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Samsung Galaxy S III specs review


Recently it turned out that it’s not one of the usual suspects Qualcomm, NVIDIA or Texas Instruments that is in the most dual-core smartphones, but actually Samsung’s ARM-based processors. That’s due to the fact that it not only makes the homebrew Exynos silicon for its own phones, but also supplies the Ax-branded chippery in Apple’s mobile devices.

The Galaxy S III everyday grind will be pushed by either the quad-core Exynos 4412, or the dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4. They are made with the brand new 28/32nm production generation for mobile chipsets, meaning a significant leap in performance vs power consumption compared to the 40/45nm Cortex-A9 chips we had until now.

Why didn’t Samsung use the 2GHz dual-core Cortex-A15 Exynos 5250? Because it didn’t need to. It’s made for tablets, as Samsung kindly demonstrated to us at CES this year, powering a 2560x1560 pixels screen with its ARM Mali T-604 GPU. There is no point of scaling to put it in a phone, where nothing over the current 1280x720 pixels makes sense.

Samsung, for that matter, overclocked the Mali-400 GPU to 400MHz+, which the 32nm chip allows easily, and now the Galaxy S III beats everything in the graphics benchies, save for the quad-core PowerVR GPU in the new iPad, which, however, has to power the “Resolutionary” 9.7” screen, and will most likely be scaled down for the new iPhone, since, again, it makes no sense there.

The earliest we can see Cortex-A15 chips in phones or even tablets will be for the holidays, when maybe NVIDIA will try to be first just for the taste again, while mass usage of A15 chips in our mobile devices won’t happen until early next year at least.

Samsung Galaxy S III specs review
Moreover, the power consumption advantage of Cortex-A15 vs A9 comes for a large part from the die shrink, and the Exynos 4412 is already shrunk to 32nm, plus it actually sports some A15 features like internal 128-bit instructions support, and has a proprietary ISP like HTC's ImageChip, for all those camera and motion sensing shenanigans of the Galaxy S III.

Both Exynos 4412 and Snapdragon S4 are now at the top of the Android benchmarking game, so your Galaxy S III won’t feel underpowered, no matter which one ends up in it. If your carrier has an LTE network up and running, you are likely to end up with Qualcomm’s MSM8960 chipset, which has the newest 28nm LTE radio integrated in it.
Samsung said it has dedicated engineering teams working on homemade LTE chips to embed with Exynos, but it’s just not there yet. It’s hard to beat Qualcomm in this game as of this moment, and that was vividly illustrated in the last quarterly, when it became clear the company has amassed $26 billion cash pile selling wireless chips, licenses and know-how in that realm.
The Texans are the best there is when it comes to integrating every band under the sun in a chip the size of your nail, testing, fine-tuning and producing it in the most compact and power-efficient form available. The TSMC foundry can’t even supply enough of those 28nm chips for Qualcomm and its customers, let alone someone else producing an LTE chip with the same capabilities, footprint and power envelope this year. It’s going to take longer for Samsung to do that, and the difference in production components price to use Exynos or S4 is likely just a few bucks, which doesn’t warrant using anything else with inferior LTE radio.

We can argue until we are blue in the face about the perceived advantages of quad-core vs dual- in parallel processes like browsing, gaming or video editing, but in reality the apps have to be particularly optimized for that, and maybe the only  advantage of the Exynos will be in browsing. The Galaxy S III browser, however, seems to be so optimized and tweaked, that the handset blows every other Android in Java benchmarks out of the water with almost double scores, as you can see in the slideshow below, courtesy of Anandtech, which can hardly be achieved by just the two more cores of the Exynos.

We’ll know more when we test an AT&T, Verizon or Sprint Galaxy S III vs the international version, but even if there is a prevailing difference, its magnitude will more than likely be insufficient to warrant the incessant whining how the US will be stuck with the “inferior” dual-core. In everyday usage nobody but spec geeks will be able to tell a difference, and no company got rich and famous catering to that crowd. As a friend eloquently put it - “a few more points on Quadrant don’t get you laid” - so let’s move on, and be happy that no matter what we’ll have the best chips that the market can currently provide with the Galaxy S III.

