Samsung Galaxy S3 review
- Great screen
- Decent battery life
- Chock-full of features
- It’s just so big
- Gloss plastic looks low-end
- Some extras seem gimmicky
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