Samsung A73 5G smartphone – the pick of the 2022 A-series (review)

The Samsung A73 5G is the definite pick of its 2022 A-series. Not because its lower-cost siblings, the $599 A33 or $699 A53, are not good too, but because this model does everything very well in a no-ifs-and-buts way – it is a very capable phone.

Our Samsung A53 5G – a decent 5G smartphone for $699 (review) scores 8.7/10. The Samsung A73 5G has a larger screen, is slightly thinner/lighter weight, has a 108MP primary camera, better processor, and Wi-Fi AX – way more value than the extra $100 denotes.

We are also retesting the $1849 Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and using that as a reference. The $799 Samsung A73 5G is more than a match in so many ways that we are suitably impressed. It has our unreserved buy recommendation.

To explain – we review via price brackets – $700-799. We look at what we expect these devices to do. The Samsung A73 5G exceeds many of those parameters and is nipping at the heels of the $999 Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, Fan Edition (review) that costs two hundred more. We think using the Qualcomm SD778G 5G system-on-a-chip (SoC) gives it the operating edge (not raw speed) over the Exynos 1280 in the S21 FE.

Samsung Galaxy A73 5G Model SM-A736B/DS, 6/128GB, hybrid dual sim/microSD to 1TB

WebsiteProduct Page
Price$799
ColoursAwesome Mint or Awesome Grey
FromSamsung approved retailers Harvey Norman, Domayne, Bing Lee, Videopro, and Officeworks.
Warranty12-months ACL
MoreCyberShack Samsung News and Reviews

New Deep-Dive review format

It is now in two parts – a five-minute overview for most readers and a separate 300+ line database-driven spec including over 70 tests to back up the summary. It also helps us compare different phones and features.

Note that we use Fail (below expectations), Pass (meets expectations) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. We occasionally give a Pass ‘+’ rating to show it is good but does not quite make it to Exceed.

Watch out – buy genuine if you want 5G to work here

We issue a strong warning that you must buy a genuine model with Australian firmware if you want to use 5G. Read Don’t buy a grey market phone to ensure you get the Australian ‘B’ model (SM-A736’B’ and /DS for dual sim.

It is easy to identify the Australian version – usually, under Settings, About Phone, Legal Information, and Regulatory compliance, you will see the Australian RCM C-tick mark.

Models to avoid are any other colour, single sim, 8GB or larger than 128GB storage. If you receive a shrink-wrapped phone, it likely will not work on 5G here.

First Impression – Classy in Awesome Grey and fun in Awesome Mint – Pass +

I don’t mind plastic backs (or PPMA glastic – whatever you call it), but this matte Awesome Grey is classy, and the Awesome Mint looks fun but more inexpensive. They are not so much a fingerprint magnet as a greasy finger magnet.

The faux chrome plastic frame looks good, but it can mark easily, so buy a bumper cover. The screen is reasonably scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 5.

It is thin and light at 163.7 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm x 181g.

Screen – 6.7″ 2400 x 1080, 60/120Hz, 8-bit 16.7m colour AMOLED – Pass

Samsung quotes 800 nits, but that is HBM (high brightness mode). Frankly, that is a marketing hype measure of a ridiculously small percentage of the screen at maximum brightness to enable it to claim HDR10/+ support – not at all realistic. The screen is closer to 400 nits at maximum automatic exposure and, in most use, between 230-300 nits. In fact, HDR10/+ content downscales to the screen capability, as does Netflix, that only offers SDR content (pretty typical).

It also claims 120Hz refresh (true), but it is either 60 or 120Hz – not adaptive as many OLED screens are. The latter refresh rate has a significant 30% hit on battery life.

On the plus side, it is relatively colour accurate (offers Natural sRGB and Vivid DCI-P3) as well as basic colour temperature and RGB adjustments.

Summary: Nice basic AMOLED screen, but it would have been so much better to have an adaptive refresh rate.

