Samsung's super-affordable phone looks like a winner to me

At £139, this phone is a really affordable option

Samsung A03s
(Image credit: Samsung)

Tech journalists don’t spend a huge amount of time considering cheaper smartphones for a whole bunch of reasons. Mostly it’s because tech fans want mid to high-end devices, and that’s a big part of our readership. But if the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that everyone can benefit from a good smartphone and not everyone has hundreds of quid to buy the best of the best. 

Everything from COVID tracing, through to keeping up with the kids homework needs a smartphone or tablet. If you’re not flush with cash, then your options might be a bit limited, so Samsung’s new £140 Galaxy A03s could offer a solution, and do so in a package that looks pretty decent too. It might even become one of our best cheap smartphones, when we get a chance to review it. 

Obviously there are some compromises here, and you’ll probably notice them most in the camera which is a 13 megapixel f2.2 affair on the rear which is backed up by a 2 megapixel macro and 2 megapixel depth sensor. Not a bad arrangement on a budget phone by any stretch of the imagination. 

There’s also a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and an octa-core processor. That processor is supported by 3GB of RAM, which is a little on the low side for a modern Android phone, but will likely be fine for basic applications. Samsung also uses a version of its One UI Android launcher that’s designed for lower-power phones. While it may be missing some of the visual bells and whistles of premium phones, it should at least run well on lower spec hardware. You still get the benefit of Samsung’s Knox security, which really is great. 

Perhaps the best part is that Samsung has shoehorned in a 5,000mAh battery to this thing, which should offer impressive battery life. You’ll also see that the screen is a 6.5-inch LCD, it’s only HD but the whole phone looks fantastic and on a small device I really don’t see only having HD as much of a handicap. 

The A03s goes on sale on the 24th of September and might well be a good choice for kids who need to stay in touch with parents, or people on fixed incomes who need an affordable device. Paired with a good SIM only contract, with unlimited 4G data, this could be pretty much all you need, unless you’re an advanced power used. For those people, keep an eye out for Samsung’s S21 FE, which will cost more, but offers a cheaper alternative to high-end flagship phones.

Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited about how tech can make your life better.