Mid-range phones are becoming increasingly popular.
Not everyone is looking for the latest and greatest smartphone with crazy specs and eye-popping displays.
Samsung realized that and have been releasing mini versions of their popular flagship phones since the debut of the Galaxy S3 mini back in the day.
The newly introduced A-series is no mini flagship. According to Samsung, the A-series is aimed at young, trendy consumers looking for a smartphone with a refined design.
The Galaxy A3 and A5 are not only incredibly light; they’re also the first phones from the South Korean company to feature a full metal unibody design.
We were fortunate enough to be able to test out the Samsung Galaxy A3, here’s what we thought.
The first indication that this phone is different from other Samsung phones is the box that the A3 arrives in, a very simple blue box with no unnecessary adornment.
With the A-series, Samsung is very clearly stating that they are capable of making a good-looking, non-plastic, smartphone. The first indication that this phone is different from other Samsung phones is the box that the A3 arrives in, a very simple blue box with a nothing more than a capital “A” and the words “Samsung Galaxy A3” on the front.
The phone itself is a very simple looking device.
The front of the phone features a 4.5-inch quad HD display on the front of the device, below the front facing camera, earpiece and Samsung logo, with the physical home button below the display. This is all wrapped up in a metal unibody device with a SIM card slot, an SD card slot (which doubles up as a secondary SIM card slot in some regions) on the side and the 8MP camera, flash and speaker grill on the rear.
For a full metal device, the A3 was far lighter than expected, which was a nice surprise. Weighing only 110.3g, it feels very comfortable in your hand.
On using the phone, one of the first things you notice is the beautifully bright display. Turning the screen brightness down to 50%, we noticed that the A3’s display was still brighter than many other phones in the mid-range category. This is thanks to quad HD AMOLED display.
The menu’s followed the somewhat simplified style that Samsung introduced with the hugely popular Note 4 which debuted in the latter half of 2014. While still not as clean or simple as we’d like, this is a much-welcomed improvement over the menu style found on previous Samsung smartphones.
Being a mid-range phone, you’d be forgiven for thinking that performance wouldn’t as good as on high-end smartphones, you’d also be wrong.
Swiping through screens and cycling through various apps as well as using the browser was a breeze. We experienced no stuttering or lag whatsoever.
Watching video on the A3 was also very simple and caused no issues on the device at all, though our only concern is the size of the display. A 4.5-inch screen isn’t ideal for watching a movie while on the go.
Music was not unpleasant to listen to through earphones (although that depends mainly on the brand of earphones you’re using), however listening through the built in speaker proved to be not as pleasant an experience. This is mainly due to the placement of the speaker grill, which causes sound to be muffled when placed rear-side down on a surface.
So far, the Galaxy A3, was surprising us with how capable a device it was and with its ease of use.
Time to test out the camera.
The A3 sports an 8MP auto-focus shooter on the back, which takes pretty good photographs in well light areas, when it comes to lowlight areas and nighttime however, that’s where the camera let’s you down. Photographs are grainy and any areas in the photograph with light appear to be somewhat over-saturated. This is definitely not the same camera found in the Note 4.
Having said that though, unless you’re looking to blow-up or display your photos on anything other than your phone or social media, the camera is adequate for taking those spontaneous pictures or selfies when you’re on the go.
Speaking of selfies, Samsung knows how much we seem to like taking pictures of ourselves and have placed a 5MP camera on the front of the device. They’ve also included the wide-angle selfie mode that was first introduced on the Galaxy Note 4.
With all these features wrapped up in a unibody metal casing (meaning no removable battery), you’re probably wondering about battery life.
The A3 shines in battery use. We were able to get more than a full day’s use on a single charge (that includes listening to music, streaming video, using social media and taking quite a few wide-angle selfies).
Charging was fairly standard and we were able to go from 0% charge to 100% charge in just under 2 hours.
All in all, the A3 is a solid delivery from Samsung.
Our only question though is the price. The RRP for the A3 is R4999.00, which feels just a tad steep, especially considering that other companies are making mid-range phones with similar specs, which cost less.
This phone is ideal for the trendy, fashion conscious consumer who loves social media.
Would we buy it? Yes.
Check out the full Galaxy A3 specs and the Galaxy A-series intro video below:
GALAXY A3 Specifications
3G: HSPA+ 42.2/5.76Mbps
1.2GHz Quad-Core Processor
4.5” qHD Super AMOLED
Android 4.4 (KitKat)
Rear: 8MP AF with LED FlashFront: 5.0MP
Wide Selfie, Rear-cam Selfie, Beauty Face Features