Samsung Galaxy A33 5G Review – a beautiful water-resistant 5G phone
It’s hard to find a smallish phone with both 5G and water resistance for around P20k. So, if that’s what you need, the Samsung Galaxy A33 5G fits the bill. Here are the “bonus” features that might seal the deal: a sharp, color-vivid, and 90hz-smooth 6.4-inch AMOLED display (usable outdoors, under sunlight); a good main camera for shooting just about anything (even in low light); a two-day lasting, super-fast charging 5,000mAh battery; a clear and loud speaker (Dolby Atmos) good for videos, music streaming, and on-speaker calls; and all of that in a package that’s premium (there’s a slight heft) and comfy to hold (we don’t all have large hands or prefer big phones) and is rated for IP67 water resistance (you can literally jog in the rain with it).
Let’s hit the specs and pricing, and then go into detail.
Samsung Galaxy A33 Review Unit Full Specs:
- Exynos 1280 processor
- 8GB RAM
- 256GB storage, expandable up to 1TB via MicroSD
- 6.4-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED, 90hz refresh rate
- 48-megapixel f/1.8 main camera with PDAF and OIS, 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera, 5-megapixel f/2.4 macro camera, 2-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor
- 13-megapixel f/2.2 selfie camera
- 4G, LTE, 5G
- WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, in-display fingerprint scanner
- Stereo speakers, IP67 rating
- 5000mAh battery
- 25w charging
- Android 12, OneUI 4.1
- Colors Blue, Peach, White (review unit), Black
- PHP 21,990
In the Box:
- Type C cable
- SIM ejector
The Samsung Galaxy A33 5G variants are priced at:
- PHP 18,990 – 6GB/128GB
- PHP 19,990 – 8GB/128GB
- PHP 21,990 – 8GB/256GB
Just some context. The 6.4-inch A33 5G belongs to the Samsung A series that offer 5G, and that line-up includes the slightly bigger 6.5-inch A53 5G, and the biggest and most ably-spec’d of the series, the 6.7-inch A73 5G.
The A33 5G variant we have is maxed-out-in-specs: 8GB RAM plus 256GB storage, at PHP 21,990. That’s a lot of storage, with still room for more as the hybrid SIM slot can take in up to a 1TB microSD card. That’s a lot of pics and vids, which you’ll love to keep taking (more on that later).
The 8GBs of RAM offers plenty fast and responsive performance (no lags in our testing) coupled with the visually smooth and stutter-free 90hz refresh rate screen, one with Full HD+ super AMOLED crispness. Everything (images, text, websites, videos) looks good on this phone. Launching apps and switching between them was quick and, I keep saying that word, smooth.
There’s that small notch that might be glaring at you if you’re used to phones with only a small dot housing the selfie camera. But in long usage, you get used to it. It’s not a big problem. The onscreen fingerprint sensor is fast and responsive, something I’ve come to take for granted as we have Samsung at home. Another thing we take for granted is the elegant, visually consistent, calm and considered Samsung OneUI, the company’s own “skin” on top of Android. You never get the vibe that this is a nerdy phone you need to tweak and adjust to and configure all the time.
Below are some sample shots from the A33 5G’s rear (main, wide, macro) and front cameras.
Taking photos and videos is a pleasure on the A33 5G. Samsung continues to have what’s probably the most intuitive camera UI on an Android phone. You don’t even have to go into specific modes as the default main camera can take in nearly every scene – food, low light scenes in parties, portraits. The selfie camera takes detailed pics (under sufficient lighting) though a bit beauty-tweaked (but your titas will love how skin-smooth they are on IG pics). Videos are record-and-view-and-share (rarely is there a need to dive into settings). There’s stabilization for both pics and vids that helps to “hand-hold” you should you be in camera shaky situations (like a wedding reception or a celeb meet and greet and lots of people are in the way and you’re too excited you’re shaking). Oh right, videos in low light are also decent. Just don’t go zooming in on a distant stage during a night concert.
That said, the macro camera output is not always that clear and we found ourselves simply using the main camera and cropping afterwards, since the resulting pic is clearer. This isn’t really a problem unless you habitually take very close 3cm close ups of bugs, jewelry, toys, coins, and fingernails.
