Samsung’s affordable Galaxy A34 is full of surprises

June 21, 2023
2 mins read
Start
9/10

Summary

Samsung Galaxy A34 REVIEW

PAT PILCHER puts the new Galaxy A34 through its paces and discovers unexpectedly premium-style attributes for a nicely priced phone.

$649

 

Samsung’s A series mid-range phones are hugely popular, for good reason. Witchdoctor recently auditioned Sammy’s capable (yet affordable) A54, and awarded it a whopping 9/10. The A34 5G is the next tier down from the A54 5G, offering solid value for money at just $649.

Like the A54, the A34’s design resembles Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S range. Where their flagship phones have aluminium bands that sandwich a glass front and back, the A34 has a glass-like matte plastic (Samsung’s marketing bods call it “Glastic”) back. The aluminium band is also a metallic-looking plastic. On its rear are three separate cameras rather than an old-school camera island. This setup lends everything a premium look and feel. In the hand, the A34 feels surprisingly solid. You could easily mistake it at a cursory glance for a far pricier Galaxy S device.

Given its pocket pleasing sticker price, there are many pleasant surprises to be found. For a start, you get an IP67 protection rating, which means the A34 will survive a dunking in water. The other surprise is its display. It’s a 6.6-inch Super AMOLED panel, which is slightly larger than that of the Galaxy A54 5G. You get a decent 2400 x 1080 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, which equates to super-smooth scrolling of on-screen content.

Under its hood, the A34 is powered by a 6nm MediaTek Dimensity 1080 CPU, which is roughly equivalent to a Snapdragon 7 series CPU. Samsung’s bumf says that you get a 17 per cent CPU boost and a 14 per cent GPU boost which makes for smooth running with most everyday tasks you’re likely to throw at it. Further helping its performance is a generous 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. While the A34 won’t decode the human genome in milliseconds, it worked fine for almost any other everyday smartphone-type task and light gaming/media consumption.

Supplying juice to everything is a roomy 5000mAh battery with 25W charging. It might not be the fastest charging, but it’s still plenty adequate, especially considering the A34’s price. I got just over a day of battery life with heavy use, extending close to two days with light use.

The star of the show are the A34 cameras. Around the back is a 48 megapixel main camera, an 8  megapixel ultrawide, and 5 megapixel macro sensors. The cameras did a decent job under optimal lighting conditions, also delivering surprisingly vivid colours and low image noise levels with evening or early morning shots when the sun had yet to fully appear. Video shooting and low-light shots were also surprisingly good, which comes down to the addition of optical image stabilisation to keep everything steady during long exposure shots or for capturing video on the move.

 

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Considering its reasonable sticker price, the A34 delivers a surprising amount of bang for not much of your hard-earned buckage. A large AMOLED screen with 120hz refresh combines with 5G support and an IP67 rating to give features normally found on devices costing more. Add a slinky, almost premium design, and the A34 has oodles of appeal for phone shoppers on a tight budget.

https://www.samsung.com/nz/smartphones/galaxy-a/galaxy-a34-5g-awesome-violet-128gb-sm-a346elvaxnz/

 

Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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