Review Samsung Galaxy A3 - 2016 - A310F

Discussion in 'Gadgets and Consumer Electronics' started by JD666, Mar 6, 2016.

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  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    The 5.2 inches display of the Xperia Z3 was getting a tad hefty for me to handle. This was further compounded by the slippery glass back, that made holding the device comfortably a big hassle.

    So I went hunting and found a decent swap in the Samsung A3. Out went the Z3, and in came the A3 for minimal overhead payment on my part. I do have 2 magnetic charging cables for the Z1-Z2-Z3-Z3+ lying around if anyone needs them.

    Packing half the cores of the S6 (4 vs :cool: the A3 comes with the Samsung Exynos 7580 Quad Core at 1.5 ghz and 1.5 Gb of Ram. Considering that this has to drive a 720P display, it does the job pretty well. A Mali T720 does duty for graphics.

    My reason for buying it? The camera, the design similarity to the S6 and the fit and feel in the hand.

    First up some pics, and then benches and finally camera comparos with the iPhone 6S -

    IMG_3236.jpg

    Unassuming box, the small 6 on the side is the giveaway that this is the 2016 model of the entry level A3

    IMG_3237.jpg

    Dual SIM (Or Single SIM + Micro SD card), with a F1.9 13MP Camera at the back and a 5Mp at the front (also F1.9)

    You get about 9 Gigs of usable space out of the 16GB ROM, and about 600 Mb free from the 1.5 GB RAM, thanks to TouchWiz.

    IMG_3238.jpg

    Like any other Samsung design, with a home button, and two capacitive touch buttons on either side. The highlight is the 2.5D glass that tapers on all sides (a la iPhone 6/6S) and the all metal surround.

    IMG_3240.jpg

    The "DUOS" on the back simply kills the appearance IMO. This device looks so up market and pricey, and they had to put that logo. Sigh.

    The camera does stick out a bit, probably at par with the iPhone 6/6S. The rear glass is a fingerprint magnet, but oh so good looking. I'll post some shots of the edges later.

    IMG_3242.jpg

    Speaker/Mic/Micro USB and Headphone socket. The device is extremely slim, and lightweight.

    IMG_3243.jpg

    The right side houses the power button and a broad SIM tray. Probably the biggest I've seen on a device.

    IMG_3254.jpg

    Or probably they've started making them like this, and I haven't noticed it in a while.

    So as mentioned before, you can either use Dual SIM mode and forego the expandable storage, or put a MicroSD Card (Upto 128 Gb) there and use the device in Single SIM mode with the extra storage.

    IMG_3244.jpg

    The top houses the Noise cancellation Mic only.

    IMG_3245.jpg
    Volume keys (again made of metal) on the recessed side.

    IMG_3234.jpg

    What I like is how comfortable this device feels in the hand. Sure the metal edges and the glass back make it slippery, but it feels ergonomically spot on.

    IMG_3235.jpg

    To compare, here's the device next to the iPhone 6S -

    IMG_20160305_185205.jpg

    And with that lovely AMOLED display on -

    IMG_20160305_185214.jpg

    Both devices are on Auto Brightness, you can see the radiance in the colors of the Samsung. (Photo taken with Redmi 2).

    IMG_3267.JPG

    And the A3 vs the Redmi 2. One can hopefully get a good idea of the size of the device.

    IMG_3246.jpg

    That super display is probably the icing for me. But I'll discuss this and more in a brief summary later. For now I can happily comment that the display belies the segment of the device. This is my first (owned) Samsung device.

    IMG_3250.jpg

    Also included in the retail package are - USB cable, Charger and Headset with SIM tray removal key.

    IMG_3251.jpg

    The 2300 mAH battery should last really well on the A3. Reviews have revealed that nearly 2 days of usage is possible. A 1.55 Amp charger should speed things up when needed to re-charge. Though there is no Quick Charge support, this should do pretty well.

    The A3 also packs 2 levels of power saving - Regular, and Ultra mode. I've not gotten around to testing them, but I can safely assume that lasting a day should be real easy.

    IMG_3252.jpg

    Another neat touch are the controls on the headset. Nicely done.

    Now, first up benchmarks. How I test a device is, that the first apps that I install are the benchmark software so that I have a resource free run to log.

