❤ Samsung Galaxy A71

 

 

The Galaxy A refresh has begun and the A51 and A71 are headliners of this new generation. Punch-hole appears to be the buzzword in this new series, though you should expect updated chipsets and cameras as well. And the Galaxy A71 has all these, topped with new Android and One UI.

 

 

 

 

 

Indeed, the Galaxy A71 seems to be packing just enough to warrant its upgrade status over the A70 – a smaller notch, a newer chip, a higher-res and higher-count camera setup, and newer Android and One launcher.

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, Glasstic is still the way forward for the Galaxy A lineup, and waterproofing is still not in the cards. The large 4,500 mAh battery and fast charging are going nowhere, so that’s good.

 

 

 

 

The Snapdragon 730 has become somewhat of a celebrity in the midrange and the new Galaxy A71 has it, so as far as gaming – Samsung has you covered. Then the 64MP camera, which seems to be the next big thing, is now on the A71, too. Oh, and a macro snapper, one of the hottest features right now (not), is now part of the A71 as well.

Samsung Galaxy A71 specs

  • Body: Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3), polycarbonate back and frame.
  • Screen: 6.7-inch Super AMOLED, 20:9, FHD+ (1080x2400px), 393ppi.
  • Rear camera: Primary: 64MP, 1/1.7″ sensor size, 0.8µm pixel size, 26mm equiv. focal length, f/1.8 aperture. Ultra-wide angle: 12MP, 1.12µm, 13mm, f/2.2. Macro: 5MP, 25mm, f/2.4. Depth sensor: 5MP, 1/5″, 1.12µm, f/2.2. LED flash; 2160p@30fps video recording.
  • Front camera: 32MP, 1/2.8″, 0.8µm, 26mm, f/2.0. 1080p@30fps video recording.
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 730: octa-core CPU (2×2.2 GHz Kryo 470 Gold & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 470 Silver), Adreno 618 GPU.
  • Memory: 6/128GB or 8/128GB versions, UFS 2.1; dedicated microSD slot for up to 1TB expansion.
  • OS: Android 10; Samsung One UI 2.0.
  • Battery: 4,500mAh, 25W charging.
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM (4G), Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, USB-C; 3.5mm audio jack.
  • Misc: Under-display fingerprint reader, single bottom-firing loudspeaker.

We do appreciate the smaller notch on the AMOLED screen, but an HDR10 certification would have made the upgrade far more meaningful than a handful of pixels. Then, that Snapdragon could have been the 730G model, too. And that macro camera – without autofocus it’s useless and we won’t get tired of saying that.

Good or bad, we won’t know until we unbox that Galaxy A71, so here we go.

Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy A71

The Galaxy A71 comes in a compact paper box, but it’s full of stuff. In addition to the phone itself, you will also find a 25W charger, a USB-C-to-C cable, and a pair of in-ear Samsung headphones with a mic.

 

 

 

 

The A70 was the first Galaxy to use a USB-PD charger and it’s going to stick around, apparently. If you are looking for the SIM ejection pin, look no further than the box cover – just flip it and you’ll see it on the inside.

Design

A large phone with an ample screen and slim profile – that’s what the Galaxy A71 is all about. Indeed, it has the biggest screen a modern Galaxy can offer these days, and the minimum of notches – the punch-hole kind.

The Samsung Galaxy A71 is yet another “Glasstic” phone and that’s easy to decipher – it’s made of both glass and plastic that looks like glass. The 6.7″ Super AMOLED has Gorilla Glass 3 protection – hence the glass part, while the thin frame and dazzling back are made of nicely polished plastic.

 

 

 

The AMOLED panel is probably the same we saw on the Galaxy A70 – a 6.7″ in diagonal with extended 1080p resolution and rounder corners. But instead of droplet-shaped cutout for the front camera, the 32MP selfie shooter now sits into a punch-hole.

 

 

 

 

The Gorilla Glass 3 is mostly flat though it ends very subtly on a cool 2.5D edge and thus avoids feeling sharp when handled. The ambient light sensor is behind the screen, while the earpiece grille is so thin – etched between the frame and the screen, so it’s almost invisible.

There is no notification LED around, but the Galaxy A71 supports Always-On Display. The cost is reduced battery life, of course.

 

 

 

 

An optical fingerprint sensor placed under the screen takes care of your security and privacy. It’s neither the fastest around nor the more accurate. And on top of these – the software implementation is far from peachy. Sure, usable it is, but far, far from perfect.

 

 

 

 

The back is where you will find trendy curves, but also the must-have originality that by today’s standards means unique hues and patterns mostly. Oh, and camera decks, of course – ever since Apple went completely asymmetrical with the iPhone 11s – all bets are off now and Samsung seems to be very comfortable with that.

