Google and Samsung are now both competing head-to-head in the upper mid-range segment. The recently launched Google Pixel 5a takes on Samsung’s established Galaxy A52 5G with a similar price and specs. However, the latter has many perks to offer Samsung fans, including longer security updates, a more versatile camera system, a slightly faster processor, and more. So which one should you consider buying? Let’s find out in this Google Pixel 5a vs Samsung Galaxy A52 5G comparison.
Our verdict: Google Pixel 5a review
Google Pixel 5a vs Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
|Specs||Google Pixel 5a||Samsung Galaxy A52 5G|
|Display||6.34-inch OLED display
2,400 x 1,080 resolution
20:9 aspect ratio
60Hz refresh rate
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
|6.5-inch AMOLED display
2,400 x 1,080 resolution
20:9 aspect ratio
120Hz refresh rate
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Titan M Security Module
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G|
|GPU||Adreno 620||Adreno 619|
|RAM||6GB of RAM||6GB/8GB of RAM|
No expandable storage
1.4μm pixel width
Autofocus with dual pixel phase detection
Optical + electronic image stabilization
0.8µm pixel width
Optical image sabilization
|Buttons and ports||USB-C
3.5mm headphone jack
3.5mm headphone jack
|Audio||Stereo speakers||Stereo speakers|
18W fast charging
25W fast charging
Minimum 3 years of OS and security updates
|Android 11 with One UI 3.1
Minimum 3 years of OS and 4 years of security updates
|Dimensions and weight||156.2 x 73.2 x 8.8mm
|159.9 x 75.1 x 8.4 mm
|Colors||Mostly Black||Awesome Black
Design and display
There are a couple of differences you’ll notice between the hardware on the Google Pixel 5a and the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G. For starters, Google has opted for a more premium metal unibody design this time around, compared to its predecessor’s plastic chassis. In contrast, Samsung sticks to the tried and tested polycarbonate frame and rear panel we also saw on the Galaxy A51.
When it comes to the overall look, the Pixel 5a is more attractive in my opinion with its forest green undertones and olive-colored power button. The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G keeps things straightforward with solid, matte colors running across the entire body.
The Pixel 5a looks more attractive with its forest green undertones and olive-colored power button.
You’ll notice that the Galaxy A52 5G closely resembles its flagship family members with a chunky camera module and a centered punch-hole that houses the selfie snapper. It also comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor, so there’s nothing at the back except for the cameras and Samsung’s logo.
Meanwhile, the Pixel 5a is also not a huge leap design-wise compared to the Pixel 4a 5G, featuring the same square camera housing with a physical fingerprint sensor underneath it.
Durability was a bit of a concern with the Pixel 4a, but the Pixel 5a fixes that with its newly acquired IP67 rating for water and dust protection. That means the phone is on par with the Samsung Galaxy A52 in this area, which also has an IP67 rating.
Samsung’s phone, however, one-ups the Pixel in terms of display toughness. Google has equipped its phone with Gorilla Glass 3 protection on the 6.34-inch OLED display, while Samsung uses Gorilla Glass 5 on its slightly larger 6.5-inch AMOLED screen.
The display specs of the two mid-rangers are mostly comparable, with a matching Full HD+ resolution. But if you’re looking for some extra grunt, you’ll probably prefer the Galaxy A52’s 120Hz refresh rate compared to the Google Pixel 5a’s standard 60Hz screen. Android Authority reviewer Eric Zeman notes that the 120Hz experience on the Galaxy A52 5G is “quite nice, particularly when navigating YouTube and other apps that necessitate lots of scrolling.”
A high refresh rate display has become a pretty regular feature in this price category, but unfortunately, the Pixel 5a misses out on it. Still, as our very own Jimmy Westenberg said in his Pixel 5a review, even at 60Hz, the phone’s display works just fine.
