Samsung Galaxy SIII review

The Samsung Galaxy SIII - a phone worthy of the hype

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Battery life. One of the most contentious element still on smartphones and one we're keen to see stop being an issue – and it's thankfully nothing to worry about on the Samsung Galaxy S3.

See how it fares in our tried and tested battery power video:

The 2100mAh battery is designed to make sure that the large screen, with millions of pixels, isn't going to suck down the power as fast as it might do.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

That's not to say the screen isn't thirsty – it takes up a good portion of the battery meter each time you check in – but overall, battery life was not an issue we butted up against regularly.

Let's put it into some context: subjecting the Galaxy S3 to the same test we do all smartphones, it's come out as the second longest-lasting device of all we've checked out.

We ran a 90 minute video at full brightness and applied all accounts (Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, Exchange etc) and set them all to the most regular updates over Wi-Fi.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

The Samsung Galaxy S3 managed to get to only 82% battery power by the end of the test – compare that to the 60% of the HTC One X and 74% of the iPhone 4S and you can see why we're impressed.

Under heavy load, the phone will last about 8 hours. And we mean heavy: the battery test we mentioned plus an hour of photography and video. After than half an hour of playing Riptide GP and then some web browsing for a further hour. Then around twenty minutes of music listening before an hour's session on video.

We also had the voice-control activated from the lock screen the whole time, which Samsung tells you is a real battery killer as it listens to what you say.

This pushed the battery to about 20%, after which we killed it trying to synchronise over Wi-Fi direct in about 45 minutes (although this can be a real battery drainer).

In real use, as in not checking it every seven seconds to play with it (the curse of the new phone) you'll get a much more reasonable battery life. We regularly saw power drops of only 30% by 2PM, and a healthy 25% by bedtime.

This will change during use, obviously, but it's much harder to hammer the battery through actually doing things the phone is supposed to compared to the HTC One X.

This has also been improved by the software update AGAIN. While some days saw the battery meter swing a little bit lower than usual on the odd day of hardcore usage - this was improved and since updating we haven't gone lower than 25% at bedtime. Excellent work, Samsung.


If you're one of those people that want to have the phone all their friends have got, then the Galaxy S3 is the one you better hope that they have.

When it comes to connectivity, it's unsurprising that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is fully stocked – in fact we can't think of a single thing that we'd want to see that's missing.

From NFC to advanced location sensors, everything has been packed into the 8.6mm frame.

Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung has built on the Android Beam system - based on NFC - that Google created to allow users to share things like map directions, web links and YouTube videos. However, it's souped it up by using Wi-Fi Direct, which can transfer items at dizzying speeds.

Think pictures from one phone to another in seconds, and HD videos in around a couple of minutes - although sadly the trick will only work from S3 to S3 at the moment - we're hoping Samsung changes this in the future as Wi-Fi Direct connection should be easy to do between brands.

Dual channel bonding is also on offer for the Wi-Fi brigade out there - we noticed very little in the way of slowdown when it came to connecting over Wi-Fi, and the signal strength held well even with our crappy Sky router (which loves to spit out a single bar of reception even when right next to the box).

Samsung hasn't stopped there though - get yourself a MHL lead and connect up to the TV through the microUSB port and you can mirror your device onto a larger screen with no problems... and it's a much better way of using your phone as a games controller than going through AllShare Cast we've found.

USB To Go is an underrated trick that we're surprised isn't being more widely used (although it's probably because the adaptor is so jolly hard to get hold of) - being able to connect a USB stick or hard drive to the phone when out and about is a great feature to have and one we're glad to see again.

GPS is on board, and it's backed up by GLONASS - for those that don't know, this is a system that's similar to GPS (developed by the Russians) that's slightly less accurate than the US-created version - but add the two together and you've got a superbly quick fix when it comes to locating yourself on the Maps app... we're talking a couple of seconds max most of the time and world away from the rubbish reception of the Galaxy S2.

(Apparently GLONASS is necessary on mobile phones now to avoid being subject to an import duty when exporting to Russia - we don't care, as it gives us faster tracking and phones are cheaper for our Russian friends. Everyone wins).

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

As we've already discussed, DLNA is on board to allow easy connection to nearby devices - most of the time you'll have to trigger this manually in the menu, but once enabled the streaming is pretty quick.

It's not perfect by any means, and still lacks the slickness we'd like to see from wireless streaming, but should you get your set up working well you'll enjoy being able to get files from your computer without a hassle.

Bluetooth 4.0 is on board the Samsung Galaxy S3 as well, with the standard A2DP streaming to Bluetooth headsets on offer as well.

This means when the technology starts to mature you'll be able to create personal area networks (PANs) where you can connect up a variety of sensors and have them stream to your phone - and there are a few of those listed in the accessories section already.

And let's not forget the fact you can turn your phone into a wireless hotspot with ease, allowing you to share your data connection with all and sundry. You'll have to make sure it's enabled by your networks first; else you could be forced onto another price plan to make it work.

So, as you can see: connectivity is high here and we haven't even got onto the myriad PC connections on offer either...

PC connectivity

With most smartphones, the notion of connecting up to a PC to get files and updates is growing increasingly antiquated - but Samsung is forging on still with its Kies software.

This is Samsung's version of iTunes, although it's not really got anything like the same power behind it. It harks back to older phone software at times - insofar that it still took us three attempts to install the correct drivers to sync up the Samsung Galaxy S3.

But once in, the experience isn't terrible - we were instantly asked if we wanted to use the iPhone back up Kies had found to populate the S3 with new content, which was a nifty touch. We instantly had loads of photos from another handset without having to do any dragging and dropping, and if we hadn't got all our contacts from Google sync then this would have been ace.

However, getting other content onto the phone isn't the fluid experience we might have hoped to see for a company that's trying to out-do Apple in the media stakes - you can't do simple things like dragging and dropping files onto the phone icon; instead you have to right click and tell it to 'Transfer to Device'.

At least that process is fairly quick - even with conversion on some video files there was no problem with it.

And if you're one of those people with fancy Wi-Fi enabled computers (you know... everyone) then you can connect to Kies over Wi-Fi instead of tethering the phone to a PC through a cable. However, this is a slower way of doing things, and we had trouble getting the phone to auto-update when we got into the Wi-Fi zone, which is what we'd have hoped for from such a service.

And when the Galaxy SIII is connected to Kies via Wi-Fi it's not got the same speed of operation either - we noticed significant slowdown from a handset that is definitely snappier in most cases. This will obviously depend on your home set up, and it's something we've seen on many other phones too.

If you're interested in connecting to a PC but not messing around with Samsung's software, you could just drag and drop files over the Windows Explorer interface - it works just as well thanks to the Galaxy S3's ability to play nearly every file under the sun.

You can connect the phone in either MTP or Camera mode - both of which will allow you access to the file system (although you'll have to use the former method to connect via Kies).

Here's one big issue though: Mac connection simply isn't available in USB mode. You can connect up to Kies, but the old way of being able to drag and drop files from your Mac won't work any more. It's a kick in the teeth for Apple computer users, and one that's odd when Samsung is trying to wrestle away fans from the iClan.

Something else that's missing from the Galaxy S3 is the ability to interact with the phone via an internet browser - a novel idea from the S2 - but given that process was as slow as pulling teeth, we really don't miss it.

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