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Samsung Galaxy A3 review

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Galaxy A3
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  • Galaxy A3
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  • Galaxy A3
  • Galaxy A3
  • Galaxy A3
  • Galaxy A3
  • Galaxy A3

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Pros

  • Premium design
  • Vibrant screen
  • Solid battery life
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Dated Android software
  • Average camera
  • Fingerprint magnet

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Key Features

  • 4.7-inch 720p display
  • Exynos 7580 (Snapdragon 410)
  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 16GB internal storage and microSD
  • Android 5.1.1
  • 2,300mAh battery
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £210.00

What is the Galaxy A3?

Everybody is talking about the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge, but these flagship phones don’t come cheap. If you aren’t bothered about 4K video, fingerprint readers or quad-HD screens then the Galaxy A3 might be right up your street.

The Galaxy A3 is a surprisingly capable mid-range phone. You get the classy, glass and metal body introduced by last year’s Galaxy S6, a vibrant 4.7-inch AMOLED screen and above-average battery life for half the price of Samsung’s top-end Galaxy S7. It isn’t perfect, but for the price you can’t go wrong.

Video: Find out how the Galaxy A3 compares to the Galaxy A5

Galaxy A3 – Design

We usually associate budget or mid-range phones with being cheap and plasticky. The good news is that aside from being a little smaller, the A3 is virtually indistinguishable from the Galaxy S6, which is one of the most attractive phones on the market.

It’s also a refreshing change to be able to use a phone one-handed. At 4.7-inches, your thumb can reach almost all of the screen without having to resort to the finger acrobats required on larger phones.

At 132g and 7.3mm thick, the A3 is easy to hold and sits comfortably in your hand thanks to its rounded corners.

If you’ve used a Samsung phone before, you’ll be familiar with the phone’s layout. The Home button (sans fingerprint reader) and the flanking capacitive return and recently used menu buttons make use of the bezel, rather than taking up screen real-estate in the form of the on-screen buttons used by the majority of Android phones.

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Unlike Samsung’s flagship S7, the A3 isn’t water- or dust-resistant. We’d happy if it were simply fingerprint resistant – the glass body so easily picks up smudges and fingerprints that you’d be wise to keep a micro-fibre cloth handy!

Related: Best Android phone 2016

Galaxy A3

Galaxy A3 – Screen

One of the issues I had with the 2015 Galaxy A3 was it’s low 960 x 540 (245ppi) resolution, so I’m pleased to see that Samsung has upgraded it to 1,280 x 720 (312ppi), while also bumping up the screen size to 4.7 inches. It’s far from the sharpest screen, but it’s in the same ballpark as Apple’s Retina display on the iPhone 6S.

The display itself looks lovely – the A3 uses Samsung’s fabulous Super AMOLED technology. You can adjust the screen mode in the Options menu, switching between Adaptive display (default), AMOLED cinema, AMOLED and Basic. The Basic option offers the most natural colour reproduction, but I can’t help but prefer the more vibrant – if slightly unrealistic – adaptive mode.

Using the A3 outside on a sunny day doesn’t prove problematic either, thanks to the outdoor display mode kicking in and boosting the brightness.

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marki3boy

July 15, 2015, 9:39 am

"The A3 doesn't always handle motion well", sorry to pick, but that photo is blurry from camera shake, the double image on the stationary objects is a giveaway.
Try holding the phone steady next time, or using flash in low light conditions where a longer exposure will cause camera shake.

Gill

August 26, 2015, 11:57 am

In recent days I have noticed that when I plug it in to charge, as soon as the the screen returns to black I see a message saying...'No photos selected' Does anyone else get this? Any ideas?

MikeX

November 1, 2015, 3:30 pm

Outdated review as this now has Lollipop version 5.

Gavin Harriott

January 29, 2016, 10:02 am

also they forget the mention bad reception and dropped calls due to the metal outer casing ,truthfully this phone is more a 4/10

PeterS

April 5, 2016, 8:58 am

Beware when changing to a new SIM card. If SIM tray inadvertently inserted upside down (gently or otherwise), the SIM tray becomes irretrievably stuck. Took to SAMSUNG Service Center in Melbourne - not covered by warranty. Phone bricked.

Kiron Reid

June 2, 2016, 8:33 pm

I got a new Samsung Galaxy A3 through a contract with the British 3 network, last September before going overseas for nearly three months for work. Everything is great about the phone, for me - a good easily workable straightforward smartphone - EXCEPT that the signal / reception is TERRIBLE. I thought I was continually in signal blackspots, or buildings interfering, but at home my wife has little problem in the house with her phone (was Sony, now a Motorola) while I have constant reception problems. The signal drops in the garden or the park where there are no obstacles despite my network saying each time I am in a location with good signal. It is better if on a strong wifi network using wifi calling but still people comment on the poor line, calls often drop on mobile signal / network. Abroad the phone worked better (in four different cities in Ukraine, using a local micro-sim) and the worst problems were when in large concrete buildings or out of the way locations. It doesn't work well inside any solid building. A shame because I really like most of the other features on the phone and it was the first time I'd got a new smartphone.

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