Processor (SoC) – Qualcomm SD778G is the Goldilocks SoC – Exceed

You can pretty well guarantee that any SD778G smartphone (OPPO Reno 7, realme GT/9, Vivo T1, Motorola Edge 20, Samsung A52s and nearly 80 models) will perform well. No, it is not flagship-class – but it closely matches the 2020 flagship SD865.

The Samsung A73 5G had no throttling (excellent) and plays PUBG: New State Mobile at 60fps maximum frame rate in 120Hz Games Mode with 6+6GB (RAM and virtual RAM). This means you can borrow up to 6GB from storage for swap space.

Storage read/write is 563/91MBps, typical of UFS 2.2, and the MicroSD card is 89/19MBps – plenty fast enough for 4K video.

Comms – adequate, but the SoC is capable of far more, so why not use it? Pass(able)

The SD778G SoC offers

  • Peak Wi-Fi 6 AX speeds of 2800Mbps VHT160, but this maxes out at 480 (fewer Wi-Fi streams and VHT80 only)
  • USB-C 3.1 but only implements USB-C 2.0
  • BT 5.2 but only appears to implement 5.0
  • Dual-band GPS but only appears to implement single band

Simply put, these are cost-saving compromises so as not to get too close to the S21 FE model.

Phone – brilliant for city, suburbs, regional and rural use with one caveat – Exceed

Not only did it get signal strengths to 16pW (excellent), but it found the nearest four towers (excellent). But there is one issue you need to be very aware of. The phone antenna is at the bottom of the phone – where you may typically hold it. If you cover this with your hand, signal strengths are very average. To be clear – hold the phone in the middle of the frame.

Battery – two days easy – Exceed, but no charger supplied. Fail

The 5000mAh battery will last two days of typical use, maybe one with heavy use. The video loop test (50% screen brightness/volume, aeroplane mode) was excellent at 21 hours 20 minutes.

PC Mark 3 battery test (typical use) was 18 hours and 58 minutes, and Accubattery verified this at 18 hours. Heavy screen-on use (GFX Benchmark Manhattan and T-Rex) were 6.15/10.55 hours. 100% load, screen-on discharge from 100-0% is 4 hours and 6 minutes.

But Samsung loses points (and it will continue to do so as it slavishly follows Apple) with no charger in the box and an underrated 2W cable (you need 3W to get a fast charge). It also uses 9V/2.77A, standard on Samsung 25W chargers, but the PD standard is 9V/3A, so most third-party USB-C PD chargers drop back to 9V/2A/18W or 5V/3A/15W charging. Charge time at 25W is 1 hour and 18 minutes, and 15W is nearly 3 hours.

Sound – pretty good – Pass+

It uses the same dual Cirrus Logic CS35L41 amplifiers, each 5.3W, 1% THD, 8 ohms, as the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE and S22-series.

This gives excellent volume (85dB), and the speakers have a warm and sweet sound signature suitable for most music. It has Dolby Atmos decode/downmix to the stereo 2.0 speakers and a nice wide sound stage.

Hand-free is quite a step up from the A53 with dual microphone noise-cancelling and sensitivity, although it is not quite as good when recording video.

As it is a Qualcomm SD SoC, it supports SBC, AAC, aptX and LDAC, but the whole aptX suite (low latency, high def) has been left out to save costs. We tested with aptX and LDAC headsets (high res), and it was superb.

Build – Pass

Earlier, we commented that the faux chrome-plated plastic (polycarbonate) frame was prone to scratching. Over the four-week test (while taking extreme care to keep it in a separate pocket away from keys etc.), it picked up marks. Please buy a cover.

And in good news, Samsung now offers a 24-months warranty matching class-leaders OPPO (its main nemesis).

Missing – Fail, but should you care?

If we don’t keep telling Samsung that no charger in the box is a deal-breaker ($29 from Samsung plus an extra cost of a 3W cable), then it will never change.

It does not have

  • 3.5mm jack (no big deal as Bluetooth and USB-C/3.5mm DACs are cheap and good)
  • Wi-Fi 6 proper implementation (480Mbps is slow)
  • BT 5.2 proper implementation (would provide multi-point connections)
  • USB-C 3.1 proper implementation (would allow Alt-DP audio/video external screen)
  • Adaptive screen refresh
  • GPS dual-band proper implementation
  • Additional side or top phone antennas
  • More Qualcomm BT aptX codecs
  • Buds and bumper cover (no big deal)

Despite these things, Joe and Jane Average will not notice, will love this phone, and be blissfully unaware that similarly priced phones have it all.

