The Galaxy A40 might come at a modest price, but the design is completely up-to-date, including minimal bezels and a rear notch. In our Galaxy A40 review, we find out what’s good on the phone, and what’s not. We immediately fall for the door and summarize the most important conclusions.
When we say that you get too much in the Galaxy A40 for the modest price, we mainly mean the wide-angle lens. He didn’t need it, as far as we are concerned. On the other hand: you can only have it, even though it is usually not useful. For the rest, we mainly conclude that the Galaxy A40 offers an excellent price-quality ratio for anyone who finds the Galaxy A50 too large. Although the ordinary camera does not excel, you can take beautiful pictures with it. Do you want to know more? Then read on for the comprehensive Samsung Galaxy A40 review.
Samsung gets the broom this year through its low-end and mid-range smartphone portfolio. The Galaxy J series is no longer, and the A-series now covers the entire spectrum from the cheap to quite pricey. The Galaxy A40 is the cheapest device where Samsung has not yet saved on gadgets. With a fingerprint sensor, dual camera and a full HD AMOLED screen, you do not make major concessions in terms of features despite the price tag.
Samsung Galaxy A40 Design
In terms of design, the Galaxy A40 is a compact version of the Galaxy A50. The 5.9-inch display is indeed large, but due to the narrow bezels, the device is not very large. For example, the A40 is more compact than the 5.2 inch Galaxy A5 from 2017 or then the 5.6 inch Galaxy J6 from 2018. So don’t be put off by the screen diagonal.
Just like most other Galaxy A models this year, the Galaxy A40 is also made from ‘3D Glasstic’. This simply a sturdy plastic with a striking light effect. Depending on the light, our black specimen also looks blue or green. The material quickly collects greasy fingers, but it feels very solid. The rounded edges also make it comfortable to hold, although the A40 is not water-resistant – let alone waterproof.
In the left-hand side is the SIM-tray that can accommodate two SIM cards and a memory card. In the right side are the volume keys above the on / off button. The latter is therefore also easily accessible if you do not have large hands. And the fingerprint sensor, which is located at the rear of the device, is pleasant to operate because it is not positioned that high. In the bottom edge is a USB Type-C connection, the speaker, and the 3.5 mm headphone connection. That is not all that surprising, but at least the most important connections are simply made by the party.
The notch makes the Galaxy A40 look ‘from now on’, although it remains a matter of taste whether it is beautiful or not. In any case, it helps to cram a 5.9-inch display into a manageable body.
Samsung Galaxy A40 Screen
With regard to this screen: there are 2280 by 1080 pixels, which means a pixel density of 428 PPI. The image is therefore sharp and of Samsung’s usual AMOLED quality. Choose the basic color rendering, and the image looks calm and natural. With other modes, you can make colors splash more of the screen – but you always keep the well-known infinite contrast that comes with an AMOLED screen.
We know that we will repeat ourselves as soon as Samsung inserts an AMOLED display into its phones. But it is simply a very nice display, and must therefore inevitably be mentioned as one of the big plus points of the Galaxy A40.
Samsung Galaxy A40 Hardware performance
Samsung’s own Exynos 7904 chip is a spider in the electronics web. This is exactly the same chip that was previously in phones such as the Galaxy A7 and A8, with one deviation: the top speed is tempered. As we concluded when we looked at the benchmark results, the performance of the Galaxy A40 in the home-garden-and-kitchen applications is as in the A7 and A8.
However, for applications that require peak performance, such as games, the Galaxy A40 is unfortunately just a bit shortened. You can really play better on the A50, which is almost twice as fast in terms of graphics.
It also underlines that the Galaxy A40 is ultimately simply intended as a solid device for daily ‘average’ use. Music, YouTube, mail, browsing, and Whatsapp – everything works smooth enough. And don’t get us wrong: many a game is also playable. But even for a mid-range smartphone, the hardware of the A40 is just not very powerful.
