With competing OEMs stepping up their game in terms of quality, Samsung had to come up with something new and concrete with a good build quality, and that’s what this Galaxy A series has brought in. The A3 and A5 are the handsets that would change the way people see at the smartphones manufactured by Samsung, rather than sticking to the plastic body and the build quality the company used for years, comfortably. Today we are doing the review of the Samsung Galaxy A3.
We are quite impressed and happy with the build quality, as Samsung had to come out of the comfort zone and make something that feels good and sturdy in hand. Easy to hold and operate using one hand. That is kind of rare for premium smartphones these days, as it is a race for resolutions and bigger screen sizes.
Metallic body with the aluminum frame makes it quite sturdy, but they managed to keep it tad light, at 110gm. Even the rim around the camera and the physical buttons on the side are metallic and thus serves two purposes – sturdiness and good look. The chamfered edge that runs along both on front and back reflects light and give it a premium look.
Although the colors look great on the 4.5-inch Super AMOLED display of Galaxy A3, we are disappointed with the viewing angles. Company also kept the pixel density to 245PPI only, which is quite low by standards for the price range. The display doesn’t get any protection as well, and when compared to an IPS display, this will not surely win the brightness test. Though, readability under sunlight is not an issue here.
Hardware & Performance
While keeping the screen on, the Super AMOLED display is much responsible for battery loss. But in the end, if you are using for regular calls and occasional browsing, the 1900 mAh battery ensures you get through the day.
Talking about the benchmarks, the 64-bit Snapdragon 410 with Adreno 306 GPU and 1GB RAM was capable of getting this device some decent scores, when comparing them with HTC Desire 510 running the same processor.
The gaming experience isn’t great as well, when we tested playing GTA Vice City, Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger. For the other basic games such as Subway Surfers, Temple Run 2 and such, it was all good.
On the connectivity front, don’t get confused about the LTE connectivity, as only the A3 single SIM variant supports 4G LTE, and the Duos can connect only with 3G data network, and doesn’t come with NFC. Connectivity was great, both on 3G as well as on the Wi-Fi networks. The Galaxy A3 Duos has the USB OTG compatibility, and there is micro SD card support too.
Coming to the software part. Themes might be the first thing you’ll notice different on UI, which are running over Android 4.4.4 KitKat. It isn’t that standard TouchWiz we have seen since years, but the one that brought in some major changes to the layout since the launch of Galaxy S5. Although those changes doesn’t affect the usability of TouchWiz, as, the UI still lags at most of the times.
Samsung’s few blunders in the UI took away the good experience, as you now have to scroll through the entire list of quick toggles in the notification panel, as there is no direct way to access all in a single page. Also, the major missing function is the search option in the big list of settings. But for those who are okay in checking what Samsung has to offer in the settings, there is a lot.
The cameras on Galaxy A3 are a slick combo, with an 8-megapixel rear shooter as well as a 5-megapixel front-facing one for selfies. Both the cameras offer 1080p video recording, and they differ with picture resolutions. While the camera app is easy to use, with most of the needed controls directly on the preview screen, you’ll have to get into the dropdown list and then into options if you wanted to change the resolutions or the physical button functions.
The Palm gesture is one real good handy feature of a front camera, as you just need to show your open palm to the camera, and the capture is done in two seconds. If that isn’t good enough, there are voice gestures as well. Wide selfie takes three photos in total for 120-degree captures.
Samsung may have improved the build quality of their devices, but hasn’t done anything for its UI, which is still the same that is laggy, and not up to our expectations. Another issue we faced was regarding the gameplay on A3, as it was not a great experience considering the price paid for the phone while playing high-end games.
For a premium looking and a comfortable design, the Galaxy A3 Duos gets our vote against the plastic devices in the lot. If you are looking for alternatives from other brands, then there’s the Sony Xperia Z3 compact that we can suggest along with the Lenovo Vibe X2 or else you can take a look at Samsung’s own Galaxy Alpha.