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Samsung Galaxy F54 (M54) review: A solid all-round mid-range phone

Review
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Last updated: June 6th, 2023 at 17:47 UTC+02:00

The Galaxy A54 has done considerably well since its release earlier this year, thanks to an excellent mix of mid-range and flagship-grade features and a price tag that, while a lot higher than its predecessor, is more palatable for a mass audience.

For those who don’t want to pay for a Galaxy A54, Samsung has launched the Galaxy F54 in India. Launched as the Galaxy M54 in other markets, the F54 has a lot of features similar to last year’s Galaxy M53 5G and also gets a couple of features from the Galaxy A54, like the new Exynos 1380 processor.

The highlights here include the Exynos 1380 chip, a 120Hz AMOLED display, a 6,000 mAh battery, a 108-megapixel main camera, and the latest version of Android and One UI out of the box. Do the specs come together to provide a user experience worthy of the asking price, or should you look at one of the many other mid-range Samsung phones available on the market?

This Galaxy F54 review has the answers you seek, so let’s get started.

Note: As the Galaxy M54 and the Galaxy F54 are the same devices with different names, this review is applicable to both phones.

Design

Galaxy F54 review

The Galaxy F54 is a sleek and beautiful phone. Despite the 6,000 mAh battery inside, the phone has an impressively slim profile. And it’s beautiful too – the back has a fine grain texture that’s somewhat hard to capture in photos, but believe me, this is a pretty phone. Unfortunately, it’s also extremely slippery, and I would suggest using a case with it.

The Galaxy F54 is a sleek and beautiful phone

The Galaxy F54 lacks any sort of water or dust resistance, which is one example of how the F (and M) series phones differ from Samsung’s Galaxy A3x and A5x lineups. Yes, you also miss out on the glass back of the Galaxy A54, but I wouldn’t call that a huge loss as the F54 still feels premium and you don’t have to worry about damaging both sides of the phone should any mishap happen.

Galaxy F54 review

As for the ports and buttons, there’s nothing new to see here. You’ve got a single loudspeaker and a USB-C port at the bottom, volume and power buttons on the right side, and a hybrid SIM slot (2 SIMs or one SIM and a microSD card) on the left. Sadly, there’s no 3.5mm headphone port.

The F54 has a fingerprint sensor embedded into the power button. It works perfectly, as expected from capacitive fingerprint sensors, though I believe Samsung should start using in-display fingerprint sensors in F and M series phones now that their price tags are getting bigger each year.

Display, sound

Galaxy F54 review

The Galaxy F54 has a 6.7-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Display quality is great in all respects, whether it’s the colors, black levels, brightness, or viewing angles. Samsung has also kept the bezels around the display to a minimum. This is an advantage over the Galaxy A54, which has huge bezels that don’t suit its price tag. The F54 also has Gorilla Glass 5 protection.

When it comes to sound, the Galaxy F54 is interesting: it is the first Samsung phone that allows you to enable Dolby Atmos sound over a single loudspeaker. Naturally, a single speaker can’t give you virtual surround sound like stereo speakers, but Dolby Atmos does increase the output volume over the speaker.

Display quality is great in all respects

Audio output from the speaker on the F54 is better than the ones Samsung uses on other mid-range phones. It can get plenty loud and has enough punch that I didn’t miss the stereo speaker setup I’m used to on Samsung’s flagship phones. No, it’s not amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but it gets the job done.

But for the best audio experience, you will have to resort to earbuds or headphones. There are no earbuds in the box so this is an additional purchase for anyone who doesn’t already have wireless earbuds or headphones that work over a USB-C port.

Camera

Galaxy F54 review

The Galaxy F54 is not the first mid-range Samsung phone with a 108MP camera, and it’s not really as impressive as you would expect based off the megapixel count. The good thing is that during the day and in well lit indoor settings, the main camera can produce rather detailed photos with good dynamic range and mostly accurate colors and exposure.

However, you’re not going to see any major difference in quality compared to what you get from mid-range Samsung phones with 50MP or 64MP cameras. And, unfortunately, the results can be hit and miss in low-light conditions. With enough artificial lighting the photos can be pretty detailed, but a lot of the time you need to switch to the dedicated Night mode to keep noise out.

The main camera can produce rather detailed photos

By default, the phone uses pixel binning to capture 12-megapixel pictures, but you can manually switch to 108MP mode. It’s not recommended, though. The little extra detail you get in 108MP pics doesn’t justify the considerably larger file sizes, and that extra detail is mostly achieved only in photos taken outdoors during the day.

As for the other rear cameras, only the 8MP ultra-wide camera is of any use – the 2MP macro camera may as well not be there because its quality is utter trash (what else do you expect from a 2-megapixel camera?). The ultra-wide camera also isn’t great, especially in low-light conditions, but during the day it’s good enough.

