Review: Samsung Galaxy S3
Before starting this review a huge thanks goes to Vodafone for providing the Samsung Galaxy S3 for review.

The Samsung Galaxy S3. Easily one of the most anticipated phones of last year. Following in the great footsteps of its incredibly predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S2, the S3 had high expectations.  The Samsung Galaxy S3 is available on contract on Vodafone UK free on contracts from £38.

 You can view an unboxing and first look of the Samsung Galaxy S3 by our co-admin Purav Below.

Tech Specs:

  • 1.4 GHz quad-core Cortex-A9
  • Android 4.1 JellyBean with TouchWiz
  • 16 or 32 GB Onboard Flash Storage
  • 2 GB Ram
  • 4.8 inches- 720 x 1280 pixels Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with a pixel density of 306 per inch
  • 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
  • 1.9 MP, 720p@30fps Front Camera
  • Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
  • Li-Ion 2100 mAh removable battery

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is one of the highest spec Android powered smart phones on the market. The beast of a phone will provide more than enough power for even the most demanding users.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean:

The Galaxy S3 is running on Android, Google’s Mobile Operating System. Just recently, it has been updated to Jelly Bean. Out of the box, the handset is powered by Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0). Once set up, the device prompts you to upgrade to the latest incarnation of the Android operating system, Jelly Bean (Android 4.1). The update takes around 10-15 minutes depending on internet speed and connectivity. Once you’re updated to Jelly Bean, you receive the intended benefits of Google’s latest operating system including Project Butter and Google Now.

On top of Jelly Bean, Samsung have included their overlay, Touchwiz. Similarly to HTC’s Sense, Touchwiz makes the Android operating system easier to use for the everyday consumer. Touchwiz is the same colourful interface that you see on the Galaxy Note 2 and the S3’s predecessor, the Galaxy S2. Touchwiz on the S3 looks extremely polished. With it’s neatly drawn icons and beautiful fonts, Touchwiz is definitely one of the nicest overlays designed for Android. However, just like HTC’s Sense, Touchwiz does have a fair amount of problems and glitches with it. After moderate use, Touchwiz can slow the S3’s quad core processor down a bit and this does impact on the functionality of the device.

However, despite the few problems and glitches with Touchwiz, it is an amazing piece of software and compliments the Android Jellybean Operating System very well on the S3. Below are some screenshots of some of the features the Touchwiz overlay provides.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Homescreen

Samsung Galaxy S3 Homescreen. As you can tell, I have customised it to my liking. One of the many benefits Android has.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Lockscreen

Samsung Galaxy S3 Lockscreen-As you can see again, I have customised it to my liking.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Notification Menu

Samsung Galaxy S3 Notification Menu-One of the many small changes Touchwiz brings to Jelly Bean.

JellyBean is extremely intuitive and easy to use on the S3. During my testing of the device, the phone didn’t turn off or crash on me even once even when multi-tasking on the device. The Touchwiz compliments JellyBean very well on the device and overall provides an impeccable user experience.

 Build Quality / Design:

With the S3, Samsung have ditched their usual rectangular look which dominated the highly popular S2. Instead, Samsung have opted for an oval shaped design which is highly similar to the Galaxy Nexus.

 

The front of the S3. Looks extremely nice and has a very simple design.

The front of the S3. Looks extremely nice and has a very simple design.

The corners of the S3 are extremely curvy and very smooth. The device is very nice to hold in the hand and is the perfect size. The back of the phone is curved similarly to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Unlike the HTC One X, the camera doesn’t protrude out of the back of the phone which will ensure that the lens wont acquire dust and other particles as easily. The camera is flush with the back of the device.

Samsung haven’t ditched the buttons on the S3 either. Just below the display on the S3 is a small button which takes you back to the home screens. To either side of this are touch capacitive buttons which display the menu on certain apps as well as the back key. The placement of these keys on the phone is slightly troublesome. This is because they are very small and are places right at the bottom of the device. When using the S3 with one hand, it can be quite difficult to reach the touch capacitive “back” key. This could be quite an issue if you have small hands. In addition, the volume rocker is rather large and placed to the left of the screen. The awkward position Samsung have placed it in can make it quite easy to  accidentally click on to.