As for power consumption and battery performance with one chip and network vs the others, that’s a whole different story that can be told only when we get all versions released and tested.

  • Options

posted on 11 May 2012, 05:27 6

1. LordOfTroll (banned) (Posts: 54; Member since: 08 May 2012)

Sigh, Samsung is made to copy.

posted on 11 May 2012, 06:58 10

14. SleepingOz (unregistered)

You'll get banned soon again, EARWAX. =]

posted on 11 May 2012, 07:03 10

15. LordOfTroll (banned) (Posts: 54; Member since: 08 May 2012)

lol 'TROLL' that got banned too

posted on 11 May 2012, 07:45 9

22. I.P.H.O.N.E (banned) (Posts: 33; Member since: 09 May 2012)

We remember that guy
Its u huge stroller. Or eaxvac?

posted on 11 May 2012, 09:11 1

40. LordOfTroll (banned) (Posts: 54; Member since: 08 May 2012)

No I am not 'TROLL', he's a stupid Bollywood guy

posted on 11 May 2012, 09:23 5

41. TROLL.ISAHA (banned) (Posts: 535; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)

Its u again, noooo not another TROLL. Ur that guy
TROLL or huge Troller or Eaxvac.

posted on 11 May 2012, 07:47 6

25. I.P.H.O.N.E (banned) (Posts: 33; Member since: 09 May 2012)


posted on 11 May 2012, 05:29 8

2. I.P.H.O.N.E (banned) (Posts: 33; Member since: 09 May 2012)

Get a life jealous looser...

posted on 11 May 2012, 07:55 7

27. osamalone (Posts: 12; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)

shut up apple takes these chips from samsung and if samsung doent provide it your iphone would have been much bulkier and slower well they still are slow wats a DUAL core against a QUAD CORE

posted on 11 May 2012, 08:52 1

36. simon1 (Posts: 5; Member since: 10 May 2012)

Nice. Thanks for the post & you are feeling jealous it seems iphone :P

A great review is here too -http://goo.gl/LJH21

posted on 11 May 2012, 10:32 1

48. EclipseGSX (Posts: 1743; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

Who are you talking to? lol

posted on 11 May 2012, 18:35 1

63. I.P.H.O.N.E (banned) (Posts: 33; Member since: 09 May 2012)


posted on 11 May 2012, 05:31 31

3. bloodline (Posts: 706; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)

fantastic initial review daniel.

I think the phone deserves much more credit than what people are saying.

posted on 11 May 2012, 10:21

47. MEeee (Posts: 365; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

Hands on with Samsung Galaxy SIII in Vietnam.


posted on 11 May 2012, 05:48 8

4. fongy (Posts: 41; Member since: 09 Feb 2010)

It's a tough call this one...

I've been with Android for the past 3-4 years now... owning both GS1 and GS2 after moving from an HTC Hero (ahhh, the chin..)

And although I've loved every minute of my GS2... I love the ticker news feeds on live wallpapers, the endless widgets, customising every facet from icons to ringtones... I've tried every ROM under the sun from MIUI to Revolution and upgraded to ICS...

And yes, the flexibility is all there, the screen size and quality is all there...


I bought my other half the new iPad a few months ago, and I started noticing the app store more and more... I've always been against apple and it's poor drip-feeding of technology and it's ridiculous, often false claims, and lack of admission when things go wrong... but noticing the quality apps more and more, and seeing just the wealth of apps that are available, that simply aren't on Android - it is frightening... and that's my point I guess... having this freedom is brilliant, but at the cost of actual application / function / developer support...

That's why I'm waiting to see what the iphone 5 brings (it HAS to have at least a 4" screen to be worthwhile...) and then I need to think long and hard...

Yes I love being able to drag / drop files at will on my GS2, playing every video under the sun and music file... and just generally tinkering all day long... but there comes a time when you want the latest apps, the connectivity to others and the freedom becomes less important because it's the apps you support not the phone manufacturer...

