As the majority of flagship devices are getting out of range for common people, the upper mid-range smartphones are equipped with premium features to fill up the gap. The Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) is a good example of this line-up.
Samsung has built their A series standing close to the flagship S series in terms of build, design and specifications. With that of course, comes a high price tag, but still reasonably lower than the Samsung flagships.
Let’s take a look if the Galaxy A3 justifies its price tag or not.
Design & Display
The Galaxy A3 (2017) comes with an attractive design paying great attention to detail. The phone has a metal frame and plastic back. The rear is shiny and aims to mimic the glass like look on the Galaxy S7. The phone is a bit slippery but fortunately it’s small enough to grip easily thus not too much of an issue unless you have really tiny hands.
You instantly notice the weight of the device in your hand, which allows for a premium feel yet feels light enough not to be uncomfortable. The phone is IP68 water and dust resistance rated. So if you’re a bit clumsy, that should provide you some peace of mind. Just don’t go swimming with it.
A3 (2017) comes with a 4.7 inch 720p Super AMOLED screen. The resolution is subpar but unless you are looking at it from 8 inches away, you won’t notice the pixels. The brightness is pretty high and the screen is readable in bright sunlight.
There are some minor issues with the screen though. When viewed from the side, there is a slight greenish hue. This results in some colour deviation as well. It doesn’t hamper the daily usage but it’s definitely noticeable. The screen brightness also drops dramatically when viewed from the sides.
Hardware and Performance
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) is powered by an octa-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A53 Exynos 7870 chipset that comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The chipset is reasonably powerful and is better than what you get with most mid-rangers in the market.
The phone comes with a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button. The sensor, however, is a little iffy and often doesn’t even notice the finger. When it does work, it takes about 1.5 seconds from sleep to the home screen, definitely not the fastest around but still good enough.
The loudspeaker is placed above the power button on the right side. While it is nicely positioned such that it can’t be easily blocked with the hands or when placing it on a flat surface.
The volume is very low. You probably won’t even be able to hear the audio output in the noise of ACs or fans during the summer season. The headphone volume is pretty low as well.
Multitasking, however, was mediocre at best. You can’t run more than 4 apps at once without resetting the last app. We tested with slightly heavy Google apps and were dissatisfied with the performance. However, that’s just bread and butter with phones limited to 2GB of RAM.
Operating System & User Interface
The phone comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, though an upgrade to Nougat is expected in the coming months. With Android O around the corner, we would have loved to see it come out with Android 7.0 out of the box.
The A3 comes with an Easy mode for people who like simpler interfaces with very few settings and it’s mostly targeted towards old or illiterate people. Settings are easier to find (compared to stock Android) with the new UI.
Samsung has added a game launcher which can boost game performance by reducing the resolution. It can also help with the battery consumption as well.
The A3 (2017) comes with a 13MP rear camera supplemented by a dual LED flash. Colours are good in broad daylight and sharpness is decent as well. If you are searching for a camera for better outdoor and indoor shooting, the A3 would be a bad choice. While daylight photography is good enough for the price, indoor and low light photography is not up to the mark.
With the default camera app, you can easily apply filters by swiping right on the camera screen. It’s an easy to use feature for those who like Instagram their every moment.
The front camera features an 8MP sensor. It offers some nice beautification features like skin tone adjustment, face slimming, blemish removal and more. The front camera is pretty good for social media usage and selfie lovers won’t be disappointed.
Pro mode is available on A3 (2017) and allows for ISO adjustment from 200 to 800 and exposure adjustment.
Pro mode is subpar and brings nothing good to the table due to the weak sensor.
As soon as light starts to drop, there is a sharp decrease in quality. You can barely make out the pictures during the evening. It grows worse as it gets darker and even the flash cannot help unless the focal target is less than 1 meter away.
HDR, curiously enough, brings no benefits and there’s little retrieval of lost details. Instead, HDR mode ends up bringing more noise unless the scene is very well lit.
With a small 2,350mAh battery, you shouldn’t expect much from the Galaxy A3 (2017) in terms of battery life. However, the Exynos 7870, 2GB RAM and a relatively small 4.7-inch screen proved it a beast. The phone comes with USB Type-C cable though a fast charger is missing. Even without it, the phone charges in just 1.5 hours.
The phone got 9 hours and 30 minutes of continuous use including web browsing, video playback, graphics editing, gaming and video editing. The brightness was set at 50% during the whole time. In normal day-to-day usage, we got about 6 hours of screen-on-time with over 34 hours of standby.
In case you want even longer battery life, you can enable the different battery saving modes available in the Battery Settings menu.
The review of Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) ends up with mixed feelings, especially with the asking price of around Rs. 20,000.
We must say the phone is good for the average user who spends more time on social networking or mobile gaming whereas the power users will probably find it lacking.
Here’s a breakdown of what we liked and disliked about the Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017):
|Great build quality||Screen brightness drops dramatically when viewed from the sides|
|Display is good||Loudspeaker is quiet and low quality|
|Phone is water resistant||Multitasking is sub-standard|
|No noticeable lag||Decent camera quality in bright light but terrible in low light|
|Battery life is great||Price is above average considering what’s on offer|