The Samsung Galaxy A03s is unapologetically plain, it’s a phone that will go under the radar of most consumers today, and will fade in the background of some enticing smartphones in its price bracket. However, its redemption comes in the form of stable performance and general reliability.
In a nutshell
This device is worth looking into by customers who don’t really know the specifics of what they’re looking for, and just need a daily driver for basic smartphone functions that does not burn a hole in the pocket.
Design and build
One look at the Samsung Galaxy A03s and buyers will know, in an instant, that it’s a budget smartphone. Unlike Chinese brands like Xiaomi or Oppo, the tech giant is not afraid to market the A03s as a cheap phone. The lack of any striking design elements and the boring overall feel makes the A03s seem like a prototype, one that’s half-baked in the design department.
The entire device leans towards the heavy side at 196 grams, but thanks to its slim profile, it does not feel as bulky or awkward to hold. This slim profile, however, is what makes the thick side bezels and chin a disadvantage for the end-user who’s looking for an immersive display for content or gaming.
The button placement is on the right track for the Samsung Galaxy A03s, and so is the tactile feel of the volume rocker. While the volume keys and power button below are both easily reachable, the latter which doubles as a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, is barely noticeable or felt.
Thanks to the weight, the plastic body does not feel too cheap. It also eliminates 100% of fingerprint smudges thanks to the circular pattern texture on the panel, but is a missed opportunity to highlight modern-looking aesthetics. The rounded edges also contribute to making the device comfortable to hold.
Surprisingly, for a smartphone that’s such a bargain, its photography capabilities are more than impressive. Only a few of its price range competitors can go toe-to-toe with its camera setup, which on paper, is not that impressive to begin with. The 2MP depth sensor keeps its reputation of being unnecessary even in the case of the A03s, but the macro camera and 13MP main sensor tandem on this device is definitely something the competition must look out for.
Color reproduction is spot-on, bokeh effect is terrible, but the overall image quality and post-processing is admirable. Samsung would do well to add more modes for the stock camera app in a future update, but with decent lighting, the Samsung Galaxy A03s is the one to beat in the budget smartphone category.
User interface and features
Multitasking on the Samsung Galaxy A03s is a mixed bag. Granted that the One UI Core is simplistic and straightforward, 3GB of RAM can only get you so far. This implies stuttering when at least three mobile applications are running in the background, or downright lagging in moderate to heavy demanding games. For casual users, this is not overly detrimental to productivity, but to users who are in need of a daily driver that can keep up with moderate to heavy usage on a daily basis, the A03s can fall short more than a few times.
Despite that, there are also nifty features that A03s has. For instance, at a sub-P7,000 price tag, it already has a USB Type-C port. It also features customizable vibration or haptic feedback intensity, separate app sound for multiple external audio devices, side widgets, a blockchain-based sharing platform, remote unlock, and dual social apps.
For an underpowered smartphone, it makes sense that battery consumption isn’t as aggressive as seen in mid-tier or flagship devices. On a full charge in moderate use, the device can last for a day and a half. Charging time can take between one and two hours with the 15W charging.
The Samsung Galaxy A03s is not an attractive phone. It is not as eye-catching as the rest of the competition, and does not offer any mind-blowing features that justifies an excellent price-to-value ratio. However, what this device lacks in flair, it makes up for in surprisingly good cameras, an enduring battery life, and the elegant One UI experience that Samsung fans know all too well.