It is that time of the year again when Samsung unveils its newest Galaxy A-series smartphones. In came the A51 and A71 and so did the punch-hole cameras instead of the notches. Are the upgrades worth your money? Should you shift to the newest A71 even though you already own an A70? Find out the answers in our review of the Samsung Galaxy A71.
On paper, there are a lot of upgrades and that too in significant areas. You get a newer chipset, a better screen-to-body ratio, and improved camera setup with a higher-res primary sensor combined with the latest One UI.
The other things haven’t changed a bit. The battery capacity and fast charge remain the same. The build material is still reflective plastic which foxes you to believe that its glass. Also, the gorgeous sAMOLED is going nowhere too.
List of specifications
|Dimensions||163.6 x 76 x 7.7 mm|
|Display||6.7 inches FHD+ sAMOLED|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 730|
|Storage options||6/128 GB and 8/128 GB|
|Software||One UI 2.0 based on Android 10|
|Rear Camera||64 Mp, f/1.8 + 12 MP, f/2.2 (ultrawide) + 5 MP, f/2.4 (macro) + 5 MP, f/2.2 (depth)|
|Front Camera||32 MP, f/2.2|
|Battery||4500 mAh (supports 25W fast charging)|
|Other Features||UFS 2.1 storage|
- Good overall camera
- Long battery life
- Sd730 is an excellent mid-range chip
- Lacks telephoto sensor
- The plastic build feels flimsy for the price
Design and Layout
Gone are the days when people would consider a 5.5 inches smartphone as “large.” The Samsung Galaxy A71 clocks at 6.7 inches and has an sAMOLED screen which houses a punch-hole camera. The slim profile compensates to an extent by being compact and easy to hold.
The display is covered by a sheet of Gorilla Glass 3 to give you some sense of security, whereas the back and the sides are all plastic. The AMOLED panel hasn’t changed since the last iteration, except the punch-hole which replaces the dewdrop notch of the A70.
You get an AOD (Always-On Display) support which tries to compensate for a missing notification LED. There is no physical fingerprint sensor as Samsung has opted for an optical sensor, and the implementation is nowhere close to perfect.
The back of the A51 and A71 are similar due to the cameras and LED flash stacked in a rectangular housing. The rest feels like a criss-cross of colours which vary according to the angle of the onlooker.
If you have read our Samsung Galaxy A51 review, you would know how much we loved the Prism Crush Black variant. We reiterate the love here, and it comes in two other shades, the Prism Crush Silver and the Blue one.
Coming to the ports and buttons layout, the volume buttons and the power button sits on the right side. The left side houses the triple card slot, so you do not have to choose between extra storage and an additional SIM. The top houses an extra mic for better voice reception. The bottom houses the primary mic, the speaker and the USB-C slot.
The 6.7-inch display on Samsung Galaxy A71 is similar to that on the previous gen, with the notch being the only exception. The resolution is FHD+ with the aspect ratio being 20:9 resulting in a pixel density of393, which is decent by today’s standard. You get GG3 protection on top to console your weak heart. The AMOLED panel is top class, and we would be nit-picking if we had anything to complain about.
Our only gripe is the lack of HDR certification, which we generally find in other phones around the same price range. Talking of the panel, you can expect a max brightness of around 400 nits in normal mode whereas the Adaptive Brightness pulls it up to 510 nits. The lower end spectrum came out at a respectable 1.7 nits.
The Samsung Galaxy A71 houses a big 4500 mAh cell with a 25W fast charge support. Unlike some other “luxury” brand, you will find the fast charger in the box, and there is no need to buy it separately. The endurance is excellent, and you can expect up to one and a half days on a single charge.
The right adapter is capable of topping it up from 0 to 50 per cent in 30 minutes, and it takes around 80 minutes for a full-stack. The efficient SD730 and an AMOLED screen mean you will barely have to worry about the battery life on the Galaxy A71.
Software and Performance
The Samsung Galaxy A71 runs on One UI 2.0 based on Android 10. There are several phones where we have seen the combination, and it is no different here. There are several nifty features like Edge Screen you get a Dark Mode which can force most of the apps to follow suit.
