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Samsung Galaxy A72 vs. Galaxy A71 5G: Is newer better?

The Samsung Galaxy A72 is the sequel to last year’s Galaxy A71 5G, bundling premium smartphone features into a relatively affordable package. It’s equipped with a gorgeous 6.7-inch AMOLED display and a 90Hz refresh rate, as well as a meaty 5,000mAh battery and a quad-lens rear camera setup. It looks seriously good for the price, but with the Galaxy A71 5G only a year older and now available at a discount, you might be wondering whether you’d be better off going for its predecessor.

To help you resolve any indecision you might have, we’ve put together a comparison test: The Samsung Galaxy A72 versus the Galaxy A71 5G. We look at each phone’s specs, performance, design, display, camera, software, and special features to answer the question of which device is better overall.

Specs

Galaxy A72 Galaxy A71 5G
Size 165 x 77.4 x 8.4mm (6.50 x 3.05 x 0.33 inches) 162.5 x 75.5 x 8.1mm (6.40 x 2.97 x 0.32 inches)
Weight 203 grams (7.16 ounces) 185 grams (6.53 ounces)
Screen size 6.7-inch Super AMOLED 6.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus
Screen resolution 2400 x 1080 pixels (393 pixels per inch) 2400 x 1080 pixels (393 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 11 (under One UI 3) Android 11 (under One UI 3)
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB
MicroSD card slot Yes Yes
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay, Samsung Pay Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G Qualcomm Snapdragon 765
RAM 6GB, 8GB 6GB, 8GB
Camera Quad-lens 64-megapixel wide, 8MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro rear, 32MP front Quad-lens 64-megapixel wide, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, 5MP depth rear, 32MP front
Video 4K at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 60 fps 4K at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 960 fps
Bluetooth version 5.0 5.0
Ports USB-C, 3.5mm jack USB-C, 3.5mm jack
Fingerprint sensor Yes, in-display Yes, in-display
Water resistance IP67 No
Battery 5,000mAh

Fast charging (25W)

4,500mAh

Fast charging (25W)

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support Most major U.S. carriers Most major U.S. carriers
Colors Awesome Black, Awesome White, Awesome Violet, Awesome Blue Prism Cube Black, Prism Cube Sliver, Prism Cube Blue
Prices $550 $600
Review score News 3.5 out of 5 stars

Design, display, and durability

Samsung A71 <entity>5G</entity> display and design
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Both the Samsung Galaxy A72 and Galaxy A71 5G are attractive smartphones, although the Galaxy A72 arguably edges things by virtue of having an updated, slightly sleeker design. This is largely the result of its rear camera module being revamped in line with the Galaxy S21, with the bump sloping smoothly into the rear of the phone. Otherwise, both devices are pretty similar, with each boasting a highly desirable edge-to-edge display with narrow bezels.

It’s a similar story with the displays themselves since both devices pack a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display, each with 2400 x 1080 pixels. This makes them as sharp and as clear as each other, yet the A72 pips the A71 again due to its inclusion of a 90Hz refresh rate. This really does make a tangible difference to how fluidly images appear and move on the screen, providing the A72 with a wow factor the A71 lacks.

The A71 also lacks an official IP rating, whereas the A72 comes with an IP67 certification. This indicates that it can withstand submersion in up to a meter of water for as long as 30 minutes. Combined with the slightly prettier design and display, this gives the A72 a fairly comfortable victory overall in this round.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy A72

Performance, battery life, and charging

Samsung A71 5g
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Galaxy A72 and A71 5G both make do with processors that are somewhat underpowered relative to premium Samsungs. The A72 carries a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G, while the A71 harnesses a Snapdragon 765. Both are fairly close together in terms of speed, although the 765 is likely to be slightly faster when tested by more demanding apps. Each phone comes with 6GB of RAM as standard (although you can upgrade to 8GB for a little extra money), so even if the 765 is a touch more powerful, you won’t notice a significant difference.