    First up -

    Antutu score -

    Screenshot_2016-03-03-18-34-05.png

    A score of 35,778 is a decently respectable score, considering that most SnapDragon 615 devices manage this. Compared to the 20,xxx of the Redmi 2 and the 50,xxx of the Z3 this is a decent middle rung score. Though nowhere close to the 60,000 + score of the Galaxy Alpha.

    Next up - GeekBench -

    Screenshot_2016-03-03-18-41-09.png

    Again a mid-level score that places this device along the likes of the first Gen Moto X and Samsung S4. Though the phone feels snappy and quick to respond


    Screenshot_2016-03-03-18-41-13.png

    Some more details on the processor and RAM.

    Screenshot_2016-03-03-18-41-36.png

    Single core score of 696 is better than a Moto X or S4.


    Screenshot_2016-03-03-18-41-51.png

    Similarly a Multi-Core score of 2156 does place it well in the rankings. Slightly behind a LG G3.

    Considering that this is an entry level offering from Samsung to their Galaxy range, this is quite impressive to be honest.

    Now for image comparison and Tester notes -
     
  2. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    So the 13 MP camera on the A3 works in 4:3 mode. If you are shooting in 16:9, it drops down to 9.6 MP.

    What impressed me most was the double tap home key to launch camera, and the speed of the camera. It was comparable to that of the S6 family, though slightly slower and obviously not as crisp. But the following should reveal some details.

    First up, here's an iPhone 6S shot -

    iPhone 03.JPG


    And the same, taken with the A3 -

    A3 01 (1).jpg

    Since this one is slightly blurry, here's another shot -
    A3 03.jpg

    The Camera is phenomenal for the price point.

    And this is not just talking about the IQ. I tested this device in low light conditions, motion, etc. It was comparable or better than the iPhone easily. Plus the colors come out really well on the display that the Samsung packs.

    Tester notes -

    - TouchWiz is still a pain in the A$$. It lacks basic features like hiding an album, or setting background processes and notifications for apps. The drop down menu is also not fully customizable, offering limited toggles that you can keep in the menu.

    - Samsung could, and should learn something from MIUI. Xiaomi does a cleaner, efficient job and still ticks all the right points. This could probably be the biggest undoing for Samsung and they need to tackle it ASAP. People would prefer a clean Android experience, or rather a trouble free one.

    - The camera is super snappy, and if you're looking for a compact device with premium looks, this is the one to go for.

    - The screen is a revelation, and it is a shame there are only so many AMOLEDs around. Apple probably stays away more due to lack of availability of display, rather than LCDs out doing AMOLED displays.

    - I do miss a notification light, the Redmi 2 packs a multi colored one. The Galaxy Alpha had one as well. Could've been made part, especially when this device costs the better part of 18,000 INR (when converted).

    - For the slim form factor, they've packed a decent 2300 mAH battery.

    - Wi-Fi toggles and connects really fast. I mean it, it is super fast.

    - Had to resort to 3rd Party apps to organize my gallery. Might have to do it for Calendar as well. Why? Because it is instinctively easier to reach for an icon that says "Calendar" instead of "S Planner".

    - Loud speaker is decently "loud".

    - Still to test Full HD Video recording. Will post a test sample once done.

    - The metal edges and the 2.5D glass really change the way the device feels, here are some close ups of the edges. Please don't mind the dust/fingerprints, this was just a quick shot -

    IMG_3262.jpg

    IMG_3263.jpg
     
  3. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Another feature for instance that Samsung could pick up from MiUi. You can use the power button to switch off the flash once started, but that's not the case here.

    Probably I like MiUi too much, or my expectations were higher from Samsung.

    Sent from my SM-A310F using Tapatalk
     
  4. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    24 hrs of mixed usage, with about 2 hrs of gaming and I'm at 40% on the battery. Not bad

    Sent from my SM-A310F using Tapatalk
     
  5. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Used this device extensively over the last week. Had a business travel, so was in Dual SIM mode, and using 4G network (Airtel).

    The device lasted the whole day easily, ending at about 25% battery. Which is impressive.

    The quality of the Camera shots (still) is a hit or miss. You either get a good shot on the first go, or it generally ends up blurry and you gotta capture a second image. Not sure where the issue is (user or device) :D
     

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