Samsung Galaxy SIII review

The Samsung Galaxy SIII - a phone worthy of the hype

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If you're read the whole way through this review, then well done to you; you've navigated TechRadar's most in-depth rundown of a mobile phone ever in our Samsung Galaxy SIII review.

And the reason we went into such depth was simple: this is one of the most advanced smartphones in the world ever.

With a host of new features, a spec list that's close to being unbeatable in the modern climate and a pretty darn palatable price on contract (if you're with the right network), there's a good reason why the Galaxy S3 is breaking pre-order records the world over.

And now we've lived with the phone for a while, we can feel more comfortable in our verdict on one of the most sought-after handsets out there.

We liked

Now this part we've been looking forward to – the chance to wax lyrical about the plethora of great things the Galaxy S3 does.

Do we choose the blazingly-fast core that is almost infallible when it comes to navigation? The bright and clear Super AMOLED HD screen which never fails to raise a small smile when watching video (especially HD stuff)?

We could move onto the fact that despite packing a similar sensor to the S2, the camera is still a cracking effort that will please most. Or we could point out how mind-blowingly fast the internet browser is.

Oh, and lest we forget the storage: up to 128GB onboard the phone and a further 50GB from Dropbox. The design is also very sleek and the weight is minimal too – and battery life borders on the stellar at times.

Heck, we even like the way the lockscreen ripples and the ease with which you can open apps from there. And once other people pick up the S3, we're looking forward to sharing things over S Beam in seconds, rather than faffing about with uploading to servers or emailing.

As you can see, it's all about faster, smarter and being more minimal than ever before while keeping the spec list at the bleeding edge of technology.

We disliked

This was initially a difficult section to write, but as we've lived with the phone a few more niggles have presented themselves - but don't worry, it's nothing major.

S Voice and Smart Stay currently don't seem like much more than gimmicks at the moment, with the former especially quickly getting (metaphorically) dusty within the phone. Voice accuracy is just too poor for general use, and some of the responses border on the weird.

That's not necessarily a slight on Samsung, more on the crazy culture Apple has created by telling us that voice control is important. It really isn't until it's unerringly accurate.

The design is probably the biggest bone of contention for most, and while it's not stellar in terms of a 'premium' feel, it's not terrible. It's weight over form - if you like a lighter pocket feeling, then the S3 is a winner. If you prefer glass and brushed metal, or an overall chunkier-feeling phone, there are options from HTC, Apple and LG that should be looked at.

Other problems include a sub-par email client, the sheer lack of Mac support on this top-end phone, and the re-drawing issue when heading back to the home screen. It's nothing to be really concerned about, and they're massively outweighted by the positives, but it's worth noting.


If you've come straight here and looked at the score, let us put it into some kind of context for you: we agonised fabout whether this was another five star phone in the same mould as the Samsung Galaxy S2 - but simply put, it doesn't have the same wow factor.

There is still room for improvement here. Whether it could be achieved without a massively adverse effect on cost, we don't know, but there are some things that could be added on future models to make it impossible to not buy.

If the Samsung Galaxy S3 had landed with a premium metallic shell, in the same vein as the HTC One S for instance, any question of design standards would have been obliterated.

The email client, the Mac support and the overall erratic nature of the UI at times don't scream 'high end' to us, and for a five star rating we have to be amazed constantly.

And other little things, like S Voice and Smart Stay, not being quite up to the task just yet mean it's hard to state this is a phone almost without flaw, especially given the competition it faces.

But make no mistake: the Samsung Galaxy S3 is the best smarpthone on the market. It's got every kind of feature we could ask for and more, and raises the bar once again in terms of what consumers should be expecting in terms of battery life, processor speed and media management.

Would we recommend you buy one? Yes, without hesitation. If you're torn between this and an HTC One X, it's a very difficult one to call – the camera on the One X is better in some respects and the overall feel might appeal. But in terms of pure usability and power, we really like what Samsung has put on the table.

And if you're thinking about picking up an iPhone 4S: forget it. You'll need to wait to see what response Apple is Cooking up with the iPhone 5 as a 3.5-inch screen and the same high price tag it launched with are no longer acceptable.

And the final question: should you upgrade from your Samsung Galaxy S2? If you're a fan of the latest smartphone technology, then yes: the Samsung Galaxy S3 is worthy of any pocket (as long as you like the design).

But the Galaxy S2 is a long way from spent yet – the new ICS update has kept it fresh, and the speed is still very quick under most conditions.

So to summarise: if you've been waiting feverishly for the new Samsung Galaxy S3, you will not be disappointed. It's fast, it's sleek and it packs the latest technology that will get your pulse racing.

The recent update has made it an even better phone, and we've been using it out of choice for the last few months - given we've got the choice of most handsets out there, that's a pretty big recommendation for any phone. If you're torn though, do wait to see what the next iPhone brings... it's only a short while until it's unveiled now.

Samsung faced an almost impossible task in trying to create a worthy sequel to the Galaxy S2, but the Galaxy S3 should definitely be one of, if not the phone you should consider on your next trip to your local handset emporium.

Oh, and here's a little treat for all of those that made it this far... and love 80s commercials:

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