Operating system – up to four years of upgrades and five years of security patches – Exceed

Samsung’s policy makes owning one better and more secure for longer. That means Android 12 may reach Android 15! But we were disappointed that the security patch was February for a June review (most competitors are at May).

One UI 4.1 is a light touch over Android and allows for its Samsung customisations. But we are growing more concerned at the need to sign up for a Samsung Account to access anything in its Theme or Galaxy App store – it is bad enough that Google knows all about us.

Our advice is not to use Samsung apps that substitute for Google ones, especially if you brand swap and want seamless changeovers.

Samsung A73 5G Camera – Pass+

True, 108MP gives Samsung bragging rights, but in practice, this Samsung SK5HM6 Nonapixel RGB Bayer Pattern combines 9 pixels (3×3) to create a 12MP image. The image quality also depends on the AI capability (12 TOPS compared to 26 for the S22-series). Overall, it’s a great sensor that produces better-than-average daylight shots.

We found:

  • OIS is on the primary 108/12MP sensor only and works well
  • Daylight: Good natural colours and lots of details in shadow and highlights
  • Ultra-wide: lacks dynamic range and is a different colour. It uses a considerably older (September 2015) 13MP Sony IMX258 sensor, which we put down to COVID-related parts shortages. It gets very grainy on zoom
  • Zoom: forget it past 2X, and 10X zoom is unusable
  • Office light: Natural colours, fast focus, good dynamic range
  • Bokeh: Severe default blur but can be adjusted
  • Macro: We tried several shots, but all lacked the precision focus we like
  • Dark <40 lumens: Pretty good colour and detail
  • Night <40 lumens: Refines the image and adds a little more highlight. It is not up to Samsung’s S22-series Nightography that has far more AI power
  • Selfie – 32MP bins to 8MP offering a decent quality selfie in day or office light
  • Video – 4K@30fps is fine. 1080p with OIS is superb. Voice recording is average

CyberShack’s view – At $100 more than the A53 5G, the Samsung A73 5G is the pick of the litter

Our reviews are objective – we run over 70 tests and don’t read press releases or review guides that are much regurgitated as part of 99% of the other reviews.

So, there is no malice in telling it like it is; frankly, this phone will rate better than the $699 A53 and $999 S21 FE. Why? Because in the $700-799 bracket, it is pretty good, and Samsung is a safe bet.

Competition is quite fierce, and we note other phones you should compare it with

  • OPPO Find X5 Lite $799 has 8/256GB and fast 65W charging (supplied). Its primary camera is 64MP and binned to 16MP, and its photography tech is better.
  • Motorola Edge 30 Pro ($999 but on special at $799) has the latest Qualcomm SD8 Gen 1 SoC, Wi-Fi 6E, 30W charger in box (68W capable), Adaptive OLED screen and decent twin 50MP camera.
  • Motorola Edge 20 Pro (2021 run-out) $899 but on runout at $719
  • Samsung S20 FE (2021 run-out) at $699

They are all good phones, but Motorola Edge 30 Pro must be killing all comers in this bracket with the special price.

Samsung A73 5G

BrandSamsung
ModelA73 5G
Model NumberSM-A756B
Price Base6, 128
   Price base799
Warranty months24
 Tiermid-mid range
WebsiteProduct page
ManualManual PDF
FromSamsung Online and approved retailers
Country of OriginEither Vietnam or Korea
MoreCyberShack Samsung news and reviews
Test date1-13/6/22
Ambient temp11-18°
ReleaseApr-22
Other models not for Australia (Don’t buy)Must be ‘B/DS’, 6/128, not White

