The Galaxy M53 5G now sits at the top of Samsung's M series, which now spans a wide range of prices. Samsung's latest smartphone boasts of some interesting hardware such as a 120Hz Super AMOLED display, a MediaTek Dimensity 900 SoC with vapour cooling, and a 108-megapixel primary camera. My first impressions of this device were positive, and it's now time to see how it fares against the competition. Is it a worthy successor to the Galaxy M52 5G, and should it be your first choice under Rs. 30,000? Let's find out..
Samsung Galaxy M53 5G price in India
The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G starts at Rs. 26,499 in India and comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage at this price. The higher variant offers 8GB of RAM with the same 128GB of storage, and is priced at Rs. 28,499. Other than the Mystique Green colour that I have, the Galaxy M53 5G is also available in a Deep Ocean Blue colour.
Samsung Galaxy M53 5G design
The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G is primarily built out of plastic and feels sturdy, but not the most premium. In my first impressions, I had praised the Mystique Green finish of my unit. I still maintain that it helps this phone stand out from the competition. However, after using it for a week I found that it picked up smudges easily, even though they weren't clearly visible. Samsung could have thrown a case in the box considering this is the most expensive M-series device.
Speaking of missing accessories, Samsung doesn't bundle a charger either, and you only get a USB Type-C to Type-C cable. If you have a USB Type-C charger lying around, you can use that to charge the Galaxy M53 5G. For fast charging, you will need a compatible 25W charger and Samsung's official one costs about Rs. 1,200.
The Mystique Green colour is eye-catching
The side-mounted fingerprint scanner is easy to reach, but I can't say the same about the volume buttons. The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G is a big device and can be a little tricky to use one-handed. It has a large 6.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus display similar to the Galaxy M52 5G, with a tiny hole at the top for the selfie camera. I didn't find this camera cutout to be distracting while using the phone. The Galaxy M53 5G weighs 176g, which I found manageable.
Samsung Galaxy M53 5G specifications and software
The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 900 SoC. This smartphone has a vapour cooling chamber to help keep temperatures in check. You get dual-SIM functionality with support for 12 5G bands as well as 4G VoLTE. Samsung also boasts of an auto-data-switching feature for the Galaxy M53 5G that can automatically switch between the two SIMs to ensure the phone always has an active data connection.
Since the Galaxy M53 5G has a hybrid dual-SIM tray, storage expansion comes at the cost of the second SIM. I think Samsung could have offered an even higher end variant with more storage. A small amount of storage can be used as additional RAM if you use the RAM Plus feature. My 6GB variant allowed me to allocate up to 6GB of storage as RAM. This could be helpful if you are a multi-tasker, or you can dial it down to 2GB and free up some storage space.
The side-mounted fingerprint scanner is quick to unlock the Galaxy M53 5G
The Super AMOLED Plus panel on the Samsung Galaxy M53 5G has a full-HD+ resolution and a 120Hz maximum refresh rate. Only a few other smartphones such as the Xiaomi Mi 11i HyperCharge 5G (Review), Mi 11i, and the Realme GT Master Edition (Review) offer high-refresh-rate AMOLED displays at this price. On the Galaxy M53 5G, the screen refresh rate was set to 120Hz by default. I could also choose between a Vivid and a Natural colour mode in the display settings, and tweak the colour temperature of the panel.
For software, you get Android 12 out of the box with Samsung's OneUI 4.1 skin on top. Samsung has committed to two years of Android OS updates and four years of security updates for the Galaxy M53 5G which should help keep the phone running smoothly for a while. OneUI is easy to use but there's a lot of third-party bloatware. You can uninstall most of these apps. The Galaxy M53 5G also allows you to copy and transfer text and images across Samsung devices just like Apple's Continuity features, provided you're signed in with the same Samsung account on all your devices. Lastly, the Galaxy M53 5G has a few experimental features such as multi-window, which lets you run multiple apps in resizable, pop-up windows.
Samsung Galaxy M53 5G performance and battery life
The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G delivers good performance for a casual user. The crisp Super AMOLED display has good viewing angles and enough options to customise the colour profile to your liking. There is support for Dolby Atmos for the single speaker, but stereo speakers would have made the experience better.
