Samsung Galaxy A55 vs Galaxy A35: Which Should You Buy?

Samsung Galaxy A55 vs Galaxy A35: Which Should You Buy?

Samsung’s Galaxy A series phones aren’t its flagships – that’s either the Galaxy S or Galaxy Z series, depending on just how frothy you get about foldable phones. Hey, I won’t judge whichever side of that fence you sit.

Instead the Galaxy A series phones represent all of Samsung’s pitch towards the more affordable crowd. 

In years past Samsung also had Galaxy J phones in the absolute budget space, but these days it’s Galaxy A phones all the way from the Galaxy A05s to the current top of the mid-range tier Galaxy A55. 

That makes the Galaxy A55 the phone you really should buy, right? 

Zac enthused about it in his review here, it’s the best of the Galaxy A phones, a slam dunk, yes?

Well… maybe. I honestly feel that the Galaxy A35 might be the better buy for a lot of phone users who don’t need flagship performance – you can read my full Galaxy A35 review here – but there are variables at play here that could tilt your buying decision one way or the other, and I’d like to unpack those to help you make the right choice both for your budget and your needs.

But first, I guess we’d better just look at the specifications of the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 head-to-head to get that out of the way.

Samsung Galaxy A55 vs Galaxy A35: Specifications

As you’d expect, the Galaxy A55 has everything the Galaxy A35 does, only a little better in a specifications sense. But you should always look a little further than just the speeds and feeds when you’re considering a smartphone purchase.

Back, back, back it up, [L-R] Samsung Galaxy A55 and the Samsung A35. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Alex Kidman.

Galaxy A55 vs Galaxy A35: Price

This one’s a simple one to cover. At the time of writing, the Galaxy A55 will cost you $699, while the Galaxy A35 runs to $549. There are cheaper Galaxy A phones as well, with these two being the top and second-best models by price and specification.

Two points to make here: Firstly, the A35 is comparatively cheaper than its predecessor; the gap between the A54 and A34 was $100 and it’s now $150. But beyond that saving, it’s also worth considering what else you can get at this price point – and right now, that’s not a comparison that entirely favours the Galaxy A55. 

Why? It’s all the Google Pixel 7a’s fault. 

We know (cough cough) full well that the Pixel 8a will be along quite soon now, and that means that Google’s $799 mid-ranger can rather easily be had for the A55’s asking price, if not in fact a little cheaper again. It’s a little tougher to find one at the A35’s asking price, but there’s no real argument here that the Pixel 7a is the better handset if price isn’t a factor – and right now it absolutely is not.

Winner: Galaxy A35. If you don’t want to keep $150 of your hard-earned cash, send it my way. No? Didn’t think so…

The side profile. [L-R] Samsung Galaxy A55 and the Samsung A35. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Alex Kidman.

Galaxy A55 vs Galaxy A35: Look and Feel

Design is a very subjective matter, but here Samsung has made it all too clear which phone is which. It’s not around the screens, with both phones offering up a very nice 6.6 inch 120Hz capable Super AMOLED display. Instead, it’s around the styling, with the A55 mimicking the more premium look and feel of the higher-end Galaxy S24 series phones.

The Galaxy A35 in the meantime has a plastic body finish, which is more in line with what you’d generally see at this price. 

However, there’s a choice to make here, and for my money, it’s between style and comfort.

There’s no doubt that the Galaxy A55 has a more premium look. If your desire was to fool your friends and colleagues into thinking that you had one of Samsung’s flagships, then you just might get away with it, as long as they don’t look at the A55’s screen bezels too closely. A metallic frame might also be a tad more robust in the long term over a plastic body phone.

However, having tested both out, the Galaxy A35 is simply a more comfortable phone to hold in your hand. That’s down to the fact that Samsung can sculpt its plastic body with rounded corners that are less angular than the sides of the A55. It’s not that you can slice fruit with the A55 or anything, but it’s true that most metal frame phones tend to have rather abrupt side shapes – and the A55 is no exception.

There’s not much in it between the A55 and A35 when it comes to size or weight, with the A35 coming in marginally wider but also marginally lighter. Both phones are available in Australia in “Awesome Navy”, a quite dark blue tone, while the A35 also ships in “Awesome Ice Blue” and the A55 gets “Awesome Lilac”. Colour choices are 100 per cent subjective, and while I’ve got a long-term affection for blue phones, there’s no real bad choices here in any way.

Winner: It’s a tie. Buy the A55 if you want the premium look, buy the A35 if hand feel is more important to you.

Galaxy A55 vs Galaxy A35: Processors

Samsung made a really interesting choice for the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35. No, not because it chose its own Exynos processors, it nearly always does that, but in the specific processors in play. The A55 runs on the Exynos 1480, while the A35 has the Exynos 1380, which is the same unit that Samsung stuffed in 2023’s Galaxy A54. The A35 is, more or less, the A54 with a plastic body, while the A55 gets the slightly faster processor.