Screen

Size6.7
TypesAMOLED Plus
Flat, Curve, 2D, 3DFlat, centre O-hole
Resolution2400 x 1080
PPI393
Ratio20:9
Screen to Body %87
Colours bits8-bit 16.7M colours
Refresh Hz, adaptive60 or 120Hz fixed (not adaptive)
Nits typical, test400 (Tested 389) but needs to be turned up in direct sunlight
Nits max, testClaim 800 nits HBM (tested 745)
ContrastInfinite
sRGBTested 97%
DCI-P3Tested 98% in vivid mode
Delta E (<4 is excellent)2.6
HDR LevelHDR10/+/HLG
SDR UpscaleNo
Blue light controlYes
PWM if knownYes, but at low brightness so it won’t affect users
Daylight readableYes
Always on DisplayYes
Edge displayYes
AccessibilityYes
DRMWidevine L1 60Hz 1080p HDR (tested)
GamingGame mode
Screen protectionGG5
CommentNice bright, colourful screen, but its lack of Adaptive refresh puts it slightly behind the leaders. Battery life is hardly affected by 120Hz.

Processor

Brand, ModelQualcomm SD778 5G  
nm6
Cores4 x 2.4GHz + 4 x 1.8GHz
ModemX53 5G
AI TOPS12
Geekbench 5 Single-core781
Geekbench 5 multi-core2823
LikeClose to the SD865 in the 2021 S20 FE
GPUAdreno 642L
GPU Test
Open CL2291
LikeSimilar to SD865
Vulcan2412
RAM, type6 LPRDDR4X plus 2/4/6GB virtual ‘swap’ RAM from storage.
Storage, free, type128 (97GB free) UFS 2.2
micro-SDYes, to 1TB (hybrid slot)
CPDT internal seq. Read MBps563
CPDT internal seq. write MBps91
CPDT microSD read, write MBps89/19
CPDT external (mountable?) MBpsWon’t test – seen as external storage but can’t mount as internal storage
CommentThe SD778 5G is one of those Goldilocks SoCs. Not too hot, not too cold, but just right. It has heaps of power, reasonable game performance, good battery life, and enough AI TOPS to ensure great point-and-shoot photos.
Videographers and vloggers will soon run out of space without mountable storage, seen as internal storage.
Throttle test
Max GIPS252332
Average GIPS247285
Minimum GIPS239715
% ThrottleNil (excellent)
CPU Temp50
CommentThe SD778 runs cooler, and this is an excellent result. While it has 6GB of physical RAM, it can take 2/4/6GB from storage to use as virtual RAM.

Comms

Wi-Fi Type, modelWi-Fi 6 AX VHT80 MIMO 2×2
Test 2m -dBm, Mbps-22/480
Test 5m-52/480
Test 10m-0.11875
BT Type5
GPS single, dualDual (but appears to only work in single antenna mode)
USB typeUSB-C 2.0
Alt DP, DeX, Ready ForNo
NFCYes
Ultra-widebandNo
Sensors
   AccelerometerYes – combo with Gyro
   GyroYes – combo with Gyro
   e-CompassYes
   BarometerNo
   GravityNo
   PedometerNo – emulated in the combo
   Ambient lightYes
   Hall sensorNo
   ProximityYes
   OtherOptical fingerprint under glass
CommentIt is a shame to limit Wi-Fi speeds to 480Mbps when the SoC supports 1200/2400/4800Mbps Wi-Fi 6 and 6E. It is also a lost opportunity to use USB-C 2.0 when the SoC supports 3.1 and BT 5.0 when it supports 5.2)

LTE and 5G

SIMHybrid dual sim with microSD
ActiveOne at a time
Ring tone single, dualSingle
VoLTECarrier Dependent
Wi-Fi callingCarrier Dependent
4G Bands1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12 ,13, 17, 20, 28, 38, 40 41, 66
CommentAll Australian bands and most world bands
5G sub-6Ghzn1, 3, 5, 7, 28, 40, 41, 66, 78
CommentAll Australian sub-6GHz and low bands
mmWaveNo
Test Boost Mobile, Telstra
   UL, DL, ms21/23/31ms (average)
   Tower 1 -dBm, fW or pW-78 3-16pW (exceptional)
   Tower 2-85 2-4pW (ditto)
   Tower 3-90 1-2pW (ditto)
   Tower 4-100 <1pW (ditto)
CommentThis is excellent reception for city, suburb, regional and rural areas. But do not hold it by the ‘bottom’ where the main antenna is, as you can block the signal.

