Meet the Galaxy A35 — the midrange phone that will go toe-to-toe with the Pixel 7a in the U.S.

Galaxy A35
(Image credit: Samsung)

Budget phone buyers were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy A55, and for good reason. Last year's top midrange phone from Samsung, the Galaxy A54, was one of the best cheap phones available, giving the Google Pixel 7a all it could handle. And so, fans of bargain devices like myself couldn't wait to see what Samsung had planned for a follow-up.

As it turns out, those of us in the U.S. have apparently been waiting for the wrong phone

The Galaxy A55 is arriving soon, as anticipated, but Samsung doesn't plan to release the Galaxy A55 in the U.S. Instead, it sounds as if the Galaxy A35 will be the midrange phone Samsung makes available to U.S. customers who don't want to pony up for a flagship Galaxy S24. That's a change from how Samsung's handled things in the past when the Galaxy A5x model hit the U.S. while the Galaxy A3x skipped this particular market.

Why the switcheroo? Samsung hasn't said explicitly, but indications are that it has something to do with the Galaxy S23 FE. That's the $599 phone that offers many, though not all, of the same features as Samsung's Galaxy flagships. Samsung seems to be creating a U.S. phone lineup where the FE model and the discounted Galaxy S23 are your immediate low-cost alternatives to the Galaxy S24, which starts at $799. If you want something even less expensive, well, that's when you turn to the Galaxy A35.

But what will you get for your money with the Galaxy A35? And is this midrange phone that big a step down from the Galaxy A55? Here's what we know so far about the new Galaxy A models.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Galaxy A55Galaxy A35
Starting price£439 / AU$699£339 / AU$549
Display6.6-inch FHD AMOLED6.6-inch FHD AMOLED
Refresh rate120Hz120Hz
ProcessorExynos 1480Exynos 1380
Storage128GB, 256GB128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 5MP macro50MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 5MP macro
Front camera32MP selfie13MP selfie
Battery5,000 mAh5,000 mAh
Charging25W wired25W wired
SoftwareAndroid 14 with One UI 6.1Android 14 with One UI 6.1
ColorsAwesome Ice Blue, Awesome Yellow, Awesome Lilac, Awesome NavyAwesome Ice Blue, Awesome Yellow, Awesome Lilac, Awesome Navy

Galaxy A35 vs. Galaxy A55 — biggest differences

What trade-offs will you have to make for the cheaper Galaxy A35?

There's some good news for U.S. consumers considering a Galaxy A purchase this year — you're probably going to pay less for the Galaxy A35.

The Galaxy A55 starts at £439 while the Galaxy A35 is £100 cheaper at £339. Yes, those prices are in pounds, as Samsung hasn't announced U.S. pricing yet, though the phone maker did indicate to Cnet that the A35 is U.S.-bound.

Speculating on how a phone's price in one country will translate to another is a mug's game. But we do know that the Galaxy A55 cost $449 and £449 in the U.S. and U.K., respectively. Therefore, it's reasonable to assume a sub-$400 price for the Galaxy A35, especially if Samsung wants some space between that phone and the Galaxy S23 FE. With the Pixel 7a costing $499, Samsung has a real chance to give its midrange phone a pricing advantage.

So what trade-offs will you have to make for the cheaper Galaxy A35? Based on the images and specs released by Samsung, the phone has more in common with the Galaxy A55 than you might think. But the differences that are there look pretty stark.

Performance should be a big Galaxy A35 vs. Galaxy A55 difference. The latter phone runs on a new Exynos 1480 chipset, while the A35 is expected to feature the Exynos 1380. That's the same silicon the Galaxy A54 uses, and that phone is not exactly a powerhouse. Throw in less RAM — the A35 starts with 6GB to the A55's 8GB — and we wouldn't expect the Galaxy A35 to threaten the performance of phones like the Pixel 7a, iPhone SE or OnePlus 12R.

The Galaxy A35 cameras get a downgrade from the A55's specs, too. While the A35 shares the A55's 50MP main camera, the megapixels on the A35's ultrawide sensor drop to 8MP, from 12MP on the A55. The front camera isn't as sharp, either — 13MP vs. 32MP. Considering the Pixel 7a bested the Galaxy A54 in photo quality in last year's camera face-off, the Galaxy A35 could have a hard time topping Google's camera phone with those specs.

The Galaxy A35 is fractionally taller and wider than the Galaxy A55, though it weighs marginally less. Otherwise, the phones share the same specs, including 5,000 mAh batteries that charge at 25W speeds via a wired connection. Both midrange phones offer Samsung's Knox Vault security features, too, which is a first for these Galaxy A models.

Galaxy A35 vs. Galaxy S23 FE

Samsung Galaxy s23 FE review

Galaxy S23 FE (Image credit: Future)

Samsung's apparent decision to release the Galaxy A35 in the U.S. means that your choice for a lower-cost Galaxy handset will come down to that phone or the Galaxy S23 FE. Any sort of formal comparison will have to wait until we can get our hands on the Galaxy A35 — not to mention Samsung announcing U.S. pricing and availability — but we imagine performance and photography will be two key areas separating these phones.

The Galaxy S23 FE uses either a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or Exynos 2200 system-on-chip, depending on what part of the world you buy that phone. Either chipset has more than enough power to outperform an Exynos 1380-equipped Galaxy A35. That said, the Galaxy S23 FE lacks a microSD slot to increase storage — a feature you will find on the A35.

If you like to zoom in on your subjects when taking photos, you'll probably want to turn to the Galaxy S23 FE, which comes with a dedicated telephoto lens (even if the 8MP shooter isn't as powerful as what you get with the Galaxy S24). The third camera in the Galaxy A54's rear array is a macro sensor, an extra camera that not a lot of people find very useful.

The Galaxy A35's Gorilla Glass Victus Plus glass should prove to be more durable than the Gorilla Glass 5 the Galaxy S23 FE uses. And the A35 has a slightly larger screen at 6.6 inches to the S23 FE's 6.4-inch panel.

Of course, all of these comparisons come ahead of the Galaxy S24 FE. Rumors about that phone are already surfacing, and we'd expect an announcement later in the year for a new FE model.

Galaxy A35 outlook

It's hard not to be disappointed by Samsung's decision to keep the Galaxy A55 out of the U.S., as the new phone promised a performance improvement over its predecessor. And performance may have been our most significant gripe about the otherwise solid Galaxy A54.

Still, the Galaxy A35 sounds like a decent midrange phone in its own right, with only a few downgrades from the Galaxy A55. We'll know for certain once we get a chance to test Samsung's latest phones, but it sounds like the A35 could be a formidable challenger to any midrange device in its price range.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.