Galaxy A34 5G hands-on: The real 2023 mid-range hero for Samsung?

Last year, the Galaxy A3x lineup really came into its own with the launch of the Galaxy A33 5G. The A33 brought a major change to the lineup: it pretty much took over the position held previously by the Galaxy A5x series, both because of the features it offered and because the A53 5G was a little too costly compared to its predecessors.

And with the Galaxy A54 5G costing more than the A53, the Galaxy A34 5G, which launched alongside the A54 5G, is even more important. Like the A33 5G from 2022, the A34 5G offers many of the same impressive specs that you get on the new A5x model, like a 120Hz AMOLED display, stereo speakers, IP67 dust and water resistance, 5,000 mAh battery with 25W charging support, and the latest software with a promise of four major OS upgrades.

Galaxy A34 5G hands-on: A tough challenge for Samsung’s own Galaxy A54

However, it is also priced more reasonably, especially given the current global economic climate. Sure, it has some lower-end specs. It has a 6nm MediaTek Dimensity chip with fewer performance-focused processor cores instead of Samsung’s spanking new 5nm Exynos 1380 SoC, slightly lower-resolution main and ultra-wide rear cameras, a lower-res selfie camera, an outdated front-facing design that uses a V-shaped notch to house that selfie camera, and a plastic back.

But none of that will really be a matter of concern for most customers, especially when they look at the price difference between the A34 5G and the A54 5G. The A54 5G’s price tag almost puts it in flagship-killer territory, and it’s the A34 5G that could steal all the limelight as far as actual sales are concerned.

Galaxy A34 5G hands-on

And no, I’m not saying that just based on the spec sheet. I have had the chance to play with a Galaxy A34 5G for nearly half a day at the time of this writing, and while I need to test it more once I’m done with the Galaxy A54 5G, my initial experience suggests the A34 5G is the phone with the best specs-to-price ratio in Samsung’s 2023 mid-range lineup (at least the lineup that has been revealed until March).

My time with the device has been short, but even then, I feel like not having Samsung’s Exynos chip is actually a good thing. The Galaxy A34 5G seems smoother — or rather, has less stutter than the A54 5G — out of the box.

Once again, I’m presented with evidence that Samsung Exynos chips always seem the least optimized, whether they’re going up against Qualcomm chips or MediaTek chips, especially when you consider general use that includes navigating through the user interface, switching between apps, app opening speed, browsing, etc.

I do have a problem with the design, though. That Infinity-V display is surrounded by uneven bezels, with the bottom bezel larger than the other sides. The rear is quite similar to the Galaxy S23, which I believe is nice if design consistency is your thing. But the front side of the phone is what you’ll spend most of your time looking at, and the Galaxy A34 5G looks too outdated in 2023. (Apologies for the lack of photos of the front of the phone in this hands-on; the weather was far from ideal when we captured these photos.)

Again, I haven’t used the A34 5G for long so I can’t really offer any conclusive judgements right now. But it just feels like the more attractive proposition compared to the Galaxy A54 5G. Which of the two phones will come out on top as far as the overall experience and the value-for-money quotient are concerned? Well, watch out for our review of both phones to find out!

Image of Galaxy A34 5G

SamsungGalaxy A34 5G

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