For phones that are targeted at stylish consumers, Samsung Galaxy A3 and A5 seem to check all the boxes.
While Samsung has always had fantastic screens and hardware specs, build quality was never one of its strong points. With its flagship phones Galaxy S and Note series clad in flimsy plastics, Samsung did not stand up to Apple’s offerings, and more recently to the likes of Gionee, Oppo and OnePlus. The Galaxy Note 4 and Alpha changed all that, and now Samsung is forging ahead into the mid range smartphone segment with two quality offerings — A3 and A5. Here’s our first impressions of the two stylish smartphones.
Thin, light and a very good feel
The Samsung DNA on A3 and A5 is unmistakable; be it more squarish than rounded edges or the rounded home button on the bottom centre. When you hold it in your hand, everything changes. It’s wow material. From the beautifully diamond-cut edges with a slight powdery finish, to the satin white front face. The back panel exhibits a slight curve, undeniably metal. Though the screen size of A5 is 5-inches while A3 is 4.5-inches, both sport the same metal unibody design.
Another thing you will notice is how thin the phones are, measuring less than 7.0 mm, which is still nowhere close to Gionee Elife’s 5.1 mm, but it does find that middle ground. For phones that are targeted at stylish consumers, the A3 and A5 seem to check all the boxes. The A-series whispers about its upmarket good looks, a superb understated design, and a rich, sturdy and dependable feel. The black has tuxedo good looks, while the white has a sheen that would accessorize well with the wardrobe of a style-conscious woman.
Exceptional display and spritely UI performance
The HD AMOLED display on both A5 and A3 looks stunning. But it is disappointing to see that even A5 has only 720p resolution. However, A5’s display looks as good as a 1080p screen. With densely packed pixels, you will not notice the difference. The same is true for A3 too as it has to make do with 540×960 display. However, as in the A5’s case, the display looks crisp, with the same tightly packed ppi. As a result of the lower resolution, the UI flies on the Snapdragon 410 processor. Smooth as butter!
Decent camera quality and fantastic selfie panorama
The 13MP rear shooter of A5 is quite good, and so is the A3’s 8MP camera. What will blow you away is the front-facing 5MP selfie cam. During the little time we spent with the phones, it did a fantastic job of capturing the scene in a wide angle. Samsung’s selfie panorama worked like a charm, and captured at least five people in the frame with room for one more.
64-bit chip inside
Finally, the 64-bit Android era is coming, though it is a trickle. Both A5 and A3 sport the new 64-bit quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processors with Adreno 306 for graphics. Both phones are at the same 1.2GHz clock speed. Moving around Android was a breeze, as there was not a hint of slowdown. The colour reproduction was fantastic as was the absence of lag in anything. We did not test gaming though.
Everything about the A-series has been stellar so far. One concern is about the battery specs. Phones like the Sony Xperia Z3 can squeeze full two days out of a 3,000mAh battery. The A5 has a 2,300mAh battery, whereas A3 has a 1,900mAh battery. Let’s hope Samsung has straddled the fine line between adding weight to the device and giving just about enough juice to the phone. Only our tests will tell the picture clearly. So watch out for our review in the coming days.
Mid-range pricing for a premium phone
The pricing is quite good with A3 retailing for Rs 20,000 and A5 for Rs 25,000. Particularly good when you consider you’re getting a phone with premium looks and a solid metal build, with a great processor.
But don’t reach for your wallets just yet. Watch this space for our upcoming reviews, where we will have all the definitive details on both A3 and A5.