Samsung Galaxy S3 review [updated]
We review the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Android device that is the successor to our 2011 phone of the year
The Galaxy S3 was always going to cause a stir. By releasing the best Android phone of 2011 in the form of the Galaxy S2 the bar was automatically set very high, which then caused what we now affectionately call iPhone 4 syndrome: the process of having incredibly unrealistic expectations.
As the launch was rumoured to be close, everyone went into overdrive with opinions on what we may see (us included, admittedly). And when we did finally get a glimpse of the Android 4.0-toting smartphone, one word came into our minds after months of Christmas-type excitement: plastic.
Samsung managed to outsell the iPhone 5 when it first launched, according to a survey on consumer comparison site uSwitch. 30 million units were sold in the first 30 days of the handset going on sale. Samsung conmmented:
‘Samsung Electronics announced on the 4th that the global accumulated sales of Galaxy S III for the past 5 months surpassed 30 million from the supply side. The sales of Galaxy S III reached 10 million mark in 50 days, 20 million in 100 days, and finally 30 million in five months.
Simply put, one Galaxy S III was sold for every 0.45 seconds, and its daily sales stand at 190,000 units (for 157 days). Samsung Electronics once again claimed the clear leadership position in the smart phone market segment as Galaxy S III became yet another smash-hit with 30 million global sales record following in the footsteps of Galaxy S II.’
By August 2012, the Samsung Galaxy S3 was rumoured to have shipped ten million Samsung Galaxy S3s - an impressive number by any standards.
We know Samsung's build quality isn't the best but we struggled to hide a touch of disappointment at the South Korean firm knowing HTC had just released the One X – a beautiful piece of kit with aesthetics and quality working in harmony.
Fortunately, after a week with the device our main issue – how plasticky the device is – has faded away and we're now almost convinced that this could be one of the phones of the year. Quite a turn around indeed.
While the Galaxy S2 was no oil painting, its slim profile and big screen impressed us no end. While the Galaxy S3 is a bit fatter and has a bigger screen, the profile is still relatively slender, making it slide into your pocket with ease and fit comfortably in the hand.
Those of you with small hands may find it a bit unwieldy, and that's a valid argument. Not everyone wants such a large smartphone, but the combination of lightweight materials, smooth plastic and a slim waistline ensure the feeling of size isn't emphasised unnecessarily.
Our review sample came in white, which actually looks less cheap than the pebble blue ironically. Coated in Hyper Glaze, a swanky marketing term for the plastic used, the white hides finger smudges nicely although it does seem to attract fluff from clothing. It does look very smart, though, especially with the understated silver Samsung logo adorning the backplate.
A matt silver surrounds the device, with what little edging there is around the 4.8-inch screen. We actually had to check that number twice because the form-factor is incredible. Next to the Nokia Lumia 900 or the Motorola Razr Maxx, it looks about the same size but the display is much larger, which is an impressive feat.
Samsung has decided to keep a hardware home button, which makes it easier to locate if you aren't looking at your phone or it's dark. On the right is the back button, which lights up in bright white when pressed. On the left is a button for bringing up options.
The search button you get on some Android phones is gone, but a Google search bar on the home screen makes this a non-issue.
Sadly, there's no dedicated button for the camera, which is a shame given the quality of the camera, but the lack of extra buttons does add to the Galaxy S3's minimal appeal.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is available in a whole range of colours, including brown, black and silver, red on T-Mobile and even pink in Samsung's native Korea.
|UK Launch||May, 2012|
|Frequency||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100|
|Phone Style||Candy bar|
|Built-in Memory||16/32/64 GB storage, 1GB of RAM|
|Additional Memory||Up to 64GB via microSD card slot|
|High-speed Data||LTE (regional)|
|Connectivity||DLNA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Hotspot|
|Screen Size||4.8-inches, 720x1280 pixels (306ppi)|
|Screen Colours||16 million|
|Designer Lens||8-megapixel, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilisation|
|Camera Resolution||3264x2448 pixels|
|Video Resolution||1080p @ 30 frames per second|
|Music Formats||MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC player|
|Song Storage||Up to 64GB via microSD card slot|
|Radio||Stereo FM with RDS|
|Browser||HTML, Adobe Flash|
|Games||No, but downloadable from Google Play|