Samsung Galaxy S III Review
Samsung kick-started its whole Galaxy line of Android phones back in 2009 with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy I7500 – the first Android smartphone of the manufacturer. Initially, there wasn't such great interest in the product; it was an OK device with moderate specs and no special feature to spawn interest. This was the beginning of Samsung's Android business – no fanfares or great expectations. The company was still trying to figure out if there's potential in the open-source platform.
A few months later, at the end of 2009, Motorola somehow managed to nail it with its new Android phone, the DROID, exclusively available through Verizon. And this turned out to be the moment Google (and the entire Android community, as small as it may have been at that time) was waiting for. In just a few months, everyone knew about Android, and it was mainly Motorola that gained from this. Never wanting to be left out of the limelight, Samsung went back to the lab, firmly decided on crafting the ultimate Android phone, or the ultimate Galaxy phone, to be more specific. In mid-2010, the South Korean company was ready with its new product and unveiled it to the world. Named Samsung Galaxy S, it was a phone that didn't catch the eye, but managed to get every geek excited with its hardware characteristics. With Android becoming more and more popular as an alternative to iOS, and with the Galaxy S basically being the best Android had to offer at the moment, the phone just couldn't fail. And it didn't – the Galaxy S went on to become one of the most popular Android phones ever. Now, the obvious question is how do you follow such a successful product. How do you follow the Galaxy S? Well, with the Galaxy S II, of course! Introduced in 2011, the Galaxy S II actually become something like the people's champ in Android Land. Even when newer models with significantly refined user experiences began to show up later, users preferred to hold on to the Galaxy S II, claiming that it's still unbeatable in many areas. In a way, that meant that all these people were waiting for the Galaxy S III.
Well, it is now 2012, and the time has finally come for the Galaxy S III to show up on stage. The difference between this launch and those of the Galaxy S's before it is that the expectations of the audience are much higher now. People were waiting to see the next BIG thing in the world of wireless. They weren't hoping for a top-notch specs sheet – that was pretty much taken for granted. They were hoping for a ceramic body, a new, premium design that would not only get the job done, but would also spark a few envious glances along the way. That's why many were kind of disappointed after the official announcement of the handset, because it wasn't really what you'd call a looker.
However, our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S III were quite positive. Yeah, the handset may not be so eye-catching, but it isn't bad, and it does run incredibly smooth; plus, it has learned some very cool new tricks, in an attempt at enhancing our user experience. The time has come for us to take a good, in-depth look at the device and see just how much of a Galaxy S this new Galaxy S III happens to be.
The Galaxy S III is a departure from the styling seen with the Galaxy S II. Now, the phone has rounded corners that give it a somewhat friendlier look. Gone is the simplistic rectangular silhouette of the S II, making way for a new, pebble-inspired shape. Overall, Samsung has claimed to have been very inspired by Nature when it comes to the Galaxy S III, trying to make the phone as people-friendly as possible.
Meanwhile, due to a radical increase in screen size, the phone's overall dimensions are much bigger compared to its predecessor. The Samsung Galaxy S III is definitely on the bulkier side, which makes it extremely difficult to operate if you have to use just one hand. The home key, which is positioned near the bottom edge of the phone, is often hard to reach because of the handset's size. Anyway, the Galaxy S III isn't significantly bigger than the rest of the top models in its class, so having such big dimensions is now pretty much standard. Samsung has tried to decrease the size of the bezel so that the bigger screen doesn't impact the overall device dimensions dramatically, but even with those efforts, the S III is as big as the Nexus, which is already quite big.
You ca compare the Samsung Galaxy S III with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
With that out of the way, the device by no means looks bad. Its inspired by nature design is actually quite relaxing and feels good in the hand. Due to the phone's thinness (8.6mm) and light weight, the Galaxy S III doesn't feel too much like the bulky phone that it is.
As we said in our introduction, many fans hoped to see a new fancy ceramic coating used for the S III, which would have given the handset a new, premium appearance. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and we were treated to the good-old plastic solution. Well, technically, the material used for the handset is polycarbonate, but it definitely doesn't feel as high-quality and premium as the body of the One X, for example. This has practically guaranteed a relatively light (good), but also uninspiring (bad) construction. Samsung has come up with the name “Hyperglaze” for the specific finish of the utilized plastic, but we couldn't find anything that special in it. It's just a glossy plastic with an OK texture on it.
