Samsung Galaxy A30 review: Sleek design, great display but Galaxy M30 offers better value
Samsung has come into 2019 with a mission to aggressively expand its portfolio of affordable phones to offer consumers enough options to lead them away from competition like Redmi, Honor and Nokia. In a span of three months, the company has launched three Galaxy M-series phone and three Galaxy A-series phones in India. All of theses devices slot between Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000, and you can expect some of them to overlap with each other. The Galaxy A30, for example, is a phone that is priced really close to the Galaxy M30 (Review).
The Galaxy A30 was launched in India alongside the Galaxy A10 and A50 a few weeks ago. In terms of pricing, it slots just below the Galaxy A50 (Review) and falls along the line of the Galaxy M30 in terms of pricing and specs. Priced at Rs 16,990, the Galaxy A30 brings a watedrop AMOLED display, glasstic design, dual camera setup and a new Exynos chipset. But is the Galaxy A30 worth buying over the Galaxy M30? Read our review of the Galaxy A30 to find out.
Galaxy A30 Design
Samsung has been making some really good-looking affordable phones this year. We loved the design of the Galaxy A50 along with its gradient colours, and the Galaxy A30 gets a similar design, more or less. The handset offers a 3D glasstic rear panel that curves nicely around the corners to meet a thin frame. The panel looks like glass but Samsung has used plastic, which does attract a lot of fingerprint and smudges. We also noticed some scratches after a few days of using without a cover.
The Galaxy A30 is a slim phone and looks a lot sleeker than the Galaxy M30. The glossy rear panel also makes it look more premium compared to the Galaxy M device. The shiny glasstic back plate comes in Black, Blue and Red, the latter being announced only recently. We received the black colour option for review, but it actually looks grey-isn rather than black. The panel isn't reflective, but its refractive nature shows streaks of light shimmer depending on the angle you view it.
The Galaxy A30 gets a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor that is ideally placed for the finger to reach. The Galaxy A30 isn't wide, so you get a good in-hand grip of the device, and it helps that the phone is also lightweight. The volume and power buttons on the side are easy to reach and tactile enough. The bottom of the frame sees a 3.5mm headphone jack and single speaker grille flanking a Type-C port. Lastly, the phone supports a triple card slot for two nano SIM cards and a microSD card.
Galaxy A30 Display
The Galaxy A30 gets the same 6.4-inch FHD+ Infinity-U Super AMOLED display as the Galaxy M30, so you can expect the same level of quality across the two devices. The panel looks great with plenty of sharpness and detail. Colours look vivid and saturated with the screen on the Adaptive display setting where you can also adjust the white balance if you want it warmer or cooler. You have a few more displays options if you want to tone the colours down to look a little more natural.
Samsung's AMOLED display with 1080p resolution is terrific for watching videos and playing games. The display looks rich and lively with colours that pop and deep blacks. Viewing angles are great and so are the brightness levels, so you won't have trouble seeing the display under bright light. The Galaxy A30 also gets the Widevine L1 certification for HD support on platforms like Netflix and Prime Video, some Samsung has made sure for most of its phones.
Galaxy A30 Performance and Software
Another similarity between the Galaxy A30 and Galaxy M30 is the processor. The Galaxy A30 gets a 1.8GHz octa-core Exynos 7904 chipset, which is based on a 14nm process. The chipset two Cortex-A73 cores that run at 1.8GHz, and six Cortex-A53 cores that run at 1.6GHz, so it is largely focuses on power efficiency. The chipset is paired with 4GB of RAM, which may sound less but the device's RAM management makes sure you get a pretty smooth multitasking experience without killing off a lot of background apps.
The Galaxy A30 performs well when it comes to handling day-to-day tasks like messaging, social media browsing and web surfing. I barely ran into any stuttering or lag after the initial setup process was complete. It is also capable of running graphic intensive games like PUBG smoothly on medium graphics. However, the chipset will struggle with slowdown and drops in frame rate if you bump up the graphics to high. Opening and loading apps is not exactly snappy, but that's largely due to the animations.
One of the advantages the Galaxy A30 has over its Galaxy M-series counterpart is the software. The Galaxy A30 runs on the latest Android Pie software with Samsung's new One UI on top. The One UI experience is a marked improvement over Experience UI as it offers a simplistic, minimalistic UI that has been designed to make one-handed use easier.
The redesigned app icons combined with system-wide Night Mode is highly appealing to the eyes. Bloatware has been reduced and the focus is on offering a clean and simple interface with an emphasis on content that you need, which makes it a delightful experience for all age groups. That being said, you still get a few preloaded apps like Amazon, DailyHunt, Samsung Members and a couple of Microsoft apps. Most of these apps cannot be uninstalled.
