Samsung quietly introduced the newest addition to the A-series lineup - the Galaxy A42 5G and we finally got our hands on one just a week ago. So how does it feel to be using this smartphone, and does it hole up in day-to-day use?
Lineup pictured, followed by Prism Black and Prism Grey
Coming in with the Prism Dot Black and Prism Dot Grey in Malaysia, they surely look cool on the back when viewed up close but unfortunately it seems like the Prism White Dot model will not be coming to the shores of Malaysia. The unique rear cover surely did give a tip of the hat to the Google Nexus 4 released some 8 years ago with the glossy back adorned with reflective dots.
The Galaxy A42 5G sports a huge 6.6 inch HD+ Super AMOLED display (720 x 1600 pixels, 266 ppi). It also packs a Qualcomm SM7225 Snapdragon 750G (8 nm) SoC along with 8GB system memory and 128GB onboard storage. The big camera cutout on the rear is populated by a quad camera array: a 48MP main shooter, 8MP ultrawide, macro and depth lenses at 5MP each.
On the connectivity side we have obviously the crème of the crop 5G connectivity, followed by 4G, 3G, dual-band Wi-Fi up to 802.11ac standard and other connectivity services like you'd expect on other smartphones. Wi-Fi 802.11ax or Wi-Fi6 is missing here, though its highly unlikely that someone with internet speeds that can saturate the 802.11ac standard would be buying this phone anyways. It weighs in at a hefty 193 grams, which is about 40g heavier than its predecessor the A41. Juicing everything up will be the A42 5G's massive 5000mAh battery.
The 5G modem on the A42 5G is a Qualcomm X52 modem integrated into the SoC itself, unlike the X55 modem paired with the Snapdragon 865 as an external module. The X52 modem can achieve roughly 50% in download and upload speeds of what the X55 modem can do on a 5G network. However, the speed comparisons between them remains as a paper comparison as without 5G coverage it is still impossible to utilize the full speed of the newer telecommunication standard.
The SIM card tray of the A42 can accept a single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by). Hybrid SIM means the second slot can either be used as a microSD card tray, or a second Nano-SIM can take its place if extra storage is not needed.
Does the quad array camera do well enough? The 48MP main camera carries the bulk of photography on its shoulders, giving colorful photos when taken in daylight as you'd expect. With 48 megapixels to play with, you are allowed a huge degree of zooming and cropping before a photo turns blurry. Photos taken in low light conditions are decent looking without too much noise in the background, however the autofocus does struggle a bit when in low light conditions.
On the video department, the main camera is able to take 4K UHD (3840x2160) videos at 30 fps but it may be hard to view the video accurately on hand as the screen’s resolution limits it at bay here. Another side note is that there's an option for super slo-mo video capture at 720p@480fps. Though Samsung doesn't officially state that there is any kind of optical or electronic image stabilization on the A42 5G, some form of image stabilization seems to be at play in the background albeit with some weird bandings if the phone is shaken and jolted too much. The videos taken looks decent with the auto focus working fast enough to refocus when the camera is moved.
Great device to use personally if we look over the mediocre screen. Low resolution even more apparent when using the A42 5G coming from a FHD 1080p device or qHD 1440p device. Still, the latest mid-range SoC champ from Qualcomm keeps everything smooth and the massive 5000mAh battery would keeps the light on for a long period of time. The free 1 year warranty launch promotion included sweeten the deal slightly for users looking at a potential upgrade. The A42 5G will be a great device who need a reliable phone with great battery life.