There are just three physical buttons on the Galaxy S III (actually four, if you count the volume rocker as two buttons). The home key, situated under the display, is surrounded by old-school capacitive menu and back keys. Apparently, Samsung isn't willing to make the switch to on-screen navigational keys for its flagship line just yet. We aren't big fans of the exact position chosen for the home button and even the capacitive keys surrounding it. They don't take the center of the plastic area below the screen (considering the vertical axis); instead, they are placed a bit lower. While this may sound as nitpicking to you, it does have a significant (negative) effect on the appearance and comfort of using the phone. It has a negative effect on the appearance, because the home key look very good in this position, while the comfort is compromised because the capacitive keys sit too close to the edge, meaning they are easy to press accidentally (yep, we had many of those frustrating moments).
home key and volume rocker respond well when pressed, but the power/lock key isn't very well made. We noticed that it's not particularly clicky and you can hardly tell if you've manged to press it just by feel.
Of course, there's the usual 3.5mm jack at the top, as well as microUSB at the bottom. The glossy back houses an 8MP camera with LED flash and the speaker grill right beside it. Interestingly, gone is the characteristic bump that's present on the lower-back sides of the Galaxy S and S II. Not that we'll be missing it much. Removing the flimsy back cover will grant you access to the Micro-SIM and microSD card slots.
Power key (right)
3.5mm jack (top)
Volume rocker (left)
microUSB port (bottom)
The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S III
4.8” HD Super AMOLED display, with resolution of 720x1280 pixels. As with every AMOLED screen, this one has extremely saturated colors. In some situations, like when browsing the web, for example, this doesn't look great, as we aren't really used to such “colorful web” experience. It doesn't seem natural, so to speak. However, in many other situations, like viewing photos, watching video or playing games, having such vibrant colors really pays off. Thankfully, Samsung has added an option in the settings which allows you to change the saturation level. This way, purists can simply select the “Natural” preset and they'll get a much more... natural-looking image. And for those wanting even higher saturation, there's the “Dynamic” preset.
When you combine the screen's vividness with the great contrast (black color that is completely black, not just very dark gray, as in LCD displays), multimedia consumption does get much more enjoyable, compared to the LCD experience.
Many were actually disappointed when it was announced that the S III will use a PenTile matrix for its screen, instead of a regular RGB one as in its predecessor. Just recently, Samsung USA's Philip Berne shed some more light on why Samsung decided to stick with PenTile. Obviously the reason is in the longevity – according to Samsung, a PenTile-based AMOLED screen will keep its initial quality for a longer time, compared to an RGB AMOLED one, which will suffer from deteriorating blue subpixels over longer periods of time. Well, since we don't really find the traditional drawbacks of the PenTile screen to be that visible in the GS III, that seems like a good decision by Samsung. If you look very closely at the screen of the Galaxy S III, you will notice some pixelization going on here and there, but when you look at the screen from a normal distance, those nasty dots aren't really visible, due to the high resolution.
With Apple iPhone 4S
With Samsung GALAXY Nexus
With Samsung Galaxy Note
The Samsung Galaxy S III (left)
Drag the picture or use the keyboard arrows to rotate the phone.
Double click or press keyboard Space to zoom in/out
1. android_hitman (Posts: 665; Member since: 07 Jul 2010)
WOW!!! that's a really good score .. I can't believe my eyes PA ...
nice review btw :D
4. Birds (Posts: 1027; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
It is. I don't like the GSIII though. I mean it is a great phone and a worthy buy but IDK why I don't like it. lol I guess I would have to play with it for a while then my opinions will change.
106. Saamic (Posts: 119; Member since: 20 Feb 2012)
lol sometimes I don't get why people thumbs down a comment... I mean what did you say there that was irrational, offensive, or biased?
In my opinion I think this phone is amazing because it's the full package with a unique beneficial software, it's very fast, highly customizable, innovative and clean. My only problem with it is the plastic and the fingerprints it's prone to.
I'll be waiting at in line for it on its U.S. release =)
117. BravoTeam127 (unregistered)
Well the design on those have a good chance at changing depending on carriers. Take the t-mobile one for example, that one changed a whole lot with the galaxy s ii
139. Dadler22 (Posts: 161; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
AT&T generally doesn't alter the design so much on at least the flagship launch device, HTC One X for example. However, Firmware wise the unlocked version will always be far superior than the ones the carriers rape.
146. jdot104 (Posts: 58; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)
AT&T's version of the past two Galaxy devices was different from the flagship. The GS2 even had a smaller display.
6. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
The 9+ score prediction came true!
PA should have this feature where you can display all the phones according to their score.
