Samsung Galaxy S3 review

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

T3 5
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 review

    Love

    • Great screen
    • Decent battery life
    • Chock-full of features

    Hate

    • It’s just so big
    • Gloss plastic looks low-end
    • Some extras seem gimmicky
    title: Samsung Galaxy S3: Camera / url: camera



    Samsung Galaxy S3: Camera

    Last year, the Galaxy S2’s 8MP camera was above average. Now the competition has caught up and the S3 was rumoured to be getting a 12 megapixel camera, but instead it's got the same snapper as the S2.

    Still, it’s a decent sensor which delivers strong results and you can also capture full HD 1080p video.

    The front camera sports a 1.9MP sensor and can capture 720p video at the same time as taking a still picture.

    Samsung Galaxy S3: Battery

    So you won’t be short of features to play with. Which drains the battery, of course. The other advantage of a phone this big is it can cram in a large battery.

    Video: Samsung Galaxy S3: How big is it?

     


    The one in the S3 goes on and on – unlike some Android phones in the past which conk out after lunch. And since it’s a removable battery, you can carry a spare as well (although, we've yet to find anybody that actually does this).

    Samsung Galaxy S3: Performance

    Speed is important, especially when you want to do more with your phone, like play high-definition video smoothly. So the on-board quad-core processor really helps.

    It’s not quite as fast as the one in the HTC One X, but it’s a real powerhouse that never slows down however much demand you’re placing on it.

    A second microphone means call quality is good and signal strength was solid and strong. This is the most feature-packed Android phone yet, and one of the most powerful.

    If you’re an iPhone user who’s feeling their handset’s a bit puny in comparison, this is the best time to make the switch from iOS to Google – though it’s still nowhere near as intuitive to use.

    Although you can opt for a Galaxy S3 with a huge 64GB storage (coming soon), the phone also has a microSD slot – unlike the HTC One X, iPhone S and many other rivals

    Samsung Galaxy S3: 4G

    The next generation of wireless data - 4G - has arrived courtesy of EE (Formerly Everything Everywhere) and having seen the OM4G posters and Hollywood A-Lister Kevin Bacon EE advert, we checked out what superfast mobile internet is currently made of with the 4G EE Samsung Galaxy S3.

    Rolling out to 16 cities before Christmas, we spent our time testing the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE in Central London and West London and found 4G coverage dropped in and out depending on location and whether we were indoors or outdoors.

    The benefits of EE 4G should be increased data speed (up to five times faster than 3G networks to be precise) for downloading and uploading while streaming and gaming should be less interrupted by buffering and lag.

    Using the Speed Test Android app on our 4G and 3G handsets there was a significant difference in terms of download speeds and upload speeds.The S3 averaged 25000kbps (25Mbps) compared to around 500kbps (0.5Mbps) download speed for the 3G device. In terms of upload speeds, it was comprehensive once again with the S3 averaging 25000kbps (25Mbps) to just 25kbps (0.25Mbps) for upload speed.

    Samsung Galaxy S3: EE

    Part of the EE 4G package is that you can download and stream one free film a week to watch from its dedicated Movie app. Attempting to download the 700MB plus file was a breeze over 4G until the connection dropped out as was the case in many situations we tested it.

    Streaming the movie was equally impressive with no signs of buffering until we were returned back to 3G+.  The same can be similarly said about gaming and watching videos on YouTube, it’s great until that 4G connection is lost.

    In just a few days of usage we managed to rack up over 1GB of data which for some people with data packages would be the end of the line. With the free EE movies not counted towards your allowance, we still found it possible to chew up a significant amount of data but that was probably more down to intensive testing purposes.

    We found tha the 4G performance was miles ahead of 3G in many ways, as we’d expected, but with coverage still patchy, you really have to be desperate to download big files and be a serial video/picture uploader to Facebook to want to pay some pretty big tariffs to get in on the action now.
     
    If you're happy to do more data consuming tasks when you are on the Wi-Fi at home or work, it might be worth holding on for 4G to spread a bit further and prices to drop a little more to justify making the leap.

    Samsung Galaxy S3: Verdict

    For Android lovers, it’s hard to fault the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the only other handset to come close is the HTC One X – and it comes very close. The S III wins out for features and innovations. But, be warned, it’s going to be too big for some hands.

    The S3 is a mighty big phone that’s powerful, feature-packed and exceptionally desirable.

    Watch: Samsung Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 4S

     

    Samsung Galaxy S3 release date: 30 May 2012

    Samsung Galaxy S3 price: £499

    Samsung Galaxy 4G LTE price: £36-56 per month (500-8GB), £149.99-£29.99 (handset)

    4G/EE review by Michael Sawh

  • The highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S3 has finally arrived and it comes toting a quad-core processor, massive 4.8 Super AMOLED screen and raft of new features

    Samsung Galaxy S3 review

    Love

    • Great screen
    • Decent battery life
    • Chock-full of features

    Hate

    • It’s just so big
    • Gloss plastic looks low-end
    • Some extras seem gimmicky

    We've all been speculating about it for months and at last the Samsung Galaxy S3 is a reality, announced at the Brand's huge Mobile Unboxed event at Earl's Court in London.

