Samsung Galaxy A13 review: Sleek but slow

For 2022, Samsung has updated its “A” range with several new models. Besides the A33 and A53 there is the entry level A13.

While it’s just an opinion, I think it’s a good looking phone with a neat triple camera stack on the back (which doesn’t protrude) and a glossy plastic finish available in black, white, and blue. It may be too plain for some tastes, but the minimalist design will appeal to others.

It has a large, high-quality screen, a large capacity battery, and expandable storage – all at an attractive price. But is it worth buying? Let’s dig and find out.

One quick note: In the US and some other markets, Samsung also sells the A13 5G. Note that this phone differs by more than its network, with a different display, chipset, camera, and more. This review is for the 4G version, which is officially called simply Galaxy A13.

Features and design

  • plastic body
  • 5 mm headphone jack
  • Expandable Storage

As you should expect from a budget phone, the build is primarily made of plastic. It feels great and the plastic is great looking, but fingerprints are the enemy of its smooth, shiny finish. You don’t get a case in the box, so if you decide to go ahead without one, you’ll have to live with those fingerprints or clean them up constantly.

Plastic phones are generally lighter in weight than metal phones, but at around 200 grams, the Galaxy A13 isn’t a featherweight. And at 165 x 76 x 8.8 mm, it’s at the larger end of the smartphone scale.

On the bottom edge is the surprising inclusion of a headphone jack: the A13 is one of the few phones these days that has one. It’s useful if you have a favorite pair of cases that you still like to use with your phone, but you can use Bluetooth headphones if you prefer.

Any headphones will improve the sound quality in a mono speaker that completely lacks bass and makes listening to music unpleasant, although it’s okay for weird video.

There is a USB-C port for charging between the speaker and the mini jack. The power button doubles as a fingerprint sensor and works well enough, but you can use face unlock if you’re happy to live with the fact that it’s not nearly as secure.

Whichever color you choose, the front of the phone is black with a reasonably chunky bezel surrounding the display. The screen is only interrupted by a small tear that makes room for the front camera.

Samsung Galaxy A13 review

On the left, you’ll find the SIM tray that extends about halfway into the phone and makes room for two mini SIM cards and a microSD card.

an offer

  • 6.6 inch IPS LCD
  • 1080×2408 pixels
  • 60 Hz

Protected by Gorilla Glass 5, the Galaxy A13’s display is very good for the price. Unfortunately, it’s not an AMOLED screen like you’ll find on most Samsung phones and it’s not as good as the few budget phones that are blessed with OLED screens, but these models tend to make sacrifices elsewhere.

While the viewing angles aren’t amazing—the brightness drops the further you go and the colors increase—looking squarely, the Galaxy A13’s screen is perfectly acceptable. They are beautiful and bright, the colors are somewhat real and a good selection of them can be shown. The default wallpaper shows these aspects with good effect and the resolution is just as good as some phones that cost four times that.

It’s no surprise that it has a standard refresh rate of 60Hz, although higher refresh rates are increasingly common at this price – so you might find some other budget competition phones more smooth to use.

Specifications and performance

  • Exynos 850 . chipset
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 64GB Storage
  • 4G connection

The Galaxy A13 uses Samsung’s own Exynos 850 processor, and the bad news is that the Exynos 850 is simply too slow.

On the Geekbench 5 multi-core test, it scored a paltry 585. This is such a low score, we had to run the test again to make sure something didn’t go wrong. But no, they proved correct, as did the single-digit framesets in most GFXbench tests.

Samsung Galaxy A13 review

When competitors like Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 scored over 1700 and Moto G31 above 1100, this is the Galaxy A13’s biggest flaw.

Benchmarks are one thing, but in the real world, you’ll notice this lack of performance quite often. Apps take longer to load than you might expect, Android runs a little choppy, and scrolling through social media feeds isn’t a particularly smooth experience.

Playing, of course, is out of the question. Unless you’re exclusively playing Candy Crush or other similar games that don’t need tackling, you’ll find that the A13 doesn’t quite live up to the task.

My review unit came with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, although it might come with 3GB or 6GB of RAM and 32GB or 128GB. You can expand the internal storage space by opening a microSD card with a capacity of up to 1 TB. Most phones force you to choose between additional storage or a second SIM, but the A13 doesn’t: you get both.

Others include NFC, Bluetooth 5, and Wi-Fi 5 along with 4G. There is no support for more modern 5G networks, although this is still very typical for a phone this cheap.

Battery life and charging

  • 15W fast charging
  • No charger provided
  • No wireless charging

There’s better news about battery life, and it’s not bad at all. In the PCMark battery benchmark, the A13’s 5,000mAh battery managed a credible 12 hours and 20 minutes. And it’s proven in real-world use that it could easily have lasted for a day with plenty of use: surfing the web, taking photos, sending emails, and playing the single part of 2048.