Likewise, both devices ship with 128GB of internal memory as standard and both offer a microSD slot. That said, the A72 gives you the option of paying extra for a model with 256GB of storage, so this may be preferable for people who need a little more virtual elbow room.

Again, the Galaxy A72 and A71 5G are fairly close together in the battery department. The A71 houses a 4,500mAh battery, which our review found could last a full day of heavy use with 30% leftover for the next. As for the A72, it features a 5,000mAh, so we’d expect it to outlast its predecessor by two or three hours. However, we can’t be sure of this without a full review, so for now, we’re calling this round a tie.

Winner: Tie

Cameras

Galaxy A72 Colors
Samsung Galaxy A72 Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Galaxy A72 and A71 both come with the same number of rear camera lenses: Four. The A71 combines a 64MP wide lens with a 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro, and 5MP depth lens. Meanwhile, the A72 gets rid of the 5MP depth camera and replaces it with a more useful 8MP telephoto lens, which should — in theory, at least — provide it with more versatility.

We haven’t reviewed the A72 yet, but our review of the A71 (5G) found that it’s capable of taking bright, colorful, and dynamic photos in decent light, although it struggles somewhat in lower lighting. We’re hoping that the A72 can add a little more consistency, while we also expect the inclusion of new modes — such as the Fun Mode — to enhance its usability. Still, without that review, we can’t say anything for certain, so we’re assuming more or less parity at the moment.

Both phones also have the same video-capturing capabilities, letting you shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second. That said, the A71 lets you shoot 1080p video at 960 fps, although we’re still calling this round a tie since it’s possible that the A72 will end up offering a better overall camera.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

Samsung Galaxy A71 5G software
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Samsung Galaxy A72 ships with Android 11 out of the box and with OneUI 3 running over the top, while A71 5G owners should now have been offered an upgrade to the same. As such, you’ll get an identical experience software-wise, which is a good thing since OneUI 3 provides some nice updates, including new lock and home screens, as well as an improved notification center and quick panel.

Being Samsung phones, both devices will also receive updates at more or less the same time. That said, the A72 may receive updates a little longer from this point onwards, given that it’s a newer phone. Nonetheless, this isn’t a major difference, so we’re declaring another tie.

Winner: Tie

Special features

5g feature image
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The A72 isn’t a 5G phone, yet as its name suggests, the A71 5G certainly is. It supports only sub-6Hz 5G bands, although if you buy the A71 5G UW from Verizon, you will get access to the faster mmWave band as well.

Putting 5G aside for one moment, the A72 introduces a number of new camera modes. Aside from Fun Mode, which lets you add filters and augmented reality (AR) objects to photos and videos, this includes the ability to take still photos while shooting 4K video, plus the camera’s ability to recognize 30 different scenes via artificial intelligence (A.I.) and adjust accordingly.

These aren’t major additions, and given that the A72 misses out on 5G, we’re giving this round to the older phone.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy A71 5G

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy A72 can be preordered from Samsung and starts from $550. It will be supported by all major carriers and sold by most major retailers.

The Samsung Galaxy A71 5G officially starts at $600 and is supported by all major carriers. You can also find it online for less than $600, with outlets such as Amazon and Best Buy selling unlocked versions of the phone for as little as $400 (as of writing).

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy A71 5G

Samsung Galaxy A71 5G camera
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Both phones are very evenly matched, yet it’s the presence of 5G that gives the Galaxy A71 5G the overall win. To be fair, the Galaxy A72 does look more attractive, but otherwise its performance is pretty much identical to its older sibling. There is a possibility that it might have a slightly more versatile camera (thanks to its telephoto lens), and also the possibility that its battery is longer lasting. However, without a full test, we can’t be sure of this. As such, the crown goes to the A71 5G, which is a slightly more useful phone overall (for now), with the added bonus that you can find it at a considerable discount.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Chandler
Simon Chandler is a journalist based in London, UK. He covers technology and finance, contributing to such titles as Digital…
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