|Style & Handling|
|Solid battery||Below average performance|
|4G connectivity||Average camera|
|Good interface||Plastic build|
Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 is feature rich but lacking in performance and design.
There was a time when Samsung’s Galaxy Ace range was among the best the mid-range had to offer, but times have changed and competition has got tougher, so can the Galaxy Ace 3, the latest handset in the range, still claim a place at the top? Read on to find out.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 has a curved, plastic design reminiscent of the Galaxy S4, complete with a faux-metallic rim. It doesn’t look bad as such but it certainly looks cheap. Samsung has never been known for premium designs and the Galaxy Ace 3 is no exception. It’s chunky too at 9.8mm and the end result is a handset that both looks and feels cheap.
The Galaxy Ace 3 has a 4.0 inch 480 x 800 TFT display with a pixel density of 233 pixels per inch. That puts it on the small side and yet its pixel density still isn’t up to much as it’s positively low resolution. Unlike higher end Samsung phones it also doesn’t use Super AMOLED, but despite that it’s pleasantly bright and vivid.
Viewing angles and contrast are good too, but it doesn’t fare brilliantly in direct sunlight as it’s quite reflective and its low resolution ensures that the display isn’t as crisp as some competitors, like the Motorola Moto G.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 has a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM, which is a fairly low end spec and certainly lower than we’d expect from a phone that costs around £150 SIM free.
It’s lower end than the EE Kestrel, which is £50 cheaper and only marginally higher end than the Moto E, which can be had for just £89.
Unfortunately those specs translate into its performance, which can seem slightly sluggish much of the time. It’s not likely to be a deal breaker and it’s generally ok when just navigating the home screens and the like, but this is not a phone for multitasking or gaming on.
On a more positive note it does support 4G LTE, so while general performance might be a little slow, web browsing, downloading and streaming are all quite fast even when using mobile data.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 has a 5 megapixel camera, which is par for the course at this price. It includes an LED flash and autofocus, as well as various shooting modes such as night mode and panorama.
Performance is much the same as other 5 megapixel snappers, such as the EE Kestrel, which is to say you can take some solid but unspectacular photos. However the lack of processing power makes the camera a little slow and it only has a VGA front facing camera, so it’s not great for selfies. Video quality could be better too, as it’s limited to 720p.
The Galaxy Ace 3 runs Android 4.2, so it’s a bit behind the times. On top of that you get Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, which is certainly divisive. We’re not a huge fan of its slightly garish look, but it’s intuitive and easy to use.
Samsung’s also added a few handy features, such as the ability to put widgets on the lock screen and the ability to sort the app drawer in various ways and hide apps that you don’t plan to use.
While the Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 doesn’t have as good battery life as its mid-range rival the Sony Xperia M2, let alone Samsung’s flagship S5, it fares better than most of the similarly priced competition. It's rocking an 1800 mAh unit and we found it had enough juice to just about get through a day with moderate use. So you shouldn’t have to hunt for a socket mid-way through the day but you will probably find yourself charging the Ace 3 every night.
The battery is also removable, so if you’re so inclined you could always carry a spare with you and swap them as needed. It also gives you peace of mind that if the battery ever wears out you’ll be able to replace it.
The Galaxy Ace 3 has a good range of connectivity options as well, with Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth 4.0 and even 4G LTE and NFC supported. Though be aware that there is also a version of the phone which doesn’t have 4G or NFC.
For memory there’s 8GB built in along with support for microSD cards of up to 64GB, so it has the potential to become quite high capacity.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 is a solid, dependable handset, with decent battery life, an intuitive interface, a good range of connectivity options and 4G support, all for just around £150 SIM free.
Having said that it’s rather underwhelming in some other ways. The screen is a mixed bag, proving bright and vivid on the one hand but lacking sharpness on the other, while the camera isn’t special and the phone looks cheap. Perhaps the biggest problem is its performance, which makes it feel distinctly low end. In fact if it wasn’t for the price tag and the inclusion of 4G we’d consider this a low end phone, rather than a lower mid-range handset.
Ultimately it finds itself in an awkward position as it doesn’t offer anything that other phones can’t also provide and in many cases other phones either do the same things better or cheaper.
On the other hand there’s not much that’s actively bad about it and with 4G, NFC and a decent battery life it certainly wouldn’t be a bad investment.
|Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 Specification Dimensions : 121.2 x 62.7 x 9.8mm Weight: 119.5 grams Screen size: 4.0” TFT (480 x 800) Screen Resolution: 480 x 800 display resolution Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 233 Processor: 1.2GHz Dual core application processor RAM: 1 GB On-board Memory: 8GB (microSD support) Camera: 5MP (rear) 0.3MP (front facing) Operating system: Android 4.2 Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes/ Yes Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ Yes Battery capacity: 1800mAh Colours: Black, White, Dark Red Launch Date: Out Now Price: £150|