Table of Contents
New edition for the battery champion. The Galaxy A12 Nacho reveals good features in our review, but also some weaknesses. As with the Galaxy A12, the pricing of the Samsung phone is very attractive. Read our review to find out whether the entry-level smartphone is worth buying.
The Korean manufacturer adds another entry-level model to its popular A series. However, the Samsung phone with the model number SM-A127F is not completely new, because it’s very similar to its Galaxy A12 (SM-A125F) sibling. Although Samsung hasn’t formally changed the naming scheme, we will extend the name of the “newer” Galaxy A12 with its codename “Nacho” or “Exynos” to avoid confusion. After all, the only noteworthy difference can be found in the choice of SoCs. Unlike the A12 model, which was equipped with the MediaTek Helio P35, the 2021 variant is now based on the in-house Exynos 850 chipset.
We weren’t able to identify an MSRP for the Galaxy A12 Exynos, but the entry-level smartphone is available around the same street price as the 2020 model after market launch (about 170 Euros (~$192)). In return, buyers of the 6.5-inch Samsung smartphone get an HD+ display with a waterdrop notch, a 5,000 mAh battery, and a quad-camera setup with a 48 MP main camera.
Samsung Galaxy A12 Nacho specs:
Also known as Samsung Galaxy A12s
|NETWORK||Technology||GSM / HSPA / LTE|
|2G bands||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2 (dual-SIM only)|
|3G bands||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 2100|
|4G bands||1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40, 41|
|Speed||HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE Cat4 150/50 Mbps|
|LAUNCH||Announced||2021, August 09|
|Status||Available. Released 2021, August 09|
|BODY||Dimensions||164 x 75.8 x 8.9 mm (6.46 x 2.98 x 0.35 in)|
|Weight||205 g (7.23 oz)|
|Build||Glass front, plastic back, plastic frame|
|SIM||Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|Size||6.5 inches, 102.0 cm2 (~82.1% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||720 x 1600 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~270 ppi density)|
|PLATFORM||OS||Android 11, upgradable to Android 12, One UI 4.1|
|Chipset||Exynos 850 (8nm)|
|CPU||Octa-core (4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55 & 4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55)|
|MEMORY||Card slot||microSDXC (dedicated slot)|
|Internal||32GB 3GB RAM, 32GB 4GB RAM, 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM|
|MAIN CAMERA||Quad||48 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide), AF
5 MP, f/2.2, 123˚ (ultrawide)
2 MP, f/2.4, (macro)
2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
|Features||LED flash, panorama, HDR|
|SELFIE CAMERA||Single||8 MP, f/2.2|
|COMMS||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct|
|Bluetooth||5.0, A2DP, LE|
|Positioning||GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS|
|NFC||Yes (market/region dependent)|
|Radio||FM radio, RDS, recording|
|USB||USB Type-C 2.0|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer|
|Virtual proximity sensing|
|BATTERY||Type||Li-Po 5000 mAh, non-removable|
|MISC||Colors||Black, Blue, Red|
|Models||SM-A127F/DSN, SM-A127F/DS, SM-A127F, SM-A127M, SM-A127U|
|SAR EU||0.67 W/kg (head) 1.38 W/kg (body)|
|Price||$ 149.99 / € 249.00 / £ 155.51|
Disclaimer. We can not guarantee that the information on this page is 100% correct.
The front of the Nacho shows a drop-shaped notch – there are no differences to the Galaxy A12 here, just like with the rest of the design. The rather wide bezels above and below the display are perfectly acceptable for the price range. In numbers: About 82% of the front corresponds to the display.
The plastic back of the Galaxy A12 Exynos can be purchased in two color options. You can choose between a black and a white version. As expected from an entry-level smartphone, the Galaxy phone’s case is neither protected against dust nor water ingress. The controls for volume adjustment as well as the on/off switch are well manufactured and have pleasing pressure points.
The build quality is at a satisfactory level, but the Galaxy smartphone doesn’t feel premium. Both the back and the frame are made of plastic. We like the slightly textured surface – considering the material type – and it gives the Nacho a pleasant grip. However, haptics are somewhat marred by the seemingly hollow back. We can easily press in the plastic material by one to two millimeters in the central area above the Samsung logo.
