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Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 review

 Review: November 2013  

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The Galaxy Ace 3 is Samsung's mid-range Android phone for 2013. It's like the S4 Mini, but with slightly lower specs and is a good choice if you can't afford the S4 Mini.

Today's best buy: Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 from Laptops Direct (£129.98)


Design & looks

Place the Galaxy Ace 3 next to the Galaxy S4 Mini and it's hard to spot the difference. Both are trademark Samsung phones with plastic build, a single physical button below the screen and gently rounded corners. The only noticeable difference is that the Ace 3 has a slightly broader bezel around the screen, which means that the screen is a few millimetres smaller in each dimension. The Ace 3 is slightly thicker than the more expensive S4 Mini, but it's a lightweight phone that will easily slip into a jeans pocket.

The screen measures 4 inches diagonally (the same as the iPhone 5s) and has a modest 480 x 800 pixel resolution. It's not as large or sharp as we'd like, but it's average for this price bracket. Another cost saving is evident in that it uses LCD technology rather than AMOLED, so it's not quite as bright or colour saturated as Samsung's high-end screens.

Dual-core speed

Dual-core processors are standard fair for mid-range phones, and the Ace 3's runs at a reasonably slick 1.2GHz. With 1GB of RAM to support it, it's perfectly adequate for this type of phone, and unless you plan to play high-end 3D games on it, you won't be disappointed.

The built-in memory of 8GB is good too, and you can add a microSD memory card of up to 64GB to give ample room for apps, music and video. You also get 50GB of free cloud storage for 2 years from Dropbox.

5 megapixel camera

We're seeing some really impressive cameras in high-end phones this year, and this is starting to trickle down to mid-range camera phones. The Ace 3 doesn't particularly excel as a camera phone, but it has an adequate 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and flash and it can record HD 720p video. The Best Photos feature lets you pick the best out of 8 continuous shots - useful when trying to catch smiling faces, or when taking pictures of kids.

A second front-facing camera can record video, but not at HD resolution - just VGA.

Android 4.2.2

The Ace 3 is a smartphone running Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2. This gives it intelligent features such as Google Now. Google Now is a system of "cards" that pop up with useful information, even without being asked. These cards may be reminders of events, or traffic news, or train times as you wait on the station platform.

The Ace 3 is also equipped with some features that first appeared on the flagship Galaxy S4S Translator offers language translation when messaging and S Travel supplies recommendations, travel guides and more for your trips. The S Voice feature uses your voice to wake up the phone, answer incoming calls or even take a photo.

In addition, you have full access to the hundreds of thousands of apps available from Google Play.

4G connectivity

The Ace 3 comes with 4G connectivity, although you'd be daft to use it. That's because 4G contracts cost a lot more than 3G and if you're spending that kind of money, you can get a much better phone for free as part of the deal.

Instead, you can make use of the HSPA 3G connectivity and quadband 2G. For fast data, the Ace 3 has Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz. Bluetooth, USB and NFC connections are also available, and there's a 3.5mm audio jack too for plugging in your headphones.

Battery life

The battery life of the Ace 3 is very good. It uses a 1800mAh battery, which is virtually the same size as the battery in the S4 Mini. With a less powerful processor and fewer pixels to power, the battery lasts a long time. Up to 10 hours of continuous usage is possible, which in practice means that most users should get a few days between charges.

Conclusion - an excellent mid-range choice

The Ace 3 is positioned decisively in the mid-range sector, available free on contract from around £15 per month. That makes it good value. It's cheaper than the S4 Mini, but does mostly the same with just a few reductions in spec, most of which don't impact on day to day use. The Ace 3 has no particular standout feature, but is a well-balanced all-rounder. If the price falls to below £15 per month on contract, than it will be an even better buy.

Similar phones worth considering include the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Also check our new Samsung Ace 4 review.

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Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 user reviews

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Average rating from 11 reviews:

Reviewed by Clark from England on 14th Sep 2015
This phone has given nothing but probalems it it us very stressful and annoying and this product needs improvement.

Reviewed by naufal from indonesia on 2nd Jun 2015
Great phone! if youre teenager like me, its the right phone! its the small phone but its amazing! i like photoghraphy and i do it here too i would like send my photo that i made on this smartphone. Just email : blnaufal@yahoo.

Reviewed by Joyi from Malaysia on 31st May 2015
I have been facing a lot of problems with my Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 smart phone.
For most of the time, I am unable to operate Facebook and receive this SSL connection error. I think it is the phone's own problem as I never receive these things when I am using my laptop or other brands of smart phones.
It also takes a long time to connect to most wifi sources.
Compared to other smart phones, Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 is slower at surfing the internet.
The phone shuts down by itself when the battery is still at 40-50% and can't be turned on, but when I charge the phone it is able to turn on but the battery is at 0%.
Recently, I was unable to send pictures or emoticons and instead I receive a note saying my phone does NOT have a memory card when it does.
I can't say that I am pleased with this phone.

Reviewed by dom Whitmore from uk on 11th Feb 2015
I thought my phone was a great phone until the other day. I've had this phone eight months and always had my SD card in it. The other day my phone just started turning off then on then off then on over and over and over. I took it to a phone repair shop and he said it was a software problem and was going to charge me thirty quid. I took the SD card out so it didn't lose all my data and turned the phone on and my phone stayed turned on. Why is my SD card causing my phone to reboot over and over? Please reply if this can be fixed. Other than that the phone is good for everything.oh I can't take it back as phones 4 u has closed down so I can't even use the guarantee without a lot of hassle finding out how.

Reviewed by Chris from East Anglia on 1st Feb 2015
Had this on contract for 1 year and now on 3rd phone as wireless aerial far too weak doesn't even pick up home wifi. half the time swipe screen does not respond so can/'t answer phone.Not a patch on Ace 2. Now given up and bought a sim free phone to replace it.
Absolute rubbish phone and destroyed my faith in Samsung.

Reviewed by Melanie from Wales on 26th Jan 2015
Great phone. Small and light which is what I wanted. Takes decent pics. Pretty fast. Easy to use. Samsung have always served me well. The ui is easy to use. I'm happy. Think it's an excellent price.

Reviewed by Phil from Yorkshire, UK on 10th Nov 2014
Wife has this as her very first smartphone, tried to talk her into something else, but she insisted(LOL she now hates it!).
This must be the worst phone ever, unresponsive screen, keyboard too fiddly, just pants.

Reviewed by ysa eliane from united kingdom on 1st Aug 2014
Bought phone 4 days ago to replace my ace 2 & lost sound the first day! Have checked reviews & see that this is a regular problem. Have tried everything with no luck and will return to shop to see what they can do! I'm very disappointed as have had lots of samsungs & this is not acceptable as in the instruction manual there is no mention of this fault!

Reviewed by Pawel from Australia on 29th Jun 2014
Very happy with my,Galaxy Ace 3 phone.
It has all,the features I need.
Obviously very reliable as a phone.
It has good balance,without being too heavy.
Also fits easily,into my trouser pocket.

Reviewed by Shruthi from UK on 11th Mar 2014
Excellent phone for mid range price. It includes most of the features of galaxy note 2 and S4.. Its very handy too..I would recommend this phone to others...

Reviewed by manish from uk on 1st Dec 2013
only had it for a few days, so only a brief review.
Good things: free on deals at 18-20 pounds a month, fits in palm, battery life, bright display, and above all, 4G and NFC, although in real life, 4g and NFC are only of use to those with all-you-can-eat data contracts.

Bad things: bad sound quality of speakers.

Reply by Darren from London on 31st Jul 2014
RE: speaker quality, do you mean in call or for music/video?

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