So, the Prism Crush Black model we have here is, well, crushingly beautiful. The rear panel looks like glass, feels like glass, and shines like glass, meaning it can certainly fool everyone. It has this subtle stripe pattern that’s disturbed only by a few diagonal lines. So far, so good. But wait until it captures some light and then you’ll be treated to a captivating blast of colors and shades. It’s a stunning view for sure!

 

 

 

 

The rear camera design is new to this generation and apparently once you go in berserk camera mode – you can get away with anything. All four snappers – main, ultrawide, macro, and depth – are placed on this black deck, as well as the LED flash. The setup is bulging a little bit, and it is also the only exterior element you’ll find metal on – a tiny aluminum frame keeps the camera glass safe.

 

 

 

 

The Galaxy A71 has a glossy plastic frame, quite thin and somewhat grippy despite the excessive polish. On its left you will find a tri-card tray for two SIMs and a memory card, on the right are the volume and power keys, and the bottom has the audio jack, USB-C port, the mouthpiece and the speaker.

The new Galaxy A71 is indeed a big smartphone but it manages to stay quite slim and lightweight (by today’s standards). The A71 is just 7mm thin and weighs 179g, making it a hair thinner and lighter than the A70!

 

 

 

 

It is a pleasure to hold, handle, and use as a daily driver – its frame provides just enough grip to make it secure in hand, while the slim profile helps in keeping it pocket and one-hand friendly, believe it or not. It lacks ingress protection, but other than that – the A71 is a very well-built smartphone, beautiful and easily likable.

One big display, but no HDR

The Samsung Galaxy A71 has the same screen as the Galaxy A70’s but the notch is a bit different. While the A70 had the 2019’s waterdrop-shaped cutout, the A71 joins the ’20 trend with a punch-hole for the selfie camera. Sure, it’s not as small as the one on Note10 Lite, but it’s a hole alright.

 

 

Super AMOLED eye-candy – A71, S10 Lite, Note10 Lite

 

 

So, the Super AMOLED screen is 6.7″ in diagonal, with rounder corners and punch-hole for the front camera. It has a resolution of 2,400 x 1,080 pixels that makes for a 20:9 aspect ratio and 393ppi density. The display is protected by a Gorilla Glass 3 piece for some extra peace of mind.

 

 

 

 

The screen omits HDR10 certification and thus you won’t be able to enjoy premium HDR content over at Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, or similar streaming services. The only app that allows for HDR streaming is YouTube and we noticed the brightness boost when playing such clips, but we are not sure exactly what type of HDR is that.

Having said that, the screen does very well when it comes to brightness. Maxing out the brightness scrubber we measured 410 nits, while the Adaptive Brightness can give you an additional kick up to 515 nits.

We also measured a minimum brightness of 1.7nits – an excellent result.

 

Display test 100% brightness
Black,cd/m2 White,cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy A71 0 398
Samsung Galaxy A71 (Max Auto) 0 515
Samsung Galaxy A51 0 413
Samsung Galaxy A51 (Max Auto) 0 636
Realme X2 Pro 0 500
Realme X2 Pro (Max Auto) 0 708
Xiaomi K20 Pro/Mi 9T Pro 0 453
Xiaomi K20 Pro/Mi 9T Pro (Max Auto) 0 643
Xiaomi Redmi K30 0.399 550 1378:1
Xiaomi Redmi K30 (Max Auto) 0.527 714 1355:1
Samsung Galaxy A70 0 407
Samsung Galaxy A70 (Max Auto) 0 607
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro 0.347 460 1326:1
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (Max Auto) 0.486 640 1317:1

 

As it usually happens with Samsung’s Super AMOLEDs, the one on the Galaxy A71 is capable of accurately reproducing different color spaces depending on content and selected display mode. The Natural screen mode stays accurate to sRGB with an average DeltaE of 1.7, while Vivid adheres to the DCI-P3 color space with an average DeltaE of 3.3 (though by opting for Warmer White Balance you can lower it down to 2.7). No other screen modes are available.

Battery life

The Galaxy A71 has the same large battery as the A70 – it’s a 4,500 mAh Li-Ion cell. The phone supports fast charging and it comes bundled with the appropriate 25W plug. Using the charger, you will be able to replenish about 51% of its empty battery in half an hour, and it takes 81 minutes for a full charge.

The results from our battery life test are in and the Samsung Galaxy A71 scored an excellent mark! The phone lasted north of 13 hours on our web browsing test, more than 17 hours when playing videos, and 30+ hours on 3G talks. Finally, when we added the very good standby performance, we got an overall Endurance Rating of 102 hours.

