Forget Pixel 5a: Samsung Galaxy A22 could be cheap 5G phone to beat

Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
(Image credit: OnLeaks)

Another Samsung Galaxy A22 5G has popped up and gives us a clearer look at the upcoming budget phone's design; the Google Pixel 4a 5G might soon have stiff competition. 

We’ve seen the handset before, but these new leaked images from 91mobiles have not only shed more light on the Galaxy A22 5G's design, but also its internal specs and the compromises it makes to bring 5G connectivity on a budget. 

While 5G connectivity first started appearing in handsets back in 2019, it was initially limited to expensive handsets like the $1,299 Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. But form 2020 onwards, 5G has trickled down into the likes of affordable Pixel phones and the OnePlus Nord. Samsung is no stranger to our best cheap phones list or the more affordable 5G arena, but the Galaxy A22 5G could be the handset to put it on top. 

Samsung Galaxy A22 5G

(Image credit: 91mobiles)

First, the design. As you can see from the picture above, the phone has the usual hallmarks of an entry-level Samsung handset with slightly thicker bezels (most notably around the base of the screen) and a teardrop central notch for the front-facing camera. 

On the back, there’s a square camera module and it looks like the company is planning on releasing the phone in a number of pastel shades, though expect the same ‘glasstic’ material as used on the cheaper options found in our best Samsung phones list. 

But what’s really interesting is the specs shared with 91mobiles. Because Samsung is releasing both a 4G and 5G version of the A22, we can clearly see the cuts the company has had to make to fit 5G in, as there are a couple of ways where the 4G model is the more appealing handset, despite their near identical looks. 

Samsung Galaxy A22 4G

(Image credit: 91mobiles)

To be clear, neither handset will be powerhouses, with both discarding Qualcomm chips in favor of MediaTek's system-on-a-chip. The 4G model gets the Helio G80 chip, while the 5G version will feature the Dimensity 700 chipset. That should give the 5G version the upper hand in terms of relative speed, but compromises have been made elsewhere. 

It ‘only’ has three cameras on the back (a 48MP, 5MP and 2MP array) compared to the 4G version’s quad-camera (48MP, 5MP, 2MP and 2MP) setup, and its 6.4-inch screen is an LCD panel, rather than the AMOLED screen used on the 4G model. 

Otherwise, the known specs are similar. Both feature HD+ resolutions and 5,000 mAh batteries with 15W fast charging support.

Much of the handsets’ appeal will depend on pricing, and while we’ve previously heard that the 5G phone will cost less than $200 when it launches this summer. But there’s no indication on how much the 4G version will set you back. 

Given universal 5G coverage is still a long way off, it may be sensible for budget buyers to consider Samsung’s A22 handset regardless. Not only can 5G inadvertently chew through limited data allowances in a hurry, but any budget handset will reach the end of its useful life a lot faster than a flagship. By the time 5G reliably reaches your area, you may well find that it’s time to upgrade anyway.  

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.