The chip inside is one of the most preferred processors in the last few months. It is a significant upgrade over the previous gen’s Sd675. You not only get newer cores and GPU but a more effective 8nm tech too.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon is an octa-core chipset with two clusters, one holding two 2.2GHz Kryo 470 Gold (Cortex-A76) and the other one houses six 1.8GHz Kryo 470 Silver (Cortex A-55). The Adreno 618 handles the graphics, instead of the Adreno 612 in the predecessor.
The general movement of the UI fast and fluid and the SD730 chip beneath does an excellent job in the day-to-day scenario. There was some stuttering while hovering through the UI, and the animations felt sluggish, but it got back to normal in a few seconds.
Even when the going gets tough, the Snapdragon mid-range champion barely breaks a sweat and handles everything like a champ. Plus, the storage has been upgraded to UFS 2.1 and coupled with 6 or 8 GB RAM, the overall performance is mid-range worthy.
The Galaxy A70 came with a unique 30 MP + 8 MP + 5 MP setup. It got a mid-cycle upgrade in the form of A70s coming with a 64 MP+ 8 MP + 5 MP setup. The current-gen gets another 5 MP macro lens in its kitty and a 12 MP ultra-wide one instead of the regular 8 MP we have seen so often.
The primary snapper is the 0.8um pixel 64 MP Quad Bayer Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1, which outputs 16 MP pixel-binned images by default. There are two 5 MP snappers too, one for depth and other is a macro lens. Also present is a single LED flash.
Samsung introduced a revamped Camera app with the One UI 2.0, which carries a larger font size and outlines for the selected mode. The Galaxy A71’s primary snapper shoots good images in broad daylight with superb contrast and lively colours. The pixel binning further helps it to keep noise to the minimum and preserve details in darker scenarios. The Auto HDR also boosts the colours and sharpens the overall image.
If you move on to de-bayering or shooting at full 64 MP mode, you will get a bit more details albeit a much larger file than the default mode. Auto HDR and Scene Enhancements are not available at the full resolution too.
The 12 MP snapper is the same as that in Samsung Galaxy A51, and it is a significant upgrade over the predecessor. There is a lot of detail, the dynamic range is impressive, and the 13mm lens ensures that you can get a wider frame more than usual.
The macros sensor has fixed focus at around 5cm, and unless you get the distance right, there will hardly be any chance of the image coming out without blur. But for the few instances when you get it right, the results are spectacular.
Low light performance
Coming from the A51 where we had found the low light imagery perform below-average, the Galaxy A71 is a welcome change. The images can be soft at times, but there is a lot of detail, and if you use the Night mode, it will further help you in preserving the highlights. Images during the night from the ultrawide sensor are excellent and usable, albeit with higher noise levels.
The front camera shoots at an unusual 12 MP. Given the 32 MP Quad Bayer, we expected it to shoot at 8 MP. Diving deep into the matter, we understood that Samsung is upscaling the 8 MP output to 12 MP for some reason. If we keep aside the hara-kiri, the images are decent with the right level of details and object separation.
The Samsung Galaxy A71 is a mid-rangers, and there are a lot of options which excel in more departments than one. Consider the Redmi K30, which offers a far better build and a 120Hz screen, albeit LCD. It also comes with dual-punch hole front cameras and a beefed-up SD 730G.
Then there is Realme X2 Pro which packs in an SD 855+ chipset and an sAMOLED screen at roughly the same price. Spend a bit more, and you can get the Samsung S10 Lite, which offers a far superior chipset and OIS but no headphone jack.
The bottom line
Like most other Samsung mid-rangers or budget offerings, the Galaxy A71 is good by itself when you do not bring in the competition. You get a reliable SD 730, an sAMOLED screen, a large battery and fast charge support.
The back looks exciting, and the smartphone doesn’t feel bulky to hold. The UI has a bit of jitter, but the overall day-to-day performance is enough for most users. The camera setup produces good results throughout and offers enough versatility to let you explore. The Samsung Galaxy A71 is overall a decent proposition, which packs in enough for even the A70 users to upgrade.