Samsung Galaxy A23 5G review: Annoyingly laggy
There isn’t one good sign when you’ve been thinking about throwing your smartphone out the window. Not because of—well, *gestures to everything*— but because it’s just so frustrating to use. I recently went out to dinner, and a co-worker—using a six-year-old iPhone SE—pointed out how slow my brand new phone was. I was ready to throw the thing away.
The culprit was Samsung’s new Galaxy A23 5G, a $300 Android phone. You might think I’m being too hard on a cheap phone, which is fair. These budget phones have to make sacrifices a place. But even phones under $200 perform better than this one. You have other options in this price range and you should explore them.
The sad thing is that the Galaxy A23 5G has a few things going for it. First of all, Samsung promises to support this phone for four years for security updates, and it will get three OS upgrades (up to Android 15). It’s far better than any other Android phone under $400, period. You will be able to get new features, have a device free of errors and not have to worry about security errors for a long time.
It has a 6.6-inch LCD screen with a 120 Hz refresh rate, the latter of which is not common to see at this price. The screen feels responsive, it’s quite roomy (great if you prefer big phones), and it gets bright enough to see clearly on sunny days. I have no qualms here. The next best feature? The A23 5G has a 5000 mAh battery, so it will last two full days on a single charge with average usage. I didn’t bother plugging it in every night because it usually hit about 50 percent. It’s nice not having to worry about a dead phone!
There’s sub-6 5G support across all major carriers, so you won’t be stuck on 4G LTE alone, plus this smartphone has other benefits that are increasingly missing from high-end flagships. It includes a headphone jack for anyone who still prefers to plug in, as well as an NFC sensor so you can make contactless payments from merchants that support it. There’s even a microSD card slot, which you’ll want to use because the phone only comes with 64 gigabytes of storage.
My problems with the Galaxy A23 5G start with the processor: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 695. It’s strange because the Moto G Stylus 5G 2022 I tested earlier this year uses the same chip and I had no performance problems there. It might come down to the fact that the Motorola phone has 8 gigabytes of RAM and this Samsung is stuck with a paltry 4 gigs.
You won’t notice too many issues when you’re just using a single app. I’ve been able to use this as my primary device just fine for over a week. I can send emails, surf Twitter (welp) and reply to messages. It’s when you start using a few apps at the same time that things go wrong. There are long pauses while you wait for an app to open and fully load, but it’s the physical act of switching apps that frustrated me the most.
I use the gesture navigation system on Android phones. I immediately switch to it if the device I’m testing relies on Android’s old three-button navigation system by default. I’ve never had a problem using gestures to navigate a device, except on the A23 5G. For some reason, swiping up from the bottom of an app wouldn’t always take me to the home screen, let alone switch to the previous app. Apps often got stuck, and I had to keep swiping up from the bottom—with varying levels of anger—while waiting for the home screen to appear.