Samsung has seen continued success with its Galaxy A lineup. The latest additions to the sprawling family are the Galaxy A34 and Galaxy A54. The Samsung Galaxy A54 puts the A5x series back on the right track after a super-successful A52s was followed by more of a meh A53. The Galaxy A34, on its part, elevates the A3X models to new heights and starts to encroach on the territory of its more expensive sibling seriously.
You can compare the full specsheets or check our editor's assessment in the following video or in the text further below.
The two A-series phones clearly share most of their design language. Samsung decided to model both of these handsets after the Galaxy S23 series this year. That includes the signature trio of separate camera rings on the back. Size-wise, the pair differ noticeably. In a rather peculiar twist this year, the Galaxy A34 has grown considerably. So much so that with a 6.6-inch display, it is now bigger than both its Galaxy A33 5G predecessor and the Galaxy A54. If more screen real estate is what you are after, then the A34 is the obvious choice.
You can size-compare the two phones in 3D view using the link below.
Beyond pure dimensions, both of these devices are very similarly built. Both have plastic middle frames and a Gorilla Glass 5 on the front. The more expensive A54 does sport a Gorilla Glass 5 back as well, whereas the A34 settles for a plastic sheet instead. Regardless, both feel very sturdy and well-made, with practically no flex or hollowness to speak of. Crucially, both devices also have an excellent IP67 ingress protection rating.
The similarities continue further with controls and general layout. Neither phone has a 3.5mm audio jack, but both have hybrid stereo speaker setups. Both also use a similar, if not identical optical under-display fingerprint reader. We find Samsung's sensors to be dependable and quite speedy. Both phones also have a microSD expansion slot which is shared with the second SIM slot on the tray.
The power and volume buttons are practically identical. It is potentially worth noting that both the A34 and A54 have a virtual proximity sensor, which is not ideal in terms of precision and versatility.
As already mentioned, the Galaxy A34 experienced a growth spurt this year and now comes with a 6.6-inch display. It is notably bigger than the 6.4-inch display on the A54. Other than that, the resolution and aspect ratio are the same. For this year, Samsung decided to go with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio instead of the 20:9 one, which makes for a slightly wider display. That goes for both the A34 and A54.
As far as differences are concerned, while both panels are capable of a 120Hz refresh rate, the A34 perplexingly lacks any automatic refresh rate switching, which is present on the A54. Both phones also get very bright and cross the 1,000 nits threshold. However, only the A54 has HDR support (HDR10+) on its display. The A34 can't do HDR at all. It even lacks a hardware decoder for HDR video.
Both the A34 and A54 pack big 5,000 mAh batteries. Both phones also do an excellent job in the battery endurance department. Out of the pair, however, the A34 definitely stands out with its 133 hours of endurance in our proprietary test. We found that its MediaTek Dimensity 1080 chipset is extremely efficient at both on-screen and off-screen tasks.
Both the Galaxy A34 and A54 are advertised as supporting 25W Samsung PD+PPS fast charging. Definitely not the fastest around, but still respectable, especially on the Galaxy A54, which charges notably faster to 100% than its cheaper sibling.
Despite their similar rating, the two phones behave differently in the charging department. As we mentioned, neither is particularly quick to charge by modern standards, but the A54 definitely squeezes out a win. It is also worth noting that neither phone has a charger in the box. Do check with your local retailer, though, since in many countries, Samsung and various carriers and stores do still bundle a charger with the purchase of either an A34 or A54.
The Galaxy A34 and A54 both have a very similar hybrid stereo speaker setup with one dedicated bottom-firing speaker and the amplified earpiece acting like the second channel.
Naturally, this does not make for the most well-balanced setup, and the two speakers are far from identical. Even so, in practice, they create a convincing stereo effect with a nice sound stage.
Both phones get decently and similarly loud, scoring a "GOOD" loudness score in our testing.
The actual quality of the sound is also very good. There is no noticeable distortion, even at high volumes, and the sound stage is fairly rich. The mid-tones could have been presented a bit better, but the highs sound great, and there is even some bass. This goes for both the A34 and A54.