I dunno... I do love the GS3, but I worry it'll be too close to the same experience as my GS2 for another 1.5 years...

posted on 11 May 2012, 07:11 16

18. remixfa (Posts: 14605; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

"experience" wise, the SGS2 was a weight reduced lamborghini. It was meant for speed and didnt really have many options that added to the actual android experience. Compared to the SGS3, which is more like a 1200hp bently. Still insanely fast but now is chock full of cushy features that give it an experience above everything else out there.

Will it be enough to upgrade from an SGS2 to an SGS3? Thats up to you. Your not the target audience, however. People upgrading from the SGS1 s well as people new to android are. And as an SGS1 owner, I can tell you that I am rip-roarin ready to go with this phone. It has all the power and enhancements I wanted and a lot more.
I would have been happy with another weight reduced Lambo.. having all these extra bells and whistles makes it even more intriguing.

posted on 11 May 2012, 07:45 2

21. fongy (Posts: 41; Member since: 09 Feb 2010)

You know, I never thought about that... that I'm not their target audience... you're probably right though...


In mobile limbo...

I guess I'm GS4's audience!

I wish Sony would do a Play 2 - I'd be so up for that, to be fair I should have bought an original play and then upgraded to GS3 from GS1!!

posted on 11 May 2012, 08:28 2

30. remixfa (Posts: 14605; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

lol. yea, the upgrade audience is every OTHER generation. :)

no... you in a mobile Lambo. :) Go fiddle with some ROMS. I've been doing that for quite a while waiting for the SGS3 to drop.. lol

posted on 11 May 2012, 09:05 1

39. ilia1986 (unregistered)

I can see what you mean, but remember - apps matter only so much. Remember that all the information apps give you can also be acquired via the web - and on Android - unlike on the iPhone - you can access ALL of the web.

Yes, the sole fact that developers tend to support iOS more than Android is a sad and disturbing fact, but remember than Android is open source. A lot of the stuff is done by tech enthusiasts sitting in basements.

In the long run - we can all live with a several-week delay of yet another Angry Birds space season holiday HD special edition.

posted on 11 May 2012, 16:13 1

58. belovedson (Posts: 1052; Member since: 30 Nov 2010)

i have the new ipad, i think your views will change once you use the iphone 4 or 4s. yes it has the apps but how many apps do you really use? and give it some time android picks up just about all the best apple has to offer.

the only thing that i love about apple is itunes. i just like the fact that all the songs i have are categorized named and album covers are attached automatically without manual input

however, the slow os, the inability to multitask and the sheer amount of forces closes kills the phone. the battery life on 3g is a total joke.

in two years android has closed the gap. the gs1 on froyo was a mess. however the updated android market and tighter integration has really helped android even on my cruddy sprint xprt i think is on froyo works wonderfully. its underpowered and lacks roms or kernals yet it gets the job done and the battery life is stellar compared to the battery sapping of the 4s. i have used the verizon version and sprint. i simply did not get as many forces closes as i did on my normal iphone 4s or jailbroken version.

the ipad is a totally different story. my ipad kills the android tablet. i have a xoom 2. however in a year or two when people begin using lte enabled tablets and computers. android will have caught up.

i guess it just comes down to know. do you want something that works and has the best support now go apple. if you want total customizability, optimization, and patience android is the way to go

posted on 11 May 2012, 20:41 1

65. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)

Dude, I definitely know what you mean. I was deciding between the SGIII and the One X, but decided to go ahead with One X since it was already out and also because I had 30 days to return. I really loved the phone until I started purchasing applications.......and then I hated it, lol. The applications are obviously no optimized well for each android phone, and its pretty annoying. The graphics on a lot of the apps are low quality, the apps can be "clunky", and I thought that having a bigger screen would mean more content but sometimes all you get is GIANT LETTERS and a lot of space in between..... looks so tacky.