 

 

 

 

Audio quality

When it comes to the output through the 3.5mm jack, the Samsung Galaxy A71 is a solid performer. When hooked to an active external amplifier it reproduced the test track perfectly at volume levels well above the average.

Headphones brought a moderate increase in stereo crosstalk and a tiny bit of intermodulation distortion, but no other damage whatsoever. Audiophiles should rest assured – the Galaxy A71 will play your tracks the way they were meant to sound.

 

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Samsung Galaxy A71 +0.04, -0.03 -93.5 93.6 0.0013 0.0075 -92.6
Samsung Galaxy A71 (headphones) +0.07, -0.28 -92.4 92.4 0.072 0.184 -54.2
Samsung Galaxy A51 +0.03, -0.05 -93.1 93.1 0.024 0.041 -87.3
Samsung Galaxy A51 (headphones) +0.13, -0.19 -93.2 93.2 0.131 0.193 -53.8
Redmi Note 8 +0.02, -0.02 -94.0 94.0 0.0019 0.0067 -93.3
Redmi Note 8 (headphones) +0.35, -0.26 -91.3 90.9 0.015 0.445 -45.4
Motorola Moto G8 Plus +0.02, -0.01 -93.2 93.2 0.0017 0.051 -94.2
Motorola Moto G8 Plus (headphones) +0.02, -0.01 -93.1 93.0 0.0035 0.037 -83.8
Realme X2 +0.03, -0.06 -92.6 92.6 0.0020 0.0080 -88.1
Realme X2 (headphones) +0.30, -0.37 -87.2 91.0 0.0081 0.356 -48.4

Wrap-up

The Galaxy A71 is a thoughtful refresh over the Galaxy A70 even though it won’t make any A70 owners jump ship, let alone those who bought the A70s. But it does pack more gaming punch and more camera pixels, so it does pass as an update.

The Galaxy A71 adopts the punch-hole notch design, but the actual hole is not as discrete as on the more expensive S and Note models. Still, it’s a statement for the premium status of the A-series as is the massive multi-camera setup on the back.

At the end of the day – the Galaxy A71 seems like a job well done and is an attractive and powerful smartphone worth buying. But the competition always has the last say.

The competition

And the competing offers are plenty. Take the Realme X2 Pro for example. It packs a similarly large Super AMOLED screen, but impresses with a mighty Snapdragon 855 chip and has a more meaningful telephoto snapper instead of a macro shooter. Its 6+64GB version (€389) is cheaper than the A71, while the 8+128GB is a close match (€439).

The Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro has a smaller 6.39″ Super AMOLED, but it is a cutout-free one. A flagship-grade Snapdragon 855 chip is in charge of everything, while its quad-camera, just like the Realme X2 Pro, has a zoom shooter instead of macro.

If we are to match the Galaxy A71 specs, we could look at the Redmi K30, which is a lot cheaper in markets where both A71 and K30 are officially available. The Redmi K30 has a dual punch-hole on its large 6.67″ screen, matches the Snapdragon 730 chip (well, its 730G actually), and has an identical 4-camera arrangement at the back. The K30 brags with an IPS LCD screen with 120Hz refresh rate though, and the benefits of that will be obvious in the day to day experience.

Or maybe, if €480 or so are too much for you, but Samsung is your preferred brand, maybe you can give the Galaxy A51 a chance. It’s at least €130 cheaper but still offers a 6.5″ Super AMOLED and the same camera experience on both ends. Performance is where the A51 loses to the A71, but if you are not an avid gamer then you won’t have a problem with that.

 

 

Realme X2 Pro • Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro • Xiaomi Redmi K30 • Samsung Galaxy A51

 

 

The verdict

The Galaxy A71 is a tangible upgrade over the A70 – it has a smaller screen cutout, faster performance, better all-round camera, and newer Android and One UI. But like other Galaxy A phones to come before it, the A71 is neither cheap nor competitively priced.

With Xiaomi and Realme aggressively launching phones with flagship-grade specs, it’s a tough job being a mid-ranger these days. We do believe the A71 has a bright future though, as its price will soon go down, while many carriers will subsidize it enough to make it an attractive purchase.

Pros

  • The A71 is a slim and well-built phone
  • The large 6.7″ AMOLED is a treat for multimedia and gaming
  • The Snapdragon 730 is the smart mid-range choice and excels in any job
  • Excellent battery life
  • All-round camera setup with good image and video quality
  • Android 10, One UI 2

Cons

  • The screen is not HDR10-compliant
  • The macro camera is limiting and uninspiring in quality
  • Some IP water resistance would have been nice