If I had the money, I'd get the blue one NOW.
still waiting on the PA knows best lol, PA never answered my e-mail.
Smackdowns are coming, HTC One X vs S III, and the iPhone 4S I'm sure.
97. tluv00 (Posts: 134; Member since: 18 Oct 2007)
They do have that sort of. It's by carrier or by OEM.
143. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)
The iphone 4s??? Why even bother? It will be completely outclassed, kinda like comparing a destroyer to an aircraft carrier.
78. stillaPOS (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 May 2012)
the sgs3 is still a POS compared to the SGS2:
-the design is the same
-same old screen found on the gnex
-same soc found on so many F+ing phones (for the ones here in the US)
-for international version the gpu is the same one on the GS2 just overclocked!!!
everything about this phone is a recycled, rehashed, and reused just being sold again for full price. Nothing my overclocked and rooted GS2 can't do better
94. remixfa (Posts: 14137; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
you have zero understanding of the phone or what's inside it.
100. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 186; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
Good review, but the phone itself looks pretty cheapie. It doesn't look like they spent a lot of time on ergonomics and design. Looks like it's just about "shove the biggest screen in there as we can, without it being another Note".
It might perform well, but ergonomics are more important.
160. zhypher_23 (Posts: 195; Member since: 04 Jun 2012)
Cheapy? Polycarbonate is not cheap man, it's one of the most durable things to put on a smartphone, try to kill a gs2 landing on it's back, it's gonna take you a long time man...
116. medalaster01 (Posts: 41; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
WOW! It may be the highest score till date,of all the phones on P.A.
124. smacsteve (Posts: 41; Member since: 16 May 2012)
Nope, the Galaxy Nexus on VZN was higher at 9.5 Which raise's an interesting question... A phone reviewed a year ago by then standard gets a great score and a phone that is reviewed today with raised standards due to much better technology is being judged by a different set of standards. What is one to do? Clearly a HTC One X is a better phone than the GNexus, but according to the score it would appear otherwise.
131. Shocky (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 May 2012)
No consistency in the reviewing process, so the scores are meaningless
Might as well just be some guy’s random blog.
2. Birds (Posts: 1027; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
I have to say this. I like PhoneArena and all but it's reviews are inconsistent. It doesn't seem to have a standard for what makes a great phone a great phone, what makes a good phone an good phone, and what makes a bad phone an bad phone. I only could hope that it is because each reviewer has a different opinion, but I've come to realize that certain reviewers on this site run back over their previous opinions as well. I'm not trolling I just want to know if the reason they were so inconsistent with their opinions on phones between reviewers was because of them waiting for the next phone-to-beat (GSIII)? I just wish that all the reviews had a scale or something so I can know each particular flaw to category. That will keep it really consistent....But still a good review...
44. Commentator (Posts: 2494; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
There was a time when reviews were authored by "the PhoneArena Team." What happened to those days? If nothing else, at least all high-end devices should be compared by the same person/team, for consistency's sake (my vote is for John V, as I'm sure most people would agree with.)
Also factor in the fact that Ray clearly has some sort of vendetta against HTC. The last sentence of this review takes a completely unnecessary shot at them (and he just recycled it from his preview of the device, mind you.) Sure, the Global One X wasn't perfect, and the Galaxy S III is almost certainly a better phone, but it damn-well deserved a better score than a 7.8 considering that when it was launched it was unanimously hailed as the greatest Android device ever made.
71. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
I agree on this one and every PA reviewer out there has their own standard, and I did notice that Vendetta part for quite awhile now.
Oh, and also, WHERE"S THE VIDEO? lol, i have been waiting for it to download so that I can watch it on my nerd time alone.
74. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
oh and Sir Ray, if you ever happen to conduct the smackdown between the One X and the S III, please don't be too harsh on the One X. We would also want to know the advantages and disadvantages of each.
well, since I'm not the only one who feels like you're angry with HTC. *just a feeling though lol*
and for constructive criticism, please take this positively, you say too much "uhmm." :)
82. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 913; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
Agreed on all points here. The reviewer especially has his own opinionated reviews in my opinion. Was this such a great review or was it more like we anted so very much to hear only great things that we had presupposed high marks for this phone.
I am not taking away from any thing said; However the reviewers many reviews have left my opinion of his reviews jaded, and distrusting. I feel to validate reviews on this site I need to read else where to make an informed opinion in the last few months.
83. Jonathan41 (Posts: 532; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)
I just said that yesterday! I would give you another thumbs up if I could.
