Samsung Galaxy S3 first look – is it the smartphone to beat?

by , Smartphones 03/05/2012
Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung Galaxy S3 – what is it?

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is Samsung’s new flagship smartphone and a replacement for the Galaxy S2. It’s got a slight redesign and actually looks similar to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus rather than the Galaxy S2. Like Samsung handsets from the past, it is made from plastic rather than premium materials such as metal, but the device feels fairly well built.

We were at the launch event and you can watch our hands-on video below. Next week we’ll be looking more closely at how the S3 compares to the S2, the phone it replaces.

See how the Galaxy S3 compares with the S2 and take a closer look at the S3′s camera features, the new software in the Galaxy S3 and S Voice feature in our in-depth videos.

Samsung Galaxy S3 – 5 things you need to know

1. It’s got a ‘quad-core processor’

In rough terms, the more ‘cores’ a processor has the faster it will be. While the iPhone 4S has a dual-core processor, the S3 has a new quad-core processor. This is similar to the HTC One X and LG Optimus 4X HD, though to see how they compare we’ll have to wait for our lab to put them to the test.

2. It runs the latest version of Android

Like the One X and Optimus 4X HD, the S3 runs on the latest version of the Android operating system, called Ice Cream Sandwich. This adds a range of new features and improvements, as well as an improved user interface.

3.  It’s got an HD 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen

Which means what, exactly? Well the screen on the Galaxy S2 was exceptionally bright and colourful, and the Galaxy S3 is even better. It’s got a 1,280 x 720 resolution and at first look it’s very impressive – you can read more first impressions later on.

4. There’s a choice of colours

The S3 comes in either white or blue. The white version has a glossy finish, while the blue version has a brushed metal effect.

5. It has an 8-megapixel camera

This is the same resolution as the S2′s camera, though there are improvements. It’s quicker to take shots and you can take still photos while shooting a video. Whether the camera takes better photos or not, we’ll just have to wait for our lab test to find out.

Tim’s first impressions – is this the Android smartphone to beat?

The most impressive thing about the S3 is definitely the screen. This has all the brightness and colour reproduction of the Galaxy S2′s screen but has a sharper resolution, putting it in competition with Apple’s retina display.

Design-wise I’m a little disappointed. It looks a lot more like the Galaxy Nexus, yet without the curved screen which is what makes the Nexus stand out. This leaves the S3 feeling more like a mid-range phone rather than a top-end smartphone.

Samsung has focused on user experience rather than specifications, which I think is a smart move, and the ability to keep the screen illuminated as long as you are looking at it is a useful feature. Improved voice recognition, on the other hand, feels like an attempt to keep pace with Apple rather than an essential feature.

Overall it is an impressive device and has all the features you would expect, but there’s nothing earth-shattering to put it above the competition and, for what is likely to be an expensive device, it doesn’t feel all that special in the hand.

Samsung Galaxy S3 photo gallery

More on this…

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10 comments

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Chris Christoforou

Looking at it from a distance and not having handled it, the design looks nicer than the iPhone. I guess with the plastic case it doesn’t feel as nice in the hand though.

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Will

I prefer a rounded edge and a lighter phone. Square edges are hard onn hands and pockets and heavy phones are….heavy!
It is a phone not a mini tablet/computer.

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Michael McIlwraith

It looks nice. How big are smartphones going to get? As big as a tablet??! Interested to see it compared to the iPhone 4S. I predict the iPhone 5 will be….bigger!

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Andy Vandervell

Well there’s lots of rumours suggesting that will happen, but I hope not. I like the iPhone as it is – phone size. I could cope with 4-inches, maybe, but not more.

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Irene wood

i have used Samsung phones for the last six / seven years and cant wait to get to use the new phone . . cant wait to see what kind of protection case it will provide .

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Kev

any idea when it will be available in the shops?

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Roger K

Kev: Supposedly it’s on sale in UK from 30th May

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mgp001

Can it handle Flash content?

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Sam

Any idea when the full review will be available?

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Tim Gee

Hi Sam,

We’re putting the phone through our test program in the labs at the moment so we will have results in the next few weeks.

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