Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 review: Minor league

Hristo Zlatanov, 18 November 2013.

Introduction

The Galaxy Ace 3 arrives as Samsung's latest entry into the popular affordable Ace lineup, and targets cost conscious buyers with a competitive Android version and variants which include a vanilla 3G version and either dual SIM support or LTE connectivity.

The Ace lineup was never a bottom-of-the-barrel affair, user have always enjoyed adequately-sized screens and powerful enough processors alongside timely software updates from Samsung to make it an excellent value offering long after the initial release.


Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 official photos

This was the exact strategy that Samsung successfully employed with the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2, which continues to be a very competitive Android package following its update to version 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. The Ace 2 continues to be a reasonable entry level droid more than a year and a half after its release, and even made it to our November 2013 shopping guide.

Let's see what the Ace 3 brings to the table, and whether it has the potential to continue the Ace legacy set forth by its predecessors.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE; dual/quad-band 3G with HSPA
  • Quad-band LTE support (for LTE version)
  • 4" 16M-color WVGA capacitive touchscreen; 233ppi
  • Android OS v4.2.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz UI
  • Dual-core 1GHz (3G) / 1.2GHz (LTE) Cortex-A9 CPU, VideoCore IV GPU; Broadcom BCM21664 chipset
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with LED flash, 720p video recording @ 30fps, continuous autofocus
  • 0.3 MP front-facing camera, VGA video recording
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
  • 4GB (3G) / 8GB (LTE) of built-in storage
  • microSD card slot
  • microUSB v2.0
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • NFC (LTE model only)
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • 1,500 (3G) / 1,800 (LTE) mAh battery; user replaceable

Main disadvantages

  • Very minimal upgrades over predecessor
  • Low internal storage
  • Tired and exhausted design, no differentiation whatsoever
  • No Air View, Air gestures or Multi-view

Whether the Galaxy Ace 3 can follow in the footsteps of its predecessor is a trick one to answer going by specs alone, seeing the incremental update in specs it represents - we have a bump in screen size and processor clock speed, and there's LTE connectivity if you get that specific version. We wish the Ace 3 came with the same price tag as the Ace 2, but that's not the case right now.

For now, let's focus on what the Ace 3 brings along without comparisons to its forbearers. It provides a wide range of connectivity options, including the aforementioned LTE variant that brings quad-band 4G support.

In terms of design, the Ace 3 is very similar to the Ace 2, although Samsung has been able to trim the weight down slightly. Unfortunately, if you've had enough of Samsung's design language, the Galaxy Ace 3 will leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth - it will only serve you with more of the same - there's hardly much novelty to go around here.

Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 from our studio

We'll start off our review with an in-depth hardware examination of the Samsung Galaxy Ace 3, covering everything from control layout to screen quality. Join us on the next page.

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