93. Jonathan41 (Posts: 532; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)
dk but phonearena's reviews lack a certain consistancy that I would expect from such a otherwise carefully though out sight. Reviews seem inconsistent between reviewer and devices. Something that are cons for one device aren't for others. Sometimes more powerful international unlocked phones get lesser scores then their supsidized versions (this is especially peculiar when the only differance between the two is more powerful chipset of the international version). Sometimes the reviewer puts something into cons that's more opinon then actual fact. It's like PA reviews and comparisons are generally mostly based more on opinon then fact. During review they never actually test devices with benckmarks or test to compare statistics. You usually just hear the reviewer say 'this device feels/looks like it does xxxx better'. Meaning that however trained that reviews eye is we are still subject to their perspective on thing much less then actual device performance. PA attempt to tell the reader which device is better for day to day use. That's impossible to do without generalizing your audience in someway and if each reviewer has a slightly different idea of what the readers want it's very hard to keep consistency between all the reviewer when scoring phones. I used to live buy pa review but I have grown weary. I love PA but, at times I see thing that seem like contradictions.
3. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)
My only problem is that plastic is collects a lot of fingerprints but I think the white version makes up for that. Nevertheless, this is definitely my next phone. Also, what's the point of an extremely detailed preview followed by a 26 minute video preview if the review was a few days away?
7. Jericho (Posts: 302; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
WOW! Incredable score from phonearena to THE galaxy s3. Between lg optimus 4x, htc one x and samsung galaxy SIII I was going to buy the phone which had the highest score on phonearena but i think LG can't beat SAMSUNG here.
8. Birds (Posts: 1027; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
I'm actually rooting for LG this time. LG has the power they are just naive about the UI design.
10. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
if it comes with Tegra 3 and an LG UI, well expect it to be like the One X.
I'm saying this without any fanboysim, but Samsung just raised the bar again with Super AMOLED, Exynos, the Camera and the software - without anything better or equal to those 4, i don't think it will be a success.
21. Filly (Posts: 10; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
Raised the bar with s**tty short-living pentile amoled? LGs AH-IPS Screen is much better then samsungs hd amoled screen. Its comparable with the display in the htc one x
61. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
well played. :) maybe except that part I went wrong.
62. remixfa (Posts: 14137; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
maybe u cant read but samsung just put out a statement proving that pentile arangements last a lot longer than RGB. My sgs1 is 2 years old and still beautiful without any dead pixels or anything.. so i can atleast attest to that.
Samsung's LCD2 and Amoled/+ screens are all superior to IPS.
But then again, its user choice at the end of the day.
73. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
Yeah. Everyone also praised the display on the One X so much - dubbed it as the best display ever... HTC sucked at making displays until that 'one' day. (pun)
but again, here's the Samsung Galaxy S III's display. Is there a difference between the attributes of the Gnex's and S3's screen? (no idea on that, answers?)
- cause if they are different, then we should have a display comparison.
75. remixfa (Posts: 14137; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
HTC didnt make that display, Samsung did. Its samsung's LCD2 display that is riding the OneX.
85. rpostel (Posts: 2; Member since: 29 Feb 2012)
Samsung did not make the displays for HTC. HTC has 3 manufacterers for their screen for the One line: Sony, Acer, and Sharp.
29. henrickrw (Posts: 407; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
I´m glad you understand. The S3 is the beast.
57. Jericho (Posts: 302; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
Hey i am a BIG LG! fan but if the 4x couldn't even come close to S3 then i will buy this phone. And i really want LG to win They still haven't revealed 6 unique features.
79. stillaPOS (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 May 2012)
umm didn't the GS2 and the iphone beat this score when it came out???
88. Commentator (Posts: 2494; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Don't worry too much, PhoneArena's rating system goes by nothing more than the personal preferences of whoever is doing the review (not to fault anyone, it's human nature to be biased. I know I'd probably rate certain phones higher than others based on my ideas of what makes a good phone.) At any rate, it's probably better to take the number system with a grain of salt and go by the content of the review instead.
To address your specific question, yes the GS2 and iPhone both had higher scores than this, but that's because they were the best phones of their generation. If they compared generations of phones to each other, PhoneArena would have to rate the GS3 a 1 so it could rate the GS12 a 10 (or whatever). Obviously this doesn't make any sense, so you have to compartmentalize phone rankings by generation. Rankings are good for comparing, say, the GS3 to the One X, or the Xperia S, or any current generation phone. It doesn't work too well when comparing to anything before the Galaxy Nexus though (except maybe the iPhone 4s, since it IS the current generation iPhone...)
