Samsung Galaxy A03s

Samsung Galaxy A03s

Introduction:

Some phones re-establish the standards of what flagships can do, while others try to redefine the rock bottom of the budget segment. The Samsung Galaxy A03s belongs to the latter category – it’s one of the cheapest devices in Samsung’s roster. It packs enough to make for an interesting phone – a 6.5” display, a triple camera setup and a massive battery with reasonably fast charging.

As is the usual case, the cheaper the Galaxy is, the more versions it has, and the Galaxy A03s is no exception – there is a more powerful Galaxy A03 and an incredibly low-spec A03 Core. Obviously, we have the middle ground here, let’s take a look at the specs of the device.

Body

164.2×75.9×9.1mm, 196g; glass front, plastic frame, plastic back.

Display

6.50″ PLS LCD, 720x1600px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 270ppi.

Chipset

MediaTek MT6765 Helio P35 (12nm): Octa-core (4×2.35 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53); PowerVR GE8320.

Memory

32GB 3GB RAM, 32GB 4GB RAM, 64GB 4GB RAM; eMMC 5.1; microSDXC (dedicated slot).

Operating System

Android 11, One UI 3.1 Core.

Rear Camera

Wide (main): 13 MP, f/2.2, AF;

Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4;

Depth: 2 MP, f/2.4.

Selfie Camera

5 MP, f/2.2.

Video capture

Rear camera: [email protected]

Battery

5000mAh; 7.8W charger.

Misc

Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); NFC; 3.5mm jack.

Now let’s take a look at what’s inside the box in which Galaxy A03s is shipped.

Unboxing:

The Galaxy A03s is an entry-level smartphone shipped in a white paper box. Inside the box you’ll find the phone itself, a 7.8W power adapter and a USB cable.

There is no protective case, which is a bummer – we’ve grown to expect such a thing from the entry-level phones.

Design:

The Samsung Galaxy A03s is an entry-level smartphone, and that sets the bar low in terms of design. We cannot expect premium stuff like glass panels, metal pieces and ingress protection. As a budget phone the main goal should be solid build, and that’s what Galaxy A03s goes for.

The handset has a unibody build – there is a single piece of plastic that covers both the sides and the back. The back panel is not all barren land, it has a clean design and the rectangular camera module. Although the back has a matte finish, it still attracts smudges and fingerprints.

The front has a 6.5-inch LCD display with a water-drop notch which houses the 5MP selfie camera. The bezels are not what you might call thin, that’s to be expected since it’s a cheap device, you can’t expect expensive stuff.

The front is covered with a flat glass sheet, there is no protective film, contrary to most of the entry-level offerings out there.

Above the selfie camera, atop the glass, sits the earpiece grille.

The rear panel feels great with a subtle fingerprint pattern and its excellent grip. The rectangular camera module accommodating the triple camera setup is the only thing of interest on the back.

The camera island is covered by a black rectangle glass piece. The island houses a 13MP main shooter, a 2MP depth snapper and a 2MP macro unit. There is also a single LED flash.

Moving on to the frame, there is a lonely secondary microphone on the top. The bottom is overcrowded with features – the 3.5mm headphone jack,  primary mic, the USB-C port and the loudspeaker.

The left-side of the frame is home to the SIM card slot – it has slots for two nano-SIMs and a microSD card.

The right section of the frame accommodates the volume rocker and the power/lock key. The power key also doubles as the fingerprint scanner.

The Galaxy A03s is neither compact nor lightweight. In fact, because of its thick screen bezels, it’s as large as most of the 6.7-inch midrangers. And it weighs 196 grams, that may be due to the massive 5,000mAh battery.

The Galaxy A03s is surely a phone with solid build, clean look and grippy design. A splash resistance would have been an added bonus, but that’s not possible at this price, we guess.

Display:

The Galaxy A03s sports a 6.5-inch IPS LCD display with a water-drop notch and rounded corners. Samsung calls this kind of display Infinity-V. It offers a basic resolution of 720 x 1,600px and 270 ppi density.

The front is guarded by a flat glass sheet, but we have no detail about the material it’s made of.

The Galaxy A03s display has nothing special about it worth writing back home – it’s refresh rate is locked at 60Hz, there is no HDR support, it can only show colors within the sRGB range.

The maximum brightness recorded was 488 nits. There is no sunlight boost in either manual or Auto brightness modes. For an LCD display the deep black level is incredible, it posted an excellent contrast ratio of 1718:1.

The minimum brightness can go as low as 19.7 nits – that’s rather bright, which is to be expected from a cheap screen.

The Galaxy A03s doesn’t have screen color options – you are stuck with what you get. The handset supports the sRGB color space but isn’t that accurate – the ehaite and gray hues are bluish, while the rest of the colors are somewhat washed out.

