More phone for your buck

Nafisa Akabor Cache This, Latest

Even before the cost of fuel and living expenses went up in South Africa, the global chip shortage in the technology and automotive industries was driving prices higher. Increased demand hiked the price of components, which resulted in devices getting even more expensive.

Perhaps in response, 36 month device contracts are now on offer and we’re holding onto our phones for longer. Luckily, some smartphones (like iPhones) are built to last. Key factors here are good levels of demand in the second-hand market and Apple’s continued support of older devices with current OS updates.

It gets trickier with Android phones, as Google dictates which hardware can run the latest Android operating system. We’re also at the mercy of local mobile operators, who control and push out these Android updates when “it’s time” to receive them.

Sustainable smartphones 

In the Android world, Samsung has the upper hand. In 2022 they promise users four generations of OS upgrades. Nokia also promised two years of Android upgrades, but broke that promise when the PureView 9 couldn’t be upgraded to Android 11.

If you want a device that will last beyond a two-year upgrade cycle, it might be time to look at Samsung’s popular Galaxy range. And if you want more phone for your money, the A Series is worth considering.

Their line-up for 2022 includes the new A53 and A33. In terms of specs, both handsets are well-rounded. These include an advanced processor, AI cameras, displays with high refresh rates, and a two-day battery life. They also come with Samsung’s defence-grade Knox security, 5G connectivity, and support for continuous Android and Samsung One UI upgrades.

Both the A53 and A33 have a new feature called Samsung Wallet, where users can upload credit cards, boarding passes, etc. This feature supports near-field communication (NFC) and the cards can be used at till points for ‘tap to pay’.

Galaxy A53 5G

The A53 is a 6.5-inch smartphone with an Infinity-O display (punch hole camera) and a 120Hz screen refresh rate, usually found on high-end devices. This makes gaming, animations, and general scrolling a smoother, snappier experience.

It has a 5-nanometer octa-core processor, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, expandable to 1TB. The A53 also comes with a quad-camera setup on the rear. This comprises a 64MP main camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS), an ultra-wide (12MP) setting, a 5MP macro setting for close ups, and a 5MP depth camera. The selfie cam is 32MP and both cameras can shoot videos in 4K@30fps.

A large 5000mAh battery supports 25W super-fast charging, and although the USB-C cable is included, the plug is sold separately.

The phone has an IP67 rating, meaning that it is waterproof if submerged in 1m of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. This does not apply to salt water, the pool or soapy water.

Galaxy A33 5G

The slightly smaller 6.4-inch A33 has an Infinity-U display (U-shaped notch), with a 90Hz screen refresh rate. It’s powered by the same octa-core processor, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage.

It has a different quad-camera setup. This comprises a 48MP main camera with OIS, an 8MP wide-angle setting, a 5MP macro for close ups, and a 2MP depth camera. The selfie camera is 13MP and both cameras can shoot 4K@30fps video.

The A33 has the same 5000mAh large battery as the A53 (25W super-fast charging, USB-C cable included, plug excluded), and the same waterproof rating of IP67.

Pricing

Both devices are significantly cheaper than the premium S Series but come with high-end features at a compelling price point under R10,000: The A53 costs R8,495 and the A33 will set you back R6,999.


Cache This

Technology is an ever increasing part of our lives and let’s be honest, many of us like gadgets. There is also an abundance of new online services and apps taking over the traditional services we use. Nafisa Akabor has been covering everything tech for well over a decade and she’ll be writing on how we can do tech within a budget and reviewing some of the new online services. Cache This is published on the last Tuesday of every month.