Samsung Galaxy A73 review: Eye-catching design meets dependable performance

The price could be a bit lower, though.

Samsung Galaxy A73 review
Galaxy A73 price in India starts at Rs 41,999. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The Galaxy A73 is basically a Galaxy S21 FE Lite in spirit. Like the Galaxy S21 FE (review), the idea here is –also – presumably to give you a near flagship-grade experience at slightly more affordable prices.

You could probably look at the Galaxy S20 FE (review) if you’re looking for something like that. It’s cheaper, too. But Samsung will only support it for two more years, software wise (the phone was launched in 2020 with Android 10). We understand that some of you may be fine with that, in which case, the S20 FE should ideally be the way to go.

The A73 naturally runs the latest and greatest One UI 4.1 with Android 12 on top but its big trump card is that it will get 4 major OS and 5 years of security updates— same as the Galaxy S22 series. This extended support is a big sales pitch –sort of like the iPhone— something that should and would have many takers. There are a few more benefits, too. It has a more modern design, a stronger cover glass, a higher resolution primary camera, and a bigger battery, to name a few.

In other words, all the makings of a good all-rounder are there, to make you want to consider it over its peers. Question is, has Samsung done enough to justify its –still somewhat— steep pricing?

PERFORMANCE & BATTERY LIFE

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G inside the A73 is its strongest element. Depending on where you stand, it could be its weakest link, too. Let’s start with the pros. The chip isn’t very new, but it isn’t very old either. What this means is that both app developers and Samsung itself –having used it before in phones like the A52s—have spent a fair bit of time with it, optimising it. The chip, itself, is easily among the best that Qualcomm has ever made especially for the intended segment. It is fast, reliable, and efficient. When paired with proper software, this hardware really has the potential to fly. The A73 is a good example of that.

The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 778G chip. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

This is a very dependable phone that does almost everything you throw at it with ease and barely a hiccup. It doesn’t throttle incessantly giving you consistently good, sustained performance. Most importantly, it runs cool, while at it. All this is evident in benchmarks which, we reiterate, represent the worst-case scenario for testing purposes only. Anyway, the A73 was able to complete the 20-minute 3DMark Wildlife stress test with 98.9 percent stability— which is impressive. Even more surprisingly, temperature rose by only 3-degree Celsius in this time, which, considering the fact that we’re stationed in Delhi, felt like a rare accomplishment. Just to be on the safe side, we also ran the 45-minute AnTuTu stress test on this phone, CPU Throttling as well for 30 minutes straight, and again, the A73 remained as calm and confident as ever.  

The Galaxy A73 hits the sweet spot of performance and efficiency.

All this bodes well for battery life too. The 5,000mAh battery inside the A73 does well to take you through the day, and then some. Most users with more generalised usage patterns should be able to eke out a day and a half out of this phone easily. Samsung offers up to 25W fast charging support in the A73 but doesn’t ship any charging brick inside the box, which is a bummer.

Battery life is excellent. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

All in all, the A73 is more than capable of handling day-to-day tasks. High refresh rate gaming, too, is no problem for this phone except maybe for a couple of fringe cases like Genshin Impact and Fortnite. To be clear, you can play these games on the A73 at medium graphics settings. Battery life is stellar as well. So far so good, right? Most certainly. But if you’re wondering what’s the catch –the con if you will— it’s just that the A73 might seem tad boring to spec-nerds. Look, there’s no denying that it isn’t as powerful as a lot of the competition out there. It doesn’t charge as quickly as some of its peers, either. If that’s something that concerns you, you’re better off looking elsewhere. Then again, it’s all subjective. We feel the A73 hits the sweet spot of performance and efficiency, something that’s –still— hard to find despite there being no dearth of better specced alternatives.

DESIGN & DISPLAY

The A73 is like the A72 on a diet. Samsung has meticulously shaved off a few grams (181g versus 203g) as well as few inches (7.6mm versus 8.4mm), here and there, to give you a sleeker, more refined package. Despite looking exactly like its predecessor, the “new” A73 doesn’t look or feel recycled from any perceivable angle. The material also – matte pastel polycarbonate back, glossy plastic frame— is same as before. The design is still, refreshing, and eye-catching. The build, high-quality. Like clockwork, it is one of the few phones at its price to bag an official IP rating also. This is IP67.

The screen can refresh at up to 120Hz per second. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

It feels nice and dense in the hands without going overboard or anything. It’s supposed to be a big phone, but the flat back and subtly curved frame actually enhance grip. The slightly raised camera assembly, even though it leads to some surface wobble, is aesthetically pleasing. This is a very well-thought-out phone, one that is an absolute delight to hold, manoeuvre, even to show off.

