Samsung Galaxy A42: Affordable 5G with Gaming Performance!

Even when Samsung’s fixated on constantly dominating the flagship market, they still have eyes in another segment, and a good example of that would be the Galaxy A42 5G. It retails for RM 1599 and it seem poised to fight the mid-range scene with everything they’ve got. Let’s dive in. Get comfy.


Specs

CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 750 5G
Memory8GB RAM / 128GB (microSD up to 1TB support)
Display6.5-inch 1600 x 720 SAMOLED
Camera48MP – Wide
8MP – Ultrawide
5MP – Macro
5MP – Depth Sensor
20MP- Front-facing
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0,USB Type-C, 5G Band N1(2100), N3(1800), N5(850), N7(2600), N8(900), N28(700), Dual SIM Hybrid
OSOne UI 2.5 (Android 10)
Battery5000mAh 15W fast-charging
Available ColorsPrism Dot Gray / Prism Dot Black
Retail PriceRM 1599

Design

This release looked pretty unique to me at first glance. You can immediately see at the back that the reflective prisms going to be bright enough to shine at your face, in four shades of geometric rectangles. Design really stands out here. I didn’t care that it was plastic anymore. If it looked good, it doesn’t matter what it’s made of anymore.

“One of the most eye-catching phones I’ve seen in this price range”

Other than the back, the rest of the body doesn’t fall from Samsung’s design language. You have thin curves all over with a comfy 6.5-inch display in the front. You’ll see the Infinity-U Display nesting the 20MP selfie cam with a little thick chin of a bezel below.

Performs well, but we know why

First of all, the A42 packs the new Snapdragon 750G 5G, a mid-range SoC that’s effectively replacing the Snapdragon 730G and performs slightly lower than the 765G. In real time use, it was ultra-smooth, navigating around on One UI 2.5 and even playing games. Did it surpass my performance? Oh yes sir it did, but it wasn’t just thanks to the chipset, but also the display.

720p Super AMOLED Display!?

Yeah, I’m sure you’re let down now. Go. Go get mad at the fact that there’s a phone with a HD+ resolution commanding a price like this. Listen here, a low resolution display like that, coupled with such a chipset was it performed like an absolute monster. In fact, this is a testament of Samsung’s experience in display technology. The Super AMOLED panel provided an excellent contrast ratio with amazing colors to boot. Games ran easily and smoothly on 60FPS without no drop, and most importantly, one of the slowest heat buildups I have ever experienced in any of my gaming tests. Almost every game ran under 40°C, with the exception of Genshin Impact which was understandably more 3D intensive than the rest of the titles.

Setting Parameters:

  • Duration : 1 hour straight
  • Graphical Settings: Highest Possible
GameActivityHighest Temperature
COD MobileShipment, TDM and Battle Royale (TPP & FPP)39.4°C
Genshin Impact Daily quests, Ingredient Farming and Domains41°C
Cookie Run: OvenbreakGuild Run, Trophy Race & all Breakouts37.2°C

Cameras are easy and good under specific conditions

There are a total of 5 camera sensors (1 of them is a depth sensor) on the Galaxy A42 5G. They simply just get the job of picture and video-taking done with little to no hassle. Color reproduction leans towards the duller side of things, which I am alright with since we can just up the saturation during post. It compensates with actually sharp images with passable dynamic range.

If you want better overall results, I do recommend going into 48MP mode and scaling down to your fancy. The contrast in sharpness is quite large between 48MP and 12MP but both do suffer from just a little bit of softness around the edges, but that’s quite a typical scenario for phone cameras so it’s not going to upset anyone.

The 8MP ultrawide is a mixed bag for me. Colors were dull and the dynamic range was a little mediocre. It does produce good contrast though, an automatic distortion correction that’s consistent during operation.

Macro mode performance I would say is above average. It’s good at 5MP but I’ve seen sharper results on other devices with the same pixel count. It’s still usable, don’t get me wrong.

The 20MP selfie cam did a nice job capturing overall facial detail, definitely good enough for the ‘gram. Live Focus was impressive too, with nearly identical results to even the S20 FE. Colors did get a little washed out on the live-focus mode, similar to the macro mode in comparison.

Outstanding Operating Longevity

Compared to the previous A4x models, this A42 5G has a big 5000mAh, which was a little surprising for me. The battery size pretty much cemented the foundation for long day use, playing to its strengths of a solid chipset and a low-res display.

Regular usage had me only looking for the charger at the 40 hour mark, which is spectacular. On light usage, you’ll definitely be able to push to even 2 days with some change.

As for charging, the package includes a 15W fast-charger, which takes a rather long time to charge compare to even the A41. I get it. The battery pack’s large, and 15W would not be the most ideal speed for it.

Charging Results

From 10% Unplug %
30 mins35%
60 mins70%
2 hours100%

Final Thoughts

This price point is very competitive, and the A42 5G managed to be a very balanced phone with very little shortcomings. Some may feel that the display falls short of their expectations, but believe me, you trade that one thing off for excellent gaming performance and a long battery life. The charging isn’t good either, taking 2 hours to fully charge, but it compensates by lasting longer between charges, leaving you to just having to charge at the end of your day.

You could get a Xiaomi Mi 10T for RM 1599 as well, with a 144Hz display, faster 30W charging with the same 5000 mAh capacity but lose out on screen color quality and a microSD slot. I would personally pick ONE UI over MIUI, for better update consistency and user experience.

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