Samsung Galaxy S2 vs Samsung Galaxy S3

Vs Paul Briden 11:03, 4 May 2012

Samsung's Galaxy S3 takes on its predecessor, the Galaxy S2 in our head-to-head comparison

We compare the Samsung Galaxy S3 to its immediate predecessor, the Galaxy S2.

Form
Samsung Galaxy S2 - 125.3x66.1x8.5mm, 116g
Samsung Galaxy S3 - 136.6x70.6x8.6mm, 133g

The Galaxy S2 formed part of an iconic visual style of its time and place, following on from the Apple iPhone, it kept the trend of a more angular and slab-like shape, with slightly softened corners and a svelte 8.5mm profile.

Although visual trends are now changing it's a design that still looks contemporary a year later. Chrome accents provide a bit of contrast to the black bodywork (though this is somewhat lost on the white version) and the back panel features a nice textured, mesh-like surface.

Samsung is known for using durable plastics, meaning we know the Galaxy S2 isn't going to fall apart any time soon, but the handset does have a slightly cheap feel for a premium model, particularly on the back panel.

Samsung's successor model, the Galaxy S3, likewise follows the trends of its contemporaries, this time there's more than a hint of HTC's recent One range, particularly the mid-level One S. Samsung said the design was inspired, in part, by ‘pebbles' which is evident in the more curved shape over all.

We can also see a hint of Galaxy Nexus in there as well. Interestingly, the handset doesn't have a conventional black option, colour choices are either blue or white.

Like its predecessor, the Galaxy S3 features a physical home button and capacitive ‘back' and ‘menu' controls, meaning Samsung has chosen to forego Android Ice Cream Sandwich's (ICS) on-screen touch controls.

We mentioned earlier Samsung's use of plastics and this has extended to the Galaxy S3. The problem here, however, is that unlike HTC, Samsung hasn't opted for a high-quality matte finish plastic. The bodywork has a very tacky and cheap feel, it's extremely shiny despite its brushed texture and shows up finger prints quite a lot.

We were expecting Samsung to improve on the Galaxy S2's cheap plastic feel given that this was a common criticism in the past, but if anything it actually feels worse which is a big disappointment.

Apart from this it looks great in our view, we really like the shape, the size is not far off the original Galaxy S2 as Samsung has crammed a larger screen into a similarly-sized bodyshell, and the colour choices are refreshingly different.

In terms of appearance, we think the Galaxy S3 wins here, though the Galaxy S2 still looks good. On build quality we have to say the Galaxy S2 still reigns. We have to call this one a draw.

Winner - Draw

Display
Samsung's Galaxy S2 is fitted with a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus capacitive multi-touch display, featuring Corning Gorilla Glass, an 800x480 pixel resolution and a pixel density of 217 pixels-per-inch (ppi). Although it's not top dog anymore, this is still one of the better displays on the market being very sharp, bright and vivid with rich colours and good contrast.

The Galaxy S3 is a considerable upgrade, however. Samsung has managed to squeeze a massive 4.8-inch screen into a body not much bigger than the Galaxy S2. Not only that, it uses Samsung's Super AMOLED HD technology for an improvement over the Galaxy's visual quality.

The resolution is an impressive 1280x720 pixels and churns out a pixel density of 306ppi, which, for a screen of this size, is quite an achievement. Samsung has used Corning's Gorilla Glass 2 technology so it's just as strong as the original Gorilla Glass but considerably thinner, a factor which helps keep the device slimmer overall.

Colour depth, contrast and brightness are all great here, while it may not be the sharpest display on the market it is way up there as one of the better ones and with a pixel density over 300ppi most users will probably struggle to notice the difference from other high quality screens. The other deciding factor there, however, is that it does all this on a huge scale and, miraculously, in a device that isn't enormous.

The Galaxy S3 easily takes a victory here.

Winner - Samsung Galaxy S3

Storage
Samsung is consistently quite generous when it comes to both internal and external storage space, a factor we appreciate. Both the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3 come in 16GB and 32GB variants for internal capacity, while the Galaxy S3 has a further 64GB option. All variants of each handset have 1GB of RAM and micro SD capability for cars up to 32GB in capacity.

The Galaxy S3 wins here by having that higher-end 64GB option but in all cases you're pretty well spoiled on storage space.

Winner - Samsung Galaxy S3

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