The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G was able to keep up with my day-to-day use without any hiccups. Apps and games loaded fairly quickly and multitasking was a breeze. The side-mounted fingerprint scanner was accurate and rarely needed a second attempt to unlock the smartphone. The 120Hz refresh rate also made the UI feel super smooth to use.
The Galaxy M53 5G has a 108-megapixel primary rear camera
Gaming performance on the Samsung Galaxy M53 5G was very good. The phone ran Asphalt 9: Legends very well at 60Hz and I did not notice any stutter. After playing for about 15 minutes, I noted a three percent drop in the battery level which was acceptable. The phone wasn't warm to the touch either.
As for synthetic benchmarks, the Samsung Galaxy M53 5G scored 424,426 points in AnTuTu. In Geekbench 5's single-core and multi-core tests, it scored 731 and 2,264 points respectively. These scores were lower than those of the Realme GT Master Edition and the Xiaomi Mi 11i HyperCharge 5G which have lower starting prices and slightly better SoCs
The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G delivered good battery life. The 5,000mAh battery easily lasted beyond a full day with my usage. In our HD video loop test, the phone managed to run for 18 hours and 24 minutes. Since there is no bundled charger in the box, I used the USB Type-C charger of a MacBook Air (2020) (Review) and the Galaxy M53 5G did indicate ‘Fast Charging', but it's hard to tell if it was charging at its full 25W capability. I was able to charge the phone up to 31 percent in half an hour and up to 58 percent in an hour.
Samsung Galaxy M53 5G cameras
The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G sports a quad-camera setup on the back, consisting of a 108-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth camera. The Xiaomi Mi 11i HyperCharge 5G, which is a direct competitor to the Galaxy M53 5G, also sports a similar camera setup.
Samsung Galaxy M53 5G camera samples; primary and ultra-wide angle camera samples (tap to see full size)
The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G was quick to lock focus and didn't fumble with getting the exposure right. It also managed close-up shots very well, but I needed to be slightly patient when using the Portrait mode as it takes some time and notifies you when it's ready. Daylight shots were good and fairly detailed. The ultra-wide camera had a very similar colour tone as the primary camera which was a plus, but the photos it captured weren't as detailed. Ultra-wide photos had very little barrel distortion near the edges of the frame.
Samsung Galaxy M53 5G portrait sample (tap to see full-size)
Samsung Galaxy M53 5G low-light and Night mode camera samples (tap to see full-size)
The macro camera captured decent photos, and I was able to get very close to the subject while shooting. Low-light camera performance was decent and objects nearby in landscape shots were recognisable. However, these shots lacked good details in the darker areas of the frame. Night mode helped improve this a bit but the phone needed 3-4 seconds to take a shot. Night mode was a hit or a miss as some photos turned out to be soft.
Samsung Galaxy M53 5G selfie portrait samples (tap to see full-size)
The 32-megapixel selfie camera captured pixel-binned 8-megapixel photos by default. Daylight selfies looked great, with natural colours, and the Portrait mode managed good edge detection. Low-light camera performance was average in comparison.
Video recording topped out at 4K 30fps and this phone relies on electronic stabilisation (EIS) to stabilise footage. Colours looked great in daylight but the video was shaky and not stabilised well. Low-light footage had too much jitter in the output for my liking. The camera app does have a SuperSteady mode that uses the ultra-wide-angle camera, but this crops the frame quite heavily in order to improve stabilisation, and the resolution is capped at 1080p.
The Samsung Galaxy M53 5G is an incremental upgrade over the Galaxy M52 5G. It looks premium and sports capable hardware. One of the main things working in favour of the Galaxy M53 5G is the guarantee of Android OS and security updates, which should keep it relevant longer than some of its direct competitors. In my opinion, the 6GB RAM variant offers much better value for money than the 8GB variant. I also think Samsung should have bundled a 25W charger, given the phone's price.
If you're still not convinced about the Galaxy M53 5G, you should pay attention to its competitors in this segment. The Xiaomi Mi 11i HyperCharge 5G (Review) could be a great alternative as it has not only a 120Hz AMOLED display and a 108-megapixel camera, but also the more powerful Dimensity 920 SoC and a significantly faster 120W charger is bundled in the box. Those looking for a great smartphone camera should consider the Realme 9 Pro+ (Review). If you have budget constraints, the Mi 11i and the Realme GT Master Edition make for good alternatives to the Galaxy M53 5G.