Samsung launched the Galaxy A3 and Galaxy A5 smartphones with all metal build in India last month. Later it launched the Galaxy A7 smartphone, the top-end smartphone in the Galaxy A series. We already brought you the review of Galaxy A5, here we have the review of Galaxy A3, which has a smaller low-resolution screen compared to the Galaxy A5. Is the Galaxy A3 worth the price of Rs. 20,500? Let us find out in the complete review.
We unboxed the Galaxy A3 smartphone recently, check out the unboxing video.
Display, Hardware and Design
The Galaxy A3 has a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a pixel resolution of 960 x 540 pixels and a pixel density of around 245 PPI. Pixel density of the display is less compared to the Galaxy A5, but the screen is good in all the other aspects such as brightness, viewing angles and sunlight legibility. Blacks are perfectly black, thanks to the AMOLED panel. Wish Samsung had used a HD display to make the content look more sharper. It has Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection, similar to other Galaxy A series devices.
The 5-megapixel front-facing camera with 120-degree wide-angle lens is pretty good for selfies. It has the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors next to the display, but lacks a notification LED.
There is Samsung’s signature home button with metal finish around it, below the display. There are capacitive touch buttons on either sides of the home button. These are backlit and offer haptic feedback when pressed.
Volume rockers are present on the left side. It has chamfered edges and an aluminium frame for a premium look and a solid feel.
It is 6.9mm thick, slightly thicker than the 6.7mm Galaxy A5. There is a primary nano SIM slot, a hybrid SIM / microSD card slot and a power button on the right side.
As we already know, the A series smartphones have hybrid SIM slots. The primary SIM slot takes a nano SIM and the secondary nano SIM slot can also be used as an expansion slot if you don’t have to use the secondary SIM. You have to sacrifice either the secondary SIM or an expansion slot, which might not be preferred by everyone.
As usual the smartphone has unibody metal finish, which offers a solid feel. It is also easy to hold since it’s compact. There is a 8-megapixel camera on the back along with a single LED flash next to it and a loudspeaker grill on the other side. It has Samsung and Duos branding on the back. The metal back is prone to scratches.
Coming to the camera there is a 8-megapixel sensor with f/2.4 aperture. It has several modes such as HDR, panorama, Rear-cam selfie, beauty face and more. Images were good with vibrant color output. Macro shots were good too, but low-light images had a lot of noise. Even though the camera is decent, Samsung could have used a 13-megapixel camera for the A3 as well, similar to the Galaxy A5 considering the steep price. Check out the camera samples below (Click the image to view the full resolution sample).
It can record videos at 1080p resolution at 30fps. Video was decent, but it didn’t offer much details. Check out the 1080p video sample.
Check out the complete set of Samsung Galaxy A3 samples here.
Coming to the software, it runs on Android 4.4.4 KitKat with TouchWiz UI on top, similar to other A series smartphones. It has a drop-down notification bar that has quick toggles that are customizable and has Brightness adjustment slider. This doesn’t have any features for one-handed operation or multi-window since it features a small screen.
Out of 1GB of RAM, you get 893MB of usable RAM, out of which 513MB of RAM is free when the default apps are running in the background. Out of 16GB of internal memory you get 11.67GB of usable memory. You can also move compatible apps to the microSD card.
It has very few apps that includes the usual set of utility apps and Google apps. There is Galaxy Apps from Samsung, apart from Google Play.
Music Player and FM Radio
Our review unit didn’t have the Samsung Music app, so you have to rely on the Google Play Music. It has FM Radio with auto scan and recording, but lacks RDS. The loudspeaker output is decent and the bundled in-ear earphones are just average. The video player can play 1080p videos smoothly and it has popup play support as well.
Dual SIM and Connectivity
It has the usual set of connectivity features such as 3G, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS + GLONASS, but it lacks USB OTG support. It lacks 4G connectivity present in the Galaxy A5 and A7 smartphones. Both the SIMs support 3G, but you can enable 3G only in one SIM at a time, while the other goes to 2G. As usual it has Smart Dual SIM feature similar to other latest Samsung Dual SIM smartphones. This automatically forwards calls from the phone number on SIM 2, even if a user is on the phone with SIM 1’s number. We did not face any signal reception issues.
Performance and Benchmarks
Coming to the performance, the smartphone has a quad-core Snapdragon 410 (MSM8916) 64-bit SoC with four ARM Cortex-A53 CPUs clocked at 1.19 GHz per core, similar to the Galaxy A5. The performance is decent and we did face occasional lags in the TouchWiz UI. 1GB RAM is not enough to run several apps in the background since TouchWiz UI uses more RAM. Even though it has a metal body it doesn’t get heated on 3G use, similar to the Galaxy A5. Check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.
It scored 12219 points in the Quadrant Benchmark.
AnTuTu Benchmark 4
It managed to score 20368 points in the AnTuTu Benchmark 4.
Vellamo 2.0 HTML5
it managed to score 1668 points in the Vellamo 2 HTML5 browser benchmark. Check out the complete set of Samsung Galaxy A3 benchmarks here.
We tried several games, and some games did face frame drop issues and were not smooth, but graphics was good. Is doesn’t support USB or PS3 controllers via USB. We will bring you the gaming review to know more about the gaming performance of the smartphone in detail.
Coming to the battery life, the 1900mAh battery lasts for a day with average use. With heavy 3G usage with both the SIM cards enabled and gaming, the smartphone will last for less than a day. The power saving mode and ultra power saving mode lets you extend the battery life to whole day. This has a built-in battery since it comes with a unibody metal build.
It achieved Charge Rating of 7 hours and 46 minutes in our battery life test, which is slightly better than the Galaxy A5 that has a slightly larger 2,300 mAh battery and a 5-inch screen.
The Samsung Galaxy A3 is not on par with the Galaxy A5 in several aspects. Even though the smaller display with slightly less resolution compared to Galaxy A5 and good battery life are acceptable, lack of 4G support and just 1GB of RAM doesn’t make justice to the price tag, even though the smartphone has a premium build quality. To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the smartphone.
- Good display
- Solid build quality
- Decent camera
- Average performance
- Lacks 4G LTE support
- Slightly priced on the higher side