MAY 23, 2024 / Mobile Phones

Samsung Galaxy A33 Review

If you look around the phone space, it’s nearly always the “flagship” phones that get all the attention. They’re the effective supercars of the smartphone space, with the latest camera features, the fastest processors, and the biggest design changes.

Like their supercar counterparts, the biggest problem with premium flagship phones is their asking prices. It’s not uncommon for makers to ask north of $1,500 per handset. They’re great devices, a lot of fun to use – but that asking price is going to put them out of contention for lots of us with tight budgets to consider.

The good news here is that the phones you can get for half or less of the asking price of a flagship phone have quietly become very good.

The features that were common in flagships just a few years ago – and the speed of those handsets – has trickled down into what’s usually called the “mid-range” of smartphones.

Samsung’s cheaper phone ranges are its Galaxy A series phones. I’ve recently spent a few weeks evaluating its $597 Galaxy A33 handset.

At that price point, it’s not the company’s cheapest – that’s the Galaxy A13 – or its top end, which is either the Galaxy A73 or Galaxy S21 FE depending on how you want to count it.

The $597 price of the Galaxy A33 puts it in the middle of that middle class. It’s a mid-range, mid-range phone, in other words, but what do you get for your money – and is it worth it?

I’d say yes, based on my testing. The Galaxy A33 is a 6.4-inch screened phone, so it’s got plenty of screen real estate without being huge in your hand the way some phones can be. Its display offers up to 90Hz refresh rates, which means it can handle smooth web page scrolling and faster graphics effects if you like your mobile games. It’s also got water resistance built in, which you don’t always see in phones at this kind of price.

On the camera front, it’s equipped with four rear and one front-facing camera. The primary lens you’ll actually take photos with has a 48MP sensor, lined up above an 8MP ultrawide sensor and 5MP macro lens. The final lens on the back is a 2MP depth sensor, used to achieve that “soft focus” effect that many people like in portrait photos.

The Galaxy A33 shoots fairly well for its price point, and Samsung’s camera app does make it easy for new photographers. I’ve long been a fan of its “Single Take” camera app, which automatically captures shots and video as you move around a subject. It’s an easy way to get a striking picture most of the time, while guiding you as to how to make those kinds of shots happen yourself too.

Will it outshoot a Galaxy S22 Ultra or iPhone 13 Pro Max? In no way at all, but then it’s less than half the price of either, and that’s very much the point. For everyday photos, whether you like a selfie or two, or just want cute baby pictures of the grandkids or pets, it’s absolutely fit for purpose.

App performance was fair, but not exceptional within this price space. I didn’t hit too many instances of apps lagging, but comparatively it’s absolutely average within its category. The Galaxy A33 also supports 5G networks, and while that might not matter to you right now, it’s a nice future proofing step to have in a new handset.

Samsung has also impressively stated that it will offer four years of full software upgrades for the Galaxy A33. It ships with Android 12 on board but should still be good for fresh Android upgrades all the way to Android 16. You don’t see that with too many mid-range Android handsets!

The reality for smartphones in 2022 is that for most of us, a handset like the Galaxy A33 is more than enough. It’s not the fastest phone money can buy, but that’s 100% reflected in its asking price. For day-to-day usage, it’s absolutely fine, and the inclusion of multiple camera lenses and water resistance really is just icing on the cake.

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Photo of Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman
A multi-award winning journalist, Alex has written about consumer technology for over 20 years. He has written and edited for virtually every Australian tech publication including Gizmodo, CNET, PC Magazine, Kotaku and more.