Not long ago, OnePlus almost owned the flagship killer moniker. The brand’s smartphones dominated the Rs 30,000 to 40,000 price band with devices that delivered key flagship level features at a price tag that didn’t require you to break the bank. The last two years have seen multiple brands make a play for this price band as we’re seeing more flagship features percolate down to this competitive segment. This price band is seeing a renewed interest with customers revisiting purchase drivers in a post-pandemic world. Just six months ago we were impressed with Samsung’s design aesthetic for some of its A series devices. The A52 was one of these devices. Now Samsung has added a few key enhancements with the A52S that’s also 5G ready.

We’ve said this before, Samsung has got its design language right with the top-end A series devices. It’s Scandinavian minimalism at play; although it’s finished with a plastic back it feels every inch premium. The 3.5mm headphone jack is a convenient inclusion, especially for all you folks who still refuse to part with your favourite wired headphones. We checked out the black colour variant (the light violet is the pick of the colour options that also includes white) with a matte finish. It doesn’t attract fingerprints and rests easy on your hand; at 189 gm it’s the perfect heft. This despite a 4500 mAh battery under the hood. Samsung finds the balance between function and form; the battery comfortably lasted a day in our tests. While the battery is compliant with a 25W fast charger, Samsung bundles a 15W charger in the box. We would have liked to see a 25W charger as part of the retail bundle.

One of the big upgrades (over the A52) is the 120Hz refresh rate display. The 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display (1080 x 2400 pixels) is one of our favourite features of this device. Colours are punchy, the 120Hz refresh rate makes the overall user experience much more immersive and fluidic. You will see the difference when you go into gaming mode or catch videos. Samsung has also added stereo speakers to up the entertainment creds of this device. Sound quality is quite good but it’s certainly not the loudest out there.

The camera set up is identical to the A52. You get a rear cam with four lenses including a 64MP primary lens with OIS. Just like the A52 the addition of OIS (optical image stabilisation) makes a significant difference in our lowlight tests. Videos benefit from the video stabilisation mode (you can activate it in the camera menu) while shooting videos. A 12MP Ultra-wide lens, a 5MP depth sensor and a 5MP macro lens complete the set up. We wish Samsung had swapped the Macro lens for a telephoto lens. The 32MP selfie cam shoots sharp selfies.

This device doesn’t just get a 5G upgrade, there’s also a faster chipset under the hood. The A52S 5G is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor. This processor gives this much more firepower than its predecessor. The A52S clocked a score of 2868 in our Geekbench benchmark test (vis-à-vis 1574 for the A52) is at the heart of the A52. This is not the fastest processor at this price range but should satisfy most average users’ need for speed. Samsung offers a choice of 6GB/128GB and 8GB/128GB (that we checked out). The Samsung Galaxy A52S delivers good value at its price point and also includes other flagship features like an IP67 rating (for water and dust resistance). Samsung’s new flagship killer certainly has a few aces up its sleeve.

The Samsung Galaxy A52S 5G comes  in two variants – 6GB/128GB – Rs 35,999 or 8GB/128GB – Rs 37,499 and a choice of three colours (Light Violet, Black and White)