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(Pocket-lint) - The 2022 Samsung Galaxy A33 5G sees quite an update over the Galaxy A32 of 2021. There's a fresh design, new internals and something of a repositioning of this phone compared to the previous version, looking to upgrade this Samsung phone.

That sees a performance boost, but also brings with it a bump in the price. So is that a price that's worth?

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Our quick take

The Samsung Galaxy A33 5G makes quite a move from its position in 2021, with a new design and display, alongside boosted hardware, making this phone sit closer to the Galaxy A53 5G that it launches alongside.

This reinvention of this phone sees the price jump from £249 to £329 (in the UK), breaking that £300 barrier. But in return you get a much better device. We suspect that Samsung wants to double down on this sweet spot because it's had great success here.

First impressions of this handset are good, the design and display are immediately appealing - and we'll be bringing you a full run down of the performance as soon as we can.

Samsung Galaxy A33 5G initial review: Moving up in the world

Samsung Galaxy A33 5G

For
  • Powerful mid-range hardware
  • IP67 protection
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Great display
Against
  • No 3.5mm headphone socket
  • Price has crept up

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Design and build

  • 159.7 x 74.0 x 8.1mm, 186g
  • Gorilla Glass 5 and waterdrop notch
  • IP67 protection

The Samsung Galaxy A33 5G gets a design refresh over the Galaxy A32 of 2021. The design now shifts over to be practically the same as the slightly-higher positioned Galaxy A53 5G. Indeed, unless you know what you're looking for, you wouldn't be able to tell these two Galaxy A phones apart. 

There is a difference, however, with the Galaxy A33 5G getting matte frames, rather than the glossy finish on the A53 5G - and we think this phone, the slightly more affordable, actually looks like the better of the two.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy A33 5G review photo 14

One omission on this phone is the 3.5mm headphone socket - it's no longer offering support for those old wired headphones, but it does come with stereo speakers, which claim to be able to pump out Dolby Atmos.

The display design does give away the positioning of this phone slightly, with a waterdrop notch at the top and a bit of a chin at the bottom. It is, essentially, the same front design as the previous A32. 

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy A33 5G review photo 5

There's now IP67 protection, which is a premium addition to provide a little more protection and welcomed on this level of phone.

Display

  • 6.4in 2400 x 1080 pixels, 90Hz
  • AMOLED
  • Infinity-U display

As we have just mentioned, there's a Infinity-U display on the Galaxy A33, which is the name Samsung applies to phones with a waterdrop notch. It's slightly less premium than the punch hole on the Galaxy A53 5G and along with that chin, you're left with a 6.4-inch display.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy A33 5G review photo 9

But, the resolution of this phone has stepped up: previously this level of device offered a 720p display but now you're treated to 1080p, it's AMOLED and it offers a 90Hz refresh rate. 

That upgrade in display probably accounts for the boost in price over previous versions of this phone, and first impressions suggest it is worth paying for.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy A33 5G review photo 8

While we've not fully tested this device yet, it looks like it's a great display and it's going to serve up your content with plenty of colour and detail - boosted by that 90Hz refresh rate smoothing things out.

Hardware and performance 

  • Exynos 1280, 6GB RAM
  • 128GB + microSD
  • 5000mAh battery, 25W charging

We've mentioned the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G several times in this review, and we're about to mention it again, as the internals of the A33 5G are the same as the A53 5G.

It's powered by a new Exynos 1280 system on chip, with 6GB of RAM. There's the option to use some of the 128GB of storage as virtual RAM, up to an additional 6GB.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy A33 5G review photo 6

On top of the expanded storage that's now offered on this Galaxy A device, there's also support for microSD up to 1TB, so you're well placed for carting around additional content, like movies or music. 

Of course, with this being new hardware, we can't assess exactly what the day-to-day performance will be, but Samsung says there's a significant boost in performance over the outgoing A32 5G, so we'll be keen to put that to the test when we review the phone. 

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy A33 5G review photo 11

Powering the whole thing is a 5000mAh battery, supporting 25W charging. There's no wireless charging, but with a decent battery, Samsung says you'll get 2 days of use from it. Of course, we'll be putting it through its paces as soon as we can.

The phone launches on Android 12 with Samsung's One UI; there will be 4 years of OS updates and 5 years of security updates.

Cameras

  • Quad camera system
    • Main: 48MP, f/1.8 OIS
    • Ultra-wide: 8MP, f/2.2
    • Macro: 5MP, f/2.4
    • Depth: 2MP, f/2.4
  • Front: 13MP, f/2.2

There's a quad camera system on the rear of the Galaxy A33 5G, but as is often the case with mid-range phones, this needs to be approached with caution. There are two cameras that deserve your attention and two that probably don't.

The main camera here is a 48-megapixel sensor which is supported by optical image stabilisation (OIS). It's also worth noting that this main camera is the only camera offering autofocus, with the others being fixed focus.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy A33 5G review photo 4

That main camera is supported by an ultra-wide lens - there's no zoom camera here. That means you'll be limited in zoom performance and it will all be digital. However, those ultra-wide shots will likely be good enough, so you get some creative choices at least. 

Exactly how they perform will need to wait for a full review as we didn't have the chance to look in any detail at images during our initial time with the phone. 

Now onto the lenses we're less excited about: there's a 2MP depth sensor, said to boost the performance in those portrait bokeh shots, but we've generally found these ancillary sensors to be little more than bulk and make little difference to the results you get.

Pocket-lintSamsung Galaxy A33 5G review photo 10

The same can be said of the macro sensor. This has been something of a trend over the last couple of years and we're not expecting much from it.

We will, of course, be diving into the performance of all these cameras when we review the phone shortly.

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To recap

Samsung has made a welcome run of changes to this mid-range device, boosting the appeal with a new design, enhanced display and more internal power. The price as also raised a little - but this could be a popular model for a great many customers.

Writing by Chris Hall.