Images from the wide-angle camera are also not as sharp as those from the main one. This is probably our only real A33 5G camera gripe, as wide-angle is great for travel, interior shots, group shots of friends and family.
While we’re not deep diving into every graphic-heavy mobile game out there, we did download and test out two of such – Apex Legends and Honkai Impact 3 – and they performed smoothly, and the high-contrast, colorful display and loud sound adds to the joy of playing.
Battery life easily lasts two days on a full charge. The A33 5G comes with no charger or earphones, which some may find sad, especially since the A series of last year had chargers out of the box. Speaking of chargers, the device can enjoy 25w super charging, but you’ll have to buy it separately. This phone battery longevity, by the way, is great for long commutes, video streaming marathons (great screen plus good sound), and mobile games. If you frequently take in video meetings and online classes, this is a great small phone.
Because there’s no audio port, you’ll need to get your own Bluetooth earphones – the choices for which are abundant and the prices for most are affordable.
Phone calls are clear, be they with the phone itself or via an app, or even from the phone’s speaker. We could hear the person on the other end clearly and vice versa, even when we’re in a slightly noisy environment, like a street with screaming kids and the honking horns of Makati traffic.
Some minor gripes about the Samsung A33 5G
Having said all these, the Samsung Galaxy A33 5G does have some “limitations”, some of which we’ve already touched on. Here they are, with our own recommendations in dealing with them.
The A series doesn’t come with a charger, earphones, or a free case – items that came with the A series the year before (except for the earphones). So, the A33 5G box is just a small one: phone, charging cable, SIM ejector, documentation. While the phone can get super fast charged with a 25w charger (which you can buy separately), the comes-with Type C cable lets you charge with a standard charger, a fast charging one with lower speeds (fast but not super fast), or with a power bank or desktop/laptop port.
While the display is sturdy Gorilla Glass, you’ll want to install a screen protector to shield that wonderful screen from bumps, scratches, and drops. The screen protector may crack, but better that it be the one to absorb impact rather than the phone’s screen. Trust us on this. My wife has an A72 and I have an A73 5G and we both have screen protectors bought from a Samsung physical store. It’s worth it. The cracks on our screen protector say so.
While the phone is pleasant and comfy to hold and use “bare bones”, we really recommend you get a case to protect it from drops. A bump on the road, a rowdy kid, a zooming around pet, or any accident could dislodge the phone from your hand. On your way down to pick it up, better to be relieved that it is safely encased and has a screen protector.
No audio port means you need to use Bluetooth headphones, which you can buy separately. With so many good deals on good headphones these days, this is a non-issue. Wireless also means no wires that can snag into things and get tangled up.
Unlike the A73 5G and A53 5G, the A33 5G has what Samsung calls an Infinity U display (the front camera is housed in a black notch instead of just a dot as with the other two siblings). During use, you get used to it. It “disappears” during games, chats, videos, etc.
The rear wide-angle camera is not as sharp as the main camera. Probably our only real gripe against the A33 5G. Oh and the macro camera is probably not needed, since you can take clearer pics with the main camera, and just zoom in for a crop of the close-up pic you want.
The Wrap Up
The Samsung Galaxy A33 5G is unique in that it’s a posh and premium smallish phone with a rare mix of both 5G and water resistance. Its shortcomings (lack of comes-with charger and earphones, not so good wide angle rear camera) in our opinion are outweighed by its good ones – a good main and selfie camera, 2 days of battery life, a sharp and smooth AMOLED display, a decently loud speaker, and smooth, stutter-free performance.
These features make it great for long hours of content creation (crisp pics and vids for social media sharing, and for livestreaming) and consumption (video marathons, games, and enjoying your fave playlists). Oh, and if you have small hands or prefer smallish phones, you’ll like it.
With more people seeing the clear benefits of using 5G connectivity (fast downloads and uploads, great for streaming, video calls, and mobile games), an awesome gift this Christmas is a feels-good-in-you-hand phone with 5G that can survive a run-through in the rain or getting soaked by iced tea during a dinner party. The Samsung Galaxy A33 5G is a good gift.