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Samsung’s $299 Galaxy A05s reviewed

Quick review

Samsung Galaxy A05s - $299
The good
An inexpensive Galaxy phone
A relatively decent big screen for the price
Reasonable camera in the price range
The not-so-good
Camera is slower to fire than it should be
Weak performance that makes using the phone difficult at times
No NFC means no payment support

A cut-cost Samsung Galaxy is going to make compromises, but how many is too many? In the Galaxy A05s, the low price mightn’t be the drawcard you think.

Phones getting more and more affordable, as the cost of high-end technology drops, putting devices in reach of more people.

You no longer need to spend a proverbial arm or leg to get something with a big screen, big battery, and at least one camera, as options in the mid-range pop out, and even models priced a little lower in the budget part of the market. That’s great news for folks who don’t have heaps of money to spend, because it means they can get something decent, too.

There are plenty of options, but turning to models from big brands you may have a familiarity with, that can be a little different. Motorola and Oppo have made quite a dent with great models and marketing, but if you’re someone who fancies a Samsung Galaxy, yet just don’t have the money, you mightn’t be in luck.

And then you also might, as Samsung delivers a cut-cost Galaxy for folks under $300. Is the Galaxy A05s worth its $249 price, or would you be better off with a phone from someone else?

All reviews at Pickr are subject to experienced testing methodologies. Find out why you can trust us and change the way you choose.


Marketed as inexpensive option in the Galaxy line, the look of the A05s is a little different from other budget phones, simply because it looks a little more premium than much of what you can find for under $300.

If you’ve seen Samsung’s Galaxy S23, and you can imagine replacing the premium materials of glass and metal with plastic and plastic, that’s the vibe of what Samsung is offering in the A05s.

Specifically, it’s a phone modelled on the Galaxy line-up, but with plastic instead.

The matte black look of the A05s we spent time with was simple enough, and it looks a little more premium than many other budget phones, thanks to how closely it resembles more expensive Samsung Galaxy models upon first glance.


Look a little deeper and it’s pretty easy to see this phone isn’t a flagship and shouldn’t be compared to one. It might look a little like a flagship Galaxy, but it is most certainly not.

Instead of swathes of memory and storage alongside a super-fast Snapdragon chip, you’ll find a 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, a microSD card slot, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chip.

On the back, there are three cameras, covering 50 megapixels for the main wide camera, plus a 2 megapixel camera each for macro and depth, which flank the main 50 megapixel camera sitting in the middle of the traffic light design. Meanwhile, the front sees a 13 megapixel selfie camera.

The omission of NFC is a touch surprising though, meaning you get WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, and 4G, but no way to pay for goods and services using your phone. Mind you, there is a 3.5mm headset jack, which is handy for plugging in headphones, should you need to do that.

All of this sits under a 6.7 inch Full HD+ LCD screen, and you get a fingerprint sensor on the side, too.

ModelSamsung Galaxy A05s
ChipQualcomm Snapdragon 680
RAM/Storage4GB RAM; 128GB
OSAndroid 13
Cameras50mp main, 2mp macro, 2mp depth
Connections4G, WiFi 5, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, USB-C
Size/Weight8.8mm, 194g
PriceStarting from $299 AUD


Technically, you’ll find a fingerprint sensor on the right side of the phone to quickly let you jump into using the handset, and it’s paired with a facial security system thanks to that camera up front.

That’ll make logging into the phone fairly easy, and Android 13 is here, too. Granted, that’s a good half year old by this reviewer’s standards, but still good. It’s like using just about any other Android phone, which these days is a cinch.

There’s also technically a 90Hz screen in the Galaxy A05s, a surprising inclusion given the $299 price tag, but a lack of updates in our review model means we couldn’t actually switch that feature on. We can see the tech is there, but as Alex Kidman learned in his review of the A05s, you need a different version of Samsung’s One UI to switch the feature on, and ours was not equipped, even though we looked.

For most people, this won’t be a big issue; whether you use the stock standard 60Hz or the faster animations of 90Hz, using the phone comes with a bit of a problem of patience, or more specifically, performance.


Android on the A05s may well be like using any other Samsung phone, but the performance is not, delivering sub-par performance in pretty much every respect possible.

Even when we were installing our regular assortment of apps to the Galaxy A05s for testing, we had an inkling that this wouldn’t be a particularly fun review. The keyboard wasn’t super responsive, we weren’t able to jump between apps altogether quickly, and the whole experience felt clunky from the get-go.

It’s a far cry from the brilliance of the Galaxy S24 Ultra, though the price is severely different, as well.

And then we ran benchmarks, and it painted a picture of just how dire the performance is on this phone.

“Not great” would be the diplomatic way of saying it, with the A05s delivering one of the worst set of speed benchmarks we’ve seen, taking forever for the benching process and even crashing out on one of the tests.

Synthetic benchmarks may not be a perfect way to judge performance, but they do provide a way of understanding raw performance capability, and it is not positive on the Galaxy A05s.

