same four, bright colors, have the same textured back panel, general design, and build and weight. The only real differences are in the displays. The Galaxy A53’s display is slightly larger, has a punch-hole for the selfie camera instead of a teardrop notch, and has a higher 120Hz refresh rate.

Durability should be about the same. Both smartphones feel like they’re made from plastic, which should offer some good protection against bumps, chips, and other damage. Both also have an IP67-rating for water and dust resistance, so are equally protected against immersion in water and dusty environments.

These two phones are extremely close in this category. Given quite how close they are, we’re judging this on the most minute of details. The Galaxy A53’s higher refresh rate takes the day, even though it’s probably not even that big of a deal.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

Performance, battery life, and charging

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G facing front in hand.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The similarities in design also bleed over into performance. You’ll find the 5nm Exynos 1280, 128GB or 256GB of internal storage, 6GB of 8GB of RAM, and a 5,000mAh battery inside both of these phones, meaning you’re likely to find both phones perform in much in the same way. Sure, we haven’t had much time with either phone yet, and even the same hardware can perform differently in different configurations, but even the configurations are largely the same. It’s a straight-up draw here.

However, the Galaxy A33 may have a small advantage. The 90Hz display may well pull slightly less power than the A53’s 120Hz display, so it’s possible the 5,000mAh cell will last slightly longer. This is entirely theory though, and may not play out in real life. Both devices also top out at the same 25W fast charging, and don’t have wireless charging. It’s a straight tie and we can’t split the two.

Winner: Tie

Camera

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G camera app and viewfinder.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Finally, some solid differences! The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G has a quad-lens rear camera setup. A 64-megapixel main lens is joined by a 12MP ultrawide lens, 5MP macro lens, and a 5MP depth lens. This versatile setup is echoed on the Galaxy A33 5G, but with some slightly lower specs. The A33’s main lens is a 48MP lens, the ultrawide is 8MP, and the depth sensor is 2MP. The 5MP macro lens seems to be the same. Around the front, the A53 sports a 32MP selfie lens, while the A33 has a 13MP selfie lens.

Those are a lot of numbers — but what do they mean? While a higher megapixel count doesn’t always mean a better image, it’s often a good rule of thumb, especially when comparing cameras from the same manufacturer in similar price brackets. While we haven’t had much chance to play with either phone yet, the A53’s higher megapixel count will probably mean it’s the stronger of the two where the camera is concerned.

We’ll revisit this section once we’ve had some time with the smartphones in question, but for now, we’re happy to assume the Galaxy A53 5G is going to be the stronger of the two.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

Software and updates

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G screen.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Just like that, we’re back to these two being largely the same. Both phones run Samsung’s OneUI 4.1, a manufacturer skin based on Android 12. It’s a good Android skin, and offers a strong range of customization options you don’t get in stock Android. Samsung has also expanded its update lifespan, and will offer four years of major Android updates and five years of security updates on both the Samsung Galaxy A53 and the Galaxy A33.

So, with both phones getting this promise of long support and the same version of Android on launch, this is another strong tie.

Winner: Tie

Special features

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G in white and black.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s not 100% clear which of Samsung’s many, many special features these two phones will inherit, but there are a few we’re expecting both to get. Support for Samsung’s digital assistant, Bixby, is all but certain, as is the built-in Android assistant, Google Assistant. Both have an in-display optical fingerprint sensor, and both (obviously) have support for 5G as well. Less clear is whether either will be able to use Samsung’s desktop-emulating Dex Mode — but if one has it, it’s likely the other will as well.

It’s not very clear exactly which special features we can expect from these phones, but it’s a fair bet to assume they’ll be available on both phones. This is another tie.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is currently available for pre-order, and prices start from $450. The smartphone will ship on April 1, and will be available through AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

The Galaxy A33 5G is a slightly more peculiar prospect. It isn’t coming to the U.S. yet, and has launched for pre-order in certain markets — though it won’t be fully released until late April. Since there’s no official U.S. release, there’s no U.S. pricing, but based on the price of 329 British pounds, around $430 seems about right. You’d have to import it if you’re desperate, and at the moment we’re not sure what the network support will be on an imported model.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

With these two smartphones being ever-so similar in so many ways, this has been an odd contest. However, there is a clear winner, and it’s the slightly larger Samsung Galaxy A53 5G. There’s only a slight price difference between the two, yet the Galaxy A53 comes with a higher refresh rate and a stronger-looking camera. It’s the clear winner, as this battle looks right now, and we’re fairly confident that’s unlikely to change. Looking for a solid Samsung smartphone under $500? The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is looking like your best bet at this early stage.

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