Battery

mAh5000 – claim 17-21 hours LTE (not 5G)
Charger, type, suppliedNo – the maximum charge is 9V/2.77A/25W, so make sure your charger supports that, or you will get 15-18W.
 PD, QC levelSamsung sells a $29 25W capable PS 2.0 5V/3A/15, 9V/2.77A/25W or 3.3-5.9V/3A and 3.3-11V/2.25A, but you need a 3W cable to charge above 2W.
Qi, wattageNo
Reverse Qi or cableNo
Test (60Hz or adaptive screen)60Hz
   Charge % 30mins48%
   Charge 0-100%1 hour 18 minutes
   Charge Qi, WN/A
   Charge 5V, 2A4 hours approx.
   Video loop 50%, aeroplane21 hours and 20 minutes
   PC Mark 3 battery18 hours 58 minutes
Accubattery 18 hours
   GFX Bench Manhattan battery368.8 (6.15 hours) 3046 frames
   GFX Bench T-Rex632.8 minutes (10.55 hours) 3372 frames
   Drain 100-0% full load screen on4 hours 6 minutes
   Watt full load2200mA
   Watt idle Screen on200-250mA
   Estimate loss at max refresh20-30%
   Estimate typical useWe estimate that this phone will go two days of typical use and one day under heavier use.
CommentWhile Samsung’s 17-21 hours use claim is accurate (Similar to PC Mark), it depends on your use and if you are using a 60 or 120Hz screen and 5G. GFX Manhattan and 100% screen-on drain 4-10 hours reflect a power user.

Sound

SpeakersStereo – top earpiece and bottom down-firing.
TuningNo
AMP2 x Cirrus Logic CS35L41 each 5.3W, 1% THD, 8 ohm
Dolby Atmos decodeYes, downmix to two speakers
Hi-Res32-bit, 384kHz
3.5mmNo
BT CodecsSBC, AAC, aptX, LDAC
MultipointShould be
Dolby Atmos (DA) EQAuto, Movie, Music, Voice
Normal EQNormal, Pop, Classic, Jazz, Rock, Custom
MicsDual with top for noise-cancelling
Test dB – all on EQ flat DA off85 – above average
   Volume max85
   Media (music)80
   Ring83
   Alarm80
   Notifications77
   Earpiece55
   Hands-freeThe bottom mic is for voice only, and the top for noise reduction. Good hands-free pick to about 600mm and good speaker loudness
   BT headphonesExcellent left-right separation and DA makes quite a difference with DA content.

Sound quality

Deep Bass 20-40HzNo
Middle Bass 40-100HzNo
High Bass 100-200HzSolid linear build to 200Hz
Low Mid 200-400HzFlattening but still building
Mid 4000-1000HzFlat
High-Mid 1-2kHzFlat
Low Treble 2-4kHzFlat
Mid Treble 4-6kHzFlat
High Treble 6-10kHzSlow linear decline to 15kHz
Dog Whistle 10-20kHzDeep dip at 15kHz but recovers slightly
Sound Signature typeIt is fairly neutral, but given the default is Warm and Sweet (bass/mid boosted, treble recessed) – it is the nirvana for most music and movies.
   Soundstage2D (no 3D spatial height, but DA gives a wider sound stage.
CommentWhile it lacks the musically important mid-bass (which adds character), the upper-bass offers satisfying bass notes. Upper-treble is missing, so you don’t quite get precise directionality. Overall, it is pleasant for most music genres that don’t need a lot of bass. It is one of the better phones in its class.

