Samsung's Galaxy S and Galaxy Note flagships might get the most attention, but it's the company's more affordable Galaxy A phones that have helped it weather recent downturns in smartphone demand. Typically, we don't see many of those phones make their way to the US. Not so this year. In 2020, Samsung plans to release six different Galaxy A-series models stateside. What's more, two of the phones will feature 5G connectivity, a first for the series.
Most of the A-series devices that are coming this year Samsung already announced for other markets, but the two 5G handsets are new. At the top end, there's the $600 Galaxy A71 5G. It features a 6.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus Full HD+ display and four main cameras, with a 64-megapixel sensor in there for good measure. With a microSD card, you'll be able to add up to 1TB of additional storage.
Then there's the Galaxy A51 5G. It comes with a 6.5-inch Full HD+ display, 48-megapixel main camera, 4,500mAh battery and 6GB of RAM. It will ship with 128GB of internal storage, which you'll be able to increase by up to 512GB with a microSD card. It will cost an even $500.
Both the A71 and A51 5G will arrive in the US this summer -- provided there aren't any coronavirus-related delays.
At around the same time, Samsung plans to release two other A-series devices. First, there's the 6.4-inch Galaxy A11. It includes a triple main camera array with two wide-angle lenses and a single depth sensor. It also features a 4,000mAh battery and 32GB of internal storage. You'll be able to buy it for a modest $180.
Then there's the more capable Galaxy A21. For $250, you get a 6.5-inch HD+ display, a 4,000mAh battery with support for 15W fast charging and a quad-camera array that includes two wide-angle lenses, in addition to a macro lens and depth sensor.
In the meantime, Samsung will begin selling two recent Galaxy A phones in the US, starting with $110 Galaxy A01. As you might imagine, it comes with mostly modest features, including a 3,000mAh battery and a dual main camera setup that includes a 2-megapixel depth sensor. It's also the only new A-series phone without one of Samsung's signature circular "Infinity-O" display cutouts. Instead, it comes with an OnePlus 6T-like "Infinity-V" notch and a HD+ screen.
If you want something more capable, there’s the LTE variant of the Galaxy A51. Skipping on 5G you get a phone with less RAM and a smaller battery, but you save $100, with the phone set to start at $400 when it comes out tomorrow.
It's not surprising to see Samsung push affordable 5G handsets as other smartphone companies have done much the same. Xiaomi, for instance, recently announced the €349 5G-capable Mi 10 Lite. That said, whether it makes sense to buy one of Samsung's new, less expensive 5G phones will depend on where you live. Carriers like T-Mobile have promised aggressive 5G buildouts moving forward, but the fact of the matter is that we're still very much in the early days of the new network standard. Unless you live in some of the country's densest urban centers, you'll have a hard time finding a 5G signal -- it can even be hard to find one in cities like Chicago. It's also not surprising to see Samsung push more affordable handsets into the US market. In 2019, devices like the A50 were critical to the company's surge in Europe and other markets.