Samsung Galaxy A03

What is it?

The Samsung Galaxy A03 is an entry-level Android smartphone that can’t connect to 5G networks. It’s available in in three colours: black, blue and red.

Its specification levels are low, with its 1.6 GHz eight-core processor partnered with just 4GB of Ram. On paper it has 64GB of storage, but just 43GB is actually available, with the phone itself using the other 21GB. But if you need more space, then there’s a micro-SD card to expand the amount of memory up to a huge 1TB.

The 6.5-inch LCD display has a relatively low 720 x 1,600-pixel resolution. It also comes with a rather outdated micro-USB port and lacks support for the faster Wi-Fi 6 standard. Additionally, it doesn’t have the built-in gyroscope and compass that you’ll find on many rival models.

There are two rear cameras – a 48Mp main, plus a 2.4Mp depth lens. The front-facing selfie camera has a 5Mp resolution.

There’s a face scanner for unlocking the phone, but it doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor. Connecting to headphones is done using a conventional 3.5mm audio jack, and near-field communication (NFC) is provided for contactless mobile payments. It can operate with dual-Sim cards, which can be useful if you like to use a different Sim card when you travel abroad or for work.

It’s reasonably slim at 9.2mm and weighs 199g, which isn’t overly heavy.

What’s it like to use?

It’s easy to set up and use, and unlocking the device using the face scanner works well. Navigation of the on-screen menus is intuitive, but the rather unresponsive touchscreen can be irritating.

The phone also struggled in our tougher performance tests showing the processor and Ram combination lacks power. The absence of 5G and the faster Wi-Fi 6 standard also means that data transfer rates are slower.

The low-resolution LCD display lacks contrast and brightness, which can make it hard to read in some light conditions, plus its angle of view is rather narrow so it’s trickier to read if you’re not facing the phone straight on.

Call quality is good in a quiet place and remains acceptable even when there’s increased background noise. However, sound quality from its mono speaker is poor, coming across as very harsh and lacking in bass.

How long does the battery last?

It’s powered by a 5,000mAh battery. At maximum brightness, it lasted 33 hours in our tests, and you can extend this to 40 hours if you turn the brightness down a little, which is a good result.

It come supplied with a 7.8-Watt charger, but using this charger takes a lengthy three and a half hours to fully replenish the battery. Wireless charging isn’t supported.

How good are the cameras?

Overall, image quality is below par. It’s best in bright light, with the rear cameras delivering scenes that have a fair level of detail and are well-exposed, albeit with slightly muted colours. Portrait shots aren’t great, however, with a lack of distinction between the sharper facial part of the photo and an out-of-focus background.

In lower-light conditions, the colours remain acceptable, but you begin to lose some of the detail in images that become increasingly blurred and grainy.  Turning on the flash doesn’t improve picture quality much, and pictures are slightly pale and fuzzy.

Images from the front selfie camera aren’t great, either, with muted colours and a rather cold, grainy look. As light levels decrease, they get less detailed, with flat, unnatural colouration. If you switch to using the flash they don’t really improve, with indistinct and fuzzy pictures.

Rear-lens videos fail to impress looking over exposed and with unrealistic colours, plus the lack of any image stabilisation means shaky hands cause problems. Front camera videos also suffer from similar issues with footage appearing jittery, with odd colouration and hard levels of contrast.

Is there anything I should know?

The Samsung Galaxy A03 doesn’t have a formal IP rating, but it passed our rainfall and drop tests without significant damage, and the screen doesn’t scratch easily, so it should prove robust.

Should I buy it?

No. There are just too many downsides to this smartphone and there are better options available around this price point.