The back of the S3 is glossy which may not please a lot of people. The screen is also a finger print magnet and needs to be cleaned regularly. Just like it’s predecessor, the S3 has an extremely flimsy back which again is quite easy to break or snap off the phone. However, all the plastic on the phone does keep the weight down by quite a bit. The S3 weighs just 133 grams and comes in at a thickness of 8.6 mm. The S3 is slightly thicker than some of the latest phones on the market nowadays but definitely does not disappoint. Aside from all the plastic, the S3 definitely has a luxurious and premium quality feel to it.

 Display:

The S3’s screen comes in at a whopping 4.8 inches. Whilst definitely not being the smallest device on the market, it definitely isn’t the biggest either. During my review period, the S3’s screen felt perfect and I enjoyed using the device a lot over my iPhone 5’s smaller 4.0 inch screen. The 4.8 inch screen has a resolution of 1280 by 720 HD. Your pictures and HD Videos taken with the S3 will look simply amazing on the HD screen. The screen is also AMOLED, which is the same technology that is used on the Galaxy Nexus. Just like them devices, the display is a real beauty to look at.

The S3 has a pixel density of 306 PPI. The PPI is definitely not the highest of its competitors. The iPhone 5 in comparison has a density of 326 PPI. However, this is in fact misguided, The smaller screen on the iPhone 5 allows more pixels to be packed into a smaller space. For most people though, a few pixels lower won’t make a huge difference. This is because most users eyes can’t accurately distinguish more than 300 PPI when the phone is held at a close distance.

As with most modern smartphones, direct use under sunlight was extremely poor. The text and images on the display were barely visible. However, this is a problem affecting many modern smartphones and therefore, not just the S3.  Overall, the S3 has a stunning display. The high PPI and accurate colour reproduction meant that the quality of the text and images on the display were flawless.

Battery Life:

The S3’s vivid display and powerful quad core processor definitely puts a strain on the battery life. The S3 comes with a removable 2100 mAh battery. The battery is removable and therefore it is quite easy to carry a spare replacement around with you. During my time with the S3, I had a GMail account set up as well as Twitter, FaceBook and Dropbox. In addition, to these accounts, I also had brightness turned all the way up. With these accounts setup,the battery easily lasted me a day and sometimes even longer. By comparison to the iPhone 5, I found the battery to last much longer. The fact that the battery on the S3 is removable, I could have easily purchased another battery of eBay or Amazon and could have used it when my initial battery was running out.

Camera and Video Quality:

Samsung have included a 8 MP, 3264×2448 Back Camera in the Galaxy S3. Samsung might not have bumped up the megapixel count from the S2 but they have certainly beefed up the camera. The camera included by Samsung in the Galaxy S3 definitely contains a few nice surprises up its sleeve, such as a mode which automatically chooses your best shot and zero shutter lag. During our review time with the Galaxy S3, We took it to a local hill and lake and captured some beautiful shots.

A scenic image taken with the back camera on the Galaxy S3. As you can clearly see, the image has came out very focused and sharp

A scenic image taken with the back camera on the Galaxy S3. As you can clearly see, the image has came out very focused and sharp

You can view a full gallery of images that we took with the Galaxy S3 below.

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The video camera on the Galaxy S3 is equally as great. It captures video at 1080p 30 Frames Per Second. You can view a test of the video camera on the Galaxy S3 on the video below. (Please Note, This video was recorded and uploaded by Purav, the co-admin of Teck Comes First)

Overall, the camera which Samsung have included in the Galaxy S3 is of extremely high quality. It’s one of the best mobile phone camera’s on the market but for those professional shots, you’ll still want to take your DSLR with you.

Gallery:

Below are some pictures of the Galaxy S3 which we took during our review period with the device.

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Summary:

Pros:

  • Easily Updatable to Jelly Bean straight out of the box
  • Stunning 4.8 inch display
  • Powerful Quadcore processor to power Android
  • Removable Battery and Micro SD Card Slot
  • Great 8 Megapixel Camera

Cons:

  • Quite a large handset so won’t suit everyone
  • Touchwiz may not appeal to everyone

Conclusion:

So in conclusion, the Galaxy S3 is one of the best Android phones on the market at this time. With the release of the highly anticipated Galaxy S4, The price of the S3 contract free has dropped considerably. For anyone looking for an Android powered smart phone, I would definitely recommend the Galaxy S3. The high-powered processor combined with the ultra-sharp screen and great camera makes the Galaxy S3 a perfect all-rounder. I rate the Galaxy S3 a whopping 10/10. A huge shout out goes to Vodafone for providing the Galaxy S3 for review.