Samsung has so far been consistent with its software updates, but it is still to early to tell whether it maintains the pace. During the review period, the Galaxy A30 received the April 2019 security patch, which also brought improvements to the earphones sound, security and stability to the performance.
Talking about the fingerprint sensor and face unlock, both the biometric options are unfortunately slow. In my experience, I found the sensors to work slower on the Galaxy A30 compared to the Galaxy M30. The bottom-firing speaker sounds clean and loud enough for indoor listening. Call quality is clear as well with good volume levels over the earpiece.
Galaxy A30 Camera
The Galaxy A30 sports a 16-megapixel primary camera with a wide f/1.7 aperture, which does admirably in low-light. There is a secondary 5-megapixel sensor with an ultra wide-angle lens and f/2.2 aperture. On the front, the Galaxy A30 gets a 16-megapixel f/2.0 selfie camera.
The camera app is simple to use with you basic modes like Photo, Video, Live Focus, Pro and Panorama options in a carousel on the bottom and the buttons to switch between standard and wide-angle just above that. Right next to it you have the Scene Optimiser button that is enabled by default. This allows the camera to detect certain scenes and automatically adjust the settings to offer more attractive photos. So,. if you're shooting food, the camera will detect that and will automatically boost the saturation to make it look more vivid, appealing and social media-ready.
The primary camera captures good-looking photos in daylight with plenty of saturation and good detail. In daylight conditions, the Galaxy A30's camera will offer results that are similar in sharpness and appeal of a Realme 2 Pro or a Redmi Note 7 Pro. Things start to fall flat when shooting indoors as photos often come out with some noise and smoothness.
The wide aperture of the primary camera does well to offer decent low-light photos. Photos do look bright and clear as long as one does not zoom in. However, the lack of a dedicated long-exposure mode is missed in tricky low-light scenarios where the camera is unable to reduce noise or offer more clarity. In such scenarios, the Redmi Note 7 Pro or a Realme 3 perform far better than the Galaxy A30.
Much like every other Galaxy phone this year, the Galaxy A30 also gets an ultra wide-angle secondary camera, which is best utilised in daylight conditions. It comes in handy when you want to capture scenes that requires a wider field-of-view without having to move a few steps back. Wide-angle shots in low-light look unappealing as photos look washed out, soft and lack detail.
The 16MP selfie camera also manages to capture crisp selfies in daylight conditions, but the performance instantly drops indoors and in low-light where selfies look soft and facial features lack sharpness. Beauty is enabled by default, but you can disable it for more realistic looking selfies.
Overall, the cameras are fine for daylight photography, but if you're someone who prefers taking photos after sunset, you may want to look at some of the newer phones from Xiaomi or Realme that offer better computational photography.
Galaxy A30 Battery
Samsung has been pretty generous on the battery front for most of its phones in 2019, and the Galaxy A30 is no different. The phone houses a 4,000mAh battery which is sufficient to handle most intensive tasks and still have some left in the tank by the end of the day. The Galaxy A30 can stretch to over a full day on days with basic usage like messaging, some social media browsing, a 30 minute session of PUBG and a couple of hours of video streaming.
Even with the Always-On display enabled, you won't have the charge the Galaxy A30 more than once in a day. Samsung also offers a couple of intensive battery saving features that can help you get the most juice out of it. The maximum battery saving mode will limit usable apps to just the Phone, Messages, Internet and Setting apps. It will stop background apps, biometrics and will dim the brightness extend the battery life as much as possible.
The Galaxy A30 supports fast charging and you get a 15W Adaptive Fast Charger with the box that takes a little over an hour and a half to fully charge the device.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy A30?
The Galaxy A30 is a good-looking phone for its price. Despite the plastic build, the phone looks sleek and attractive, more so than the Galaxy M30. With the A30, you also get a decent performance, good battery life and a sweet AMOLED display. It also comes with One UI, which gives it an edge over the M30, but the cameras are largely underwhelming.
Samsung has crowded the affordable segment with some great phones. While the Galaxy A30 is a good phone, you already have the Galaxy M30 that is almost identical, if not better in some areas, at a cheaper price. For a little more money, you have a fantastic Galaxy A50 under Rs 20,000. The Galaxy A30 just doesn't seem to fit between these two phones.
In the larger scheme of things, the Galaxy A30 will struggle against competition in the online market like the Redmi Note 7 Pro or the Realme 2 Pro (perhaps the upcoming Realme 3 Pro as well), which offer a better cameras, faster processors and generally more bang for the buck. I reckon the Galaxy A30 will find a lot of buyers in the offline retail sector where the Galaxy M-series doesn't exist.