Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 review: Minor league

Hristo Zlatanov, 18 November 2013.
Pages: 123456789101112

Tags: Samsung, Android

Feature-rich gallery but no air view

The gallery on the Galaxy Ace 3 is quite similar to what you get on the regular S4 except for the air view option. It can be sorted into albums, all photos and videos, time, location, etc. There is no spiral view here. You can pinch to zoom in the gallery and thus manage the size of the thumbnails.

When viewing an album's contents, a right swipe will reveal a bar with the rest of the albums available. In this mode you can browse images in a split-screen mode.

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Gallery

Upon a press and hold on an image, the gallery gives you the option to select multiple items, which you can then mass delete, share, copy or move.

Viewing photos on the Galaxy Ace 3 is a pleasant experience. The screen is ample and treats you to very pleasant colors. The gallery naturally supports full-res images. You can enable the Adobe RGB screen mode for more accurate color rendering if this is important to you.

When viewing a single photo, you'll find several sharing shortcuts and a delete button above the photo, with a line of small thumbnails below displaying all other photos in the album. You can tap those small thumbnails to move to other images or you can just swipe to the side.

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Viewing image Sharing options You can switch between images with side swipes

You can easily edit photos right in the Gallery itself. The photo editor gives you options like crop, rotate, color and effects. You can also write a note over the picture.

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Editing an image

The Gallery supports highly customizable slideshows too, with several effects to choose from, customizable music and speed. You can also highlight specific images to be included in the slideshow.

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Slideshow options

TouchWiz music player

The TouchWiz music player on the Galaxy Ace 3 is the same as the one on the Galaxy S4. It is jam-packed with features and supports a wide variety of file formats, including .FLAC, .WAV, etc.

Music is sorted by the usual Artist, Album, Playlist, etc. but there's also Folder support (which is more often found on third party players) - it's quite handy as it saves you the need to sort songs into playlists like on so many other players.

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Samsung Music player

Music square is quite similar to the SensMe feature of Sony smartphones. It automatically rates a song as exciting or calm, passionate or joyful and lets you build playlists based on mood rating.

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Mood Square options

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 can also search for content on third party players like PCs on the same network via the DLNA functionality.

Samsung has enabled equalizer presets (including a custom one with 7 bands) along with the sound-enhancing SoundAlive technology, which features 7.1 channel virtualization. Samsung uses SoundAlive in some of their MP3 and Android-powered media players.

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SoundAlive equalizer

The Now playing screen gives you the usual options: a timeline, play/pause and skip controls, repeat and shuffle, volume control but it also adds lyrics support, an AllShare shortcut and a direct sound settings shortcut.

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Now playing

While listening to a song you can find music controls in the notification area and the lockscreen.

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Music player options controls in the notification area and lockscreen

Decent video player, but no fullHD, DivX or AC3 codec support

The video player on the Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 has the last watched video on top for quick access. There are two tabs below it - personal (showing you the videos on your local storage) and Nearby devices, which shows the PCs and players on your local Wi-Fi network.

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Video player

The video player lets you choose between three crop modes for how the video fits the screen. You can adjust video brightness, color tone and enable outdoor visibility, too.

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Video player

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 offered a list of subtitles and let us pick. It scans all subtitles, so the file doesn't even have to have the same name as the video file.

The big disappointment here is the relatively poor video codec support. It plays XviD, MP4 and MKV files of up to 720p resolution, but fullHD and DivX is not supported, and neither are the AC3 audio codecs or DTS sound. Of course, you can download a third-party video player off the Play Store to play those, but it's always nice when you have built-in support for them.

FM Radio with RDS, broadcast recording

The Galaxy Ace 3 comes equipped with an FM Radio with RDS. The interface is simple - there's a tuning dial and you can save as many as 12 stations as favorites. You can also play on the loudspeaker, but the headset is still needed as it acts as the antenna. You can record radio broadcasts as well.

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FM Radio

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