Samsung Galaxy A40 Software
That does not mean that Samsung’s One UI interface on the Galaxy A40 runs smoothly. Below that is version 9 of the Android operating system. The One UI is optimized to be operated with one hand. The most important buttons are always at the bottom of the screen so that you can reach them with your thumb. That does not always apply to the applications that you install yourself, of course.
The One UI does have a fairly clear menu structure, with good descriptions. Moreover, there are functions that are not included in the Android OS. So you can also use the beautiful, minimalist night mode on the Galaxy A40. The entire interface then becomes dark. That is not only pleasant for your eyes, but also saves energy (at least a bit).
There are also many extras that are really useful. With Samsung Pass, you store login data of websites and apps securely. You can then identify yourself anywhere with your fingerprint. In the Secure Folder, you can store files, photos, and applications that require extra security. You can use complete accounts in that folder without them being accessible elsewhere on the device.
There is a theme store, where you can select and install themes. These change the appearance of the interface, including the icons, backgrounds, colors, and menus. Optionally, you can only adjust and combine parts, so that you can ‘customize’ your phone completely to your own preferences. Do you use your Galaxy A40 both privately and for business, with two SIM cards? Thanks to Dual Messenger you can install two versions of all kinds of communication apps, such as Whatsapp: one for your private contacts, and one for your work. Of course, there are also options to keep your device tidy and to keep it functioning optimally.
The Galaxy A40 offers basically everything you find in 2019 on almost all Galaxy phones features, features and gadgets. You will, in any case, receive a complete package of smartphone options.
Samsung Galaxy A40 Updates
As usual, we also briefly discuss the updates that you can expect for the Galaxy A40 in the coming period. For years, Samsung has released two major Android upgrades for its A-series phones. Provided the South Koreans do not leave their beaten track, the A40 will get an update to Android 10 ‘Q’ in 2020, and another one to Android 11 ‘R’ in 2021. In the coming two years you will, therefore, be in front when it comes to new versions of the operating system.
Given the price of the Galaxy A40, it should come as no surprise that Samsung will provide the device with the latest security patches every quarter, not every month. These minor updates, which occasionally, but usually do not roll out with new features, continue to be released for at least two years after the release date. The A40 will receive these patches until at least the spring of 2021.
Samsung Galaxy A40 Security
Apart from the security updates, Samsung offers one serious security method on the Galaxy A40: the fingerprint sensor. You can also use face recognition on the device, but that is not very safe. The fingerprint scanner provides a fairly fast and reliable authentication method. As we wrote above, the sensor is easily accessible, because Samsung did not place it too high.
In contrast to the optical sensor that is in the screen of the Galaxy A50, the scanner on the A40 works just smoothly and quickly. The technique used is mature and does not suffer from hitches, inaccuracies, or other problems. It is an ‘always-on’ sensor, which also works when the screen of the A40 is switched off. The fastest way to your home screen is to put your finger directly on the scanner.
It’s funny that the fastest working fingerprint sensor that Samsung will release in 2019 can be found on one of the cheapest phones (okay, along with the Galaxy S10e, of course). The ultrasonic sensor in the display of the Galaxy S10 works well, but not so fast – and the optical in-display scanner of the A50 is also clearly slower. The scanner on the back may not be cutting edge, but it is very functional.
Samsung Galaxy A40 camera review
And then we finally end up with the cameras of the Galaxy A40. It is here where Samsung has made a striking choice in our opinion. Last year the Galaxy J6 Plus came on the market. In our review, we judged that the device is not that good, but it does have a pretty good dual camera, with the main sensor and a depth sensor. Samsung opts for a different combination on the Galaxy A40: the main sensor and a wide-angle lens. To be precise: a 16-megapixel main lens and a 5-megapixel wide-angle lens. That shoe pinches.
