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Samsung Galaxy A35 5G review: Almost wonderful

Our Rating :
£339.00 from
Price when reviewed : £339
inc VAT

The Samsung Galaxy A35 5G is a terrific all-rounder for its price, but the clunky design and older processor allows rivals to push ahead


  • Strong main camera
  • £10 cheaper than the A34
  • Decent battery life


  • Backup cameras are only okay
  • Outdated processor
  • On the heavier side

Stepping up alongside Samsung’s excellent Galaxy A55 5G, the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G is the cheaper of Samsung’s 2024 mid-range handsets. Shaving £100 off the price of the A55 while retaining several of the features from its more expensive sibling, the Galaxy A35 5G looks like a strong contender to become one of the best smartphones you can get for under £400.

After thoroughly testing the A35, I’d say that a couple of points hold it back from a clean sweep, with the older processor and mediocre secondary cameras dragging it down the leaderboard. Despite that, however, the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G still has a lot going for it and if you really can’t spend more, I suspect you’ll be very happy with it.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G review: What you need to know

The Galaxy A35 5G carries over plenty of features from its predecessor. It retains the large 6.6in AMOLED display, flat edges (though these are plastic, as opposed to aluminium) and floating camera lenses on the rear, and while the main camera has a slightly higher pixel count (50MP, compared to 48MP), the backup 8MP ultrawide and 5MP macro cameras are dead ringers.

Inside, the A34’s MediaTek chipset is replaced here with Samsung’s own Exynos 1380 – the same processor we saw in last year’s Galaxy A54 5G. It’s paired with 6GB of RAM and either 128 or 256GB of storage, and microSD cards are supported, too, allowing you to expand that by up to a further 1TB. The 5,000mAh battery is another carry-over, as is the 25W charging capacity – though, no mains adapter is included in the box.

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Samsung Galaxy A35 5G review: Price and competition

Just as we saw with the Galaxy A55 5G, the A35 5G is £10 cheaper than its predecessor, with the 128GB model costing £339 and the 256GB £50 more at £389. If you have £100 more to spend, you could get better performance and a higher-resolution ultrawide camera with the Galaxy A55 5G, which costs £439 for the 128GB or £489 for 256GB.

The biggest threat in this price range is the Google Pixel 6a. Despite being a generation behind, the Pixel 6a still packs impressive cameras and performance for the price, as well as a clean UI with early access to new Android features. It’s currently £399, but it’s regularly discounted to £299.

Also in this price range is the Nothing Phone (2a), at £319. As well as the unique design and useful Glyph notification lighting, the Phone (2a) has incredible battery life and a vibrant OLED display. Finally, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G is currently discounted down to just £269 (from the RRP of £339). The Note 13 Pro has a gorgeous colour-accurate display and decent performance, though battery life is middling and the software is fairly cluttered.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G review: Design and key features

The design of the A35 5G is nearly identical to its predecessor, right down to the 78 x 8.2 x 162mm (WDH) dimensions, though the rear is now glass instead of plastic. That contributes to a marginally heavier weight of 209g, compared to the A34 5G’s 199g. There’s also a whole new selection of colours, with the lemon model reviewed here joined by navy, ice blue and lilac.

Dust and water resistance is again rated at IP67 and a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus Plus sits over the 6.6in display. Beneath the glass, we’ve got a 32MP selfie camera that handles the face unlocking, as well as an optical fingerprint sensor. The right edge is home to the volume and power buttons, while the bottom houses the USB-C port and the top has the SIM-tray. This can either take two nano-SIMs or one alongside a microSD card.

The Galaxy A35 5G runs Android 14 with Samsung’s One UI 6.1 pasted on top. There are a few more preinstalled apps than I’d like – there is no world in which the Temu app needs to be preloaded on anyone’s phone – and the app drawer can be a little frustrating to navigate as it’s not organised alphabetically. On the bright side, Samsung has committed to four years of OS updates and five years of security patches.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G review: Display

The best thing about the Galaxy A35 5G’s display is how closely it resembles the more expensive Galaxy A55 5G’s screen. It’s the same 6.6in AMOLED panel, with an identical resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 and a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Brightness is roughly the same, too: in manual mode, it topped out at 411cd/m2, while switching to adaptive brightness and shining a torch on the light sensor pushed it to 949cd/m2.

