Samsung Galaxy S III Review: Style and Grace

17 thumbs up

One of the most highly anticipated Android phones of the year is the Samsung Galaxy S III. This smartphone comes with a number of new features we haven't seen on other phones including S Voice (improved voice control functionality), new sharing features, NFC features including Samsung's new TecTiles, and more.

The hardware specifications for the Galaxy S III are impressive as well. The US variations of this phone feature a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED touchscreen (1280x720), a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 2GB RAM, 16 GB or 32 GB of internal memory, an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 1.9MP front-facing camera, and a 2100 mAh Lithium Ion battery. And all of the Galaxy S III smartphones run on Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich right out of the gate.

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In addition to launching the Galaxy S III with five US carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and U.S. Cellular), Samsung is offering the Galaxy S III in other parts of the world as well. There are a few key differences between the US variants of the phone and the global variants, however. More specifically, the processor, LTE capabilities, and RAM are different.

You'll find a quad-core Samsung Exynos 4 processor in global Galaxy S III smartphones while the US variants have a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor (the same SoC that impressed us on the HTC One X). Although we won't see the quad-core version of the Galaxy S III on our shores, performance tests have shown the forward-looking, Krait-based Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 at the heart of the Galaxy S III to be one of the better performing SoCs currently on the market.

The LTE capabilities are another differentiating factor between the global and US versions of the Galaxy S III. In fact, the LTE capabilities of the phone play a role in the processor choice for the US versions of the Galaxy S III. The Snapdragon S4 is a complete chipset that bundles the application processor, cellular radios, and LTE radio into a single package. Samsung's Exynos 4 quad-core processor doesn't bundle the radios required for American 4G LTE networks, so it's not an ideal choice for this phone.

The last key difference between the US variants of the Galaxy S III and the global variants is in the RAM. The US variants come with an additional gigabyte of RAM (2GB of RAM total) compared to the global variants which have 1GB. The rest of the phone's specifications are outlined in the chart below but first, let's give you a quick nickle tour of Samsung's new beauty...

Samsung Galaxy S III
Specifications & Features
Network AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon Wireless U.S. Cellular
OS Android 4.0.4 with TouchWiz enhancements
Display 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED touchscreen (1280x720)
Gorilla Glass 2.0
Processor 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor
Memory 2GB RAM
16GB or 32GB of internal storage
Dimensions 5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 inches (HxWxD)
Weight 4.7 ounces
Bands/Modes GSM Quad-band: 850/900/1800/1900MHz; UMTS Tri-band: 850/1900/2100MHz; LTE Dual-Band: Band 4/17 CDMA/1xRTT, EVDO, LTE 1900MHz 850/900/1800/1900MHz; UMTS: Band I (2100); UMTS: Band IV (AWS); UMTS: Band V (850) LTE, CDMA/PCS/1xEVDO Rev. A (800/1900 MHz) 3G CDMA 800/1900MHz EVDO Rev A/4G LTE
Talk and Standby Time Usage Time: Up to 8 hours Usage Time: Up to 9 hours Usage Time: Up to 8 hours Usage Time: 3G: Up to 17 hours; 4G: Up to 15 hours Usage Time: Up to 8 hours
Standby Time: 3G: Up to 12.5 Days; LTE: Up to 8.3 Days 3G: Up to 12.5 Days; LTE: Up to 8.3 Days Standby Time: Up to 12.5 Days Standby Time: 3G: Up to 12.5 Days; LTE: Up to 8.3 Days Standby Time: 3G: Up to 12.5 Days; LTE: Up to 8.3 Days
Battery 2100 mAh Lithium Ion
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11b/g/n, microUSB, GPS, 3.5mm headset jack
Camera 8MP rear-facing camera with LED Flash, zero-lag, and Burst Shot
1.9MP front-facing camera
Price (with contract and discounts) $199.99 (16GB) $199.99 (16GB) $279.99 (16GB) $199.99 (16GB) $199.99 (16GB)
$249.99 (32GB) $329.99 (32GB)  $249.99 (32GB) $249.99 (32GB)

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In June, Samsung announced it had shipped 24 million Galaxy S phones and 28 million Galaxy S II phones. Needless to say, these numbers are impressive. Will Samsung's third-generation Galaxy S III enjoy as much success as its predecessors? Read on to see how the Galaxy S III stacks up.

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I am totally jonesing for this phone now. Jen, ship it to me and we'll tell Samsung you lost it. ;)

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Can't wait to get my hands on two of these for me and my wife. I just wish that Sprint included the 800mhz as well as the 1900mhz radio into their model.

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Very nice review. Whose greyhound is that?

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Nice doggie eh? That's Jen's sister's I think. Reportedly he was a real drag racer in his day! :)

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Yup these are sweet phones it kinda sucks we don't get quad cores in the US at least not yet T-Mobile has them to but I am not able to upgrade yet and there more expensive than anyone else as well which really kinda is strange on T-Mobile but it your a new subscriber from what I understand it is free or well discounted.

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Great review, I can't wait to get mine.

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Really enjoyed the video, I understand S beam now

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I was tempted to switch over to a android based phone this year, and this was my number 1 pick. Instead, I went with another Iphone... i'm beginning to regret it. I just wish Samsung would offer me a trial to see if this thing would good for me!

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