Build

Size (H x W x D)163.7 x 76.1 x 7.6
Weight grams181
Front glassGorilla Glass 5
Rear materialmatte plastic flow over camera hump – attracts grease but not fingerprints
FramePlastic chrome finish
IP rating67 1m for 30min
ColoursAwesome Mint
Awesome Grey
Pen, Stylus supportNo
In the box
   ChargerNo
   USB cableYes, 2W (you need a 3W cable if you want to charge at 25W)
   BudsNo
   Bumper coverNo
CommentMore Samsung penny-pinching

OS

Android12
Security patch date1/02/2022 (out-of-date as the May patch has been out for some time)
UIOne U1 4.1
OS upgrade policyoriginal plus 3 upgrades
Security patch policy4 years
BloatwareSamsung alternative to Google suite. Microsoft suite and OneDrive (requires subscription)
OtherSelection of Galaxy Apps
CommentGreat upgrade policy, and One UI is easy to use. But more and more, Samsung wants you in their tent (like Apple) by enticing you to create a Samsung account to access Galaxy Apps. It is just a further privacy issue – Google knows enough already!
Security
Fingerprint sensor location, typeOptical under glass
Face IDYes
OtherKnox and Secure folder

Samsung A73 5G Camera

Rear PrimaryWide
  MP108MP bins to 12MP
   SensorSamsung SK5HM6
Nonapixel RGB Bayer Pattern
   FocusPDAF
   f-stop1.8
   um.64 bins to 1.8um
  FOV° (stated, actual)85 (70.9-83.3)
   StabilisationOIS
   Zoom8X digital
Rear 2Ultra-wide
   MP12
   SensorSony IMX258 (13MP)
   FocusFixed
   f-stop2.2
   um1.12
  FOV (stated, actual)123 (104)
   StabilisationNo
   Zoom
Rear 3Macro
   MP5
   SensorGC5035
   Focus
   f-stop2.4
   um
  FOV (stated, actual)
   Stabilisation
   Zoom
Rear 4Depth
  MP5
   SensorGC5035
   Focus
   f-stop2.4
   um
  FOV (stated, actual)
   Stabilisation
   Zoom
Special
   Video max4K@30fps EIS
   FlashSingle LED
   Auto-HDRYes
   QR code readerYes
   Night modeNightography

 Selfie

Front
  MP32MP bins to 8MP
   SensorSony IMX616
   FocusFixed
   f-stop2.2
   um0.8 bins to 1.6
  FOV (stated, actual)83 (71)
   StabilisationNo
   FlashScreen fill
   Zoom4x digital
   Video max4K@30fps
    Features
CommentDaylight: Good natural colours and lots of details in shadow and highlights
Ultra-wide: lacks dynamic range
Zoom: forget it past 2X
OIS steady Ultra-wide gets very grainy on zoom
Office light: Natural colours, fast focus
Bokeh: Severe but can be adjusted
Macro: We tried several shots, but all lacked the precision focus we like
Dark: Pretty good colour and detail
Night: Refines the image and adds a few more highlights
Video – 4K@30fps is fine. 1080p with OIS is superb. Voice recording is average. Selfie – 32MP bins to 8MP offering a decent quality selfie in day or office light.

Ratings

Features9
It has everything you need
Value8.5
COVID supply issues and global uncertainty see this a tad higher price than it should be.
Performance9
The Qualcomm SD778G is a mid-range SoC that provides better performance and no throttling
Ease of Use9.5
Excellent OS upgrade/update policy and 2-years warranty.
Design8.5
Nice but a little bland
Rating out of 108.9
Final commentIt is a good successor to the 2021 A72, which was a great value handset. Almost perfect for the price.

Samsunbg A73 5G smartphone

$799
8.9

Features

9.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Performance

9.0/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Design

8.5/10

Pros

  • Decent all-day battery life and faster-charging capability
  • OS updates for four years, security updates for five years
  • Quality, bright sAMOLED screen
  • Exceptional phone signal strength for city and rural use
  • IP67 and microSD

Cons

  • No Charger and other price compromises
  • Wi-Fi 6/E capable and USB-C 3.1 capable but not implemented
  • Camera is good, but the firmware needs further tuning to get the best
  • Samsung is becoming more of its own ecosystem with a little too much Samsung bloatware – Apple-like


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