They come up with Samsung Galaxy A3, a premium phone, to take on competition from the Chinese!
Samsung has been facing immense competition of late mainly due to the invasion of value for money Chinese mobile phones as well as other manufacturers like HTC upping the ante.
Add to that, the constant criticism of denying the buyers a chance to lay their hands on a non-plastic built phone had only grown louder.
Samsung thus had its hands full vis-a-vis the worries and it was only time that they addressed these issues. That they tried addressing both the issues in a single step is commendable.
Samsung launched the Samsung Galaxy A3 recently to counter the competition as well as the demand for a premium built mobile phone.
The unibody construction of the phone is sure to turn heads and doesn't seem to be a slouch with performance either. Let's take a look at how much promise the newly launched phone holds.
Samsung probably woke up to the age old adage of 'First impression being the last impression'. Opting to go with a unibody construction this time and the premium built for the phone is bound to leave a solid impression.
The phone measures 130 x 65.5 x 6.9mm and weighs a mere 110 gms. It is one of the thinnest mobile phone built by Samsung. The dimension also means that the phone is pretty easy for single handed operation.
The Galaxy A3 gets a metal trim all around the frame, for the loudspeaker and for the camera lens as well. The matte finish back panel makes sure that the user gets a good grip on the device.
The volume rocker and the power key get a metal finish as well.
The volume rocker is situated on the left side, while the power button is located on the right side of the phone. Also located on the right hand side are the microSD as well as NanoSIM slots.
The tricky part is, that the users will have to choose whether they would like to use the secondary slot for a second SIM, or for microSD card slot. This is because, the second slot doubles up as either a microSD card slot or as a secondary SIM card slot.
The bottom part of the phone houses the micro USB port as well as the 3.5mm audio jack.
Samsung has indeed done a very impressive job with the phone's construction, and there should be no doubt which section of buyers the company is targeting. The overall feel of the phone was that of premium device, regardless of while one is handling or looking at it.
The Galaxy A3 comes with 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Screen with qHD resolution. Going into the exact details, the resolution is 540 x 960 pixels which results in a pixel density of 245ppi.
The display is surely not top of the line, but still does a very decent job. The brightness on the Galaxy A3 covers up for the qHD display for a very good part. The colours are on the saturated side. The display offers pretty good contrast and good viewing angles as well.
The sunlight readability was especially impressive. Galaxy A3's display is actually pretty capable and shouldn't leave the user feeling high and dry.
The phone comes with impressive configuration. Powered by a Quad Core Cortex A53 CPU clocked at 1.2Ghz, the phone is aided by the Adreno 306 GPU. Giving them company is 1GB RAM.
The phone is geared up for the future apps, as the phone carries a 64 Bit Snapdragon 410 chipset onboard. Interestingly, Samsung Galaxy A3 gets the same chipset as that of its bigges sibling, the Galaxy A5. This should go in favour of the phone as users desiring powerful phone with manageable screen size are bound to take notice.
The performance of the phone was pretty good and satisfactory. The phone didn't have any issues while launching or closing the apps. The games went off smoothly as well. It's worthwhile to mention that the speaker performance was average though.
The Galaxy A3 comes with 8 GB or 16 GB of onboard storage. The users can further expand the memory up to 64 GB via microSD.
Conectivity and other features
The phone comes with Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, A GPS, GLONASS, and USB 2.0 features for the connectivity options. An IR blaster on the phone, but it could have come in handy, but not something to ponder about. In terms of sensors, the phone is equipped with a magnetic sensor, a proximity sensor, accelerometer and a gyroscope.
The phone also comes with FM Radio and ANT+ technology. The latter allows the user to pair the phone with select fitness accessories as an extra add on.
The Indian version comes without the LTE option, which is a disappointment for sure.
Galaxy A3 comes with Android 4.4.4 Kitkat installed out of the box with Samsung's touchwiz on top.
There is pretty good news for most of the users, and that is this time round, there is support for themes to customise the look and feel of the phone's operating system. The themes lend custom feel by tweaking sounds, colour themes as well as icon sets.
Samsung hasn't provided a shortcut to go through all the toggles. (The toggles can be reordered though). Google Play Store has company in the form of Galaxy store as well. Samsung has added its own set of Galaxy apps in the mix now.
Speaking of apps, the app drawer can be arranged either as per alphabets, or as custom view. One gets to hide from view the not so frequently used apps as well.
Another inspired feature seems to be the syncing option now being provided by the internet web browser. Much like the chrome browser, users get to port bookmarks and browsing history via Samsung account.
The messaging app gets a mentionable makeover. Most interesting being the delay feature, allowing the user to cancel a message within a window of 3-30 seconds. One can also programme or schedule an automatic message to be sent out.
Samsung has included a built-in file browser which is a good inclusion. There is also spam protection which protects messages containing specific phrases or entire messages from specified numbers. A Document Viewer comes pre-intalled as well.
Samsung decided to go with an 8 Megapixel shooter at the rear, which comes with LED flash, and a 5 Megapixel front facing camera for the phone. The rear camera protrudes slightly which will make the phone wobble a little when placed on flat surfaces.
The 8 Megapixel does a pretty decent job while taking the photographs. The image quality was good, and colours were captured accurately. The camera performance could have been better as there was slight noise creeping in even during the day time usage. As expected, this was pretty evident during the low light usage of the camera.
The 1080p videos came out sharp and played smoothly. The colours were accurate and the front facing camera is decent with its own 1080p videos as well. The camera app offers settings like ISO, exposure, and white balance.
The modes available are HDR, Panorama, Night mode, Continuous shots, animated GIF, rear cam selfie, and beauty face.
The phone comes with a handset, charger, user guide in the box. If the single SIM variant is chosen, the box also contains a data cable as well.
The phone comes in Pearl White, Platinum Silver, Soft Pink, Light Blue, Midnight Black, and Champagne Gold.
The phone comes with a 1,900mAh Li-Ion battery, which is non-removable. The unibody construction takes a toll on the removable battery pack option, but those who value a phone built to suit their non-plastic taste, this should be an easy trade off.
By company estimates, the phone easily lasts for 13 hours worth of talktime on a single charge, which should mean that users can easily manage a day's worth out of the phone on a normal to heavy usage pattern.
Verdict and competition
Galaxy A3 is a capable phone and it should not leave the users complaining too much. There are few area which should have been addressed by Samsung for a phone which is being offered for Rs 20,500.
A qHD display and the absence of Gorilla glass layer is something unimaginable in today's times. The non-removable battery is not something which will bother the users too much, but the final points scored does takes a hit. The camera just about makes the cut. The omission of LTE in Indian market is another sore point.
But nobody can deny the superb build quality and the the phone is a delight to handle and fast while operating. Given the flaws and advantages of the set, Samsung should consider bringing the phone to the price range of Rs 16-17k.
Otherwise the phone will face stiff competition from Samsung's own Galaxy S4, and the superior HTC 820 isn't too far enough either.
Photographs: Courtesy, Samsung