The display credentials are same as the A72 mostly. But there are two big differences, or rather, improvements. Instead of a Super AMOLED, Samsung is using a Super AMOLED Plus panel in the A73. This apparently is one of the reasons why it’s slimmer than its predecessor. This display is also faster. It can refresh at up to 120Hz per second (versus 90Hz in the A72). The screen size is 6.7-inch, resolution is 1080p. It can peak 800nits and supports HDR10 playback – we can confirm this works in apps like Netflix. There is a hole punch cut-out at the centre and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Biometrics are handled by an optical in-screen fingerprint reader. This is fast and reliable.

CAMERAS & SOFTWARE  

This is where things get a little off-centre. The A73 gets a new 108MP main camera (f/1.8, OIS), potentially a step-up over the A72’s 64MP primary. It’s keeping the 12MP ultrawide and 5MP macro, as is, but the 8MP 3x telephoto has been swapped with a 5MP depth camera. We’re not getting into the whole megapixel debate here, but it’s pretty obvious that the A73 isn’t as versatile as the phone that it is replacing. That zoom camera in the A72 was one of its key USPs, something that’s still hard to find, much like an official IP rating. But it is what it is.

The phone has four cameras on the back. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

At least the A73’s main camera is getting some refresh. The results are mostly positive, too, which is nice. The phone can capture good amount of detail with fairly wide dynamic range and pleasing, if a little oversaturated, colours. Samsung’s processing is among the best in the business, and 8 out of 10 times, you’ll be extremely hard-pressed to tell, the A73 isn’t a flagship camera phone. Photos are almost flagship-grade, especially when lots of light is available. The main sensor does well in indoor/artificial and low light as well catching on detail, well enough, with little or no noise. The macro camera is a fun addition, capturing crisp close-ups, regardless of the lighting. Portraits, too, come out nice and detailed with good subject separation. The ultrawide is a little underwhelming. It lacks colour parity with the main camera and generally produces soft(er) photos, no matter the lighting conditions.

The 32MP camera on the front is again being carried over from the A72. It takes excellent selfies, and pleasing portraits, but quality goes for a spin under low light.

Extended software support adds a level of futureproofing that’s second to none, on the Android side at least.

The A73 is pretty stacked when it comes to videography. 4K@30fps is available across main, ultrawide, and the selfie camera as well, though there is no stabilisation so to say (this is only available on the rear cameras at 1080p). Videos are more or less in the same ballpark figure as stills with the main sensor capturing the best footage, followed by the ultrawide.

Samsung is bringing some of the high-end software aided camera chops to the mid-range segment with the A73. Features like Object Eraser and Photo Remaster are worth mentioning. They may seem whimsical, and they are for the most part, but collectively they help enhance the overall experience adding new forms of engagement with your phone.

The phone runs One UI 4.1. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

Software is perhaps one of the biggest reasons to invest in a Samsung phone, today. Absolute purists would find it difficult to tell if this phone is running Android 12, really, since there are so many layers and features baked-in, it’s easy to get lost sometimes. But believe us, everything from endless customisation through colour palettes and widgets to granular privacy guards including microphone and camera indicators are all there and working the way they’re supposed to. Moreover, the frequency at which Samsung is updating its phones these days— this includes the A73— is just on another level. The phone could do with less bloat/duplicate apps though. Our review unit runs the April 2022 security patch at the time of writing.

SAMSUNG GALAXY A73 5G | SHOULD YOU BUY IT?        

The Galaxy A73 looks and feels like a premium phone, more expensive than it really is. It has a rich and vibrant display that’s a treat for content consumption. Performance, which is easily the phone’s biggest highlight, is nimble. Battery life, too, is amazing. The cameras, though there is some room for improvement there, are potentially great. Extended software support (and 5G) adds a level of futureproofing that’s second to none, on the Android side at least.          

Not everything is hunky dory though. The A73’s stereo speaker setup lacks the oomph we’ve come to expect from Samsung phones. There is no headphone jack, or any sort of charger in the box. Haptic feedback, too, needs a bit of work. Then there is the pricing.

The Galaxy A73 price in India starts at Rs 41,999 for a version with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. A version with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage will set you back by Rs 44,999. The price could be a bit lower, though Samsung does offer some nice cashbacks with select bank cards to sweeten the deal, which ideally should be the way to go. Alternatively, you can also wait for the price to go down which it would, eventually.

The A73 is not high on specs but as a package, it comes out winning. It’s an all-rounder that gets most things right in good measure making it an instant recommendation, even more so if you can get it cheaper, somehow.

ProsCons
Good design, solid buildSpeakers could be louder
IP67 ratingNo headphone jack
Good displayNo charger in the box
Reliable performanceBit pricey
Extended software support
Great battery life
Capable cameras

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