Three UK, likely to soon be the largest carrier in the UK, has announced that they are to start selling the Samsung Galaxy A3 and A5 devices. Both the A3 and the A5 use metal in their construction with chassis ideas taken from the Samsung Galaxy Alpha. However, whereas the Galaxy Alpha is arguably an upper mid-range, priced as a high-end device, the A3 and A5 are positioned lower down in the range. Both occupy the "fat mid-range" of devices, that is, the A3 is towards the lower end and the A5 is pretty much smack bang in the middle.
To write about the Galaxy A3 first, this is based around a 4.5-inch, qHD panel (that being, 540 by 960 pixel resolution, so not quite 720p HD) assisted by 1.5GB of RAM. Samsung have used the 64-bit, the newer generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz in conjunction with a 1,900mAh battery. The A3 comes with 16 GB of internal storage plus a MicroSD card if you want to add more. Samsung have given the A3 an 8MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facer. There's LTE, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0, too.
The Galaxy A5 is based around a 5.0-inch, 720p resolution Super AMOLED panel. Under the skin, there's the same 64-bit quad-core Qualcomm processor but for the A5, it comes with a healthy 2GB of RAM. It too has 16GB of internal storage complete with a MicroSD card slot. Samsung have given the A5 a 2,300mAh battery and a Category 4 LTE modem. It also comes with the typical Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band WiFi, NFC and FM Radio. Around the back, there's a 13MP camera and on the front, a 5MP front-facing camera.
Whilst neither handset has any surprises in the specification list, they also present a significant upgrade from a mid-range device from late 2012 or early 2013. Even looking through the A5's specification, I am reminded somewhat of my Samsung Galaxy S III; the A5 is an upgrade in several key areas, most notably build and construction (metal versus plastic), rear camera megapixel count (13 versus 8) and radios (LTE versus HSPA). For customers not wanting to stretch to the Galaxy S5 but want to stick with the Samsung brand, I can see a lot of sense in the A3 and A5 models, especially if they feel as great to handle in the hand as the Galaxy Alpha. What might concern is is the likelihood that Samsung will announce that the devices cannot benefit from an upgrade at some point in the future because of inadequate memory, whereas the flagship devices will continue to be upgraded.
What do our readers think? If you were interested in a mid-range device, would either the A3 or A5 tickle for fancy? Would it depend on price and availability – Three have yet to confirm the price of when they might be available, but the A3 and A5 are going on sale on the 12 February so we don't expect to be waiting long – or do you prefer your Android with a more stock flavor rather than Samsung TouchWiz? Let us know in the comments below.