Samsung Galaxy S3 review

Price when reviewed

Hardware and performance

Once you’ve seen the Galaxy S III’s benchmark results, however, we suspect you may well be prepared to put up with such minor foibles. The CPU is of Samsung’s own manufacture – a 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos 4212 chip with 1GB of RAM – accompanied by a Mali-400 MP GPU, and when we put it through our usual battery of tests it came top in every one.

Its time of 1,430ms in SunSpider is the quickest of any phone we’ve tested; a score of 5,413 in Quadrant batters every other handset into submission, including the 1.5GHz quad-core HTC One X, which scored 4,927.

In use this translates to a supremely fluid feel. In and around the operating system, and navigating around complex web pages, it feels as smooth as you’d ever want, and even loading and rendering hefty web pages such as the BBC homepage feels snappier than usual.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Surprisingly, we didn’t experience 100% smooth frame rates in games. While playing Shadowgun we saw choppiness on occasion, but most of the time the power on tap is more than ample. What’s more, even flat out, the Samsung Galaxy S III never reached the finger-searing temperatures of its predecessor.

After a few minutes blasting away gas-masked enemies, we measured the phone using an infrared thermometer, and found it reached 39ºC, where the Galaxy S II was capable of reaching an unbearable 56ºC.

A further advantage the S III holds over the HTC One X is its microSD slot. This means you can comfortably opt for the cheapest model with 16GB storage in the knowledge that it can be expanded later on. With support for SDXC cards, you can add up to 64GB.

Battery life & power saving

To prevent the powerful CPU and high-resolution screen consuming battery life like a pride of lions devouring a lone wildebeest, Samsung has squeezed in a beefy 2,100mAh battery. After downloading 50MB of data, playing an audio file on loop, forcing the screen on for an hour and making a 30-minute phone call, we left the S III checking email, and it had 60% capacity left on the gauge after 24 hours – on a par with the HTC One X and most other big-screened smartphones.

That isn’t bad, all things considered, but it’s only part of the story. First up, the battery is removable, which means that when it starts giving up the ghost 18 months hence it won’t mean the end of your phone or a trip to the repair shop. That, coupled with the fact you can carry one or more spares with you to extend runtime, edges it in front of the HTC One X on this front.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Second, Samsung has implemented all sorts of other tricks to extend battery life. “Smart stay” is the most ingenious, and uses the front-facing camera to monitor when you’re looking at the screen. If you are, it will temporarily disable the screen timeout; if not, it returns to its initial state, dimming the display then switching it off as normal. The advantage of this is that you can set the screen timeout lower than you might otherwise without fear of it going dark halfway through reading a paragraph.


Cheapest price on contractFree
Contract monthly charge£26.00
Contract period24 months


Dimensions70 x 8.9 x 136mm (WDH)
Primary keyboardOn-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity1.00GB
Camera megapixel rating8.0mp
Front-facing camera?yes
Video capture?yes


Screen size4.8in
Resolution720 x 1280
Landscape mode?yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth supportyes
Integrated GPSyes


OS familyAndroid

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