|Style & Handling|
|+ Great design and build||- Under powered|
|+ 4G and NFC||- Low resolution|
|+ Good camera||- Average battery|
Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy A3 is a stylish, well connected phone, but despite being the bottom of the range it’s not cheap and it’s underpowered for the money.
Samsung has launched a trio of metal-clad phones in the form of the Galaxy A3, the Galaxy A5 and the Galaxy A7. The A3 as the name suggests is the bottom of the range, with inferior specs and a lower price tag than the other two.
But in some ways that makes its more interesting, as there aren’t many affordable phones with a premium build. So is the Galaxy A3 a stylish bargain or is its flashy exterior all its got going for it?
The Samsung Galaxy A3 has a 4.5-inch 540 x 960 Super AMOLED display with a pixel density of 245 pixels per inch.
At 4.5 inches it’s on the small side but far from tiny and despite its small size the resolution is actually a little lacking, as a 245ppi pixel density equates to a display which isn’t all that sharp. There are worse out there but there are far better too, especially for the £250 Samsung is asking for this phone SIM free. In fact even the Motorola Moto E, which can be picked up for well under £100, has a sharper screen.
On the plus side the Samsung Galaxy A3 has a Super AMOLED display, which if you’ve ever used a Samsung phone before you’ll know means you can expect a bright screen with vibrant colours. They’re not always totally natural, but they really pop in a way that most non-Super-AMOLED displays can’t manage.
The Samsung Galaxy A3 would be nothing without its metal build, which makes it stand out amongst the sea of similarly priced handsets. Its metal unibody gives it a premium edge that you just don’t expect at the price and at just 6.9mm thick it’s nice and thin too.
That said it’s a fairly conservative design overall, using Samsung’s standard template to deliver a slightly bland, albeit metal, rectangle. It also doesn’t feel as solid or weighty as many metal phones, so while it’s certainly premium for the price it won’t worry the iPhone 6 or HTC One (M8). Additionally it’s neither water nor dust resistant, which is a bit of a shame.
With a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor and 1GB of RAM the Samsung Galaxy A3 has basically exactly the same innards as seemingly almost every recent low-end to lower mid-range phone.
It’s a solid specification, especially as the Snapdragon 410 is a 64-bit processor, meaning the Galaxy A3 will be fully equipped to make the most of Android 5.0 when it inevitably gets updated from Android 4.4.4 KitKat.
But given that phones starting at around £150 have this processor it’s a shame to see that a £250 handset is also using it. It seems underpowered for the money and we’d have liked to see something a bit better make the cut.
At least the Galaxy A3 supports 4G though, so you can enjoy speedy mobile data when out and about.
For a lower mid-range phone the Samsung Galaxy A3 has a fairly respectable camera. There’s an 8 megapixel sensor on the back with an LED flash and the ability to shoot 1080p video at 30fps and there’s a 5 megapixel camera on the front, so your selfie needs are well accounted for too. That front-facing snapper has a wide angle lens as well, so you can fit more in your shots.
Beyond the core specs you can look forward to a variety of shooting modes, such as Sound & Shot, Continuous Shot and Animated GIF, so there’s a lot to play around with here.
The actual quality of the final photos is far from top end, with colour reproduction a little lacking, but they’re reasonably decent and detailed.
The Samsung Galaxy A3 is lacking some of the features found in Samsung flagships, like a fingerprint sensor and a heart rate monitor, but with 4G, NFC and a metal build it’s already better equipped than many mid-range phones.
It’s worth mentioning here that as with other Samsung phones it runs TouchWiz on top of Android and it’s an interface we’ve never been a huge fan off, as it’s a little ugly and clunky, but once you get to grips with it it’s fairly powerful and has a number of handy shortcuts, such as being able to call or text a contact by swiping one direction or other over their name in your phone book.
A 1900 mAh battery was never likely to be great, but given the low power of the Samsung Galaxy A3 it’s also not terrible, delivering average performance overall, with around a day of life when using the phone a moderately large amount for a mix of calls, texts, web browsing and media.
There’s 16GB of storage built in along with a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 64GB, so while more built in storage would be nice it’s not really a problem.
The Galaxy A3 also has a whole bunch of connectivity options, with support for Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.
The Samsung Galaxy A3 is a decent little phone, with a lot of connectivity options, a premium build and a decent camera. Its fairly low resolution screen and slightly lacking processor mean it’s not exactly great value for money at £250 though.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a more stylish phone for the money and it does an okay job of just about everything and a pretty good job of a few things (like photos) but design and build aside there are better phones that you can buy. The OnePlus One for example costs a similar amount and hugely outperforms the A3.
Samsung Galaxy A3 Review Specification
DDimensions : 130.1 x 65.5 x 6.9mm Weight: 110.3 grams Screen size: 4.5” Super AMOLED (540 x 960) Screen Resolution: 540 x 960 display resolution Pixels Per Inch (PPI): 245 Processor: 1.2GHz Quad core application processor RAM: 1GB On-board Memory: 16GB (microSD card support) Camera: 8MP (rear), 1080p at 30fps (5 megapixel front-facing) Operating system: Android 4.4.4 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ Yes Battery capacity: 1900mAh Colours: Pearl White, Midnight Black, Platinum Silver, Soft Pink, Light Blue, Champagne Gold Launch Date: Out now Price: £249