Samsung Galaxy A3 hands-on

Style is finally starting to come to the affordable end of Android’s lineup. The new Galaxy A series is up on display at CES 2015, and we’re taking a hands-on look at the Galaxy A3, the most affordable of them all.

Equipped with a 4.5” display, the Galaxy A3 is a pocketable, easy to use with one hand device with a very decent, quad-core, Snapdragon 410 system chip and an 8-megapixel camera. A slim and elegant device, the aluminum frame of the phone with stylish, chamfered edges, makes it look like more than your average affordable phone.


Samsung’s recent financial hardship (or drop in profit, to be perfectly exact) forced it to go back to the drawing board and that turned out to be good news for consumers. It came up with the A series of affordable devices, all with a sleek aluminum body and thin profile. The Galaxy A3 has all of that, a level of polish we’re not used to seeing on affordable devices. Our initial impressions are very positive - this is a design that looks and feels good.

It’s also small and easy to use with a single hand. The buttons are a standard Samsung affair: a large physical home key up front, a lock key on the right, and volume rocker on the left.


The 4.5-inch display of the Galaxy A3 comes with a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of the decent 245ppi. Yes, it’s a far-cry from the super high-res displays of today’s flagships, but while you can spot the occasional pixelization, it’s not bad at all. The panel is a Super AMOLED one which means deep blacks, great contrast and excellent viewing angles. We’re yet to test the color accuracy, but while we don’t expect wonders in color calibration, the screen did look fine at first sight.


The Galaxy A3 runs on Android 4.4 KitKat with Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface on top. All and more has been said about both KitKat and TouchWiz, so we’ll only go over what we think are the most important features: TouchWiz is very feature-rich, but sluggish in places and a bit too colorful and cartoony.

Our initial impressions are that it runs very well, with less of a stutter than we’re used to seeing, but we’re looking forward to testing this in more depth in a more detailed review.

Processor and Memory

The Snapdragon 410 on the Galaxy A3 is a quad-core chip with each of the cores running at a speed of up to 1.2GHz. There’s 1GB of RAM, which may seem a bit on the low side for those who like to keep a lot of apps open.

Good news is that the low resolution turns out to be an advantage for gaming as the lower load results in higher frame rates. Yes, you can play most games with ease and smooth grace on the Galaxy A3. Is the trade with lower resolution worth it? It’s up to you to decide.


There is an 8-megapixel camera on the Galaxy A3: that’s a resolution that provides sufficient detail, but is not in itself a measure of the actual image quality. We’ll test that in an upcoming in-depth review. The main camera does support 1080p Full HD video recording at 30 frames per second - 4K is not present, and it physically cannot be on an 8-megapixel camera.

Up front, the presence of a 5-megapixel selfie cam is great, providing again sufficient detail for that ever-growing album of self-love you’ve probably accumulated.


All in all, the Galaxy A3 is a device that brings style to affordable devices. Affordable with a twist - Samsung is adding a premium to the price and the phone is still overpriced when compared to rivals with similar (or greater specs). Still, that design is something that we appreciate having in this lower tier of smartphones.

The specs also get the job done well. The resolution might be a bit of a letdown, and so is the lowly amount of RAM, but all else seems adequate. With all this in mind, how do you like the Galaxy A3 and would you get it?



1. clirim

Posts: 34; Member since: Feb 06, 2014

more cartonish than 5.0 lollipop you can't find an UI (user interface) TouchWiz is very mature ui and looks so.

2. strudelz100

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Thanks for mentioning the benefits of low resolution on increased performance. qHD is optimal for 400 series. as demonstrated here. 800 series is PERFECT for 720P, as demonstrated in the performance and battery life of the Z3 compact. Pushing the edge of capabilities doesn't produce a better user experience. Ideally you want resolution demands to be WELL within the capabilities of your chip set.

3. laughmi

Posts: 283; Member since: Oct 28, 2014

PA, there is some confusion. I have seen A3 images running both with 1GB and 1.5GB of RAM. 1GB of RAM means this device is waste. Does it hav 2 models?

4. XaErO

Posts: 353; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

@John : your videos are good and explanatory .. But your video capturing camera always disappoints me. Even with slightest movement of subjects (Phones); it keeps refocusing and .. many a times i noticed the Phones are hold slightly away from the camera focus .. Additionally, as a user I always want to see, how a Samsung Touchwiz interface performs (even for low-mid range phones) .. Please show us some more details how the animations are and how fast it can opens an commonly used/popular apps. You are doing a very good job otherwise. @Victor : Thanks for the nice explanatory article.

5. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

hey Phone Arena can you do me a favor? I'm using the Galaxy A3 right now and the screen does not look as terrible as other AMOLED panels with the same size and resolutiob in term of sharpness and pixelation I'm wondering what have Samsung done to its screen to make it looks like normal LCD panels that have the quality of an AMOLED one? It's like they are using the RGB matrix on the A3 instead of Diamond or Pentile, which IMO is kinda impossible for an AMOLED panel to function properly? p.s i've compared the A3's and A5's screens and they're totally different in this matter

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