    The successor to the Samsung Galaxy S2, the new handset sports a massive 4.8-inch screen, a quad-core processor and a wide range of other interesting features on board.

    As the new top-tier Android phone on the block, the S3 is set to go head to head with the likes of the HTC One X, the Sony Xperia S but has it got what it takes to grab the Android crown, and can it turn iPhone 4S fans over to Google's OS?

    We went hands-on with the new phone for a closer look...

    Samsung Galaxy S3: Build

    With a 4.8-inch screen on board, the S3 isn't exactly small. Measuring 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm, the S3 is slightly longer, wider and fatter than the S2 (125.3 x 66.1 x 8.49mm), which may prove to bit a little on the large side for some although the extra thickness may actually make the S3 slightly easier to hold and less likely to slip from your hand, particuarly when taking a photo.

    At 133g, the S3 is very slightly heavier than the S2, although only be 3g so if we hadn't have told you, you probably wouldn't have even noticed.

    The slightly rounded design means that the new phone has more in common with the looks of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus than with the S2, although the plastic finish on the back feels more premium than its predecessor.

    The S3 has the usual Home button along with Settings and Back touch controls on either side, while the front-facing camera has inexplicably moved from the left to the right of the screen.

    The brand takes it's 'Inspired by Nature' theme through to the finishes - you can choose from Marble White and Pebble Blue.

    Samsung Galaxy S3: Features

     

    There are plenty of new features on board, not least the Smart Stay function which uses eye detection to ensure that the screen

    doesn't dim as long as you're looking at it, which could well be useful, albeit a potential drain on on your precious battery life.

    Smart Alert means that the phone will vibrate as soon as you pick it up to let you know that you have a notification, presumably if looking at the notification light is slightly too taxing for you. Not exactly a game-changing feature, but something new, nonetheless.

    Another new feature is Smart Call which automatically dials the number you're looking at as soon as you lift the phone to your ear when you're in contacts, messages or call log. This sounds like a clever piece of technical wizardy (which is based on proximity sensors and motion detection), but whether it's useful or not will be down to personal preference.

    S Voice is essentially voice-activated control that will give you direct access to functions such as the camera, calls, text, the alarms, weather, calendar and music and it'll even work when music is playing. What it won't do is answer you back with pithy retorts, like Apple's Siri.

    You'll also be able to watch videos in a (very tiny) pop-up screen whlie multitasking in other apps. We're not entirely sure what this would be useful for, but video conferencing could be the key here.

    Social Tag will instantly recognise faces from pics and automatically offer to text the image to the people featured in the image.

    All Share PLay enables wireless transfer to all other connected devices while SBEAM will transfer files using an NFC connection, although for bigger files you'll need to go back to Wi-Fi. And it'll only work with other Galaxy S3s.

    Samsung Galaxy S3: Screen

    The gigantic 4.8-inch screen is probably the phone's most striking feature, and while it's an inch bigger than that of the HTC One X, it's not as square so it doesn't look quite as massive. It's still quite a leap from the S2's 4.3-inch screen, while the pixel density has been upped from 218ppi to 306ppi, with a resolution of 720x1280 pixels. Once again the screen uses Super AMOLED technology, to keep the viewing angle as wide as possible.

    Even under the artificial lights of the demo room, we could see that the screen was of excellent quality, but we've to try out in bright sunshine.

    Samsung Galaxy S3: Camera

    While many were expecting a 12MP camera to land with the new S3, Samsung has stuck a relatively average, but thoroughly decent, 8MP snapper and it will also shoot and play 1080p. Not much has changed since the previous model in terms of specs, but there are a couple of new features.

    The burst mode takes contiunous shots at a rate of 6fps, and from that the camea will pick the best shot based on smile detection, blink detection, contrast and blurring. According to Samsung, the camera has zero shutter lag along with an improved shot-to-shot time.

    Face Slideshow will zoom in all the faces within a picture if you're viewing your pictures in a slideshow. Does anyone view their phone-based photos in a slideshow? We're not so sure.

    You'll also be able to set up rules for photos to be automatically placed in groups based on faces, contacts or location. There's also Face Zoom which means that you can tap on a face when lining up a crowd shot and the camera will zoom in automaticlly. The lack of optical zoom means that this is going to be fairly limited, but we look forward to trying it out in the wild.

    We can't help but think that some or these features may be overthinking the problem somewhat. We just want a camera that offers the best quality snaps possible...

    Somewhat curiously, the front-facing cam is 1.9MP compared to the S2's 2MP. While this kind of difference will make absolutely no difference at all in practice, it seems a little strange for the specs to be going down rather than up. However, the good news is that you can shoot video in 720p and also capture stills and the same time that you're shooting video.

