Samsung Galaxy S3 review

The Samsung Galaxy SIII - a phone worthy of the hype

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Let's take a minute and talk about the screen: it's beautiful. We almost feel sad that this isn't the first HD screen we've seen on a mobile phone, as it's kind of lost its lustre since the likes of the Nexus, Note and One X have all managed the same trick – but if you've not seen one before and you compare it to a Galaxy S2, it's worlds apart.

If we think back to just four years ago, when HVGA (320 x 480) resolution screens were the norm on phones and 720p TVs were still the plaything of the bigger spenders, it's incredible to think that pixel count has been shrunk down to fit into your palm.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

And that means the 309ppi pixel density is up there with the sharpness of the iPhone 4S, and it makes us realise that while a Retina Display is lovely, 3.5-inch screens just don't cut it any more.

We'll be mightily surprised if the combined popularity of the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S3 don't prompt Apple into a re-tooling of the screen with the iPhone 5, as the contrast ratio, large display and excellent colour reproduction will definitely wow users on the shelves.

It seems Samsung has tweaked the colour balance on the Galaxy S3 as well – things don't look as saturated as before, which will certainly help entice those that previously were against Super AMOLED before due to the harshness of colours.

There is an issue here for those that like to let the phone handle the display management - the auto-brightness level is too low for our eyes. It's like Samsung is trying to protect the battery a little too much here, and we'd rather have a variety of auto-brightness settings like in the internet browser.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

This has been overhauled with the new update, giving you a notifications bar option to change the brightness or select auto mode. It's not perfect by a long way - we can't count the amount of times each day we get frustrated with the automatic mode not catching up to the conditions.

When it does work, the brightness is great... but when the brightness drops mid-Temple Run we get hugely frustrated.

It's not too bad in direct sunlight though - the contrast ratio of 3.5:1 Samsung is touting in direct sunlight is just about enough to see what you're doing, and if you're using the camera you can fire the brightness even higher to see what you're snapping.

The same option has been sadly removed from the Video player, so sitting in the sunshine watching Robocop is now no longer a thing to be done with your new Galaxy.

In terms of comparisons to previous iterations of Super AMOLED screens, this is where it gets a little bit technical - we'll try to keep it simple.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

The Galaxy S2 packed a Super AMOLED Plus screen, which means that for every pixel, there were three subpixels - red, green and blue. This meant lovely contrast ratios and cleaner whites - this was noticeable close up.

However, in order to facilitate the much higher resolution, Samsung has crammed in fewer sub pixels per pixel, which means a slightly less 'clean' colour close up.

But what does this mean to you, the user? In truth, not a lot. Power efficiency seems to be very similar to that on the original S2 when it comes to firing the screen, and while there might be more of a skew towards green and blue on the colour scale, in practice this simply results in more natural-looking hues.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

The sharpness is also technically affected, but with such a high resolution there's very little chance of this affecting the way you get to watch your movies or see the web.

Check out our comparison from Galaxy S to S2 to S3 to see what we mean - close up, the colours are more noticeable on the S3 compared to the S2, but this is unlikely to bother most users.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

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The original Samsung Galaxy S used a standard Super AMOLED display, which was impressive two years ago.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

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Here's the Samsung Galaxy S2 - as you can see, the Super AMOLED Plus offers some very clear colour reproduction.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

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The Galaxy S3 does have more visible colour sections within each pixel, but only when viewed at very close range. As you can see, the sharpness is much higher.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSDPA, HSPA+
SAR Value0.55 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyGalaxy S III
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedWCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, GSM 900, GSM 850, GSM 1800, GSM 1900
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time21.60 Hour
Screen Size12.2 cm (4.8")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)133 g
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerSamsung
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density306 ppi
Height136.6 mm
Width70.6 mm
Depth8.6 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time900 Hour
Product NameGalaxy S III
Processor Speed1.40 GHz
Processor TypeExynos
Product LineGalaxy S III
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeGyro Sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass, Color Sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberGALAXYS3WHT
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Smart Stay

With the innovative Smart Stay feature, GALAXY S III automatically recognises when you are looking at the phone, whether it is to read an e-book or browse the web. The front camera looks deep into your eyes and maintains a bright display for continued viewing pleasure. What a bright idea.


Sharing your content with friends nearby should be easy, quick and even fun. S-Beam lets you bond instantly so you can transfer documents, contacts, pictures, music, videos, you name it. Just put the backs of two Galaxy S III phones together, connect, share and enjoy.

Limited Warranty2 Year