Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 review: The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 offers decent specs for the price

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good

Average User Rating

3.5 stars 6 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good 4G connectivity; Expandable storage; Samsung stylings.

The Bad Screen and specs fall short of much cheaper Moto G; Limited on-board storage; Bundled Samsung software could be confusing for new users.

The Bottom Line The Galaxy Ace 3 has an adequate set of specs for the price, but neither its screen, software or performance match the Motorola Moto G's, which costs half as much. Unlike the Moto G though, the Ace 3 does offer 4G and expandable storage -- the only reasons to go for this phone over Motorola's

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 packs some of the best tech around underneath a glorious, big screen. But it pairs it with a price tag that's just not palatable for many people. If your phone needs are more modest, but you still want the Samsung name in your pocket, take a look at the new addition to Samsung's budget Galaxy Ace range.

The Ace 3 packs a 4-inch display with an 800x480-pixel resolution, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, Android 4.2.2 software, 4G connectivity and a 5-megapixel camera.

It's available now for £210 SIM-free, or free from £27 per month on a two-year contract.

Should I buy the Samsung Galaxy Ace 3?

The launch of the Motorola Moto G has made shopping for budget mobiles considerably easier. Its 4.5-inch screen is sharper and looks better than the Ace 3's, its quad-core processor provides a smoother operation and at £135 SIM-free, it's two-thirds the price of the Ace, too. The Moto G outperforms every other budget phone available right now.

If you want the Samsung name on your phone, it's worth taking a look at the Galaxy Ace 3.

The Ace 3 does have a trick up its sleeve though. It has 4G connectivity, allowing for super-fast data downloads -- the Moto G is 3G only. If data speeds are important then the Ace 3 is worth looking at, otherwise, you'd be much better off checking out the Moto G.

Design and build quality

If you've laid eyes on any of Samsung's recent phones then the Ace 3 will be immediately familiar. Its glossy white body, silver band around the edge, silver edging on the home button and chrome effect speaker grille are all standard design cues found on Samsung's range. The plain white, glossy back does look rather budget though, which isn't helped by the wide bezels around the screen.

The Moto G has quite a plain design too, but its matte plastic back looks rather more smart. If you're after something a little more swanky, the HTC One Mini with its metal body looks much more luxurious. You'll have to fork out more cash though.

The back panel feels cheap, but sturdy enough.

At 121mm long, 62mm wide and 10mm thick, it's small enough to comfortably hold in one hand and you're unlikely to notice its 120g weight in your pocket either. The back panel feels nasty and cheap when removed, but so does the S4's -- keep it firmly secured to your phone and it feels much better. There's no flex in the chassis though and it generally feels like it could take a knock or two.

It has 8GB of built-in storage, of which 5GB is available to use -- the rest is taken up by the operating system and large amount of bundled Samsung software. There's a microSD card slot though, letting you expand the storage to make room for all your music, videos and apps.

Display

The 4-inch display has an 800x480-pixel resolution which is very much at the lower end of what I'd expect to see, even on a budget phone. It's here in particular that the Ace really falls behind the Moto G. The G's 4.5-inch display has a 1,280x720-pixel resolution, which makes icons and small text look crisp and clear.

The display on the Moto G is far better than the Ace 3's.

The Ace 3's display isn't anywhere near as crisp. For Facebook and Twitter it'll cope fine, but small icons in games like Asphalt 8 looked fuzzy and unpleasant. It's reasonably bright and its colours aren't awful, although they do have a slightly cold colour cast. The G's colours are much more impressive however, as are its viewing angles.

While the Ace 3's screen is adequate, it's really not a patch on the Moto G's display. When you factor in the G's cheaper price too, there's really no competition.

Android software

The Ace 3 arrives running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean -- again, a step behind the Android 4.3 on the Moto G. Samsung has slapped on its TouchWiz interface though so you probably won't notice that it's not running a more recent version of Android.

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Samsung Galaxy Ace 3

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