Early on in our review of the Galaxy A3 (2016), it became clear that Samsung has thrown its new compact smartphone into a mid-range shark tank. Its main aggressor comes from China and is called the OnePlus X. In our Samsung Galaxy A3 vs OnePlus X comparison, we want to show you the strengths and weaknesses of this pair of adversaries.
Samsung has started to present its new Galaxy lineup to the world. The 2016 A series so far consists of the Galaxy A3 and A5. In particular, the 4.7-inch A3 (2016) is priced similarly to the OnePlus X. However, the Chinese device has a number of advantages over Samsung’s attempt.
The OnePlus X is cheaper
You can buy the OnePlus X for US$249 directly from OnePlus. On January 20, OnePlus even cut down on waiting times by making the OnePlus X available invite-free every Tuesday with free delivery. But even before this change in OnePlus policy, the OnePlus X was cheaper, if not more readily available, than the Galaxy A3 (2016).
Although the A3 is not officially available in the US at the minute, its price in Europe equates to around US$300.
The OnePlus X is lovingly detailed
With 17 acid-etched grooves marking its aluminum frame, the OnePlus X looks, in profile, considerably more pleasing than the Galaxy A3. Although the OnePlus X is 5.5-mm longer and 3.8-mm wider, it is only 6 g heavier than the A3.
The remaining differences between the Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016) and the OnePlus X are more subtle. OnePlus has placed a mute switch, familiar from the iPhone and OnePlus 2, on the top left edge of the casing. When using the Galaxy A3, however, you have to mute by using the volume down button.
Samsung has, as always, placed its capacitive buttons and physical home button below the display. OnePlus lets you choose whether you want to use the capacitive keys or software keys. OnePlus, just like many other Android smartphone manufacturers, has chosen not to include a physical home button.
Otherwise, the OnePlus X and the 2016 Galaxy A series resemble each other very closely. In terms of size, the OnePlus X falls precisely between the A3 (2016) and the A5 (2016), but when compared visually, they could be triplets. Their fronts and rears all have Gorilla Glass (the OnePlus is Gorilla Glass 3, while the Samsung duo uses Gorilla Glass 4) and the frames are made of metal.
The OnePlus X is technically superior
When it comes to hardware, the OnePlus X scores multiple points on Samsung. Although fairly elderly, being the flagship processor of 2014, the Snapdragon 801 is much faster than the Exynos 7578 processor in the Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016).
Gaming performance, in particular, is significantly better on the OnePlus X. See for yourself in the benchmark table below:
Vellamo Metal 3.2.3
Vellamo Multicore 3.2.3
Geekbench 3.3.2 single core
Geekbench 3.3.2 multi core
Basemark X Medium
Basemark X High
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016)
The Galaxy A3 (2016) and OnePlus X are comparable in terms of battery life. Since Samsung uses extremely economical components in the A3 and has trimmed its operating system with grace, its battery can last up to two days. Both devices' display-on time is excellent; you get 13 hours from the A3 or 12 hours from the OnePlus X.
The OnePlus X’s Full HD display is the better of the two by a considerable margin, at 441 ppi, compared with 312 ppi on the A3.
The OnePlus X is a dual-SIM smartphone
Both the OnePlus X and Galaxy A3 (2016) offer microSD card support, allowing easy expansion of the scarce internal memory, which sits at 16 GB in addition to the SIM card. With the OnePlus X, you also have the choice of inserting a second SIM card in the microSD card slot.
The only feature the Samsung A3 has that is missing from the OnePlus X is NFC, which enables mobile payments and Android Beam data sharing.
The OnePlus software is more exciting than Samsung's trimmed TouchWiz
The current OnePlus X software is OxygenOS 2.1.2, which is based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. The firmware looks very similar to stock Android. However, it is supplemented by a large number of additional options and tweaks. Since version 2.1, the camera app in OxygenOS has included a manual mode.
The OnePlus X comes with very little additional software comes preinstalled. OnePlus limited the pre-installed apps to those that you are likely to use on a near-daily basis. Everything else you have to download yourself from the Google Play Store. The additions focus on interface customization. You can use skins and customize the behavior of the interface in some places.
Samsung's TouchWiz user interface is widely known for exciting additions and gesture controls. The Galaxy A3 comes with a heavily feature-reduced incarnation of Samsung’s version of Android, while the number of pre-installed and potentially unwanted apps, although reduced, remains considerably higher than on the OnePlus X.
Conclusion: Don't forget the rare factor
The final crafty advantage the OnePlus X carries over the Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016) is its underdog appeal; the Chinese brand has always been an oddity on the smartphone market.
While hundreds of thousands or even millions of units of the A3 pass over shop counters in the coming months, far fewer copies of the OnePlus X will be sold.
With the scarcity enforced – sometimes more, sometimes less strictly – by OnePlus’s invite system, the appealing exclusivity of its already narrow product line is fortified. If we then consider the rest of the points of comparison between these two devices, everything points towards the OnePlus X being the superior purchase. The Samsung Galaxy A3 (2016) appears less attractive in almost every respect.