At a benchmark level this is true, though the differences aren’t massive as you might expect between just one smartphone SoC generation. In day to day use, too, you’re not going to notice huge performance gaps between the two unless you have them side by side. They’re not Samsung’s fastest or snappiest phones, but they’re absolutely enough for general everyday apps – and even most Android games if you’re not fussy about absolute highest frame rates when you play.

Both the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35 are Android 14 phones with Samsung’s own OneUI launcher on top, and both will benefit from four years of OS upgrades and five years of security updates. That’s not quite at Galaxy S level, but it’s quite notable in the mid-range space where a lot of phones count themselves lucky to see just one OS upgrade at all, if that.

Both the A35 and A55 are 5G capable phones – sigh, sub-6Ghz only, though it would be madness for Samsung to go into mmWave down under for a pair of mid-range phones – but the A55 does get eSIM support where the A35 doesn’t if that’s important to you.

Winner: The A55 – a better processor is a better processor, though the differences aren’t massive here.

Colour galore via a macro lens. [L-R] Samsung Galaxy A55 and the Samsung A35. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Alex Kidman.

Galaxy A55 vs Galaxy A35: Cameras

Samsung is quite bullish about its premium smartphone cameras, and with good reason. While the competition in the flagship space for whose camera phone is “best” is quite fierce, you can bet on Samsung featuring strongly in the top 3 in any given calendar year – and sometimes at the top of that field, too.

In the mid-range, it has a slightly less compelling story to tell, because camera specifications, features and performance are the number one area where cheaper phones cut down what you get in return for their lower price points.

That’s particularly true for the comparison between the Galaxy A55 and Galaxy A35, which goes beyond just their raw camera specifications. 

Wide angle on the Samsung Galaxy A35. Image: Alex Kidman/Gizmodo Australia

Check out my review and Zac’s to see what each phone can do, but it’s notable that we both came to much the same conclusion. The Galaxy A55 and A35 are both totally fine for mid-range camera phones (mostly…) with Samsung’s particularly vibrant post-processing in play across both cameras, fair-but-not-great low light performance and macro lenses that are on the fussier side.

Where the A55 does step ahead of the A35 if camera features are key for you is in switching between camera lenses. The A55 manages this well enough – and I’ve tested that phone myself – but the A35 is notably quite slow switching between its lenses for different shot types.

It’s not a killer flaw if you’re patient and you’re not trying to get a cute shot of your cat – and that’s, honestly about 95 per cent of the photos I try to take – but it does make the winner of this particular comparison terribly clear.

Winner: The A55, if only for faster lens switching.

Wide angle from the Samsung Galaxy A55. Image Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

Galaxy A55 vs Galaxy A35: Battery life

Remember when I said you really do need to look beyond the specifications when comparing phones?

There’s nowhere this is more apparent than in battery performance. One big advantage of Exynos processors that I’ve seen over time is that they tend to sip at battery power a little more gently than their Qualcomm Snapdragon counterparts in a given year, but what happens if you pit Exynos against Exynos?

Something truly surprising occurs. Generally newer processors tend towards better power efficiency, and with 5,000mAh batteries powering both the Galaxy A35 and Galaxy A55, that would tend to lean towards the A55 as being the battery champ.

Except that it isn’t, and it’s not even particularly close. Using the Official Gizmodo Australia Battery Test, running Avengers:Endgame for three hours, the Galaxy A55 dropped from full to 89 per cent in the first hour, then down to 80 per cent in hour two and finally  71 per cent in the third.

Those aren’t bad figures per se, but then there’s the Galaxy A35.

Under the same test conditions, the Galaxy A35 dropped to 95 per cent after the first hour, 88 per cent after the second hour and 80 per cent after the third hour.

Comparatively, the A35 could show you all of Endgame (save for a few minutes of end credits, mostly) for the same battery cost as the A55 only getting you past the second hour of the same film.

Neither phone is actually bad when it comes to more anecdotal day-to-day usage, mind. I can run any phone you name flat within a day if I try hard enough, but both can manage a day’s general usage without too much trouble. Still, it’s clear which phone manages its power best.

Winner: Galaxy A35. A phone with no power is just a brick

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Alex Kidman/Gizmodo Australia

The Verdict: Should you buy a Galaxy A55 or a Galaxy A35?

On paper, this should be the Galaxy A55’s victory with ease, because it’s the “best” mid-range phone Samsung offers right now.

However, it’s not quite that simple. If you just want to count wins in each category, it’s tied at two a piece, with the A35 being better on price and battery life, while the A55’s superior processor and cameras give it the edge there. 

The reality of buying a phone is that you always have to make choices and compromises, and that means weighing up the factors that are really important to you. Personally, the A35 is a better value buy on balance as long as you can overlook those slower camera lenses; while the A55 is faster in a benchmark sense, in most real-world cases you’d never really notice the A35 running “slower” to speak of. 

There’s a lot more pressure on the A55’s $699 asking price from slightly older flagships and mid-range competitors like the Pixel 7a, where the A35 represents quite good value within its space.

At the same time, if you do need those faster lens shifts or features like eSIM, then the Galaxy A55 might be the better match for your needs.

Image: Gizmodo Australia

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