Hardware and cameras
The foremost distinguishing factor between the Google Pixel 5a and the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is the chipset. Samsung’s phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G. It’s based on ARM’s Cortex A77 cores, which should theoretically give the CPU more grunt than the Snapdragon 765G that sits under the hood of the Pixel 5a. However, the GPU performance of Qualcomm’s Adreno 620 on the Pixel 5a should be slightly better than that of the Adreno 619 on the Galaxy A52 5G.
In our own testing, we found that the Galaxy A52 5G’s Snapdragon 750G chip narrowly bested the Pixel 5a.
Still, there shouldn’t be much difference between the two phones in real-world usage. Just don’t expect them to compete with the big flagships. In our own testing, we found that the Snapdragon 750G narrowly bests the Snapdragon 765G. All-in-all, both phones should give you decent everyday usage, but they may disappoint while performing heavy tasks.
Snapdragon SoC guide: All of Qualcomm’s smartphone processors explained
Both phones come with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. However, you can also get a version of the Galaxy A52 5G with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage in some regions. In addition, the Galaxy offers expandable storage through its hybrid SIM slot, while the Pixel doesn’t have that option. Instead, you get eSIM capabilities on it alongside the nano-SIM slot.
Photography is an area in which Google has always excelled thanks to its software finesse. The Pixel 5a has an identical camera setup as the Pixel 5, which means you get the same 12.2MP main camera Google has been using for years. We noted in our review that the Pixel produces sharp and accurate photos in daylight, and the Night Sight mode kicks in by default to produce good low-light images. The 16MP ultra-wide camera on the Pixel 5a uses Google’s Super Res Zoom feature. It doesn’t quite match up to a dedicated telephoto shooter, but it still does a decent job.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G sports a more versatile camera setup with a 64MP main sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide lens, and two 5MP snappers for dedicated macro and depth photos. Of course, the phone’s software skills and machine learning prowess are not as strong as what Google offers, but the phone still takes great images overall.
There are also no zoom cameras here, but the phone relies on digital zoom for long-distance shots. That said, the 16MP binned shots from the main sensor were quite good in our experience. Overall, we found that the device delivers ideal colors, details, white balance, and exposure. In terms of video shooting, the Galaxy A52 5G can only shoot 4K at 30fps compared to the Pixel 5a’s ability to record 4K footage at 60fps.
Price, availability, and colors
- Google Pixel 5a: $449
- Samsung Galaxy A52 5G: $499 / £399 / €429
The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G launched for $499, but the company has since reduced its price to exactly $424 for the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage version. That makes the phone a bit cheaper than the Pixel 5a, which comes in at $449 for the same configuration.
Check out: Google Pixel 5a vs Pixel 4a
The biggest difference here is in the availability of the two handsets. You can only buy the Google Pixel 5a is in the US and Japan. It’s not available anywhere else in the world, although that may change somewhere down the line. The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is more widely available, as you can get it in the US as well as in Europe.
The Pixel comes in a single Mostly Black colorway. The Galaxy A52 5G can be bought in more flavors, including black, white, violet, and blue.
Water resistance comes to the Pixel A-series
Google Pixel 5a vs Samsung Galaxy A52 5G: Which one should you buy?
If we had to choose one phone between the Google Pixel 5a and Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, we would probably go for the Pixel. That’s because Google’s phone promises a stock Android experience, better cameras, Google’s three-year software update promise, and a solid design.
That doesn’t mean the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is a bad phone. In fact, its performance is comparable to that of the Pixel, the cameras don’t disappoint, and it also offers three years of Android updates in addition to an extra year of security updates compared to the 5a.
For most people, the decision will come down to two things — whether they prefer stock Android over One UI and whether they like Google’s camera software optimizations more than Samsung’s.
The Pixel 5a is our pick — but the Galaxy A52 5G is a very strong alternative.
However, keep in mind that there are also a few extra features on Samsung’s phone that you may find useful — the 120Hz display and in-display fingerprint sensor. However, these are more cosmetic in nature and should not make a huge difference to the phone’s overall performance compared to the Pixel 5a.