Look hard at the Samsung Galaxy A34 and you might mistake it for a flagship smartphone. Its “floating” camera lenses on the rear are arranged in the same formation as the S23 range of phones and up close, you might actually prefer some of the colours and the matte finish.
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Of course, it isn’t as capable as its more expensive siblings but, if you were to ask the average person on the street which phone was the better looking, they might well pick out the mid-range Samsung Galaxy A34.
Samsung Galaxy A34 5G hands on review: Key features and release date
- 6.6in, 120Hz FHD+ Super AMOLED display
- 6nm MediaTek Dimensity 1080 chipset
- 6GB or 8GB RAM
- 128GB or 256GB storage
- microSD card expansion up to 1TB
- Rear cameras: 48MP f/1.8 main with OIS; 8MP f/1.8 ultrawide; 5MP f/2.4 macro
- Selfie camera: 13MP f/2.2
- 5,000mAh battery
- 25W fast charging
- Dimensions: 78 x 8.2 x 161mm (WDH)
- Weight: 199g
- Release date: March
- Price: £349 (128GB); £399 (256GB) from Samsung.com
Samsung Galaxy A34 5G hands on review: Design, key features and first impressions
You can, of course, get the A34 in black, but you really don’t want to do that.
Instead, you should go for green (“Awesome Lime”), purple (“Awesome Violet”) or – preferably – silver, which catches the eye a bit like a matte-finish mother of pearl. It’s a fantastically attractive phone in all of these colours.
What the Samsung Galaxy A34 doesn’t have is the luxurious build quality of its more expensive siblings in the S23 range. The matte finish rear of the A34 might look like it’s constructed from glass but, in fact, it’s made from what Samsung (rather nauseatingly) calls “glasstic” – a combination, in case you hadn’t already guessed, of glass and plastic (in the picture below, the silver A34 is on the right.
That’s okay, though, because the price of the A34 is substantially lower than that of the S23. In fact, at a starting price of £349, the Samsung Galaxy A34 is less than half the price of the S23. It’s also only £20 more expensive than last year’s Samsung Galaxy A33 and £50 cheaper than the smaller A54 that Samsung launched at the same time. It’s also reasonably well-stacked from a features perspective although, again, not as stacked as the S23.
This starts with a sizeable 6.6in FHD+ Super AMOLED display, which refreshes at 120Hz this year – up from 90Hz in last year’s model. The panel is topped with Gorilla Glass 5 to prevent scuffs and scratches and the whole handset is IP67, meaning you can submerge the phone in up to a metre of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. I’m less keen on the teardrop camera cut out at the front, though – the Galaxy A54’s hole punch camera is much neater.
The phone is powered by a Mediatek Dimensity 1080 chipset, which Samsung says boosts CPU and graphics speeds by 17% and 14% respectively over last year’s A33. It comes with either 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or – for a premium of £50 – 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Other than this, not much else has changed in terms of the rest of the features over last year’s phone. The rear cameras remain a fairly standard selection at the price: a 48MP (f/1.8) main unit, albeit it with improved OIS (optical image stabilisation) alongside an 8MP ultrawide and 5MP macro camera, plus a 13MP (f/2.2) selfie camera.
The battery has the same 5,000mAh capacity as last year, too, with 25W “fast”-ish charging, delivering 100% charge in 82 minutes and 50% in half an hour. More excitingly, Samsung is promising two day battery life from the Galaxy A34 although, of course, we won’t be able to confirm that until we’re able to test one.
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Samsung Galaxy A34 5G review: Early verdict
It’s tough to say right now exactly how the A34 will perform when it comes to overall speed, battery life and camera quality but, on paper, it doesn’t look bad at all. The screen specifications point towards something rather special and Samsung has done a stand-up job with the overall look and feel of the phone as well.
For a mere £349 you’re getting an attractive handset with what should be a terrific display and a big battery. You’ll be able to purchase one of the new phones from March 2023 and, if you do so before 25 April, you’ll get a set of Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (worth £139) for free. Look out for the full review, which we hope to bring you just as soon as Samsung furnishes us with a review sample.
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