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Samsung Galaxy S3 - The Beast Unleashed

The hotly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S3 will hit UK stores on 30th May and will hit Indian Stores on 31st May. Let's finds out if it was worth the wait

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is the successor to the hugely popular S2, which launched in February 2011. This might make it an automatic choice for many people looking to get a new phone, particularly those who already love their S2 or have heard friends raving about them. The S3 is a top-of-the-range model with an impressive set of hardware specifications. These include a quad-core processor, a 4.8in screen and Android 4 .0 installed. However, other Android 4.0 mobiles with similar specifications, such as the HTC One X, have already launched. So, does the S3 offer anything you can't get elsewhere? And is it better than the iPhone 4S?

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is heavier and thicker than its predecessor, the S2, but doesn't feel as robust. We felt confident the S2 could survive a few scrapes, scratches and short drops without suffering too much damage, but the S3 feels flimsy in comparison, however we have to wait to comment on the same. There are two colors available, blue and white, which both look great from a distance, and Polycarbonate body adds to it's charm.

The S3's screen is only half an inch bigger than the S2's, but even this slight increase makes the S3 more cumbersome to use for some, because your fingers need to stretch further, however personally I feel the screen size is perfect. If it's a big screen you're looking for though, it beats the iPhone 4S by a significant 1.3in.


If this is your first Android 4.0 phone, you may find the operating system tricky to get to grips with. Samsung has kept its own TouchWiz skin, which was also present on the S2, so users of the previous phone will find it familiar.

The TouchWiz interface hides some of Android's tools, including roaming and mobile network options, making them harder to use. But other elements have been vastly improved, including Wi-Fi Direct, which makes turning on wireless very easy. You can now swipe your finger to remove individual notifications or switch between tabs on the redesigned browser, too.

Brilliant new tools 

Android 4.0 makes it possible for phone manufacturers to do away with physical buttons completely, if they want to. Thankfully, Samsung has kept a physical Home button at the front and the same touch buttons on each side as you use on the S2 to control the Menu and Back options.

Unfortunately, the Home button, which also opens the voice command app, is far too sensitive. Reports say users often opened the voice command by mistake when trying to return to the home screen.

Samsung has included its own voice software called S Voice, which is one of a handful of Samsung's own built-in apps that have had an overhaul. S Voice has been redesigned to work like Siri on the iPhone 4S, and Samsung has added better search functions and commands. However, during some tests it had trouble recognizing regional accents and users had to speak loudly and clearly, which can be embarrassing when surrounded by people.

Samsung has also added some great features to the Camera app, namely 'Burst shot' and 'Best photo'. The former takes 20 shots at a time and selects the best one, while the latter selects the best picture from a group of eight. It can now recognize and tag people's faces in photos, too.

Another new feature is 'Smart stay', which uses the camera to read your eye movements, keeping the screen illuminated whenever you're looking at it. The screen will only fade if you close your eyes or look away.

The 'Direct call' feature recognizes movement, so if someone texts you and you want to call them back, simply lift the phone to your ear and their number will be dialed automatically. All Share Play and All Share Cast are built-in apps that make it easier to stream videos from the S3 to your TV.

'Pop-up Play' lets you watch a video in a pop-out window while you check for emails, browse the web or send texts. It was available in the S2, but works much better here.

Smooth running

With its impressive hardware specification, the S3 runs Android very smoothly. Every menu, swipe or task is performed immediately, with barely any delay between clicking something and the phone reacting. When compared to the S2 running Android 4.0, the S3 is noticeably slicker, thanks to its quad-core processor. While this isn't so apparent when browsing the web or using lightweight applications like messaging or using the camera, you'll see a considerable improvement when you play a high resolution game, stream music or watch a video. This also places it ahead of the iPhone 4S, which has a dual-core processor.

The screen looks brilliant. Menus, apps and photos all look stunning. It has the same 8-megapixel resolution camera that was on the S2, which takes great photos for a phone.

The S3 will be available in 16GB and 32GB versions at launch, with a 64GB version coming later. All models have a Micro SD slot so you can add up to 64GB of extra memory, which you can't do with an iPhone.


4.8” Super Amoled HD display
16/32/64GB depending on model, plus expandable MicroSD card
Cloud storage:
50GB Dropbox for two years
Pebble blue or marble white
2,100mAh (wireless charging optional extra)
8MP rear; 1.9 MP front
720 x 1280 px (306ppi)
136.6 x 70.6 x 8.55 mm
Operating System:
Android 4.0.4
Exynos 4 Quad (1.4GHz) 


Although it's been more than a year since the launch of the S2, not every element has been improved on the S3. The camera's resolution, for example, has stayed the same. Some changes, such as the redesigned casing, have even been detrimental.

However, the S3's quad-core processor handles Android 4.0 better than the S2, and makes the phone slicker when playing games and multitasking. Its speed also makes it a better choice than the iPhone 4S. The new screen is impressive, particularly when displaying photos or playing videos. The arrival of the S3 may lead to a drop in price for the S2, so if you don't already have one, this may be the perfect time to buy. But the S3 offers enough new excellent enhancements to make it worth paying full price for.