The Samsung Galaxy A3 and the Galaxy A5 are the first full-metal unibody phones from Samsung, following the metal-framed Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy Note 4.
They’re arguably the best looking phones Samsung has ever made (though that’s not likely to be the case for long with the Galaxy S6 around the corner), but they’re not identical and their innards are substantially different. Read on for a rundown of how they’re similar and how they differ.
Samsung Galaxy A3 (130.1 x 65.5 x 6.9mm 110.3g metal unibody) vs Samsung Galaxy A5 (139.3 x 69.7 x 6.7mm 123g metal unibody)
As stated above the Samsung Galaxy A3 and Samsung Galaxy A5 both have a metal unibody and they look good and high end as a result.
The general look and shape of the two phones is the same too, but the dimensions and weight are different. The Samsung Galaxy A3 is 130.1 x 65.5 x 6.9mm and 110.3g, while the Samsung Galaxy A5 is 139.3 x 69.7 x 6.7mm and 123g.
So the Samsung Galaxy A5 is longer, wider and heavier but a tiny bit thinner than the Galaxy A3. In practice the difference in thickness and weight is hardly noticeable, but the Galaxy A5 is clearly the larger handset overall.
That’s not necessarily either a good or bad thing, in fact they’re pretty much identical from a build perspective, but it’s worth being aware of, if for example you particularly want a small phone.
Samsung Galaxy A3 (4.5-inch 540*960 245ppi) vs Samsung Galaxy A5 (5.0-inch 720*1280 294ppi)
The reason the Samsung Galaxy A5 is bigger than the Galaxy A3 is that it has a bigger screen. Because while the Galaxy A3 has a 4.5-inch 540 x 960 Super AMOLED display, the Galaxy A5 has a 5.0 inch 720 x 1280 Super AMOLED one.
As you might have noticed it’s not just bigger but also higher resolution and that resolution bump is enough to give it a higher pixel density too, with 294 pixels per inch compared to just 245 pixels per inch on the Galaxy A3.
It’s not a huge difference but it is a noticeable one and it makes the Galaxy A5 sharper and more pleasant to use. The larger screen is likely to also be advantageous to most people, as it makes web browsing easier and media more immersive but isn’t so large as to be unwieldy.
But if you particularly want a compact phone then the Samsung Galaxy A3 is a great option and as they both use Super AMOLED they’re both bright, with rich colours.
Samsung Galaxy A3 (1.2GHz quad-core 1GB RAM) vs Samsung Galaxy A5 (1.2GHz quad-core 2GB RAM)
Neither of these phones offer flagship performance but the Samsung Galaxy A5 is the more powerful of the two, as it has a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor and 2GB of RAM. The Samsung Galaxy A3 also has a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor, but it only has 1GB of RAM.
That extra RAM makes the Galaxy A5 substantially better at multi-tasking, but both should offer solid performance, especially as the Snapdragon 410 is a 64-bit chip.
Both phones run Android 4.4 KitKat and they also both support 4G, making them super speedy at downloading and uploading data even when there’s no Wi-Fi available.
Samsung Galaxy A3 (8MP rear 1080p@30fps 5MP front-facing) vs Samsung Galaxy A5 (13MP rear 1080p@30fps 5MP front-facing)
The camera is another area where the Samsung Galaxy A5 comes out on top, as it has a 13 megapixel rear snapper, while the Samsung Galaxy A3 just has an 8 megapixel one. 8 megapixels isn’t bad, but it’s a fair step down from what the Galaxy A5 offers.
In most other ways their cameras are the same though. They both have an LED flash, both can shoot 1080p video at 30fps and both have 5 megapixel wide-angle front-facing cameras, giving them superior selfie skills.
Battery life, memory and connectivity
Samsung Galaxy A3 (1900 mAh 16GB 4G NFC) vs Samsung Galaxy A5 (2300 mAh 16GB 4G NFC)
The Samsung Galaxy A3 has a 1900 mAh power pack, while the Samsung Galaxy A5 has a 2100 mAh one. So it’s a little bigger and marginally longer lasting as you’d expect, given that according to Samsung the Galaxy A3 can last for up to 12 hours of talk time or 60 hours of music, while the Galaxy A5 can keep going for up to 15 hours of talk time or 68 hours of music playback.
There’s no difference in memory or connectivity options though, with both the Galaxy A3 and the Galaxy A5 offering 16GB of built in storage along with a microSD card slot for cards of up to 64GB and both phones supporting Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.
The main differences between the Samsung Galaxy A3 and the Samsung Galaxy A5 are the amount of RAM, the camera and the screen quality and they all work out in the Galaxy A5’s favour. More minor difference include thickness and battery life, which are also superior on the Galaxy A5.
Screen size is more debatable, but we’d wager that most people would rather have a 5.0-inch phone than a 4.5-inch one.
But there’s a lot that’s the same too, from the build quality to the front-facing camera, processor, storage and connectivity options, so they’re not drastically different phones, the Samsung Galaxy A5 is basically just a superior version of the Galaxy A3.
With superior specs comes a higher price tag of course and the Galaxy A5 has a SIM free RRP of £349, while the Samsung Galaxy A3 is a relatively affordable £249.
Whether the Samsung Galaxy A5 is worth £100 more is debatable and depends on your needs, but with both phones available you have the choice and either way you’ll be getting your hands on one of the most stylish handsets Samsung has ever made.