Samsung Galaxy SIII review

The Samsung Galaxy SIII - a phone worthy of the hype

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When it comes to contacts, the Samsung Galaxy S3 doesn't really stray that far from where the S2 left off – especially since the Ice Cream Sandwich update landed. This means a pretty average-looking list of contacts, with each tagged with a photo from either Google, Facebook or one you've added in yourself.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

You may have noticed that Twitter is missing from that list - and that's because the social networking service has been removed from the contact integration. We first noticed this on the S2 ICS update but we're dismayed to see the same thing from the Galaxy S3.

Given it's been a stalwart for so many years on Android phones, we're not sure why it's been omitted from the S3 - the One X is all over it like a beaver at a wood-carving convention.

One of the big plus points of Ice Cream Sandwich on the Galaxy Nexus is the ability to see large, high-res pictures of your friends rather than teeny stamp sized pixellated messes - so we're really confused as to why the S3 has chosen to go down the latter route. Despite there clearly being a large enough space next to the square pic to have a much longer icon, the S3 won't let you choose such a thing.

This space is reserved for Google Plus updates, but given you're only going to have 1 in a 100 friends on the service and even fewer posting, it seems like a real error of judgement on Google/Samsung's behalf.

It's to the credit of the Galaxy S3 that you can choose the location of your picture for each contact, meaning you can have Google+ for some and Facebook for others, but the fact that even high resolution pictures are shrunk down to smaller versions is confusing.

Add to this the fact the picture will stretch when you get a call from said friend, and we can only recommend you head into the Facebook app and manually add their picture from a profile - which is both time-consuming and stalkerish.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

Let's not get too hung up on the fact that the contacts system is uninspiring though - it's still one of the best out there even if it is mostly stock Android.

For instance, you have not only a dedicated ringtone but a dedicated buzz pattern so each person is still recognisable in the pocket, and from the menu system you can set defaults on everything from email addresses to names.

Plus the fact there are loads of ways to save contacts in other places - Samsung's online account mirrors Google's by letting you merge them all together, with the added bonus that Sammy's doesn't have the same online mishmash of names when you go to browse it.

That said, the linking of contacts with social networks isn't as impressive as we've seen on the likes of the HTC One Series, where pressing the 'joined' section rarely gets you connected with the right person from Facebook if the names aren't identical.

It would be really nice to see the same suggested links we get from other manufacturers, but in these days of overly-litigated patents, perhaps that's simply not allowed. So we'd suggest you allow a good two hours to draw in all the contacts you can and then get all the pictures and defaults all in place.

Not ideal, but once it's done you'll be cock-a-hoop with the ways in which you can see your buddies.


Calling on the Samsung Galaxy S3, to put it bluntly, couldn't be better in our eyes. While calling is a relatively simple function in today's smartphones, it's still often ruined by brands not giving it enough attention.

Take the likes of noise reduction - in our tests, the S3 came out top in terms of calling the same person with traffic and wind behind us. Even walking past a building site the only criticism we were given was 'it's a bit windy, isn't it?'.

There's a new feature with the software update that allows 'Extra Volume' to be added in call (accessed through the settings menu) and it really does boost the volume from the earpiece - which was good to begin with.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

We tested the Samsung Galaxy S3 on two networks: AT&T and T-Mobile. Both GSM networks. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is also available on Sprint, Verizon and US Cellular. As soon as we get those models in we'll update this review with those experiences. Both phones performed well, but that has more to do with the amount of cellular coverage that we have in the San Francisco Bay Area. That said, when in more remote areas the AT&T version of the Samsung Galaxy S3 experienced slightly better coverage.

Then there's smart dialing - again, nothing special but we really miss it when competing phones like the iPhone or those in the Windows stable don't allow it. Simply pressing the numbers will call up the corresponding letters, making tapping 323 the easiest way to get to 'Dad'.

Video calling is also well-integrated, with those on a similarly-enabled phone quickly picking up our facial features, even over 3G. The effect was pretty smooth and clear too - when you'll use it is still debatable, but we were impressed nonetheless with the 1.9MP front-facing camera.

An issue when considering which version of the Samsung Galaxy S3 is best, it's important to note that while the AT&T version supports 4G LTE, T-Mobile, at press time, doesn't have 4G LTE support. While this isn't really that big of an issue with calls, and basic data functions, you'll notice the difference when conducting video calls.

And for those worried about calling over Bluetooth, worry no more. The Samsung Galaxy S3 supports apt-X codecs, which produces some of the clearest sounds from a headset yet. And if you want to disengage the headset halfway through a call, two quick taps will see you talking via your ear (not literally) in a second.

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