Samsung's budget-tier phone really pushes the boat out, with an excellent set of features for this price point
Samsung Galaxy A3 Review: Design & Display
Undoubtedly the main appeal of Samsung’s Galaxy A-series is bringing the kind of fit, finish, and overall aesthetic from its premium flagship series into the affordable budget and mid-range brackets.
The Galaxy A3 is a budget-tier phone but you wouldn’t know that just by looking at it thanks to its elegantly curved and contoured all metal and glass bodyshell. It’s thin, lightweight, sports some excellent styling, and generally just looks the business.
Also it’s a budget level phone with IP68 water and dust certification just like the other members of the range, which is great as you don’t have to worry about texting in the bath.
Samsung always hits a high score on display owing to its expertise in Super AMOLED tech, and the Galaxy A3 is no exception with a 4.7in Super AMOLED packing a 720p HD setup.
Don’t balk at the mention of 720p, however, as for this size of screen it’s pinpoint sharp with a high pixel density. All the plus points of SAMOLED are there in terms of brightness, contrast, black depth, and colour, making it a feast for the eyes and much better than most anything else you’ll find at this price point.
For budget handsets, compromises have to be made somewhere to keep the price lower, but with that said the kind of power users who want blistering performance aren’t generally going to be shopping in the low price bracket anyway.
In this device class, “good enough” performance for casual to average use is what we’re happy with and, thankfully, the Galaxy A3 delivers with an octa-core Samsung Exynos 7870 processor with a 1.6GHz clock-speed and 2GB of RAM, which is nicely smooth and snappy in operation.
Not at all bad for the price point, and the performance is decent with a quicker pace than its predecessor, but importantly it does a good job of outperforming most key rivals in this price bracket.
Onboard storage is 16GB with support for microSD, which is pretty standard for this tier now as 8GB has become somewhat redundant.
On the subject of battery life, the Galaxy A3 has a respectable 2,350mAh cell which rather impressively offers around 23 hours of continuous video playback on a single charge.
Again, good for this price bracket, although it does not support Quick Charge.
Samsung Galaxy A3 Review: Camera
As usual, Samsung’s done a pretty good job with the camera here. Again, it’s not exactly flagship tier, but then anyone expecting that for this outlay is always going to be disappointed. The Galaxy A3 sports a 13MP f/1.9 primary camera and an 8MP f/1.9 selfie cam.
As with the upper-mid-tier Galaxy A7, the performance from the main camera is actually rather excellent in normal use in typical daytime conditions - in fact, once again, it is one of the better offerings for this price of handset.
Images have excellent colour and contrast, good dynamic range, and plenty of detail. However, also as with the Galaxy A7, things drop off in low-light, but again, that’s really to be expected.
Importantly, as with Samsung’s top-tier offerings, the interface and shooting experience is optimised ot be as intuitive and easy to use as possible, ensuring even those green around the gills when it comes to photography can consistently capture very nice snaps.
Samsung Galaxy A3 Review: Verdict
With an RRP of £237 there seems to be little room for complain with the Galaxy A3.
It delivers some of the best performance in several key areas compared to most other devices from this price tier - including display, camera, and processor power.
It’s not going to move mountains, but that’s not really the point of it, the point is to be cheap, cheerful, and for the outlay very, very capable.