|+ Easy to use||- Unremarkable appearance|
|+ Bright screen||- Unremarkable performance|
|+ 4G enabled|
"The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 is a solid all-round handset with no glaring faults, but it also doesn’t do anything particularly brilliantly. It’s a jack of all trades, master of none."
While Samsung is mostly known for its flagship Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines the company has also found a lot of success in the mid-range with its Galaxy Ace range. The Galaxy Ace 3 is the latest of these, but with only small improvements over the Galaxy Ace 2 and competition heating up from the likes of the Motorola Moto G can it really compete? Read on to find out.
One thing you can say for the Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 is that it fits nicely into the rest of Samsung’s Galaxy line-up. It has a similar curved design and sensor layout to other recent handsets like the Galaxy S4 and like the S4 it’s all plastic.
That latter point is more forgivable here, since the Galaxy Ace 3 is a mid-range phone rather than a flagship, but it still makes it underwhelming both to look at and touch, particularly given the bland black or white colour schemes (though shop around and you can find it in a slightly more eye-catching red).
At 121.2 x 62.7 x 10mm it’s thicker and wider than the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini, even though that has a bigger screen, but it doesn’t feel overly chunky, while its weight of 119.5g is perhaps on the heavy side too, but that at least makes it feel solid and reliable.
At 4 inches its screen is a good size. It should be perfectly big enough for most people to use comfortably, but its resolution of 480 x 800 leaves it sub-HD, with a pixel density of just 233 pixels per inch. That’s not bad as such but it’s a resolution which is looking increasingly dated in the face of the 400+ ppi displays that are emerging at the top end of the market.
It is nice and bright though, which is no-surprise given Samsung’s heritage of making blindingly bright displays. And don’t let the resolution get you down too much, it’s shown up by the Motorola Moto G, but most other phones in its price range have similar display resolutions.
Power and Performance
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, which are both fairly typical of mid-range phones, though with the likes of the HTC Desire 500 and the Moto G delivering quad-core speed there’s definitely room for improvement.
Generally though the Galaxy Ace 3 runs fine, with homescreen navigation, web browsing and basic apps posing no problem, however there are moments of slowdown which leave us wishing for a little more power under the hood.
The ace up the, er, Ace’s sleeve though is that it supports 4G LTE, so what it lacks in raw grunt it makes up for with blazing fast mobile internet, which is something most of its competitors can’t offer.
The Galaxy Ace 3 runs Android 4.2, which is a couple of releases behind but not drastically different from Android as it stands now. It’s close enough in fact that it still feels slick and intuitive, while gaps in functionality have been nicely filled by Samsung’s TouchWiz interface.
TouchWiz isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it’s certainly not the prettiest interface around for a start, but it has some great features, for example when you plug headphones in it will pop up suggestions of media apps that you might want to launch, saving you the trouble of searching around for them.
Onboard storage, Connectivity and Cameras
There’s only 8GB of built in storage in the Galaxy Ace 3, which will be enough if you don’t plan to install many apps or store much media on your phone, but for everyone else it will be used up in no time. Thankfully that’s not such a problem as there’s also a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 64GB.
For connectivity options the Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 has Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth 4.0 as you’d expect, but it also has NFC and 4G LTE, which are two features that are rarely found on such affordable phones.
Its 5 megapixel camera is a solid performer but there’s nothing exceptional about it or the pictures it captures and its video camera can only manage 720p footage. The 0.3 megapixel front facing camera is even less impressive. It just about cuts it for video chat but that’s about all.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 has fairly average battery life. Its 1800 mAh juice pack is rated for up to 370 hours of standby or 8 hours of calls. It’s not bad by any means as you should be able to get through a full day on a single charge and that’s the most important thing, but you’ll definitely be plugging it in at night.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 doesn’t really do anything wrong but other than the inclusion of 4G it doesn’t do anything that well either. Its performance, screen, battery life and camera all get the job done, but only just. The whole phone can be summed up by its build- solid but uninspiring. If you’re looking for a 4G equipped phone for under £200 you can’t really do much better, but if you can live without 4G there’s no reason to choose this over the Motorola Moto G, or for that matter any number of other mid-range handsets.
121.2 x 62.7 x 10 mm, 119.5 g
|Display||4-inch WVGA (480 x 800) TFT LCD|
|Processor||1.2GHz Dual Core processor|
|Camera||5-megapixel camera with LED Flash|
|VGA camera (front-facing)|
|Onboard Memory||8GB (microSD support)|
|Operating System||Android Jelly Bean|
|Connectivity||4G LTE, 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC|
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