Samsung Galaxy A12 Review is the most trending topic in 2021, and we’ve already received the S21 trio of Samsung high-end phones for review.
The Galaxy A12 (12, not 21) is at the other end of the spectrum, an entry-level handset designed to provide the Samsung experience on a budget.
The Galaxy A12, which was announced late last year and has been available since January, is not the most affordable phone that Samsung sells; that honor goes to the Galaxy M02.
In the lower tier, Samsung’s naming is a little iffy, and it can be difficult to tell what’s what between the A and M series, but the A12 sits just below the M12 and above the M02s.
Because not all of these models are available globally, you may or may not be able to snag the most affordable Samsung in your area.
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SAMSUNG GALAXY A12 REVIEW VIDEO: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The use of the MediaTek Helios MT6765 SoC in the Samsung Galaxy A12 specs marks a departure from previous Samsung handsets we’ve reviewed; in the past, the company’s handsets, from the most expensive to the most affordable, have either used a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor or one of Samsung’s own Exynos chips.
On paper, it appears to be adequate. This is an octa-core chipset with four 2.3GHz cores and four 1.6GHz cores. In our model, this is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, though there are international variants with 3GB or 6GB of RAM and 32GB or 128GB of storage. While we’d argue that you should have at least 4GB of RAM in 2021, storage space is a non-issue, as the Galaxy A12 supports microSD cards up to 1TB in size.
Notably, it has four cameras on the back, which are neatly arranged in a square hump. The main camera has a 48MP, f/2.0 resolution and is accompanied by a 5MPl, f/2.2 ultra-wide lens and two 2MP, f/2.4 cameras, one for depth sensing and the other for super-close-up macro shots.
The Samsung phone Galaxy A12 we have here has a 6.5-inch display, and the consequences of the budget constraints are obvious. It’s one of the few LCDs in the OLED-dominated Galaxy lineup, and its 720p resolution is also below average for the diagonal. The A12 has a fairly standard combination of size, technology, and resolution for the segment, so it isn’t lacking in any way.
SAMSUNG GALAXY A12 REVIEW
1. Samsung Galaxy a12 Price [Budget Smartphone]
You can get all of that for a reasonable £169, which isn’t bad at all – but before you get too excited, keep in mind that the sub-£200 price point has become very crowded in recent years with some wonderfully solid handsets.
Most recently, there’s been the Moto G9 Power – a very capable phone with a massive 6,000mAh battery, which delivered just under 27 hours of endurance on a single charge in our video rundown test. It costs £180 to buy.
The Nokia 5.3, which also has a quad camera, has a surprisingly snappy performance that belies its £150 price tag.
There are also a few low-cost Chinese handsets to choose from. To begin, the brand-new and feature-packed Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T costs £229, while the Realme 7 costs £169. Even better, there’s the excellent Xiaomi Poco X3, which has a nasty habit of outperforming all other budget offerings thanks to its unrivaled performance and 120Hz screen for under £200.
While there are a few obvious signs that the Galaxy A12 isn’t a Samsung flagship, it does have a premium appearance. The 6.5inch screen dominates the phone’s front, with bezels that are only a couple of millimeters thick all the way around, doubling in size around the chin. The front-facing camera is embedded in a shallow notchlette at the top, which is slightly unappealing, but no more so than any other solution until the promised in-screen camera technology becomes available.
Flip it over, and it’s clearly made of plastic, albeit the most convincing faux-metal-looking plastic I’ve ever seen. On the back, there’s a two-tone approach with a flat matte finish on the bottom fifth and a diagonal lined pattern on the top four-fifths, giving it a pleasing, lightly corrugated look and feel.
The quad-camera bump in the top left-hand corner appears to be well-designed, though it does protrude slightly from the handset, implying that the phone will not lie completely flat on its back. A fingerprint scanner is embedded in the power button on the right side of this galaxy phone, which is my preferred location.
It’s also worth noting that the Galaxy A12 includes a number of user-friendly features that aren’t always found in high-end smartphones. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack and supports microSD expansion up to 1TB internal storage, unlike any iPhone or the recent Galaxy S21 Samsung Smartphone. Of course, wireless charging and IP-certified waterproofing are out of the question, but you can’t have everything at this price as it is budget phone.
The Galaxy A12 has a 6.5in PLS display (basically Samsung’s IPS-like panel) with a resolution of 720 x 1,600 and 264 pixels per inch. While this falls short of Full HD experiences for the price, even with the large panel, it looks perfectly sharp in everyday use and for games like mobile legends.
The colorimeter confirms that it’s a good, if unremarkable, panel. Its color accuracy is a little off, with a sRGB color gamut coverage of 88 percent from a gamut volume of 95.7 percent, and the peak brightness of 439cd/m2 isn’t exactly searing. Nonetheless, with a contrast ratio of 1,740:1, everything is clearly sharp.
It’s not a bad panel, and it’s roughly comparable to the Moto G9 Power and Nokia 5.3. However, it falls far short of the high standards set by the Poco X3 NFC.
If the mention of a MediaTek processor in the introduction made your stomach turn, you were correct to be wary. While MediaTek chips have improved in recent years (the G95 processor in the Realme 7 and the Dimensity 800U chips in the Redmi Note 9T are both surprisingly powerful), the Helio P35 used here isn’t a knockout and it is also fast charging.
