In 2014, the drop in sales of Samsung smartphones in the middle segment was visible, one of the main reasons were very average performance compared with the Chinese manufacturers, making the device Samsung is not too attractive in the presence of the same materials as the housing and comparable chipsets.
- Android 4.4.4, shell TouchWiz
- The screen is 4.5 inches, SuperAMOLED, 540×960 pixels, 245 dpi, light sensor and proximity
- Metal, molded housing
- Support two nanoSIM-cards, one radio
- Front camera 5 megapixels main camera 8 megapixels with autofocus, video recording 1080p (30fps)
- Snapdragon chipset 410 – MSM8916, four cores A53 64-bit frequency to 1.2 GHz
- RAM 1 GB, 16 GB of internal memory
- LTE cat. 4, GPS / A-GPS / Glonass
- BT 4.0 LE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n, USB 2.0, microUSB, NFC
- Battery Li-Ion 1900 mAh
- Dimensions – 130.1h65.5h6.9 mm, weight – 110 grams
Scope of delivery
- Charger with USB-cable
- Needle to open the drawer SIM-card
- Wired stereo
The company’s strategy for 2015 completely redesigned, in particular, followed by rejection of a large number of models in every price segment will feature their “heroes”, with an optimal price / performance ratio. Will mistakenly assume that the A-series is the result of a change of course, is one of the last devices that were developed under the old strategy. The fact that today they are trying to squeeze in a new positioning and show the change of course, it is quite logical and understandable, but we should not confuse it – A series models have emerged as a response to the low-cost iPhone, those models that came out a couple years ago, but are marketed as the best affordable iPhone. No other competitors for this line is not considered, and therefore no emphasis on the characteristics in the whole market was not done. Also very precise characterization of all devices created to fight Apple, becomes nanoSIM-use maps in mass units, they do not apply, and only used in those devices that have to compete directly with the iPhone. Recently, Samsung has published one such device – Samsung Alpha, it was the first machine with a metal frame around the body. It is not averse to the mass market, and the company believes enough niche.
Surprisingly, this device has become popular and in demand in the market. Expressly agreed that, as part of its niche. For me, it remains a mystery why many saw it as a design that is different from the other devices Samsung, although all of the differences can be mentioned only the metal frame around the body – apparently this is a typical Samsung, find differences is extremely difficult.
In the A-series the company will present three handsets, two of them have already been announced, it’s A3 and A5 is the first announcement was the A7. The difference between these models is that in several different filling, but important difference – the size of the screen, A3 – 4.5 inches to 5 inches is A5, A7 to be 5.5 inches. The design of the housing at all absolutely identical apparatuses as the design, due to this and they are combined in series.
It seems to me very far-fetched that similar products can drag iPhone buyers or do it en masse, still at Apple could create a separate slice of the market, which does not accept substitute products, this is not a story about the same or better performance, similar to the design and the like . Choosing iPhone often irrational, it is a choice of brand. And the establishment of direct competitors for this product, as a rule, does not result in a sensible result. Another thing is that the A-series was quite interesting in terms of design, materials, but not the cost and performance – it’s a kind of iPhone to Android-Market. And here there is a lot of questions, as the cost of these solutions is quite high.
Positioning A-series can be described as: simple smart phones with the latest version of Android for those looking for a good body materials, but not maximum performance. Device for one-hand, many of the same positioning with conventional iPhone. Let’s see what they sensible and what cons are present.
Design, size, controls
For a long time, buyers have suggested that metal case is a premium material and they are willing to pay for it extra money. In many ways, fashion metal liners introduced the iPhone, but the same Samsung has already had experience of manufacturing such devices, and real sales showed that the metal in the construction is not determinative when choosing a phone. Moreover, the presence of identical patterns with comparable characteristics one that has a metal casing bought markedly worse. All this makes us not to go on experimenting and not produce such devices. However, in 2014, an increasing number of companies have started to use the metal in the construction of their devices, such as a frame around the metal casing of steel (aluminum or stainless steel), and at this time lag Samsung became critical, as it was no longer a model, and many of those that are present on the market Android-smartphone.
