Two years ago the Samsung Galaxy S3 was the device to have, with the only real competition coming from a certain Cupertino based firm. Today the story is completely different, with budget devices such as the Moto G giving the Samsung a marathon run for its money.

Also thrown into the mix is the current trend for "mini" devices, which despite their almost ludicrous title still come with pretty large screens, almost all matching the 4.8-inch 720p screen.

So does an ageing flagship still cut it against the new boys?

We liked

Despite the fact that HD screens are now the norm of the smaller device, there is no taking away from the Super AMOLED tech that Samsung has been using it its higher end devices. Despite being a few years old, this still gives the Galaxy S3 a lot of sparkle.

Storage is also highly impressive, with the largest models able to support up to 128GB (64GB microSD on top of the highest end S3) plus a further 50GB of Dropbox space for the next two years only making the S3 more desirable.

Finally I should add a nod to the battery. Not one of my friends that own the Galaxy S3 has ever moaned about not having enough charge, and that includes my GPS loving father and gaming loving brother. You can also buy a 3000mAh battery pack if the 2100mAh isn't quite enough.

We disliked

I can sum up my biggest grievance with the S3 in three words; Android Jelly Bean. Yes we're looking at an older handset so it can be expected that the OS will also be older, but this is something that will eventually prove to be annoying, especially if you're on a two year contract.

Samsung's TouchWiz UI can also prove to be a little much for some people. Whilst I must admit that I am a fan of Samsung's UI, it's not quite as good as Sony's UI and I know that many will be put off by the heavily customised features that aren't present on the likes of the Moto G.

Finally it is only a minor niggle but needs to be addressed; that of Smart Stay. Samsung's eye tracking technology has never appealed to me as it is unable to properly track my eyes. If the idea is for it to keep the screen lit whilst I'm looking at it, then it's extremely frustrating when the screen dims. Please sort this out Samsung.


So, you're thinking about purchasing a Samsung Galaxy S3. Is it going to be a good idea? In short, that really depends.

There is an awful lot that the Samsung offers, with its still impressive camera and the fact that the aging processor now sits comfortably at the lower end of the market complete with the price to match.

Unfortunately I still struggle to move past the older OS, which is a real shame as it holds the S3 back from smashing the lower end of the market to pieces.

Obviously it makes sense for Samsung, it still has its own phones to sell in this sector after all, but it puts the Galaxy S3 on the back foot against the "mini" generation and the likes of the budget Moto G.

First reviewed: May 2012