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It’s the year 2021, and we already had the S21 trio of Samsung high-end phones over for review. On the opposite end of the Galaxy spectrum is the Galaxy A12 (12, not 21) – an entry-level handset designed to offer the Samsung experience, on a budget.
Announced late last year and available since January, the Galaxy A12 is not the absolute most affordable phone Samsung sells – the Galaxy M02 gets that title. Samsung’s naming is a bit iffy in the lower tier and it can get confusing what’s what between the A and M series but the A12 sits just below the M12, and above the M02s. Not all of these models are available globally so you may or may not be able to snatch the most affordable Samsung in your particular neck of the woods.
The Galaxy A12 we have here is equipped with a 6.5-inch display and the consequences of the budget constraints are easy to spot. It’s one of few LCDs in the OLED-dominated Galaxy lineup, and the 720p resolution is also on the low side of average for the diagonal. It’s a fairly standard combo of size, technology and resolution for the segment, so the A12 isn’t ill-equipped, in fact.
The Mediatek Helio P35 is doing the math inside the A12 and that too isn’t a particularly exciting bit of hardware on its own. Again, however, it’s perfectly adequate for the price point – you’re getting an octa-core CPU and the chip is built on a 12nm fabrication process, so it should be decently powerful and frugal at the same time.
The quad camera setup on the back actually makes a strong case for the Galaxy A12 in its market context. While the usefulness of the two 2MP modules is debatable (one for depth data, the other for ‘macro’), the 48MP main camera and a 5MP ultrawide make for nice tandem that’s hard to find. An 8MP selfie camera completes the picture in the imaging department.
Samsung Galaxy A12 specs at a glance:
- Body: 164.0×75.8×8.9mm, 205g; Glass front, plastic back.
- Display: 6.50″ PLS IPS, 720x1600px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 270ppi.
- Chipset: Mediatek MT6765 Helio P35 (12nm): Octa-core (4×2.35 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53); PowerVR GE8320.
- Memory: 32GB 3GB RAM, 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM; eMMC 5.1; microSDXC (dedicated slot).
- OS/Software: Android 10, OneUI 2.5.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 48 MP, f/2.0, 26mm, AF; Ultra wide angle: 5 MP, f/2.2, 123˚; Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4; Depth: 2 MP, f/2.4.
- Front camera: 8 MP, f/2.2.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 1080p@30fps; Front camera: 1080p@30fps.
- Battery: 5000mAh; Fast charging 15W.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); FM radio; 3.5mm jack.
One last important bit – the Galaxy A12 is powered by a 5,000mAh battery and that’s a lot of battery for a 12nm entry-level chipset and a 720p display, 6.5-inch as it may be. We’re expecting solid numbers for battery life.
Samsung Galaxy A12 unboxing
The Galaxy A12 arrives in a simple package that has the plain cardboard box inside a sleeve, a likeness of the phone printed on top. You get a couple of essentials – a 15W adaptor and USB-C cable and that’s it.
Taking out the phone reveals a nicely textured back
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 • Xiaomi Poco M3 • Realme 7 (Global) • Motorola Moto G9 Power
Samsung often struggles to compete with the value-oriented brands in the lower market segments, and that’s the case with the Galaxy A12 we have here. It’s not a bad phone, and it excels in endurance, it takes decent pictures, and it looks good in the process. It’s also a Samsung, and the brand itself could make it more appealing than its actual merits.
But if you’re on a limited budget, is it really all that important what badge is on the back of your phone? Opting for one of the competitors will likely get you a superior overall package, and you might even save a little. If, however, you must absolutely get a Galaxy, the A12 is a reasonable compromise. It wouldn’t be our top choice for the money, though.
- Standout textured back, nice-feeling plastics.
- Excellent battery life.
- Relatively capable camera setup, ultra-wide is not all that common in the price range.
- Slow charging.
- Underpowered chipset.
- No night mode, no video stabilization.