The phone feels sluggish right out of the box, with stuttery animations and apps that take a few seconds to open. It does catch up with itself after a while, but despite the relatively generous 4GB of RAM and 5000mah battery capacity, it’s not ideal for multitasking.
The benchmarks corroborate these gut feelings. As shown in the graph below, Geekbench 5 shows it performing significantly worse than all of the competitors I mentioned earlier, but it’s especially poor when compared to the three Chinese-branded handsets, two of which use a superior MediaTek chip.
This basic performance is mirrored in the GFXBench graphical tests, where the Samsung Galaxy A12 managed a paltry 19fps in native 720p and only 12fps when output to 1080p and take note that it has fingerprint sensor. Given that the Realme 7 and Poco X3 NFC manage approximately four times the frames at that resolution, I believe we can conclude that this is simply not good enough for the price. The Redmi Note 9T is sadly missing from this list because GFXBench refused to run, but given its Geekbench 5 score, it would be surprising if it performed worse.
That is exceptional. Give credit where credit is due. It lasts less than an hour less than the Moto G9 Power – a phone that not only has 1,000mAh more to play with, but is named after how long its battery lasts. In short, the Samsung Galaxy A12 is unlikely to be caught without a charge.
The Galaxy A12 (6gb ram) comes with Android 10 out of the box, albeit a version of Android skinned in Samsung’s own One UI, which I’m happy enough with now, though this particular vision does raise hackles a bit by attempting to install a slew of recommended apps,’ including Candy Crush Saga, when you first set it up.
I’ve been reviewing phones long enough to recall when Huawei putting three lenses on the P20 Pro was thought to be excessive as galaxy note. Even low-cost handsets are getting in on the act these days. The Samsung Galaxy A12 has four cameras on the back, matching all of the phones I’ve compared it to except the Moto G9 Power, which has ‘only’ three.
To be honest, I don’t think I’m alone in preferring phones with just one really good camera, such as the Pixel 4a, to having to keep up with the Joneses with barely used peripheral lenses. Regardless, the Samsung Galaxy A12 has four cameras: a 48MP (f/2.0) main camera, a 5MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide lens, and two 2MP (f/2.4) depth-sensing and macro lenses.
As you might expect given the narrow aperture and low entry price, photography on the Galaxy A12 is a mixed bag. Photos in bright light are quite good, with a good composition and enough detail to be worthwhile. Yes, spending more money will get you better results, but the pictures are clear enough for sharing, and you can get good results in the right conditions.
Even when zoomed in, individual bricks on the church’s roof can be seen, though things become a little blurry.
However, the Samsung Galaxy A12 specification suffers from the same issue that many low-cost handsets do, which I assume is exacerbated by the poor performance of its MediaTek processor. It’s what I call euphemistically “the cat problem”:
The delay between pressing the shutter button and taking a picture means that anything prone to sudden movements – think birds, babies, cats, or dogs – will almost always be a blurry mess by the time the phone finishes capturing the image. It’s in abundance.
You should also not expect compositional miracles as the light levels fall. As these images of my garden at sunset demonstrate, when the light goes out, so does the image quality, with lots of noise and blur replacing the crisp detail of the daylight shots. To be clear, this is a problem that all phone cameras face, and the Samsung Galaxy A12 quad camera setup is far from the worst offender.
The Samsung Galaxy A12 captures video at 30fps in 1080p or 720p – there’s no 60fps option for either, and no attempt at stabilization is evident from the footage I captured. A video of me walking through a park was too bumpy to use, and quick pans turned the footage into a blur fest live focus. In short, this isn’t for aspiring filmmakers mid range phone.
SAMSUNG GALAXY A12 UNBOXING
The Galaxy A12 is packaged simply, with a plain cardboard box inside a sleeve and a likeness of the phone printed on top. There are only two items included: a 15W adaptor and a USB-C cable.
CONCLUSION On Samsug Galaxy A12 Review
Finally, it’s difficult not to consider Samsung’s Galaxy A12 to be a flop. Yes, it has excellent battery life, and I sincerely hope that the company incorporates the two-tone design into other handsets, but even at £169, it falls short.
Much of this is due to the outstanding work that other manufacturers are doing on a budget, but Samsung’s entry-level handsets have previously held their own. It’s difficult not to blame the failure entirely on the MediaTek Helios MT6765. Exynos and Qualcomm phones have never felt this slow.
What should you instead buy? While all of the options highlighted in the ‘price and competition’ section are preferable, if you can stretch to £199, I recommend the Poco X3 NFC. If you can’t, you should pay the same £169 for a Realme 7 or save £19 and get a Nokia 5.3 instead.
FAQs On Samsung A12 Issues
Is Galaxy A12 worth buying?
In almost every way, the Samsung Galaxy A12 outperforms the Galaxy A11. What this low-cost phone does have is a good 48MP main camera, an excellent battery life, and Samsung’s crisp and appealing One UI software.
What is the cause of the Samsung A12’s slowness?
My Samsung Galaxy A12 Android 10.0 device is running slowly. If you’ve used a lot of apps on your phone, it may become slow because the apps keep running in the background. Stop any running applications. Press the Application button. Slide your finger upwards on the required application to terminate it.
Is Samsung A12 outdated?
Despite the fact that its software is out of date, Samsung has done an excellent job of pushing out security updates. My A12 is currently running the May 2021 patch, and with a quarterly release cycle, it won’t be long before the next update.