As an example, PA ranked the original Palm Pre a 9.9 (for some reason), which would make it the current most powerful phone, as no other phone has been ranked that high since. Clearly it isn't the most powerful phone.
9. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)
I used to hate the design of the Galaxy S3. It's growing on me, though. The one thing I HATE about LG and Samsung is the favorites bar. It really should be like stock ICS and have the apps drawer in the center. That drives me crazy.
52. Dark4o90 (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Feb 2011)
then buy a metal brick and make calls and watch video on it
63. remixfa (Posts: 14137; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
so you would rather buy expensive plastic? you know its all the same plastic right? lol
this isnt cheap plastic, its the same polycarbonate made in the Nokia 900 and HTC OneX/S
And I'll take that over glass and tin any day of the week.
13. tharag (Posts: 26; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)
as expected it will sweep the reviews all over the net ...but let me tell you one thing when the hype around those imaginary will clear out then the true capability of s3 will wow us
15. APPLE_R0YALLY (banned) (Posts: 73; Member since: 08 May 2012)
WE SAY® REALLY NICE REVIEW "RAY. S" WE SAY® we are Amazed......!? EYE SAY® i shall be buying this very Soon......!? WE ARE® Liking This......!?
16. PackMan (Posts: 277; Member since: 09 Mar 2012)
This is just re-branded preview article with ratings.
17. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3024; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Time to begin speculations for the 4th version of the Galaxy series!!
18. Martine (Posts: 102; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
Pros: Fantastic Video Camera, Unlimited Storage cabalities, Great batteey performance, etc
19. Jericho (Posts: 302; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
When will you guys do a video review or preview of LG Optimus 4x HD. Really waitin 4 it.
20. JDCohen722 (Posts: 39; Member since: 18 May 2011)
Love the copy and paste from the Preview. These days I never trust PhoneArena Reviews, especially the ones by Ray S. The One X gets a rating as horridly low as 7.8 making it average whereas the SIII gets a rating of 9.3?!?! Look at User Opinions of the One X, they rated it 9.4. Not that PhoneArena should rate it 9.4, but ATLEAST +8.8. Whats more, other reviewers from major websites have rated the One X as arguably one of the best phones in the world, giving it ratings of 4.5 or 5 stars, or ratings of ±9/10, but PhoneArena is the only website to give such a low score to it. The Verge claiming it to be probably the Best Phone in the World (With their only drawback being they would rather have it closer to stock ICS) Im not trying to troll, but this isn't fair Ray S. Its pure biased.
23. remixfa (Posts: 14137; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
the oneX also has video issues, crash issues, and gets like 1/2 the battery life.
31. ph00ny (Posts: 606; Member since: 26 May 2011)
Maybe their review unit of the HOX was a defective one (it looks like some owners are going through boatload of defective units and amazon UK pulled it off their sitehttp://www.amazon.co.uk/HTC-One-Sim-Free-Smartphone/dp/B0078LXM40/ref=s
As for inconsistency of the scores, there is really no way of getting around the fact that people have different opinions about a device.
Now I'm not entirely sure what happened with the One X review, it just sounded like he didn't like sense. I think he complained about the sense arrangements as much as he complained about plastic in this review
I'm however very surprised by the score of the S3 from the resident iphone fanboy/android hater Ray S
42. Ray.S (Posts: 263; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)
Unfortunately, the problem wasn't with our unit only. We tested several One X units, and all of them performed the same.
50. JDCohen722 (Posts: 39; Member since: 18 May 2011)
What do you mean by performance? Was it laggy or not buttery smooth or was Sense just glitchy? Because as far as I'm concerned anything promoted as "Quad Core" should not display the slightest hint of lag.
58. remixfa (Posts: 14137; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
read the review. it details the issues with the camera FPS and other things.
The T3 chip impresses me quite a bit in many areas, but unless they can figure out the 1080p video issues its a non starter with me... at least on a phone. On a tablet I could care less since i wont be using it for much video.
66. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)
The One X is filled with bugs. The device hardware itself has no problems, it's all on the programming part. There was screen glitch, video recording frame drops, and battery bug. I think screeen glitches and battery bug are fixed with the new OTA...
|Display||4.8 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (306 ppi) Super AMOLED|
Samsung Exynos 4 (4412), Quad core, 1400 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
1024 MB RAM
|Size||5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 inches|
(136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm)
4.69 oz (133 g)
|Battery||2100 mAh, 22.5 hours talk time|