Here are some pictures taken with the 108MP main camera and the 8MP ultra-wide camera:

Samsung has made a big deal about all the camera modes you get on the Galaxy F54, but that’s only because they’re new for an F series phone. The F54 comes with Fun mode, which lets you use Snapchat stickers right in Samsung’s Camera app, along with a slew of other modes, including Pro photo and Pro video modes, Single Take, Super slow-mo, and Astro hyperlapse (which can capture timelapse videos of the sky and the stars).

Unfortunately, the Galaxy F54 cannot shoot 4K videos at 60 fps, as the Exynos 1380 doesn’t support 4K 60 fps encoding. Recording quality at Full HD 60 fps and 4K 30 fps is more than sufficient, though, and I have a feeling most people will not care about not having [email protected] support.

Coming to the 32MP front camera, it’s great for selfies you would share on social media, with mostly clean results outdoors and even indoors as long as it’s not too dark. Just don’t view those selfies on a big screen like a TV or PC monitor, as that can reveal shortcomings such as a soft look indoors that’s no doubt a result of excessive noise reduction.

Performance

Galaxy F54 review

The Galaxy F54’s excellent performance came as a surprise. The Exynos 1380 chip debuted on the Galaxy A54, but it performs better on the F54. The Galaxy A54’s performance was rather disappointing for the asking price, and while it has received improvements through software updates, the A54 still doesn’t feel as optimized as the F54.

The Galaxy F54’s excellent performance comes as a surprise

General navigation through the user interface manages to stay fluid most of the time. Apps launch fairly quickly, too, although the frame rate of the app opening animations can drop below 120Hz now and then. Overall, the F54 often gives flagship vibes when you’re using the phone outside of gaming and shows what the Exynos 1380 is capable of with the right optimization.

Gaming performance is also excellent, even with 90 fps frame rate that is an option in some games. That said, you will see some frame drops in graphically demanding titles and won’t be able to use the highest graphics settings in every popular game. The F54 can also heat up during gaming. It never gets uncomfortable, but it also doesn’t stay as cool as some would like.

Software

Galaxy F54 review

With Android 13 and One UI 5.1 preloaded, the Galaxy F54 gives you the latest Samsung software experience. Most of the features that make Galaxy phones tick are present here, except for flagship features like DeX support. There’s also the new Samsung Wallet app, which uses NFC for card payments and, for Indian users, supports digital payments through popular services like Paytm and the country’s UPI service.

The Galaxy F54 will get four major OS upgrades

The best part about the Galaxy F54 on the software side is that it will get four major OS upgrades like the Galaxy A54, which substantially increases its value quotient. This is the first F series phone that is eligible for Samsung’s unmatched software update policy, and hopefully it won’t be the last.

Connectivity, call quality

Galaxy F54 review

The Galaxy F54 is well equipped as far as connectivity features are concerned. You get full-fledged 5G support, Wi-Fi 6, and NFC. Call quality is excellent and you can hear things well on both the earpiece and the loudspeaker, and the phone never has problems latching on to mobile networks. The only issue is that the F54 is somewhat slow at switching to mobile data when Wi-Fi is turned off or the Wi-Fi network goes out of range.

Battery

Galaxy F54 review

The Galaxy F54’s battery life is fantastic yet underwhelming. Efficiency is one area in which the Exynos 1380 seems to have problems on both the A54 and F54. Like the A54, the F54 can last a full day with a lot of heavy use, and around 30-36 hours with moderate use.

But getting to two days on a single charge is impossible unless the phone is sitting idle for most of that duration, which is surprising considering the F54’s battery has a larger capacity. That doesn’t mean battery life on this phone is lacking, but it does make it a little underwhelming as I mentioned earlier.

Charging is quick, or at least as quick as you can expect for a 6,000 mAh battery with Samsung’s 25W fast charging tech. A full charge takes nearly an hour and a half while charging for half an hour gets it up to somewhere between 35-40%. As with all new Samsung phones, you will have to buy a charger separately.

Verdict

Galaxy F54 review

The Galaxy F54, available as the Galaxy M54 in some markets, is an excellent all-round mid-range phone. It’s a better alternative to the Galaxy A54 as it is faster and smoother despite using the same chip. It doesn’t have a water and dust resistant design, but if that is important for you, I would recommend the Galaxy A34. Otherwise, the Galaxy F54 is a solid choice that won’t leave you disappointed.

Samsung
Galaxy F54

What we like

  • 120Hz AMOLED display with slim bezels
  • Excellent performance with Exynos 1380 chip
  • Main camera takes good pictures in most conditions
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Four years of OS upgrades
  • Beautiful rear design
  • 5G, Wi-Fi 6, NFC connectivity

What we don't

  • Secondary cameras are underwhelming
  • No 4K 60 fps video recording
  • No 3.5mm headphone port
  • In-display fingerprint reader would be nice at this price
  • No charger or earphones in the box
Review Galaxy F54Galaxy M54
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