New Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 review: Camera review

The new Galaxy A3 is fitted with exactly the same camera setup as the Galaxy A5, but without the optical image stabilisation, which means you’ll need to ensure you hold the phone steady to avoid blurring a shot. Also see: Best phone camera 2016

The A3 has a 13Mp, f/1.9 rear camera with LED flash, and 5Mp, f/1.9 camera at the front. By default the main camera shoots 9.6Mp pictures in 16:9 mode, while 13Mp images are captured at 4:3. Both cameras are capable of 1080p video at 30fps.

At this price the photo quality is acceptable, with realistic colours and reasonably sharp detail. You can check out a couple of our test shots of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel below, first with Auto settings and secondly in HDR mode.

The camera app has various shooting modes including Pro, Panorama, Continuous Shot, HDR and Night, with an option to download more. There are also real-time effects and, in selfie mode, a Wide Selfie option.

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016

New Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 review: Software

Out of the box the A3 runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop (the latest version is Marshmallow) with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI overlaid. The main customisations you’ll see here are found in the drop-down notification bar, with rounded quick-access shortcut icons (you can customise which five are shown here). Unlike models higher up the range there’s no Quick connect or S Finder shortcut to be found here.

Swipe in from the left of the home screen and up pops Briefing, a Flipboard-style news aggregator. This can be switched off in the home screen settings if it’s not for you.

Something that can’t be switched off are the great many apps preinstalled by Samsung, which not include Google’s apps but also Samsung’s own apps (including its own app store) and Microsoft Office apps. You’ll get 100GB free OneDrive storage space with the A3, but just 9.3GB of its 16GB internal memory is available thanks to all the preinstalled bloat.

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016

To be fair to the Galaxy A3 there is definitely less here when compared to older versions of TouchWiz, or even that found in the Galaxy A5 and S6. For example, there’s no built-in Themes store.

Phones higher up the range also support more software extras, such as the Multi-Window View and Pop-up Window modes found in the Galaxy S6 and S7, nor Smart Stay, Smart mute, Palm swipe to capture and so on. With the A3 you just get an optional easy mode, which places your most commonly used apps, settings and contacts on the home screen to avoid you needing to delve into menus, and Smart mute, which vibrates to notify you of a missed call or notification when you pick up the phone.

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2016.

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Specs

Samsung Galaxy A3 2016: Specs

  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 1.5GHz Exynos 7578 (Cortex-A53) 64-bit quad-core processor
  • Mali T720 GPU
  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • microSD up to 128GB
  • 4.7in HD (1280x720, 312ppi)) SuperAMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 4
  • 13Mp, f/1.9 rear camera with LED flash, captures 1080 video
  • 5Mp, f/1.9 front camera
  • 4G LTE
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • GPS, GLONASS
  • NFC
  • Micro-USB
  • 2300mAh non-removable lithium-ion battery
  • 134.5x65.2x7.3mm
  • 132g