Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) Review: Bite-sized

By 07:59 Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Comments


Samsung was a prime culprit in the growth of smartphone classy screen sizes, but back in 2014 it tried something different with the Galaxy Alpha - it offered a high-discontinue phone in a small scale body. We feel that the Galaxy A3 is the Alpha's spiritual successor and we're here to see at the third iteration.

The Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) is the baby of the lineup in terms of classy screen size - just 4.7" big. It is a Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) unit, mind you, and one with an Always On Display, something the similarly-sized iPhone 7 classy screen does not offer.

Another first for the A-series is the top-level waterproofing - the IP68 rating is as high as flagships acquire (and higher than the iPhone's). Samsung also brought its mobile payment solution, Samsung Pay, backed by a fingerprint reader.

Key features:

  • Body: waterproof body (IP68) with a metal frame and Gorilla Glass front and back
  • Screen: 4.7" Super AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) with 720 x 1,280px resolution (312ppi); Always On Display
  • Camera: 13MP f/1.9 with Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash; 1080p @ 30fps video capture
  • Selfie cam: 8MP f/1.9; 1080p @ 30fps video capture
  • OS: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with TouchWiz; 7.0 Nougat update in the works
  • Chipset: Exynos 7870 Octa; octa-core Cortex-A53 Central Processing Units (CPU) (1.6GHz); Mali-T830
  • Memory: 2GB of RAM; 16GB storage; microSD slot (dedicated or hybrid, region dependent)
  • Battery: 2,350mAh Li-Po (sealed); Fast charging
  • Connectivity: Optional dual-SIM; LTE-A (Cat. 6 300/50Mbps); USB-C; Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) a/b/g/n/ac; Frequency Modulation (FM) radio
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader; Samsung Pay

Main shortcomings:

  • Hybrid SIM/microSD slot limits options
  • Only 16GB storage version available (of which you acquire to utilize less than 10GB)
  • The capturing camera is one of the few mid-range components on this phone
  • The chipset is the other one

Upgrades over last year's model:

  • Waterproofing (IP68)
  • Always On Display
  • Fingerprint reader with Samsung Pay support
  • 8MP selfie camera
  • Octa-core Central Processing Units (CPU) (vs. quad-core), a bit more Random-Access Memory (RAM) (2GB vs. 1.5GB)
  • USB-C port
  • The price has gone up too (from ~€200 to ~€300)

The Galaxy Alpha was a premium device that was positioned to taracquire the iPhone directly while the Galaxy A3 (2017) fights the Apple flagship from an affordable price point (less than half the cost of an iPhone 7!). At a glance, it seems the capturing camera will be critical - the lack of OIS and 2160p video capture harm A3's premium standing. Processing power is the other thing we need to have a closer see at.

Of course, this phone has enemies on the Android side but not that many. The Sony Xperia X Compact promises similar specs at similar price (with some trade-offs, of course). There's small else - Android makers left the sub-5" segment behind and rarely looked back.

Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017): Black Sky • Blue Mist • Peach Cloud • Grecent Sand

We find the Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) exciting precisely becautilize it explores a sparsely populated niche. And if there's one marketing department - other than Apple's - that can convince people that compact phones are hot, it's Samsung's. So, future hit or the runt of the A-series litter?

Note that this review is based on a pre-production unit. We'll update the review findings as soon as we acquire our hands on a retail unit.



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