There are no Qualcomm chips in sight on these devices. Midrange budgets are better utilized with alternative SoC options. The Galaxy A54 uses Samsung's own Exynos 1380 chip, while the Galaxy A34 has the Mediatek Dimensity 1080 inside. Both chips have 5G capability and are manufactured on modern production nodes (5nm vs. 6nm).
The Exynos' CPU has a 4+4 core configuration vs. the Dimensity's 2+6 setup, though the powerful 4xCortex-A78 cluster in the A54 is capped at 2.4GHz, while the A34's 2xA78s can reach a little higher at 2.6GHz. The A54 does outscore the a34 by some 15-20% in multi-core CPU testing, though the difference under single-core load is negligible.
The A54's Mali-G68 MP5 GPU has one additional core compared to the Mali-G68 MC4 that the A34 is equipped with. The A54 is then slightly better in graphics benchmarks, too and should be an ever so slightly better option for gaming, though neither phone is a powerhouse in this respect.
Both of these phones are shipping with the latest Android 13 and One UI 5.1 on top, with practically the same set of features. This list of these has gotten very extensive and sans for a few niche things here and there like Samsung DeX, both Galaxy A series phones now offer most of the additional goodies of their flagship S family counterparts.
Samsung is also promising (somewhat vaguely) "up to" four major OS updates and "up to" five years of security updates for both phones. If both turn out to be true, prospective buyers are looking at amazing long-term software support on both the A34 and the A54.
The Galaxy A34 and A54 have similar camera setups with an OIS-equipped main cam, ultrawide, a macro on the back, and a fixed-focus selfie on the front. The A54 does have slightly higher resolution sensors almost across the board – 50MP main, compared to 48MP, 12MP ultrawide, compared to 8MP and a 32MP selfie, compared to 13MP. Both share the same 5MP macro snapper.
Quality-wise, both phones capture excellent daylight photos with high contrast and wide dynamic range. Both phones also have that characteristic Samsung color science which includes cranking the saturation up a bit to get that signature "poppy" look.
If we had to choose between the two, we would probably give a very slight edge to the Galaxy A54 in this department.
More samples and a detailed analysis can be found in our Galaxy A54 camera review.
More samples and a detailed analysis can be found in our Galaxy A34 camera review.
Neither will fool you into thinking it can capture flagship-grade low-light images, but both do a decent job, particularly if you stick to the main cameras. Still, we'd give the nod to the Galaxy A54 overall.
Video quality is another close call between these two. Both support 4K, but neither can stabilize it, so if you want stabilization, you need to go to 1080p30fps.
The Selfie quality between the two phones is also a bit of a wash. Once again, we would say that the A54 has a slight lead over the A34. Both phones can also do 4K@30fps selfie video capture.
Here's a glimpse of how the Galaxy A54's main camera compares in image quality to the Galaxy A34's in our Photo compare tool.
And here's how the Galaxy A54's main camera compares in video quality to the Galaxy A34's in our Video compare tool.
While it's hard to talk in exact figures, the Galaxy A54 certainly demands a premium over the Galaxy A34. One somewhere in the neighborhood of €100/$100, which is definitely not insignificant. All the while, the two devices are pretty similar in their overall offering to the user.
If we had to talk in absolutes, the A54 is certainly the technically superior device. Instead of plastic, it has a Gorilla Glass 5 back, HDR10+ support and automatic refresh rate switching on its 120Hz 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display. Its Exynos 1380 chipset has the edge in performance over the Dimensity 1080 inside the A34 and also offers slightly better connectivity options, notably Wi-Fi 6. The A54 also charges notably faster than the A34 on the same 25W PD charger. It also has an overall higher-resolution camera setup, which does fair ever so slightly better in terms of quality than the A34. The punch-hole selfie camera also makes for a more modern design.
All that being said, the price difference between the two devices is not insignificant, whereas the overall difference in user experience is. The A34 definitely has the better value in our book. Unless you really appreciate some of the aforementioned plusses the A54 has to offer, we would probably recommend the A34 instead.
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