Samsung Galaxy S3 Review (U.S Versions)

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Samsung is the most popular smartphone manufacturer in the world. And the Galaxy line up is Samsung’s flagship series. So, it’s only right to expect great things from the Galaxy S3. But the question is, does it deliver? We’ll get into that and more later in this article, but for now, lets take a look at the spec sheet:

  • 4.8 inch Super AMOLED display at 1280×720 (306 PPI)
  • 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16-64 GB of internal storage
  • microSD card slot for expandable memory
  • 8 MP rear camera, 1.9 MP front facing shooter
  • 2100 mAh battery (removable with NFC)
  • 4G LTE (on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon variants)
  • Android 4.0.4 with TouchWiz

Pretty impressive specifications huh? But do all those specs actually translate into a better user experience on the SGS3 compared to other similarly spec’d phones? Lets find out:

Let’s get what I don’t like about the Galaxy S3 out of the way first:

TouchWiz Design: It’s really not that bad to look at, but I have to say that I was really expecting a face lift to the TouchWiz UI that has looked pretty much the same since the original Galaxy S. Sure, Samsung has made improvements in a lot of areas, but take one look at the settings and you can barely tell if you’re using the Galaxy S or in this case the S3. And with Google’s big focus on the holo themed settings in ICS, there’s really no excuse for this.

Predictive Text Keyboard: I’ve used a lot of phones obviously, and a few of them were running on Ice Cream Sandwich. If you’re read the review I did on ICS’ keyboard, then you know I like it a lot. Unfortunately, Samsung didn’t follow the old cliche “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” and opted to use their own keyboard instead. For the most part it’s okay, but the predictive text just really doesn’t predict all that accurately some of the times.

Video Sound Quality: If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a video has to be worth at least a million. Listen to the sound quality in the video below and you’ll see exactly why this is under my “dislike” section of this review. But in case you don’t feel like hurting you ears, know that the SGS3 picks up on a lot of wind noise.

Okay, now it’s time to talk about what I like (which is a whole lot):

Screen: As soon as you pick the Galaxy S3 up, you immediately notice the beautiful screen. I said the same thing about the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but it’s even more true with the SGS3. I mean, both phones have 720p displays with the GNex actually having a higher PPI due to its smaller screen. But the SGS3’s screen is always true HD because it doesn’t have on screen buttons. So you’re always getting true 720p HD, with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Speed: With the 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor coupled with an impressive 2 GB of RAM, you know that speed was going to be one of my main points under the “likes” section. The SGS3 just flies through everything you throw at it, benchmarking better than any Android phone I’ve tested thus far. Enough said.

Cameras: Yes, that’s plural on purpose. The 8 MP camera on the back of the Galaxy S3 takes great pictures as is expected out of any high end device nowadays. But it’s the front facing camera that really shines to me. At 1.9 MP, it has a better MP count than most high end phones out there and shoots pretty good videos in 720p.

Physical Home Button: I never thought that this would make it on my list, but it’s probably one of my favorite things about the SGS3. The physical home button makes it so much easier to not only minimize out of apps, but to turn your phone’s screen on when it’s on standby. With a device this big, it’s a whole lot easier to press that home button than to reach over to the power button on the side.

TouchWiz Features: After my little rant about the way TouchWiz looks, I think it’s time to talk about what it can do. I really like the value added features Samsung has added into TouchWiz. There are of course those motion controls which were on the S2 as well, but this time around we have a new feature called “smart stay.” What this does is use the front facing camera to detect when you are looking at the screen and keeps the screen on or off based off of that. In other words, no more tapping the screen every couple of seconds to avoid having it turn off!

The good ol’ wrap up you’ve grown accustomed to:

Overall, I love the Samsung Galaxy S3. Sure, I may not be a fan of the way TouchWiz looks and the keyboard isn’t for me, but the hardware is downright amazing and some of the software features are nice too. I’ll probably end up using a third party keyboard to address the keyboard issue and maybe flash a custom ROM to get a stock look, but in the end this is the phone I’m sticking with as my daily driver because the hardware is just that good.

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About Author

David Rahimi is the editor-in-chief at PhoneBuff.com. Ever since he got his first smartphone, he has been obsessed with mobile technology and all that it has to offer. Other interests include business, investing, and neuroscience.

  • Riley

    Even though the T-Mobile GSIII doesn’t have LTE, I like their prices on plans. I’m looking forward to being on the HSPA network since many of my Dish co-workers seem to love the speed of it. I like to stream live TV and movies on my phone, which is where the Dish Remote Access app comes in. I think the app will work perfectly on the T-Mobile network and on the phone. I can’t tell you how nice it is being able to watch live TV while I’m at the airport waiting for my flight. Hopefully it doesn’t take too much longer for it to get to my house!

  • Great phone,pity about battery life

    Hi there,
    Just like thousands of other people I agree that the S3 is a great smart phone,hence it’s classed as the number one choice worldwide.
    I recently got one on contract and was quickly impressed.The only disappointment was the fact how quickly the battery drains big time! Other than that a great phone……err….I mean mini computer!…….lol