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Written by Usman, @TeckComesFirst (My personal account is @TheTekGuy )

So what do you guys think of the Samsung Galaxy S3? If you’re looking for a new phone would you consider the Galaxy S3? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Usman Hussain

19, Mac User, Photographer, Web Developer, Apple Enthusiast, CEO and Founder of @TeckComesFirst, Proud Geek.

Latest posts by Usman Hussain (see all)

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  • Yes, Yes, Yes! Well written my friend. I liked how you simplified the features and capabilities of the phone for me to read easily without doing too much reading.
    It’s a good review and I like the Touchwiz despite its errors. 🙂

  • Fantastic review Usman. Throughout the review I just wanted to read more and you ended it very well with the pros and cons. There was one short paragraph where you repeated a word a bit too often but apart from that I couldn’t find any problem with the review. It was very well written and covered pretty much everything people need to know about the S3.
    I hope you enjoyed your time with Android bro. Keep up the awesome work and hopefully we will be able to see you make a video review of smartphones in the future. I think you would really excel at that. 😀

  • Nice article mate and the phones even better now its come down in price

  • Very interesting unbiased review of the Samsung Galaxy S3, addressed all the points I would need to consider in my buying decision.

  • Ben

    Excellent job, even though the S4 is out the S3 is still an amazing phone. Enjoyed the review! Keep it up!

  • Great review and it was good that it was so indepth. It was great that there was pros and cons. It was great that there were videos between them. Great work.

  • Excellent review as it covered everything that I want to know, good information about the pros and cons. Keep it up!

  • Great article matey 🙂 Very informative, looks a nice handset. Keep up the hard work!

  • NaijaMan

    A fantastic article Usman, very detailed and well explained the ins and outs of the phone. Also weighting out the pros and cons of the phone will give anybody the option of investing into this phone if it is the right one for them. Good use of the videos (especially with my hands and voice appearing in the 2nd video haha).

  • Nice review.

    • raf93rly

      i agreed

  • Really in-depth review, goes over many of the points I would of wanted you to have! Overall a very good review

  • Awesome as always!

  • Awesome Article Mate! Great Phone and great review. I am considering Galaxy S4! S3 still is one of the best phones available on the market right now. Nice Article! Well Done.

  • Nice review mate. Very in-depth and I love the photos you’ve taken, you’ve clearly gone to great length for this review, and I can back up the points well after using an S3.

  • Jack Harnett

    Great article Usman mate, apologies the comment is a bit late. I like the detail you’ve gone into and it shows how much work you put in to the review. This phone has great features and basing it off this review I’d recommend it to anyone.

  • Awesome Review! This is put together really well!

  • Excellent review! I think the s3 is the first smartphone that the techie lovers and normal people agree on! 😉

  • The S3 is an amazing device! I have but upgrading to the S4 very sooon.

  • Awesome review Usman 🙂

  • BillJude56

    Good review. Just got mine 2 weeks ago and haven’t upped to JB yet. You’ve given me great incentive to do so. Thanks.

  • nice review!! got to know more than before!! actually pretty good phone =D

  • Warrior Tech

    Too long didn’t read LOL

  • BillJude56

    With the June 4.2.2 upgrade it’s the S3.5.

  • PDTechHD

    What a brilliant review Usman, very detailed and congrats on getting this for review, Vodafone should definitely continue to send you more devices. Nice sample images, the S3 camera does take some amazing shots, having used the S3 for about 8 months now, apart from the cons you’ve mentioned, the battery life on mine has been truly horrendous and I’ve experinced lag and random reboots quite a few times, might need to factory reset to be honest. Very well written review though, glad you enjoyed your time with the S3, I look forward to your next review, keep up the amazing work you legend, Team TeckComesFirst! 😀

  • BillJude56

    It really is a very nice phone; maybe 9/10.

  • BillJude56

    Will AT&T ever get around to giving its S3 customers JB?

  • BillJude56

    I think I’m talking to myself.

  • BillJude56

    Did I just hear a tree fall in the forest? (These are comments for a giveaway. I’m not totally nuts.)

  • BillJude56

    Yet another HTC One giveaway comment.

  • BillJude56

    Does the HTC One outshine the S4?

  • BillJude56

    When it comes to the HTC One giveaway, BillJude56 should com first.

  • Praveen S. Kumar

    Yeah HTC One Rules

  • Andy Dip

    is this where I comment for the htc one giveaway?