I'm so ready to jump ship, but I still feel like Android is sorta half-baked. Widgets are cool (definitely not a killer feature though) and I loved how I have access to the file system like adding attachments to emails, but I just don't know if I can get over the simple things. The low quality images on a great screen really irks me (I tried hard to ignore it), my images not displaying right in the mail client pissed the hell out of me (I never had to worry about things like this on the iPhone), the clunkiness in general was a surprise. I thought by now Android would be "smooth as butter" like many people say. It's not. I definitely understand the appeal for Android, but I guess its not for me either because I stress over the fine details too much.

I'm not going to lie, trying to jump ship (again) really made me appreciate my iPhone. So I'm in the same exact boat as you. Two weeks ago I was over iPhone but now I'm right back to where I was before, so obviously Apple is doing something right. Its either iPhone 5/6 for me or keeping my iPhone 4S, possibly (but not likely) the buy SGIII and make it my 3rd attempt for Android in the past year. Apple don't let me down please, lol.

But if you liked the SGII a lot, you'd probably also like the SGIII.

posted on 12 May 2012, 00:56 1

67. ilia1986 (unregistered)

E.N. remember that Android is a platform which spans hundreds of different devices, which have several different resolutions and specs. Of course there is going to be a bit of a mismatch between what you download the first time, and what you actually expect to get.

That's why Android allows you to redeem your purchase within 15 minutes after purchasing the app, and get the money back, should you choose to do that.

It's like a PC - you can't just install everything and expect everything to work right away. If an app displays low res textures - (an issue which was present in late 2010\early 2011 on iOS as well, until developers updated apps with retina graphics) - that means that the developer hasn't yet updated the app with the HD resolution graphics. Give it some time. Or - try something else. Or - try finding some insane tweaks like running two apps side by side (it's possible on the Galaxy Note 10.1, maybe someone made a tweak out of it).

I have an iPhone 4. At first when I bought it - I also began downloading hundreds of seemingly cool applications - only to discover a year afterwards that I never use almost any of them. Currently I have about 60 apps installed. On a daily basis I use only Facebook, Waze, 1 -2 news Apps and iBooks. That's it.

I too bought the iPhone 4 and not an Android phone back at the time thinking that I'd rather have this cool unlimited choice of apps - only to discover a year afterwards what a horrible mistake I've done. Apps don't matter much. Personalization, control over your phone, capability and power - these do. So yeah - iPhone might have an "app for that", but Android can do "that" natively, or with some tweaking.

Btw which e-mail app did you try to use that you got the images not displaying right? This happens to me as well sometimes when I use the Mail app on the iPhone and I get a mail with widescreen images inside.

posted on 12 May 2012, 02:33

68. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)

You mead excellent points, but I think you highlighted perfectly where we differ. I don't spend time customizing with widgets, changing to live wallpapers etc etc. I get a ton of emails, and need something that works well. iPhone definitely has its problems but not enough to make me want to pull my hair. It kinda ironic because I had problem viewing images in such a big screen when they displayed perfectly on my iPhone's small screen. I used the stock mail browser on the One X. I searched the other options in the play market but they looked pretty ugly & super basic.

The browser is kinda of a joke too. Why is switching tabs such a pain in the One X?!?! lol. Clunk, clunk, and more clunk. You definitely gain a lot by going Android, but you lose a lot too.

The whole "give it time" argument is probably the most annoying reason to stick with Android. Let me know when it finally gets there, then I'll switch over for good, but not a moment before.

Based on the spec review of the SGIII, it looks like a pretty legit and high-end device. The camera on the SGII was pretty good so the SG3's camera should give the 4S a run for its money. Still don't think I'm buying the phone though.

posted on 12 May 2012, 03:31

69. ilia1986 (unregistered)

Well if you're really heavy into mail - why not use Gmail? As for the stock e-mail client - have you tried using your mail on an iPhone? Did the experience differ?

When it comes to switching tabs on the browser - it's Sense. Afaik stock android or anything else uses a different method. Besides - you can always try another browser.

I think you just happen to have the "iPhone" mentality. Can't blame you if you've used an iPhone for a long time before. Maybe you are used to accepting what you get out of the box, and not used to being able to completely change and tweak that. That's understandable. Took me awhile too to realize that I could do so much more with the iPhone if only Apple would have allowed me to.