Connectivity – Galaxy A12 Exynos with 3.5 mm audio jack
Prospective buyers of the Galaxy A12 Exynos can choose between 32 and 64 GB of eMMC storage supported by 3 GB or 4 GB of RAM, respectively. After taking the operating system and the preinstalled apps into account, our review sample only has 22 GB available out of the box. This results in very limited storage in the 32 GB version. However, a microSD card of up to 1 TB can be used for expanding storage without losing the dual-SIM functionality of the Samsung smartphone.
Other connectivity features of the Galaxy A12 Exynos include Miracast, which enables the wireless transmission of display content to external monitors, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and USB OTG. External storage devices are recognized reliably in the test, but data transfer speeds with the USB Type-C port are not very high due to the use of the USB 2.0 standard.
microSD card reader
The SD card reader extracts very decent transfer rates from our Angelbird V60 reference card. The copy speed of almost 50 MB/s is at a good level, and the performance in the Cross Platform Disk Test is also respectable.
When using a microSD card, the Nacho allows the user to choose whether the storage medium should be used as an expansion or as internal storage.
Software – Samsung smartphone with Android 11
Unlike the Galaxy A12, the Nacho comes straight with Android 11. We weren’t able to get any information on when Samsung will provide an update to Android 12 during the test period. The rollout for the A12 model is planned for July 2022 at least, so a similar schedule seems realistic for the Exynos version. We also presume that the Nacho, like its sibling model, will receive two major Android updates. The latter is worthy of praise in this price segment.
As usual, Samsung combines the Android system with its in-house One UI (Core) user interface in version 3.1, which also includes the smart assistant Bixby. In terms of security updates, which should be issued quarterly, the Galaxy A12 Exynos is a bit outdated with its latest update being at the level of October, but higher-priced mid-range alternatives are usually not any more up to date, either. Video content from streaming services can be viewed in HD quality with the Nacho, since the Widevine L1 certification process has been completed.
Samsung DeX is not supported by the Galaxy A12 Exynos. Samsung’s Knox security environment is integrated into the Nacho’s software as well as hardware. Consequently, the inexpensive mid-range model is not equipped with an extra desktop mode through Samsung DeX.
Communication and GNSS – Galaxy A12 Exynos with slow Wi-Fi
Samsung has installed a dedicated SIM card tray for two nano SIM cards as well as a slot for memory expansion in its entry-level smartphone. Both card slots in the Galaxy smartphone can connect to the mobile Internet via the LTE standard. As is typical for a smartphone in this price range, the number of frequency bands that the Nacho uses to communicate is low. The Exynos version of the Galaxy A12 can only access 10 LTE bands. However, no frequency bands are missing for the German-speaking region.
Bluetooth version 5.0 is available for wireless communication, and a chip for near-field communication (NFC) is also on board, so Google Pay can be used with the entry-level phone. A Play Protect certification for the payment service is provided.
The Wi-Fi module only supports the IEEE 802.11b/g/n standards, which means that it only communicates using the 2.4 GHz frequency band. This results in very low average transfer rates of about 40 to 50 Mb/s in our Wi-Fi test. Furthermore, the rates measured with the Nighthawk AX12 reference router aren’t very stable.
Performance – Galaxy A12 with Exynos SoC
In contrast to the Galaxy A12 with its MediaTek MT6765 Helio P35, the Nacho is equipped with the in-house Exynos 850 SoC. The latter offers eight cores with a performance of up to 2 GHz. Not only is the processor’s performance low, but the graphics power of the built-in Mali-G52 MP1 is also rather on the lower end of the performance spectrum.
Nevertheless, there’s still a significant increase in our benchmark package compared with the Galaxy A12 with the MediaTek SoC, especially when it comes to graphics.
Unfortunately, this performance gain is not noticeable in everyday use. The Exynos 850 in combination with 3 GB of RAM provides a solid system performance in the entry-level segment. Application loading times are quite pronounced due to the slow eMMC storage, and brief lags are a daily occurrence, even in simple applications. When running complex apps or background processes, the One UI on the Galaxy A12 Exynos sometimes needs to take a break.
It often takes several seconds to open the keyboard, and scrolling is very choppy on websites with a lot of image content. We would strongly advise all prospective buyers of the Nacho to choose the version with 4 GB of RAM, in spite of the general performance deficits that are likely to remain.