Nothing is wrong with the main camera. In accordance with the price class of the Galaxy A40, you take pretty sharp photos, which are often well-exposed thanks to the real-time HDR function. If you take pictures in less light, this is at the expense of details, but the amount of noise remains limited for a long time.
Moreover, the Galaxy A40 also has Samsung’s Scene optimization. And contrary to what we often write about this feature, we find it useful on the A40 – possibly because the regular lens in the automatic mode is not as good as on Samsung’s more expensive smartphones.
That is all fine. And then there’s the wide-angle lens. One of the characteristics of a wide-angle lens is that you hand in some details so that more fits into the picture. However, if you also combine this with a 5-megapixel sensor, then no details will remain. The 8MP resolution of the wide-angle lens of the Galaxy A7 or A50, for example, still offers just enough pixels. But the wide-angle lens of the Galaxy A40 is really only suitable for portrait photos that you want to share via Whatsapp. Cool? Yes, but very limited for a position that can be so cool.
As a nice contrast, there is the 25-megapixel front camera. We have no further complaints about this – it does its job as expected, read: delivering nice, nicely exposed selfies. Moreover, on the Galaxy A40 – just like on the A50 – you can also make Samsung’s AR Emoji: emoji based on your own appearance. The options to design your own emoji are quite extensive, but you cannot make live videos as you can on the Galaxy S10, for example.
All in all, the cameras of the Galaxy A40 are fine if you ignore the wide-angle lens. Come on, more features are always good, but in this case, Samsung just wanted a little bit too much. A depth sensor to support the good main sensor would probably have been more useful.
Samsung Galaxy A40 Battery
That, in turn, does not apply to the battery life of the Galaxy A40. With its capacity of 3100mAh, the device does not have a huge battery, but the old formula ‘modest hardware + reasonable battery = good battery life’ fits again. Although the Galaxy A40, of course, does not have the endurance of the A50, you will get through a long working day more.
In addition – and this is very nice – the A40 supports fast charging, with the included fast charger. It is the first Galaxy in this price range (under € 250) that can be fully charged within an hour and a half. And that can be very useful in some circumstances.
Samsung Galaxy A40 Review FM Radio
The Galaxy A40 also has an old, trusted FM radio. Plugin the (included) earphones, and you can listen immediately without data consumption. And talking about the included earphones: it seems that Samsung has upgraded its ‘budget earphones’ for the first time in years. The earphones that come with the Galaxy A40 are of course not top quality, but they are clearly better than the ones that we recently found with our Galaxy A50.
The speaker of the device can be quite loud but does this without there being any sound quality. We did not expect anything else, but you can know it. The Dolby Atmos feature that Samsung has been putting in its devices for some time now is also on the A40. We are not a fan again, but that should not spoil the fun if you do like this kind of software optimization.
A notification LED is missing, just like in most Galaxy phones nowadays. However, because the Galaxy A40 also has no AOD – Always On Display – you are dependent on the tap-to-wake function to quickly check notifications. Tap the display twice, and the screen turns on briefly.
Galaxy A40 conclusions:
With the Galaxy A40, Samsung is finally launching another device that we can somewhat see as the successor of, for example, the Galaxy A3 from 2017. It is quite compact, but it does have that beautiful FHD AMOLED screen. The battery life is great, it feels good in the hand, and we can handle the main camera very well. The hardware is not fast, but fast enough for most – unless you are a real gamer.
So far nothing but praise. But that a better wide-angle lens no longer fit the budget is, in our opinion, a bit of a shame. A depth sensor like in the J6 Plus, for example, would have been more convenient. Precisely because the rest of the device is actually so solid and complete, the wide-angle lens is a bit out of tune.
We were already very pleased with the Galaxy A50, and those who do not want such a large device have an excellent, very complete alternative to the Galaxy A40. This device also hits the spot in terms of price-quality ratio. Moreover, it makes us curious about the other devices in Samsung’s new A-series, which we will also take a closer look at in the coming period.