Btw - I really think that Sense is rather iOS-like when it comes to function over flashiness. It has all these "cool" 3D effects and such, but that's just flashiness.

In short - you really gotta understand that Android is a constantly evolving and changing platform which allows the user unheard-of power over his\her device. For every app which looks ugly - there is one that looks good. For every app which has limited or buggy functionality - there is one that is perfect. Just like in the App store. You just gotta find it.

You can't just start using the device and expect everything to work perfectly for you out of the box, because you have certain tastes and requirements while other people have theirs - and that's fine. Unlike Apple which tries to force-fit a uniform one-size on everyone and if you want something different - you can't have any - Android is like a clothing shop - you gotta try this and try that and try a lot of stuff - until you find something which fits you. That's the whole beauty in it.

posted on 12 May 2012, 03:54

70. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)

The mail app was the last straw, it wasn't the only problem. And I'm not new to Android, I do my research. I know just as much about Android as you do, possibly more. Don't you think I looked up possible alternatives? I'm not some new smartphone user who just happened to buy an Android and doesn't know how to use it. Also I've already considered using Gmail as my only email and having all my other inboxes sent to gmail, but I decided against it.

And no, I don't have "the iPhone mentality." I've tried jumping ship twice, which says something in itself. I'm am though, use to things working well out of the box and I think that's an expectation everyone should have. I think there's beauty in not having to look for alternatives and having an option that works perfectly out of the box. I don't consider "beauty" as having to find your way through a load of junk. I don't know where you come from but I call that bullish*t, lol.

You're the one stuck in some sort of disillusioned mentality. It's fine if you want to customize blah blah blah, but everyone's different and I don't share the same desires.You're sounding pretty damn preachy, and no offense but its kinda annoying now.

posted on 12 May 2012, 04:19

71. ilia1986 (unregistered)

Well I still don't understand what the actual problem is. You say that some images display incorrectly in the native e-mail app on Android. Aside from the fact that there are alot of alternatives - the same can also happen on the native iPhone mail app as well.

You complain about browser tab switching on the One-X - but as I've said - there are many many alternatives to that, from using a different browser, to using a custom Rom.

You say that you like for things to work well right off the box, but thing is - this is subjective. What's good for you, is hell - pure hell for me. Yes, for me, seeing all these YouTube videos about widgets, tweaks, themes, customizations and control - and the looking at my iPhone 4 is more than enough to make me want to pull my hair. Somehow I'm not bald yet.

You may have found something that works for you well - iOS. And that's fine. Maybe you don't like meddling in all these tweaks and customization options. That's your choice. But remember - some day, some time, you will get tired from this constant static grid of 4x4 icons. Just like I did. And then you might - might - regret that you jumped ship.

I've already made the mistake of buying an iPhone 4. Unless Android somehow dies in the future (which won't happen since it's open source), I will never make the same mistake again. No matter how many "amazing", "revolutionary" and "magical" features Apple will steal from other companies and shove into it's next iPhone models.

posted on 12 May 2012, 14:47

76. illiad (Posts: 128; Member since: 07 Feb 2012)

... so you just want another 'fan-phone' then.... have you actually tried the iphone fully?? if you have, then I think there is a Dyson getting nearer to you, having not explored the full extent of android...

posted on 11 May 2012, 05:54 2

5. bigbosspt (Posts: 3; Member since: 05 May 2012)

i only wish that samsung went for a 12 mpx camera instead of 8mpx, besides that, its a great smartphone

posted on 11 May 2012, 06:31 2

10. ffaarrooqq (Posts: 65; Member since: 26 May 2011)

I totally agree with you. Rite now I'm usin 12mp phone, so I am lil worried to go back for 8mp.

posted on 11 May 2012, 07:05 8

16. remixfa (Posts: 14605; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

for the 10 millionth time, MPX mean NOTHING. Its about quality of the hardware and software, and every initial review says the SGS3 has it in spades. MPX is nothing but the actual size of the picture... and unless your planning to make full sized large pictures, you will never have a use for it. Its a mind game.

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