Galaxy S3

Galaxy S3

After a brief Google-sponsored detour to make the Galaxy Nexus, Samsung returned to its own flagship phone in the shape of the Galaxy S3 in May 2012.

The key specs
  • Screen 4.8-inch Super AMOLED, 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Battery 2100mAh
  • CPU quad-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A9, 1GB RAM
  • Key features Smart Stay, Android Beam, Pop up Play - all about the software and screen
  • Internal storage 16GB / 32GB / 64GB
  • OS Android 4.0.4
  • Price at launch: £499

It was the second home run for Samsung in a row: the S3 arrived to almost universal acclaim, and we called it "the best smartphone around right now" in our original review. Again, the screen was bigger: the Super AMOLED display grew to 4.8 inches at a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels, and the weight grew to 133g as well.

The heavy lifting was done by a quad-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, while the Mali-400MP GPU showed up again alongside 1GB of RAM. The S3 originally came with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich and was at the same £500 SIM-free price level as its predecessor.

As on the S2, an 8-megapixel camera was around the back, though various software optimisations helped to create slightly better photos. In terms of storage, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB options were available.

Not even battery life could spoil the S3 party: the 2100mAh battery was good for eight hours or so of heavy use, which placed it very favourably amongst the other handsets of 2012. Speed, design, battery life, display, responsiveness, bundled features... the phone scored highly in every department.

Galaxy S4

Galaxy S4

And so to Samsung's current flagship phone until the S5 replaces it this April.

The key specs
  • Screen 5-inch Super AMOLED HD, 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Battery 2600mAh
  • CPU quad-core 1.6GHz Cortex-A15, 2GB RAM
  • Key features Air gestures, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause, Drama Shot, Infra red remote, humidity sensor
  • Internal storage 16GB / 32GB / 64GB
  • OS Android 4.2.2
  • Price at launch: £600

The Galaxy S4 arrived in the world in April 2013, offering users a whopping 5-inch 1080 x 1920 pixel Super AMOLED screen, an upgraded 13-megapixel camera, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and a 2600mAh battery that typically lasts at least the length of a day.

The specs of last year's model remain impressive: a quad-core 1.6GHz Cortex-A15 CPU, a PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage.

It weighs in at 130g and offers a slew of sensors to track your eyes, measure humidity and more besides. You can currently pick up a SIM-free S4 for around £400, though it was closer to £600 at launch.

Despite a high TechRadar review score, and sales of 40 million units in the first six months, Samsung is reportedly disappointed with the S4's impact on the market. As far as we're concerned though, the phone was a success, if not on the same level as the S2 and the S3.

Galaxy S5

Galaxy S5

So, onto the latest iteration of the Samsung Galaxy family: the S5, and it's powerful while remaining a little underwhelming.

The key specs
  • Screen 5.1-inch Super AMOLED HD, 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Battery 2800mAh
  • CPU Quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801, 2GB RAM
  • Key features Waterproof, Super fast autofocus, heart rate monitor, fingerprint scanner
  • Internal storage 16GB / 32GB / 64GB
  • OS Android 4.4.2
  • Price at launch: £TBC

In February 2014 the Galaxy S5 was launched unto the baying public, and delivered in a number of stable ways. Gone were the theatrics and the pointless sensors, to be replaced by a heart rate monitor, a blazing fast autofocus and a fingerprint scanner.

The main specs were up again: the CPU was faster at 2.5GHz, the screen was larger as a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED HD option, the camera boosted to 16MP and the battery now rocking up at 2800mAh.

On top of that Android 4.4.2 was included to make things look a lot slicker and the overall interface was overhauled to make things like the lock screen much clearer and generally improve the flow through the device.

The fitness elements were boosted through S Health 3.0, which brings the most holistic tracking app ever for your fitness, according to Samsung, while most other elements stayed the same - although the rubberised back is a lot a grippier.

We're still awaiting a price, but chances are it will be the same as before, hovering around the £500-£600 mark depending on your spec choice.

Our hands on: Samsung Galaxy S5 review found that the "Galaxy S5 has a great camera, strong screen, impressive packaging, a waterproof casing and a blazingly fast engine pumping things along.

"But it doesn't have an amazing camera, incredibly battery life, stunning design or genuinely innovative feature, and that cause a few people to wait and see what the competition brings."

...and so there you have it: a complete walk down the Samsung Galaxy memory lane. Are there any particular handsets that you have fond memories of? Or are there specific innovations that you'd like to see Samsung offer next time around? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.