It obviously looks worse if you compare opposite ends of the spectrum, with the Galaxy A05s dramatically slow against the Galaxy S24 Ultra. These two phones are miles apart, not just in features, design, and performance, but in price point.

However, it does show that the A05s isn’t made for performance at all. It’s made to work as a phone and a little more. How much little more will depend on your needs and patience levels.

This is not a powerful phone, even for a budget phone.

You will get 4G access for your troubles, which may be enough for buyers of this phone.

In our tests on the Telstra network in Australia, we found 4G speeds as high as 58Mbps when we ran speed tests in Sydney, and for the most part, the phone handled fine. It should serve web browsing, emails, and music and video streaming perfectly well.


Interestingly, Samsung has loaded more cameras than you may expect for a budget phone, so you have three to work with, and they are better than expected, even if the camera performance is also slow.

Technically, there’s a 50 megapixel camera here accompanied by a 2 megapixel macro camera and a 2 megapixel depth camera, but you only really have access to two of these. The last one, the depth camera, is for blurring the background, so consider the Galaxy A05s a two camera system, even if it looks like three.

Even still, this sounds positive for such an inexpensive phone, but the usability of these cameras is hampered by the subpar system performance, something we learned in our time reviewing the phone.

Press the on-screen shutter and the phone will fire the shot about half a second to a full second after you’ve asked it to. This is not an instantaneous response, like you might expect. It’s not even quick, but rather slow, like the rest of the phone.

While your images will likely be delayed slightly — or more than slightly sometimes — the results range from okay to being better off using your memory.

In daylight, it is possible for the 50 megapixel camera of the A05s to grab some decent shots, a second or so behind when you actually pressed the on-screen shutter or triggered the volume key. It’s not fast, but it can work.

At night, however, and the camera system just struggles. If it wasn’t bad enough that the camera was slow, the bracketing system for combining images doesn’t do much more than get noisy shots with mediocre contrast. We don’t usually say “use the flash”, but if you have to get a night shot with the A05s, you may want to consider it.


The one redeeming feature from such a meh performance and ho-hum camera system may be the battery, with a massive 5000mAh battery getting roughly two days in our tests, even if the performance may hamper your ability to use the phone.

If you don’t need to rely on the phone for much and can deal with the sub-par performance, the battery life is definitely one of the better features of the phone.


Samsung’s other positive aspect of the Galaxy A05s is the price, which sees retail in Australia for $299 (but can be found for at least $249), making it one of the least expensive Samsung Galaxy phones around.

As part of the Galaxy A-series, there’s already a heads up that it’s an inexpensive phone. For folks paying attention, the Galaxy S is the premium models, the Galaxy Z is the range of foldable screens, while the Galaxy A is typically the less expensive mid-range and budget options. There may still be a Galaxy J range, which in the past has served the budget category well.

So the model gives us a heads up of what to expect in the first place, but even so, the price just doesn’t feel justified.

On the one hand, yes you get the Samsung Galaxy experience for a lower price. You get it with a big screen. You get it with several cameras. You get it with a sizeable battery, too. The Galaxy A05s certainly looks like value.

But the practicality of the performance means the A05s doesn’t come off as great value, because using the phone can be hard work.

What needs work?

So hard that reviewing this phone was just awkward. Knowing the performance wasn’t strong may mean you won’t want to actively take the phone out of your pocket to use it.

We’re not talking simply about not wanting to play games — that’s not a major part of our tests. No, we’re talking about loading regular apps, such as a streaming service or even typing messages and browsing the web. The basics a smartphone has been known to be useful for are hampered almost miserably by the hardware, so much that we could see it upon setup of the device.

At the first level of even using the Galaxy A05s, we could see the lag. That is not a good sign.

We pushed on using the phone through the review, because there’d be no way to properly review it otherwise, and found the performance was sometimes fine, before jumping back into its excruciatingly slow delivery. Delayed camera action was consistent, while app loading often lagged, too.

This is not a well balanced handset. Not by a long shot.

Final thoughts (TLDR)

It’s difficult to recommend Samsung’s cut-cost Galaxy, largely because there’s a balance of features that ultimately doesn’t seem to pay off, and it’s surprising. Frankly, we’re more surprised the phone made it out of quality assurance and testing at all, simply because of the lag the phone delivers.

On paper, Samsung’s combination of a big screen, several cameras, generous storage, and sizeable battery look good, especially when you match it with the otherwise nice and easy Galaxy design. But the practicality is a performance that doesn’t stack up, and it makes the whole phone harder than it should be.

The Galaxy A05s should be a well-rounded budget Samsung phone. It should be. It’s not. What it is, however, is a good attempt that needs a lot of ironing out. Notably in the performance, which lets everything down.

If Samsung can release some patches and firmware updates to fix things, there’s a balanced winner here. Until that happens, however, we’d look at models from other brands to fit this price point.

Samsung Galaxy A05s
Ease of use
The good
An inexpensive Galaxy phone
A relatively decent big screen for the price
Reasonable camera in the price range
The not-so-good
Camera is slower to fire than it should be
Weak performance that makes using the phone difficult at times
No NFC means no payment support
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