In fact, the Galaxy A35 5G’s display is a little more colour accurate than its pricier counterpart. There are two colour profiles to choose from: Vivid dials up the colour saturation to make for more vibrant images, and Natural aims for accuracy. The latter mostly hits the mark, too, with an sRGB gamut coverage of 95% and a volume of 97.5%. The average Delta E colour variance score of 1.73 is further from the target of 1 than I’d like, but it’s better than the Galaxy A55’s result (1.82) and I didn’t notice any colours looking unnatural.

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Samsung Galaxy A35 5G review: Performance and battery life

While I normally applaud recycling, Samsung trotting out last year’s 2.4GHz Exynos 1380 chipset to power the Galaxy A35 5G doesn’t feel like the right move here. To be clear, it’s still a decent performer, but there’s a fly in the ointment.

That fly is the Pixel 6a, which speeds ahead of the A35 5G with leads of 56% in the single-core benchmarks and 13% in the multi-core. Considering that the Pixel is a generation behind (and is often on sale for less than £300), that’s not the best look for Samsung.

Geekbench 6 chart comparing the CPU performance of the Galaxy A35 5G with similarly priced rivals

The GPU benchmarks aren’t anywhere near that close, with the Pixel 6a pulling far into the lead. The Galaxy A35 5G is roughly in line with the rest of the competition and handles light fare like Solitaire and Candy Crush easily enough, but more serious mobile gamers will want to opt for something like the Pixel 6a, instead.

GFXBench chart comparing the GPU performance of the Galaxy A35 5G with similarly priced rivals

The Pixel supremacy ends in the battery life comparison, and both Samsung phones make up some serious ground. The Nothing Phone (2a) hangs on to the gold medal, with the A54 5G nipping at its heels, but the Galaxy A35 5G takes a respectable third position, outlasting the Xiaomi by around seven hours and the Pixel by just under four.

Battery life chart comparing the stamina of the Galaxy A35 5G with similarly priced rivals

Once depleted, the battery takes over an hour to fill with 25W charging. That’s marginally better than the Pixel 6a’s 18W capacity, but the Xiaomi runs away with the competition here, with its 67W charging taking the battery from empty to full in around 45 minutes.

Samsung Galaxy A35 5G review: Cameras

Shooting side-by-side, I actually prefer the Galaxy A35 5G’s 50MP (f/1.8) main camera to the Galaxy A55 5G’s snapper. Colours pop a little more and the lighting feels more natural, while still bringing out plenty of detail in the water and buildings.

Comparison between the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G and A55 5G, showing the same shot of a fast-flowing river with buildings on either side

It’s a different story in low-light, however. Where the Galaxy A55 5G produced slightly overprocessed images, the A35 5G goes too far in the other direction, barely illuminating the scene at all. There’s still some detail and colour plucked out, but it’s a mediocre effort.

Boats at night, lights reflected in the water

The 8MP (f/2.2) ultrawide camera is also fairly middling. The colour retention is reasonable, with certain shades popping out more than others, but the contrast is a little washed out and overall detail is lacking.

Wide-angle view of a large room covered in projections of butterflies, with many people milling around

The 5MP (f/2.4) macro camera had the opposite problem of its twin on the Galaxy A55 5G: the detail in the rock is captured very well, plucking out each crack and crevice, but the focus around it is imprecise, with blurred lines along the edges.

Close up of a concrete block with another blurred in the background

Video is rudimentary, but it’s decent enough. You can either record in 4K at 30fps or 1080p up to 60fps, and I had no major issues with the footage during shooting. As with the Galaxy A55 5G, the A35 5G handles changes in lighting reasonably well and panning is about as smooth as you can get for this price.

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Samsung Galaxy A35 5G review: Verdict

By far the biggest problem for the Galaxy A35 5G is the sheer number of brilliant affordable smartphones on the market. With sizable discounts cropping up across Google’s older Pixel handsets, and other keen competitors from Nothing and Xiaomi circling eagerly, the sub-£400 challengers are anything but few and far between.

Nevertheless, the Galaxy A35 5G strikes a supremely sensible middle ground for its price. Performance is merely adequate, but battery life, camera quality and the overall build are above average. With the welcome reassurance of OS updates guaranteed until 2028, it’s a great little package – it’s just a shame that the performance qualms see it stop tantalisingly short of greatness.

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