SAMSUNG shook the tech industry by bringing the third iteration of its foldable line to consumers on the second half of 2021. While all eyes are on the Galaxy Z Flip3 and Galaxy Z Fold3 for sheer innovative prowess, SAMSUNG has not forgotten the more value-driven markets.

Back - SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)
Back – SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)

We have seen some great phones at amazing prices with the Galaxy A-Series, led by the SAMSUNG Galaxy A22 5G at Php13,990. Another affordable device in the lineup is the Galaxy A02, which you can grab for only Php4,990.

Since then, they also released the SAMSUNG Galaxy A02s, an updated version of the Galaxy A02 with more powerful hardware, for the price of P6,990

SAMSUNG Galaxy A22 5G review: Budget gateway to the Samsung ecosystem!

SAMSUNG appears to have dropped the Galaxy J-Series in favor of the A-Series, and the A02 appears to be the most inexpensive in that product line.

Read on for our full review.

Build quality, design

Design-wise, the SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 is nothing that we haven’t seen before: 6.5-inch Infinity-V display, Android 10, and a dual-camera module mounted on its rear.

The display is surprisingly okay, despite being a PLS LCD panel – the colors were even and bright. We can still see the screen even under direct sunlight, and viewing angles were good.

Selfie camera - SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)
Selfie camera – SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)

Polycarbonate plastic material keeps everything intact in a slim and sturdy form factor. The matte finish has a nice texture on it that makes it smudge and scratch resistant while being easy to grip.

It would have been nice to have a removable battery, but alas – that thing is solid as a rock. Still, it feels strong and sturdy, one that will survive casual wear and tear. There’s no need for a protective case, we’d go fully naked on this one.

SAMSUNG logo - SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)
SAMSUNG logo – SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)

We had the Black colored unit on hand for this review, one of the three colors available in the Philippines, the other being Blue and Gray.

Even though we love Black phones, it was rather plain and boring. Unless you absolutely must go with that color, we suggest going with Blue instead.

By the way, the official product page also lists a Red variant. The Red one looks particularly exciting and vibrant, so that would be our top pick.

Dedicated SIM and expansion slots - SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)
Dedicated SIM and expansion slots – SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)

It does not have a fingerprint sensor, but at least the Philippine version has dedicated dual SIM and memory expansion slots.

Performance

Powering the SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 is the MediaTek MT6739W, a cost-effective 4G chipset built on the 28nm process. It has quad ARM Cortex-A53 CPUs, 3GB of memory, and 35GB of storage.

It runs on the Android 10 operating system with SAMSUNG One UI Core version 3.1 delivering an enhanced user experience.

Chin - SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)
Chin – SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)

These are not the most impressive specs for 2021, but in gets the job done as long as we stick to lightweight apps like social media like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and Twitter, and video streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.

Because of its limited resources, mobile gaming is mostly limited to casual 2D games, although the PowreVR GE8100 can run Mobile Legends and Pokemon UNITE on low, we cannot recommend it due to stuttering.

Synthetic benchmark results place the SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 at the bottom of our 2021 rankings, scoring 979 points in a year where the average is 4,724 points.

Photography

For photography and content creation, the Galaxy A02 has a dual rear camera module consisting of a 13MP f/1.9 wide-angle lens and a 2MP f/2.4 macro lens.

The results were surprisingly good for the price, producing sharp, natural-looking images under optimal lighting conditions.

Selfies are made possible with a 5MP f/2.0 camera. Like the rear cameras, it produces surprisingly good photos that are perfect for social media.

The 5MP selfie camera is also good for video calls, making the SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 a capable device for those of us who are working remotely or studying from home.

Battery life

Equipped with a 5,000 mAh battery module, the SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 charges via the more traditional microUSB port at 7.8W.

MicroUSB port - SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)
MicroUSB port – SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)

We can take not having fast charging, but microUSB needs to die. It’s 2021, people! USB-C has been around for ages and Thunderbolt is now at version 4. AIoT devices and gadgets have already moved to the USB-C standard, so there is no reason for a smartphone to be on USB-C.

With that being said, the SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 is like an Energizer bunny: It just keeps going and going! We suspect this is largely due to the extremely low power draw of the MediaTTek MT6739W chipset.

Dual rear camera - SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)
Dual rear camera – SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)

Of course, our biggest hit on the battery is always the display, and in this case the PLS LCD holds itself up well, yielding around 2-3 days of continuous use.

You mileage may vary, of course – but there is not a lot to power on the Galaxy A02’s modest hardware. Our activities were mostly confined to social media and streaming content over Wi-Fi.

Verdict

It’s nice to see SAMSUNG taking care of value-driven markets with the Galaxy A-Series, and the pricing of the A02 shows that they are making an effort to position itself in that segment.

Handheld front - SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)
Handheld front – SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 (Philippines)

While P4,990 for a SAMSUNG phone is really attractive, the SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 struggles to deliver value performance-wise. It is saved by strong cameras and excellent battery life, both of which are surprisingly good for the price.

As it stands, the Galaxy A02 is best suited for students, organizations, and budget-conscious users that need a simple, easy-to-use, long-lasting Android device for e-learning and general use that don’t require heavy lifting.

Check out our SAMSUNG Galaxy A22 5G video review on our YouTube Tech Review channel.

SAMSUNG Galaxy A02 technical specifications (Philippines)

  • Display: 6.5 inches; 720 x 1600 pixels; PLS LCD
  • SIM: Dual SIM (nano-SIM, dedicated slots)
  • OS Android 10, One UI Core 2.5 (upgradable to Android 11)
  • Chipset (SoC): MediaTek MT6739W (28nm)
  • CPU: Quad-core (1.5GHz Cortex A-53)
  • GPU: PowerVR GE8100
  • Memory (RAM) + storage (ROM): 3GB+32GB
  • Expansion: MicroSDXC (dedicated slot)
  • Main camera (rear): 13MP f/1.9 (wide) + 2MP f/2.4 (macro)
  • Selfie camera (front): 5MP f/2.0
  • Connectivity: 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 5.1 A2DP, LE
  • I/O: microUSB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Battery: 5,000 mAh (non-removable)
  • Colors: Black, Blue
  • Price (Philippines): Php4,990 (3GB + 32GB)