In Samsung believe and rightly so, that the presence of a collapsible body is an advantage for the consumer – it can change the battery yourself, comfortably installed SIM-card. At the same time, some of the buyers are willing to sacrifice these advantages in order to get a full metal body, it is for these people and released the A-series
In comparison with the Samsung A5
Metal frame goes around the body, everything is similar to Samsung Alpha or Note 4 faces exactly the same, just play in the light. But the whole back panel is made of the same metal, although it is painted in the body color. It has a few notches below the antenna, but they are not visible due to the uniform shading. This is a conscious decision, as in the same iPhone uses a plastic insert (like on the iPhone 6), or insert on the rear panel, as the iPhone 5 / 5s, which is distracting from the design of the machine. In Samsung decided that the appearance of the device must be the same, and have made this such an approach.
Colours for A3 are quite diverse – originally appeared phones in white, black, blue, gold and pink, later may be other options. White color is pearl shade, it does not matte, plays well in the light. Trying to scratch it deliberately shows that there are scratches, but they are not visible if you do not look closely.
The fact that Samsung decided to paint bokovinki apparatus in body color, do not leave them entirely of metal, has already caused idle fictions to Note 4, some people “saw” it’s plastic coated foil, treated 3.5 mm, which is also seen plastic. As in Note 4, and in all the A-Series is a fully metal frame of a few millimeters thick. No plastic is not here, in A3 and backrest made of metal, and quite sturdy, massive. The device safely survive the fall, but at such a fashionable bend I have not tried it – with force any metal device can be bent, the only question is how will this effort. In A3 must really try to bend the machine.
In what sense do the phone body in color of the metal and show it, I do not understand. On the streets I never met vehicles with a metal body, which would not be covered with paint. Why is it needed from the phone, for me is a mystery, especially since all the metal casing of the phone are painted anyway, usually by painting the metal. Sounds funny, but the metal under the paint metal, so that you have the relevant experience. Samsung’s approach to the A-series is quite clear, apparently the phone looks very nice, and the hands are felt suitable.
Start simple – clutching the phone in your hands, you can not get any crunch nor any backlash. It’s nothing. Build, as usual, at the height, and there is nothing to complain about. The phone’s dimensions – 130.1h65.5h6.9 mm, weight – 110 grams. Very compact, good in the hand.
The controls are arranged traditionally, the volume rocker – on the left side, on the right – on / off button. Ibid – two connectors for nanoSIM-cards in one slot – also combined holder and microSD-card. In the device, two microphones, they are on the ends. At the bottom – the usual microUSB-socket, and a 3.5 mm jack for the headset or headphones.
The front camera is located above the screen, there is – in light sensor, and proximity. Under the screen – two sensory and one mechanical button.
The weakest point in A3 is the screen – 4.5 inches with a resolution qHD, that is 540×960 pixels (245 dpi). What this SuperAMOLED, which supports maximum energy savings, does not relieve us from the issue of such a small display resolution. The only explanation I see is that the resolution 3.5-inch screen of the iPhone 4 / 4s – 640h960 points, and this model rivals tipped to this unit, with some reservations. The market is still present and actively selling iPhone 4S 8 GB, and the device from Samsung comes out of its competitors.
Certainly, a modern phone that level cost would like to see, at least, HD-screen. The fact that the A3 is used qHD-matrix, and let SuperAMOLED, I see the error. On the other hand, for the average consumer, using the phone for calls, internet from time to time, and such approval is sufficient, the iPhone is a good example proves. For more advanced users, this is clearly not enough.
Color rendering, the picture quality in A3 screen is good but not the best. Comparing it with the current generation of devices Samsung, you can see the difference, in many respects, it describes the difference in resolution. Brightness no claims, clear picture. With automatic brightness control can be seen that it is not always the highest, often it can seem dull. On the other hand, this level is optimal and provides a pretty long on a single charge.
Built into the case Li-Ion battery has a capacity of 1900 mAh, which by today’s standards quite a bit. For example, in the Galaxy Alpha Battery 1860 mAh stands, but there chipset made on 20 nm technology, although it is more powerful, an eight. Here chipset on 28 nm technology, but from Qualcomm, and has less power. As a result, it turns out that it can provide a longer battery life.
Video playback time is about 10.5 hours, which is typical for all devices from Samsung. In actual use the phone, you can get two days of work with confidence at the hour of calls, two dozen posts, a couple of hours listening to music. At very high load device worked only one day, but for example, at the same load S5 sits about one o’clock. Using optimized chipset makes itself known, it is the device of a new generation in terms of improving the running time. Although it all depends on what and how you use it, how to configure all the parameters.
Full battery charging time – a little less than two hours. Fast Charge Technology, as in Note 4, are not supported.
