Cheap phones are have a moment. For the first time, you can pay just $250 for a smartphone and expect it to receive security updates for four years† You’ll find smooth performance that can crush most smartphone tasks, even gaming, and capture pleasing photos you won’t want to poke your eyes out. That is my experience with the Samsung Galaxy A13 5G.
This Android phone may not look great – the plastic-like construction feels cheap and attracts so many fingerprints – but I’ve been using it for almost a month with barely a hitch. If you hate spending money on a phone and don’t mind having the best cameras, the A13 5G has the basics at a very low price.
For cheap phones, you at least need a device that can run all your favorite apps and games without too much stuttering or lag. The Mediatek Dimensity 700 processor in the Galaxy A13 5G succeeds here. Apps open relatively quickly, switching between apps is snappy and I’ve rarely seen this phone slow down. Even games like Pako Forever and Dead cells admirably performed on the device.
There’s a 5,000mAh battery cell that will keep the A13 5G luging around for more than a full day. If you’re conservative enough, you can get two full days out of this phone, but I usually had a day and a half of battery life. Like most cheap phones, there is no wireless charging and don’t expect it to charge 100 percent quickly.
You only get 64 gigabytes of storage, which is on the low end for a phone at this price, but there’s a MicroSD card slot that lets you expand that space if you need more. Other perks include NFC so you can make contactless payments with Google Pay (a must-have on any phone in my opinion), a power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor, and a headphone jack.
Samsung’s software interface isn’t as simple as you’d find on phones like the Moto G Stylus 2022 or OnePlus Nord N20 5G — and there are plenty of Samsung apps — but you can uninstall a lot of them, and there’s still a lot of them. customization. Samsung has an edge over its competitors when it comes to software support: it promises two OS upgrades and four years of security updates. No other phone in this price range comes close. (The A13 5G launched on Android 11, but has already been updated to Android 12 and will also get Android 13.)
The screen is one of the few parts of this phone that is disappointing. It is a low-resolution LCD display with a refresh rate of 90 Hz. Sure, the interaction with the screen feels pretty smooth. But if you look closely, things can appear blurry. This didn’t greatly affect my experience using the phone, but the poor screen brightness did. It can be difficult to read the screen when you’re outside in direct sunlight, and it doesn’t help that Samsung’s auto-brightness feature adjusts slowly. Most of the time I had to manually set the screen brightness.
The camera system won’t win any prizes either. Don’t be fooled by the three-camera array. It is a 50-megapixel main camera paired with a 2-megapixel macro and 2-megapixel depth camera. The latter is only useful for enhancing portrait mode photos with a more precise blur effect, and I’ve rarely found the need for a macro camera (which lets you take super close-up shots of objects).