Battery life & Charging speed:

The Galaxy A03s is equipped with a 5,000mAh battery. It should be enough to support the 720p display with the power efficient Helio P35 chip.

The battery on the Galaxy A03s can survive nearly 30 hours of calls. The phone did manage to get through web browsing with a time of just a little over 20 hours while it lasted for about 16 hours of video playback time.

Although the handset has a sufficiently large 5,000mAh battery, the charging speed is not all that inspiring – the phone ships with a 7.8W power adapter (5V/1.55A).

There is no fast charging support. Charging the phone with a 15W Samsung Power adapter delivered the same charging time as the bundled 7.8W charger.

A 30 minute charge brings the battery from 0% to 15%, which is quite slow. A full charge with the 7.8W power adapter takes 3 hours and 38 minutes.

There is no support for wireless or reverse wired charging on the Galaxy A03s.

Speaker:

The Samsung Galaxy A03s has a single, bottom-firing speaker. It is decently loud, if not the best we have heard till date.

The speaker quality is not good though – bass is completely absent, the mid-tones are average, but the high notes sound just okay.

Performance:

The Galaxy A03s is powered by MediaTek’s entry-level Helio P35 chipset. It comes with an octa-core CPU – all of them using Cortex-A53 of which four of them are clocked at 2.3GHz and other four are capped at 1.8GHz.

The GPU is PowerVR GE8320 GPU, and it is the same one that we can find on the G25 and G35.

The Galaxy A03s comes in several memory variants – 3/32 GB, 4/32 GB and 4/64 GB.

Moving on to the benchmark test – the Helio P35 chip (with only A53 cores) paired with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage managed to get a score of 889 points in the multi-core and 179 points in the single-core tests on the Geekbench.

As for the performance on the AnTuTu 9 test, it marked a score of 1,01,299 points.

Camera & Photo quality:

Rear Camera

Wide (main): 13 MP, f/2.2, AF;

Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4;

Depth: 2 MP, f/2.4.

Selfie Camera

5 MP, f/2.2.

Daylight photo quality:

The 13MP photos from the main camera are likable – they offer accurate colors, great contrast and impressive dynamic range. The images aren’t oversharpened.

The resolved detail is abundant, but the corners look soft with smeared detail due to the cheap lens. The noise handling isn’t best, but it doesn’t get in the way that much.

For an entry-level device the photos are good, even if not that detailed and most people should be happy with them.

There is a 2X zoom toggle on the viewfinder, but quite expectedly, it just delivers digitally cropped and upscaled photos.

Low-light photo quality:

There is no Night mode on the Galaxy A03s, the only enhancement available is Auto HDR. Without HDR, the images are less noisy, but darker and with blown highlights.

HDR introduces more noise, a lot more at times, but often it’s worth the extra noise, and we’d advise for leaving it act as it sees fit.

Macro:

The macro cam has a fixed focus at about 3-5cm distance. The unit more often strikes balance between noise reduction and detail. The photos look good, with okay detail, acceptable noise and good contrast. The color saturation is tolerable, all things considered.

Portraits:

The Galaxy A03s triple camera setup also offers a 2MP depth sensor that comes in handy when shooting portraits. The phone calculates a good depth map and the subject separation is good most of the time, provided there is enough light.

The portrait shots are okay with good colors and contrast. The detail isn’t much, especially in non-ideal lighting. But with this good separation and likable blur, we can see many people sharing such photos across social media.

Selfies:

The 5MP selfies are average. The colors and the contrast are good and the Auto HDR does help with the dynamic range. However, the resolved detail is quite poor.

You can also click portraits with the selfie camera, too. The portraits have good separation and nice blur, but the resolved detail is incredibly low.

Final verdict:

The Galaxy A03s is undeniably a good entry-level smartphone. It has a good screen, a dependable battery, a recent Android OS with One UI custom skin and a good primary camera.

Sadly, the Galaxy A03s seems to be a bit overpriced for what it packs – there are much better phones in this category. If it were priced around €100-€110, it would have been a great competitor.

So, if you can get the Galaxy A03s with a price cut that makes sense – we’d recommend it for its skills. But for now we’d suggest you look for another option.

Pros

  • Solid build, good grip.

  • Large screen with amazing contrast.

  • Excellent battery life.

  • The daylight camera quality is good.

  • Relatively recent Android with solid OneUI Core.

  • 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card, NFC.

Cons

  • More capable phones available at this price.

  • The colors displayed on the screen look dull.

  • Sluggish charger and no fast charging support.

  • The speakers sound poor.

  • Average performance, lag is occasional.

  • Lacks in the selfie and video department.

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