Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 review: Minor league
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.