Samsung Galaxy A14 5G Review: Worth the hype?
Outside of the flagship S23 series, the Galaxy A14 is Samsung’s most hyped phone in recent times. It is the company’s cheapest 5G phone and bears the camera design as the said flagships. But is it really worth it? Let’s find out in this detailed review of the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G.
Before we begin, let’s have a quick look at the official specifications and pricing of the Galaxy A14 5G.
Samsung Galaxy A14 5G Specifications:
- Dimensions: 167.7 x 78.0 x 9.1mm, 202 grams
- Display: 6.6-inches FHD+ “Infinity-V” PLS, 90Hz refresh rate, Gorilla Glass 5 protection
- Chipset: Exynos 1330 (5nm Mobile Platform)
- CPU: Octa-core (2×2.4 GHz Cortex-A78 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)
- GPU: Mali G68 MP2
- Memory: 4/6/8GB RAM, 64/128GB storage (expandable)
- Software & UI: Android 13 with One UI Core 5.0 on top
- Rear Camera: Triple-camera;
– 50MP primary sensor
– 2MP portrait lens
– 2MP macro lens
- Front Camera: 13MP sensor (notch)
- Audio: Loudspeaker, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Security: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor, Face unlock
- Battery: 5000mAh with 15W fast charging (No Charger in the box)
- Price in Nepal: Rs. 27,999 (6/128GB)
Samsung Galaxy A14 5G Review:
Design and Display
- 167.7 x 78.0 x 9.1mm, 202 grams
- Glass front, Plastic back/frames
- 6.6-inches FHD+ PLS, 90Hz
- Gorilla Glass 5 protection
Let’s start with the design that everyone’s raving about. Samsung has taken visual cues from the S23 series and combined them with these ridges to create a really cool-looking phone, especially this light green option. The side frames are also slightly curved, making the fingerprint scanner more accessible while improving the grip as well.
So far so good, right? But all of this changes when you flip the phone 180 degrees. Those thick bezels and that waterdrop notch look outdated even for a budget phone in 2023. And its display is nothing impressive either. At this price point, an AMOLED screen is quite common, but you only get a PLS screen here, which is Samsung’s equivalent to an IPS panel.
Don’t get me wrong, its colors and viewing angles are also quite good for an LCD screen but no kidding, it’s nowhere near an AMOLED panel. A good display has been something of a major selling point in Samsung phones in this segment like 2 to 3 years ago but sadly, the company is now falling behind most of its competitors like Xiaomi and Realme.
Also, the fact that the Galaxy A14 has a single bottom-firing speaker is another bummer. So I missed that richer, stereo audio output while listening to music or even watching movies on this thing.
- Octa-core Exynos 1330 (5nm Mobile Platform)
- 4/6/8GB RAM, 64/128GB Storage (expandable)
Now, the performance part here is a bit trickier since the Exynos 1330 chip powering this phone actually looks pretty capable on paper. In fact, it is as powerful as the Exynos 1280 found on last year’s premium midrange phones like Galaxy A53 and A33 5G.
But well…, raw power is essentially useless if the processor hasn’t been optimized enough to make the most out of it. This is something I have experienced in many Samsung phones before, including the Galaxy A33 and A53. And unfortunately, I got to relive all that on the A14 once again.
To be fair, it‘s good enough for small, lightweight tasks like phone calls, messages, and web browsing. But pushing it only a little further by bringing some multitasking into the mix is when the phone starts showing its true colors. I occasionally noticed the phone stutter trying to switch between different apps as well, whereas it would also take a bit longer to open big apps and games.
That lack of proper optimization continues in the gaming arena too. For instance, PUBG: Mobile maxes out at just 30 fps even at the lowest graphics option. Out of all the games I tested, only Call of Duty played nicely with this latest Exynos chip. And the A14’s cooling solution is not that effective either, which means the phone cannot sustain the same level of performance for longer sessions.
This is most noticeable when playing heavier games like Genshin Impact. Not only does the phone get quite warm, but there are also frame drops more often than you would like. It’s the same when playing high fps titles like Critical Ops and Mech Arena too.
Software and UI
- Android 13 with One UI Core 5.0 on top
- 2 years of OS, 4 years of guaranteed security updates
On the software side, Galaxy A14 ships with the new One UI Core 5.0. And Samsung promises 2 years of Android and 4 years of security updates for this phone, which is simply unmatched by any other brand in this price range.
Despite being a Core version, the UI is on the heavier side. For instance, the system alone takes 15GB which can be an issue if you go with the base 4/64GB variant. Fortunately, Samsung only ships the 6/128GB variant in the Nepali market which should fare better in the long run.
- Triple camera setup at the back
- (50MP primary, 2MP portrait, 32MP macro)
- 16MP selfie camera (notch cutout)
Now let’s talk about the cameras. The Galaxy A14 sports a triple-sensor setup at the back, consisting of a 50MP primarya 2MP depthand a 2MP macro sensor. Yep, there’s no ultrawide camera here.
Anyway, we all know Samsung’s camera optimization is quite impressive even in the budget segment, but it’s not like the competition has absolutely terrible cameras or anything.
So I compared the Galaxy A14 with the POCO X5, aka the Redmi Note 12, and found that the images from Samsung look a bit livelier with poppy colors and better dynamic range.
However, like most budget phones, both of them struggle in low-light conditions. Although turning on Night Mode helps a little, with the A14 managing better shots once again.
And Samsung has a definite win in terms of portraits too. It does a pretty good job of retaining the subject’s natural skin tone whereas the POCO X5’s portraits look warm and contrast-heavy.
I also like how the selfies from its 13MP sensor come off quite lively.
So, overall, photo-wise, it is marginally better than the competition! Then again, the Galaxy A14’s videography aspect is half-baked right now. Samsung says the Exynos 1330 can record at up to 4K 30 fps, but the phone is limited to just 1080p 30 fps videos from both the front and back cameras.
Battery and Charging
Likewise, the battery life on this phone is also quite good as I was easily getting a full day with the 5,000mAh battery on moderate usage. And with a relatively easier usage pattern, I could even extend it up to 2 days. No sweat. But since the phone only supports 15W charginga full refill takes quite a long. Around two and a half hours to be precise.
What’s even worse is that you will have to buy the charger separately since Samsung only offers a Type-C to Type-C adapter in the box. Not to mention, Samsung doesn’t even offer other basic accessories like screen protector and a clear case inside the box. And all that really adds up to the final cost, which ultimately hurts Samsung’s “cheap 5G phone” claims.
Samsung Galaxy A14 5G Review: Conclusion
The Galaxy A14 5G is what Samsung says it is—a cheap 5G phone. For this alone the phone has garnered a lot of popularity in markets like the US and Europe where there are not that many budget phones to choose from.
However, all these changes when we look at countries like ours without proper 5G infrastructure. The smartphone market is too competitive to ignore the phone’s sub-par multimedia experience, optimization, and lack of an ultrawide camera and charger. Even in India, you can get 5G phones that offer better value for money.
- Watch our review of the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G.
Samsung Galaxy A14 5G Review: Pros and Cons
- 5G on budget
- Reliable primary camera
- Android 13 with promised updates
- Good battery life
- Outdated notch display
- Mono Speaker
- No ultrawide camera
- No charger in the box