    Samsung Galaxy S3: Performance

    The quad-core processor certainly seemed to do the trick in the limited time that we had with the phone. There was barely any lag when switching between home screens and firing up apps.

    The S3 sports 1GB of RAM (the same as the S2), while the Flash memory is available in 16, 32 and 64 GB versions, improving on the S2's 16GB offering, while there's also a micro SD card slot should you wish to expand the memory. There's also 50GB of free storage for your content on Dropbox for the next years, which is double what HTC is offering on its HTC One X.

    Samsung Galaxy S3: Battery

     

    The S3 packs a 2100mah battery, compared to the S2's 1650mah cell. Obviously we haven't had our hands on the phone long enough determine exactly how much difference this will actually make, the presence of a more powerful processor (not to mention all the extra features) will certainly require more juice.

    Samsung Galaxy S3: Verdict

    The Samsung Galaxy S3 certainly looks impressive, especially thanks to the zippy operation that results from that quad-core chip.

    Some will see the new social, voice and notification features as being compelling reasons to buy the phone. Some will see them as an unnecessary drain on the battery and will spend their first few hours with the phone deciding which of the features to deactivate first.

    Either way, there's no denying that the S3 is a powerful phone that could well be a contender for the Best Android Phone crown. We'll just have to see how it performs when we get one in for testing at T3 Towers...

    Samsung Galaxy S3 availability: 30 May

    Samsung Galaxy S3 price: TBC

    Hands-on review by Libby Plummer

    Check out our Samsung Galaxy S3 hands-on review video:

     

     

    • Samsung Galaxy S3 hands-on review
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_lead_624-1.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_4_624-1.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_2_624-1.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_3_624-1.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_1_624-1.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_lead_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_1_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_2_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_3_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_4_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_6_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_8_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/sa/xs_Samsung_S3_9_624.jpg
    • Video
      Samsung Galaxy S3: 10 things to do first

      Samsung Galaxy S3: 10 things to do first

      01:52
    • Video
      S Voice VS Siri test

      We ask 10 quick-fire questionsn to find out the champion of this digital battle.

      02:45
    • Video
      Samsung Galaxy S3 Size: How big is it?

      Samsung Galaxy S3 size: How big is it?

      01:43
    • Video
      Samsung Galaxy S3 free apps news

      Samsung Galaxy S3 free apps news

      02:32
    • Video
      Samsung Galaxy S3 S Voice demo test

      We do a quick test with Samsung's answer to Siri

      01:37
    • Video
      Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Sony Xperia S test

      Another Android phone joins the powerhouse party, but which one is best?

      01:17
    • Video
      Samsung Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 4S

      The Samsung Galaxy S2 came close but is the Galaxy S3 the one to topple the iPhone?

      01:00
    • Video
      Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X

      The best Android phone around takes on the new competitor, the Galaxy S3

      00:58
    • Video
      Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Samsung Galaxy S2

      Camera, OS, speed and design comparisons of the pair of Android smartphones

      01:11
    • Video
      Samsung Galaxy S3 hands-on review

      First impressions of the Android-running quadcore superphone.

      02:00
    • Video
      Samsung Galaxy S3 Exclusive First Images

      T3's Samsung Galaxy S3 Exclusive First Images.

      00:50
    • Video
      Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini preview

      The shrunken S3 comes with a 4-inch screen and less processing power

      00:58
    • Video
      Best Android Phones 2012

      A roundup of the top 5 Android phones to get in your basket

      01:58
  • Samsung Galaxy S3

    Best deals

    Mobiles.co.uk£7.50See deal
    Mobiles.co.uk£18.00See deal
    Tesco£17.50See deal
    Mobile Phones Direct£29.99See deal

Best smartphones

Smartphones

Which smartphone will snag the title of best blower?

Comments

Be the first to comment…

Back to top
Close
T3 Newsletter
Sign up to recieve the T3 newsletters by entering your details below

Your Details

As you're registering with us. we'd like to think that you'd enjoy receiving the following emails; if you'd rather not receive them, please untick the boxes:

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and it's group companies containing news, special offers and product information
I agree to the terms of use and privacy policy and confirm that I am over 16 years of age *
Close
Log in or Join

By clicking below you agree to our terms and conditions and our privacy policy

Log in to T3.com with your preferred social network

Log in with your T3.com account

CloseJoinPlease complete these additional details

Join T3.com with your preferred social network

OR

Join T3.com

Please tick this box to confirm you are 16 years old or over

Just so we know you're human

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Close Edit your profile

Change your password

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Social networks

You have authorised these social networks to interact with your T3.com account.

Please ensure you deactivate or revoke access to this website from within your social networks settings to ensure all permissions are removed.

Close Forgotten your password

Forgotten your password?

Please enter the email address that you used to sign up and we'll send you a new password

Close
Forgotten password
Don't have a T3 Account? Join now