The unification of the Galaxy design language across the lineup is intensifying. Not only did the S23 and S23+ get restyled like the Ultra, but members of the A series now also adopted the same camera arrangement.
The separate trio of camera lenses makes for a rather distinctive look, which we appreciate. The rims of the lenses are also color-matched with the back of the phone, which is a nice touch. The cameras protrude quite a bit and make for a very uneven surface. When on its back, the A34 wobbles severely. So much so that typing on it in this position is incredibly annoying.
The plastic back side of the phone imitates glass rather well. The surface is glossy and attracts a lot of fingerprints and grease. The phone can be had in a total of four colors - Light Green, Black, Light Violet, and Silver. Our green review unit has a very youthful and playful look to it.
The Samsung logo near the bottom of the back panel is actually embossed, which is also nice attention to detail.
The plastic middle frame of the phone looks and feels surprisingly premium. Its curvature makes it very comfy, and its matte finish is dirt-resistant, unlike the back panel.
As we mentioned, the display bezels, particularly the bottom one, have been slightly slimmed down in this generation. We are a bit bummed to see still the waterdrop notch, which, design-wise, looks outdated compared to the prevalent punch-hole selfie cameras.
The display is still far from edge-to-edge, but we never actually expected that from a Galaxy A3X class device. We do, personally, find the new wider and slightly shorter 19.5:9 aspect ratio of the display a bit more comfortable than the 20:9 on last year's Galaxy A33 5G model.
The A34 has grown considerably compared to its predecessor. It measures 161.3 x 78.1 x 8.2 mm and is just shy of the 200-gram mark at 199 g.
This increase in size has been accompanied by a larger 6.6-inch display, which makes it perfectly reasonable. And even with its newfound proportions, the A34 does not feel particularly heavy. Its weight is very well-balanced.
The Galaxy A34 has far from the most premium bill of materials. It is mostly made out of plastic, including the back panel and the middle frame. Even so, the phone feels solid, with no flex to the chassis to speak of.
Tapping on the rear panel does produce a bit of a hollow sound, but that's basically us nitpicking instead of an actual complaint.
Just like last year, we are happy to see the excellent IP67 ingress protection rating in place. The phone is well sealed to protect from water and dust, including a thick rubber gasket on the SIM/microSD tray.
We can't complain about the display's Gorilla Glass 5 protective finish, either. It is a nice touch.
The Galaxy A34 has a very straight-forward set of controls. Its left-hand side is entirely empty, making for a nice and uninterrupted look for the middle frame. Since the latter is made of plastic, there is even no need for antenna lines.
The right side of the frame houses the power button and volume rockers. All of these buttons are nice and clicky, with plenty of tactile feedback. We also like their positioning, making them comfortable to feel out and operate.
The top of the phone houses the secondary noise-canceling microphone and the SIM tray. The Galaxy A34 is available in either a single nano-SIM or dual nano-SIM version. Both have a microSD card slot for memory expansion. The dual SIM version, unfortunately, uses a hybrid slot approach, so you will have to choose between a second SIM or a memory card.
The bottom side of the handset has the main microphone and a bottom-firing speaker. It is part of a stereo ensemble with the amplified earpiece of the phone. The USB Type-C port is also placed here.
The A34 has and under-display fingerprint reader. It's the optical variety and works quickly and reliably, though if you'll allows us one complaint, it would be the rather low placement - the S-series get a higher (and, in our experience, better) placement.
Speaking of the USB Type-C port, it is not fancy in any way and is only backed up by a USB 2.0 data connection, which means a theoretical max transfer speed of 480 Mbps. The A34 lacks video output. That feature is still reserved for higher-end Samsung devices. It does have USB Host/OTG.
As mentioned, the Galaxy A34 has optional Dual SIM support with SA and NSA 5G. There is also a GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS receiver on board. It is nothing fancy, just a single-band unit. The A34 also has NFC, though it is market dependent, and you need to check with your local retailer for that. There is dual-band Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 5.3 with LE support for local connectivity.
The Galaxy A34 has a decent set of sensors under its belt. There is an LSM6DSOTR accelerometer, gyroscope, TCS3701 light sensor, MXG4300S magnetometer, and compass. There is no barometer on board, and unfortunately, the proximity sensor is virtual, which makes it way less precise and versatile.