Memory, memory, chipset and performance
In most markets will be a model with support for LTE, it is the highest cost and is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset 410 – MSM8916, four cores A53 64-bit frequency up to 1.2 GHz. This chipset is one of the best in the medium price segment, it is quite efficient, while offering good performance at a reasonable price. The amount of RAM – 1 GB built-in – 16 GB, of which the user can use about 12 GB.Compatible memory cards up to 64 GB, which is enough for most.
In the offices of A-series have unusual in that the simultaneous use of two SIM-cards and memory cards is not possible. The second slot can be set to either the memory card or SIM-card, but not both the same, and that. So we have to choose what is more important to you – keep this in mind when you choose the machine.
In the synthetic tests this chipset does not show the best results, but this does not affect performance, it works pretty well and fast.
Of the benefits, I note that the chipset allows for a long time on a single charge, unlike the previous generation.
All pretty typical, USB version 2, there is support for NFC, Ant +, Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, built LTE-modem supports LTE Advanced Cat.4.
The front camera has no auto-focus, but has a resolution of 5 megapixels, which is good.
Main camera 8 megapixel, it looks like on the characteristics of the camera that were in the flagship couple of years ago, gives good picture quality, what you can see for yourself.
The unit is the last version of Android 4.4.4 with shell TouchWiz, it is also the latest version, as the flagship of the company. Unlike the same S5 almost there, so I refer you to the relevant part of the review.
In contrast, top models, there are built-in FM-radio, that looks nice bonus.
But in the phone does not become habitual by senior application model, for example, there is no S Health, which takes into account your steps, as well as physical activity. Included are almost no applications that the company gives to older devices, or subscriptions to services (the same Dropbox complete missing). Fairly modest set of applications that against flagships understandable, but it is unclear why not, for example, child mode or things like that. Looks like the A-series exists as something separate from the backbone models Samsung. For some it can be a serious limitation, so it better to know in advance. The rest is typical device from Samsung, which slightly redesigned TouchWiz, because the screen does not allow to implement all of the chips – I note the absence of unpleasant icons in the Quick Launch curtain, to which many are accustomed.
Skins not only change the wallpaper, but the icon in the menu.
Can view the remaining screenshots from various menus.
Loud and clear call, it’s pretty typical for the devices from Samsung. Voice quality is great, no problems, the earpiece volume during a call, missing microphone location ensures that you will be heard even in a noisy street.
Model A3 will appear in Russia for 16,990 rubles (provisional price, but it is unlikely it will be higher) at the end of November. Given that the cost of Galaxy Alpha, having similar size, about 25 thousand rubles, obtained significant difference in cost. Another thing is that in A3 worse screen below its resolution main camera is also inferior – but the machine wins both time work, and by the presence of two SIM-cards, having a fully metal body. Probably worth a start exactly on how you plan to use the phone. If you need a smart phone for calls that are not worth the cheap, made of high quality materials, this unit is worth considering as an alternative to iPhone 4s 8 GB, iPhone 5c / s. At comparable screens A3 better housing made it thinner and noticeably better grip. Price per 17 thousand rubles favorably distinguishes it from the same iPhone 5 all the options, there is a clear benefit with similar characteristics.
Given that the cost of the A5 will be approximately about 23 000 rubles, the older model is playing in a completely different class. The same chipset, but 2 GB of RAM, the same body, 5 inch HD-screen – but the main thing is still the model for one hand, but with a very different experience from its use. This does not form factor iPhone, but rather the usual Galaxy S5 / S4. So consider this machine as a replacement for the iPhone, I would not.
In the market plenty of Android-smartphone, which can be considered a cheaper version of Samsung A3 and often more functional. But they are in plastic cases, they lack the very bonuses, which many have requested. Ask for? Receive and sign – the price difference is easy to describe the quality of housing and its performance. Something tells me that now the same people that complained about the plastic, will sad song that metal – it’s expensive and cheaper is better, but in a plastic case. Mourners – is inescapable part of the market, they mourn each product, regardless of its actual performance.
We can expect that the sale of A3 will noticeably higher than that of Galaxy Alpha, primarily due to lower prices. It is unlikely that this device will be a bestseller, it is a fashion device in which the specifications are of secondary importance. Hardly A3 be real competition the iPhone 5, but some piece of the market, it is possible bite. Nice model, which has the right to exist. Whether it costs about 15 000, and then it would become a bestseller, at the current price it will be noticeable, but not the key machine.