Samsung Galaxy A90 5G review: get next-gen 5G speeds without breaking the bank

The Samsung Galaxy A90 5G comes with some compromises, but it's a good value buy if you need 5G

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

If you want 5G speeds right now, the Samsung A90 5G should be somewhere near the top of your shortlist – especially when it comes to the price and the overall design quality.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Affordable way to get 5G

  • +

    Stylish, premium design

  • +

    Still has a headphone jack

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    5G network still growing

  • -

    Camera could be better

  • -

    Not the sharpest screen

Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

We're seeing more and more 5G phones hit the market now, but the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G remains one of the best options if you want the ultra-fast connectivity tech on your next phone, as well as a stylish outward design, and all at an affordable price.

While it doesn't quite have the specs to match something like the Galaxy S10 series, or the upcoming Galaxy S20 phones, the Galaxy A90 5G is still a very capable phone in its own right – it's not just the 5G connectivity that it's got going for it, as we'll explain below.

A good place to start is that bright and crisp 6.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, which is as impressive as you would expect from Samsung. You get a decent triple-lens rear camera, and plenty of internal storage, and the option to expand that storage via a memory card.

It's worth checking what sort of 5G coverage your network is currently offering around the country before you pick up the Samsung A90 5G – it's now available in several major cities, with coverage extending throughout 2020, though it'll be a while before it's everywhere.

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G review: design and build

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung makes some very smartly designed phones, that's already been well established, and the Galaxy A90 5G continues the trend. The only complaint you might have about the handset is that it's too big, with that 6.7 inch corner-to-corner size – this isn't a phone for people with small hands. The resolution is 1,080 x 2,400 pixels, one of very few mid-range specs in what is otherwise a premium-level phone.

There's a small teardrop notch up at the top of the display, which doesn't spoil the aesthetics of the Galaxy A90 5G too much, and the bezels are pleasingly thin. We like the single strip of camera lenses on the back of the device as well, all on the left hand side, which is a better-looking arrangement than many smartphones have. The fingerprint sensor is embedded under the screen.

It's worth mentioning the colours that the Galaxy A90 5G is available in: as well as the black that our review unit came in, there's also a white option with a rainbow-ish tinge – it's a really nice look and probably the one we prefer. On both the black and white models, the back of the phone is split up into slightly different textures, which looks good as well.

There's no doubt the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G is a quality-looking handset, and there's nothing budget or mid-range about its looks. It feels comfortable and premium in the hand too. As usual, USB-C is the data and charging port standard, and there's no headphone jack, so you'll need to rely on Bluetooth or a dongle.

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G review: performance and features

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G

(Image credit: Future)

The Snapdragon 855 running the Samsung A90 5G is no longer the best Android mobile chipset in the business, but it was in 2019, and combined with 6GB or 8GB of RAM you're going to get many years of service out of this phone. It sped through everything we threw at it, from games to photo editors, very smoothly indeed.

The triple-lens 48MP+8MP+5MP rear camera impresses too, though there's no telephoto optical zoom here. It's one of the features of the Galaxy A90 5G that isn't quite top tier, but you'll still get some very good snaps in almost all lighting conditions – colours are bright and details are sharp. The phone camera can even do a job in low light, though it's nowhere near the best phones of the moment in terms of night photography.

In terms of battery life we found plenty of juice left at the end of the day. In our test of an hour's video streaming at maximum brightness, the battery level dropped from a full charge to 92 percent, which is a very respectable result – you're not going to have to worry about regular recharges with this.

Of course the key spec is that 5G support – you might not be able to take full advantage of it in many parts of the country, but if you are in an area that has coverage, you can enjoy next-gen upload and download speeds. Remember 5G coverage is improving all the time, so you've got a future-proofed phone with the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G.

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G review: price and verdict

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G

(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy A90 5G is really all about that 5G – if you absolutely, definitely want 5G right now, then this is one of the most affordable ways of getting it. That doesn't mean the phone is cheap in its design or build quality though, and it still feels like a premium-level phone when you've got it in your hand.

Be sure to check the latest 5G coverage in your area though, because if you're not going to be making use of the next-gen cellular technology, there are better options out there for your next smartphone purchase. It could take a year or two for the 5G network to expand far enough for you to connect to it more often than not, so factor that in.

We were impressed with the battery life on the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G, though the camera isn't quite up to the best phones on the market at the moment – it'll still get you some very decent pictures, but it's not breaking any new ground. It's less expensive than those flagships with top-tier cameras though, so you've got to weigh up the whole package against the price.

This isn't the only 5G phone on the market right now of course – it's not even the only Samsung 5G phone on the market – but if you're right in the middle of a city that already has coverage, the Samsung Galaxy A90 5G offers excellent value for money for taking advantage of those super-high speeds.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.