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Interface and functionality:

Samsung's latest TouchWiz Nature UX is painted over Android 4.2 on the Ace 3, so you pretty much know what to expect, as all the usual widgets and settings are present. From the bells and whistles that come with the flagship S4, here we only have S Travel that partners with TripAdvisor, Smart Stay and S Translator. The interface doesn't sport all the fancy transparencies and animations that the more powerful handsets from Samsung are able to display, and this, coupled with the run-of-the-mill resolution make the UI look a bit dated.

The on-screen keyboard comes with word prediction and over 50 different input languages to pick from, but it is not a stellar typing experience because of the squished key layout with large gaps on a fairly modest 4” display.

Processor and memory:

A 1 GHz dual-core processor is what's powering the 3G version of the Ace 3, which is modest for today's standard, and the LTE variance we have for review kicks it up a notch to a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU with a PowerVR SGX544MP GPU.

The handset runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with minute hiccups during transitional animations, but app loading times as well as multitasking are carried out with decent speeds, though it is pretty visible that the phone is not a speed demon, as the benchmark tests below can attest.

The 3G version of the phone has 4 GB of internal memory (about 2 GB of which are user-available), and the LTE one sports 8 GB of storage (5 GB user-available), while Samsung has supplied a gig of RAM and a microSD slot for storage expansion on both.

Quadrant Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 3201
Sony Xperia L 4223
AnTuTu Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 10628
Sony Xperia L 9225
GFXBench Egypt HD 2.5 onscreen (fps) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 17
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 352
Sony Xperia L 449
Vellamo HTML 5 Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 1431
Sony Xperia L 1804

Internet and connectivity:

Granted, browsing on a 4” display is not as pleasant as on a 5- or even 6-incher, which are not a rarity these days, but the stock TouchWiz browser is quick to render pages and zooming is smooth. You can also display Adobe Flash content if needed, which is an advantage before the default Android browser Chrome.

Other than that, we aren't presented with anything out of the ordinary in terms of features – just the usual set of tools like Incognito mode, support for multiple windows, and playback of embedded YouTube videos.

As we mentioned, the Ace 3 comes in two versions – one with LTE radio, for the respective carriers that support this fast 4G standard, in addition to HSPA+ download speeds up to 42.2 Mbit/s, while the 3G version comes with 14.4 Mbit/s radio only. There is also a version with two SIM cards that lets you use more than one carrier network at once.

The rest of the connectivity features for the 3G version are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, Wi-Fi Direct, FM radio with RDS and that's about it, while the LTE variant throws in NFC as well.

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