Samsung Galaxy A03s Preview

Intro

Hi good people! Here we’re going to unbox Samsung Galaxy A03s and take a little bit closer to this smartphone. From the specification standpoint, I can say what we get is sort of what we pay for. I got it for about Rp1.7mio. To get a better understanding of this post, you might want to watch the video version too (be aware that the language spoken is Indonesian):

Key Specs

  • 6,5″
    720×1600
  • 13MP
    1080p
  • 4GB RAM
    Helio P35
  • 5000mAh
    Li-Po
  • Android 11, One UI 3.1 Core
    64GB, microSDXC

Unboxing

The packaging has Smartfren SIM card bundling, and I even get two. The one is labelled as a special package for Samsung but we don’t really get any more information on what makes it just for Samsung (smartphone / A03s).

The cardbox is very basic and sealed on two corners. The front side has a device photo. On the side, there is just a label of Galaxy A03s. Other than those, the cardboard just plain white with the back/bottom side is written that the box is printed with soy ink. 

What I see the first time opening the box is the warranty book. It’s good that nowadays there’s no guide book anymore. Samsung seems to want to save papers. No one reads anyway.

Under the warranty book, there is the device. As with any other Samsung smartphone, Samsung Galaxy A03s is wrapped with plastic with some labels for the main specs of this device.

Beneath the device, there is still a charger accompanied by a type-C USB cable. And at the bottom of the box, we are given a SIM card ejector. Unfortunately the charger is supplying 7.8 Watt—just 5V and 1.55A. A little bit disappointing, even for a low-end, it doesn’t even reach 10W. I can’t imagine how long it would take to charge this device from empty to fully charged.

The Device

Samsung Galaxy A03s’ back cover feels wavy, which seems it is not by design. On both sides of the phone a little bit higher. The top side has a selfie camera and earpiece that is quite wide. Bottom of the device, from the right, there is a 3.5mm jack, microphone, type-C USB port and speaker. Yes you read it right, it still rocks audio jack.

Alas this device camera island tiny gap easily gets dirty by dust or some sort. Like what happened to mine, it is already a little bit dirty from particles straight out from the cardboard.

Compared with my current device—Samsung Galaxy A50 which is three generations before A03s, they are not that different from a design standpoint. It’s just that they make the screen taller, moving from 19.5:9 to 20:9 aspect ratio starting from the 2020 generation. 

A03s’ screen is a PLS LCD. It’s just how Samsung calls their IPS, you might be more familiar with this term. Still comparing with A50, I consider its Super AMOLED screen is better than A03s. Even if it is an OLED tech from 2019, especially the colour depth and luminance in a bright room or outside with bright sunlight.

The thickness is a little bigger than A50 with the weight being a bit heavy too. Maybe it is to accommodate the bigger battery that the current generation has or at least for Samsung Galaxy A03s.

Overall when it is seen from afar, it doesn’t feel cheap. But the low-end vibe will always be there when you hold it for yourself. At least the polycarbonate finishing is not a fingerprint magnet. 

OS and Performance

Samsung Galaxy A03s still runs Android 11 even though Android 13 is on the horizon. The One UI—Samsung’s way of calling its ‘skin’ is the core version. We can safely say it like the lighter version. The features and functionalities are not as complete as higher ups A line up, or the top of the line S series and Z series.

First time setup is no different from any other Android smartphone. Like at the start we can migrate apps and data from the current device. The frustrating part is actually when I am presented with a checklist but no way to uncheck to deny the installation.

So after the first setup, I try to uninstall the app one by one. Unfortunately some of the first party apps can’t be uninstalled, at most  just being disabled. But one app—TitkTok can’t be removed from the home screen even though the app is not installed.

Another frustrating flow is that even though I skip adding a Samsung account, a notification is still shown to add one after finishing the first time setup. I get that it might be just a reminder.

Now moving on to the performance department. Even though the device condition is still freshly opened from the box and I uninstalled apps as many as I could, the performance feels sluggish when I do simple scrolling. 

The biggest disappointment is the performance is just not there, even for basic tasks. It’s not for A03s alone but all other low-end devices from other brands. So we need to add some budget to get a more enjoyable experience. I still remember back in 2016, a device like Xiaomi Redmi 3 is enough for basic daily tasks. No-nonsense sluggish scrolling found.

Camera

The main camera  has a 4x zoom and 10x zoom which is just a digital zoom. It means the photo is just zoomed in like we do it when viewing them in the gallery. Since the camera setup doesn’t have a tele module. 

The interesting part is that this device has a portrait mode that is not pure software as there is a depth module. But unfortunately, there is a noticeable flaw. For objects that are straight like books, the result is actually not a line of the book but wavy.

Overall the quality for both photo and video aligns with the money that we need to pay. In an indoor environment with low light and outdoors with good lighting. My suggestion to make video a bit more acceptable is to use a tripod to stabilise the footage as the main module doesn’t support any form of stabilisation. 

Conclusion

So the question is, is Samsung Galaxy A03s worth it? For me it is (or at least sort of). Considering the price is about Rp1.7mio, what we get is reasonable. But maybe if the performance could be better or the price was cheaper like Rp100.000 less, there would be no competition for this phone. 

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