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A Review of the Samsung Galaxy A3

Last updated: October 2, 2018.

The Samsung Galaxy A3

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The Samsung Galaxy A3 is a solid mid-range smartphone that offers good performance and battery life.  Its unibody metal design can match the build quality of some of high-end smartphones.  Unfortunately, its camera is lousy.

Previously, Samsung devices were mostly made of plastic and, there have been many who hoped that the company would improve their build quality by moving away from plastic.  Samsung began to use metal with the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and their Galaxy Note 4 which had metal frames, even if both still used plastic back covers.

Now, with their latest series of smartphones, Samsung has upped their build quality, presenting two mid-range devices with premium unibody metal designs.  While neither the Galaxy A5 nor the A3 are widely available in the US, many are anticipating that their design language serves as a herald of what’s to come.

Today, in this in-depth review, we will focus on the Samsung Galaxy A3 to see what else it has to offer aside from build quality.

Design

The new design of the Galaxy A3 has been the cause of much excitement as Samsung has made the much anticipated move away from plastic.  While Samsung’s previous plastic smartphones were durable, the resulted in expensive smartphones that felt cheap.

  • The Samsung Galaxy A3 is a device that features a full metal construction. Flat sides and chamfered edges allow you to grip the device securely and it is easy to use one-handed.
  • The device measures 130.1 x 65.5 x 6.9mm, and weighs 110.3g
  • Keeps signature Samsung design elements such as the home button up front and flanked by the capacitive back and recent apps keys.
  • Power button on the right side. Two SIM card slots are place below the power button.  One of these slots doubles as a microSD slot.
  • Volume rocker on the left side.
  • Headphone jack and microUSB port are placed on the bottom.
  • An LED flash flanks the left of the rear camera while the devices single speaker is found on its other side.

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  • Comes in a variety of colors: Pearl White, Midnight Black, Platinum Silver, Champagne Gold, Soft Pink, and Light Blue.

Display

  • The Samsung Galaxy A3 uses a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED display. The display has a resolution of 960 x 540 for a pixel density of 245 ppi.
  • AMOLED technology ensures that the display of the Galaxy A3 is capable of high contrast ratios with deep blacks and saturated colors as well as wide viewing angles.
  • The display can seem a bit small for media consumption. Resolution is just a little low for gaming or video watching.
  • The display is great for accomplishing everyday tasks like web browsing or accessing social media.

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Performance and Hardware

  • The Samsung Galaxy A3 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor clocked at 1.2GHz. This is backed by a Adreno 306 GPU with 1 GB of RAM.
  • The 64-bit processor provides more than enough power for most tasks, including graphic heavy games.
  • As the Galaxy A3 only has 1 GB of RAM, when you are using an app that uses a lot of memory – such as a high-end game, the home screen refreshes automatically afterwards.
  • You can choose between a device with 8 GB or 16 GB of internal storage.
  • The Samsung Galaxy A3 has a microSD slot so you have to option to use it to expand storage capacity up to 64 GB.
  • Has a full suite of sensors (Accelerometer, RGB, Proximity, Geo-magnetic, Hall Sensor) and connectivity options (WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, A-GPS / GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth® v 4.0 (BLE, ANT+)). It gets a lot of networks and this includes LTE.  However, you need to pay attention to the version numbers, as different versions will support different LTE bands depending on the market.  Make sure the unit you get can connect to the networks you want.
  • A single speaker is placed on the back of the device. This single speaker can produces a clean sound without distortion.  However, the volume does not really get very loud.
  • The problem with this speaker is it can get covered up if you are holding the device in landscape orientation, muffling the sound.
  • Has a 1,900 mAh battery with impressive battery life. You can get 12 to 15 hours including 4 to 5 hours screen-on time.
  • The battery is non-removable.
  • There is an ultra power saving mode but this limits functionality.

Camera

  • The Galaxy A3 has a 8MP rear camera with an LED Flash and a 5 MP front camera.
  • Camera app features standard settings such as exposure, white balance and ISO.
  • Shooting modes have been trimmed down to include just continuous shot, rear-cam selfie, beauty face, animated GIF, HDR, panorama and night mode.
  • Photo quality is disappointing with a lot of noise and photos often soft and muddy with little detail. This is true even in good lighting and more apparent in low light.

Software

  • The Samsung Galaxy A3 runs on Android 4.4 Kitkat and uses the TouchWiz UI.
  • The software experience is similar to what was on the Galaxy S2.
  • Samsung has removed a lot of features that made the TouchWiz UI cluttered and convoluted. The missing features include mutli-window, smart stay, smart pause, air gestures, chatOn, S-Voice, and S-Health.

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Pricing and availability

  • The Samsung Galaxy A3 currently isn’t available through US network operators. But you can pick up a unit from Amazon priced at $320.  This is kind of expensive for a device with the specifications that the Galaxy A3 has and you might want to consider a more budge-friendly options which offer similar experiences.

Final Thoughts

Samsung’s Galaxy A3 certainly represents a step up in build quality and overall it is a very solid smartphone.  However, even if the build quality rivals some higher-end smartphones, the performance level does not.

What do you think about the Samsung Galaxy A3?

JR

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