Since no charger was provided in the box, I used a RavPower 61W USB-C charger that I had to hand which provided more than 15W that the A13 could take. After 30 minutes, it is charged from empty to 25%. Although Samsung calls this “fast charging”, a full charge still takes more than two hours.

Samsung Galaxy A13 review

Not including the charger is better for the environment and there’s a good chance you already have a charger that you can use, but unfortunately the A13 isn’t cheaper because of this.

Cameras and video

  • Main camera 50 mega pixel
  • 5 mega pixel ultra wide
  • 2Mp Macro and Depth
  • 8 mega pixel selfie

Aside from the fact that it is an inexpensive Samsung phone, another thing that might attract you to the Galaxy A13 is the cameras. There are four on the back and one 8-megapixel on the front.

Samsung Galaxy A13 review

Don’t be persuaded by the numbers, because two of the rear cameras are primarily for display. As with other budget phones, Samsung has dumped a 2MP macro lens that you’ll probably never use, although it can take some interesting photos, and a 2MP depth sensor that can’t take pictures at all: it’s Present to assist selfie mode on the main camera.

The ultra-wide lens isn’t great either, with a low 5MP resolution and results in grainy low-detail images in anything but the best light.

Samsung Galaxy A13

However, the main camera is quite good for a budget phone. It is capable of capturing accurate and detailed photos of people, pets, landscapes, and just about anything. It drops in low light and has no optical stabilization, which means it’s not great for kids or fast-moving pets, but during the day you’ll be pleased with the results…mostly.

Selfies aren’t great, with a lack of fine detail. Then again, smoothing out wrinkles and blemishes might not be the worst thing.

Samsung Galaxy A13 review

Video is limited to Full HD at 30 frames per second. It’s okay, but you wouldn’t want to use the Galaxy A13 to capture your child’s birthday party or anything important. There is no stabilization so it can be quite shaky and unwatchable if you don’t keep the phone still.

Software and updates

When you hit the box with Android 12 and Samsung’s OneUI 4.1, the software is one area you can’t complain about. It’s not quite stock Android, but there’s a lot to like about OneUI’s clean and friendly interface.

Samsung Galaxy A13 review

By default, you get home screens (a bit confusing for first-time OneUI users) and Samsung’s full screen shortcut panel when you swipe down from the top twice.

During setup, you are asked if you want to install some popular apps from a list, including Twitter and TikTok, but you can decline if you like. There are a few pre-installed apps: Spotify, Netflix, LinkedIn and some Microsoft stuff, but they can be removed if you don’t want them.

The A13 doesn’t benefit from Samsung’s Extended Updates that deliver up to four later versions of Android, but it’s expected to receive two Android version updates — for Android 13 and then 14 — and a full four years of security patches.

Price and availability

You can buy the Galaxy A13 from Samsung at £179/€199/$14999.

In the UK, it was discounted to £149 at the time of review. It’s also available from other retailers including Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, and others.

The 4G version of the A13 is not available for purchase in the US, where you are limited to the $250 Galaxy A13 5G.

For more places to buy, check out our separate guide to the best Galaxy A13 deals.

to rule

The Galaxy A13 should be a huge blow to Samsung. Anyone looking for a budget phone will see the brand and low price and think it’s a safe bet. But with such a poor performance compared to some competitors, it is not.

As long as you’re happy to accept that this won’t feel like a fast device and you’re tempted by the good main camera and Samsung OneUI, then at the discount prices you’ll find from retailers, it’s almost worth the purchase.

But for the Galaxy A13’s RRP, you get better performance as well as luxuries like a 90Hz AMOLED display, which makes it hard to recommend it over the aforementioned Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 and Moto G31. There are tradeoffs you can make with any cheap phone, so be sure to read our reviews and roundup of the best budget phones before making your final choice.

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy A13: Specifications

  • Processor: Octa-core Samsung Exynos 850
  • Memory: 3 GB RAM (US), 4 GB (UK)
  • Storage: 32GB (US) or 64GB (UK) + microSD up to 1TB

  • Screen: 6.6in 20:9 1080×2400 IPS LCD

  • Cameras: 50 MP (main), 5 MP (ultra wide), 2 MP macro, 2 MP depth, 8 MP front

  • Headphone jack: Yes

  • Battery: 5000 mAh

  • Operating System: Android 12 with OneUI 4.1

  • FM Radio: No

  • Dimensions: 165 x 76.5 x 9 mm (6.5 x 3.0 x 0.4 inches)
  • Weight: 195 grams

  • NFC

  • WiFi 5
  • Bluetooth 5
  • USB 2.0 (USB-C)
  • Colors: blue, black, white

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