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Samsung Galaxy S3 (GTi9300)

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Posted

UPDATE: 2012.08.07:

S3 Power Bank review added to post #74

Following on from my popular S2 review I thought I'd post an S3 review, I'll be actively updating this as always but to note, my Pebble Blue S3 isn't due until the 13th June due to that manufacturing delay that you guys will have read all about so my intiial review and impressions are on the Marble White version belonging to my dad which landed today.

I will be comparing most things with the S2 (naturally) but I won't do a comparison on daily usage differences until I've had my own S3 a full working week so will only cover things that are immediately obvious and comparable.

Firstly, let's get the bad stuff out the way.

1: You cannot change brightness by sliding the notification bar like on the S2. This is rather lame and I can't wait to root my handset and get a custom ROM with that feature baked in.

2: Auto brightness is rather conservative compared to the S2. Even in normal lighting the brightness is a bit low.

2b: This part would not bother me as I adjust brightness via sliding the bar up top but since auto brightness isn't as aggressive as I'd prefer, custom ROM is the way to go (for me).

3: The Galaxy S2 MHL cable does not work on this. I tried multiple chargers, the S3 charger outputs 1amp vs 750mA of the S2 and even that didn't work. Looks like MHL dongle owners of the S2 will want to sell up and upgrade to the S3 one.

4: Using the "antishake" mode in the camcorder causes the video to zoom in slightly regardless of video resolution used. - I understand why this is now, just a slight annoyance that it has to be this way as I'm used to IS on my DSLR but of course it's not possible to bung gyros into a phone sized shell. Or practical for that matter :p

5: The LED and button backlights do bleed through the white chassis surround, the same is visible on the white S2.

6: The music volume via headphones at max level 15 isn't as loud as 15 on the S2 by a value of about 1.

7: There is a wake delay of about 1 second from when the screen is off and the phone in deep sleep, just like on the S2. Some people dislike this while others don't care either way. I'm in the latter group.

8: The home button delay is there too, just like on the S2. This I didn't expect to go because it's by design. The delay is to allow the home button to be double pressed for waking up S-Voice.

9: You can't long press the notification toggles to access settings for those toggles. You couldn't do this on the S2 either but custom ROMs and themes allowed for this. Since Samsung adopted a lot of tweaks from S2 custom ROMs I would have expected them to adopt this too as it gives quicker access to settings for specific things instead of having to go through the main Settings menu each time.

10: On my dad's handset the screen had a redder tint compared to my S2. Now here's the thing, I think this is the S2 panel lottery scenario at play here again. Some screens have varying amounts of tint toward a certain colour compared to other handsets. My dad's S2 has a screen that's more blue than mine, for example whereas mine is closer to natural daylight white (6500K). I reckon the S3 is going to be exactly the same here. Without putting phones side by side you'd never tell the difference though unless you're used to using a certain colour tone on a screen for years on end or something I guess. I'll be able to confirm this theory once I put his S3 next to mine later this month.

Now the good stuff.

1: Camcorder exceeds expectations in all but one area, the microphone. The S2 microphones pick up more bass than the S3 one does recording video.

I suspect this is a media profile setting that can easily be modded on a custom ROM because this was certainly the case on the S2 before ICS rolled out which improved sound recording quality in the camcorder.

1b: Camcorder has manual touch focus which works very well:

2: Camera HDR mode works well too:

No HDR:

hdr_no.jpg

HDR:

hdr_yes.jpg

3: Wireless performance is sublime. On my S2 connected at 65Mbps I can FTP files to and from the phone at 2-3MB/s (write) and 3-4MB/s (read). This is on the 2.5GHz band as the 5GHz band is not fully supported.

On the S3 I was connected at 150Mbps and got:

Write:

swiftp_write.jpg

Read:

swiftp_read.jpg

4: S-Voice seems to work well and really quick although I suspect that's in part to my fast broadband connection :p I have a very British accent and had no trouble giving it commands and getting the correct results.

Works better than Siri in this regard and a heck of a lot better than the voice commander on the S2.

5: The speaker is about similar to the S2 I found. Maybe a bit louder actually but I haven't looked deep into this as I find the S2 one perfectly fine anyway.

6: The Wolfson sound chip is quite good.

I tested this hotswapping both headphones (Sennheiser HD595 and Phonak Aud

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Posted

I enjoyed reading your review! Thanks for doing this.

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No worries! As I said, I'll be happy to do any tests or answer questions from those interested in knowing about specifics, otherwise my next update will be when my blue handset arrives!

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Great review as always :)

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I've been up for a contract renewal for about a month now and it's hard not to upgrade from a Captivate when you see the GSG2 Skyrocket going on sale for 50 dollars. I'm using all my willpower to hold off until Samsung or AT&T announces the specs for the North American version of the SGS3. That way I can see if it's going to be worth paying full price (w/2 yr contract) or get a phone that's on sale.

Do you think it's worth getting the SGS3 if someone already has the SGS2?

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Posted

Could you add a pic from above so we can clearly see the difference in dimensions between the II and III?

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You guys in the States will get the dual core LTE version too so I'll be looking forward to reading how you all find the performance and things on that!

Do you think it's worth getting the SGS3 if someone already has the SGS2?

If you're longing for better battery performance, better WiFi for true wireless file send/receive and a much nicer screen as well as the performance enhancements then I'd say yes! But if you're going above your initial budget by doing so then I'd say wait a month or two because the prices will no doubt come down.

If you can pick up a new S2 for really cheap then it's still a brilliant phone and will remain as such for a while yet :)

Could you add a pic from above so we can clearly see the difference in dimensions between the II and III?

Sure thing, I will shoot a pic a bit later on tonight as we have a L4D2 game scheduled shortly!

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Do you think it's worth getting the SGS3 if someone already has the SGS2?

if you got the money to blow sure.

then again i only had mine for less then 6 months (nov '11)

intended to keep it for two years

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Posted

PIc of S2 and S3 head on as requested:

IMG_9257.jpg

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if you got the money to blow sure.

then again i only had mine for less then 6 months (nov '11)

intended to keep it for two years

It's not that I can't afford one, I just can't see spending 200-250 dollars on a phone when a really nice upgrade would be around 50 dollars. A dual core and a flash on the camera would be nice, but I don't game on my phone so it's not like I need tons of processing power. On the other hand, I went with the 2600k because I wanted the best quad core for my computer. I was willing to spend the money on that chip and many here would argue it's not worth it. It's all relative, I guess.

I am just trying to get an idea if it's going to be worth waiting for AND spending more, or just spending less now and getting a really nice phone with tons of dev support. :)

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Thanks for the S2 on top of S3 picture as I kept trying to find one showing how much bigger the S3 is. Doesn't look like it's any wider (good) but just a "touch" longer which is also not so bad. Still gotta hold it though first but starting to want it more and more now and i'd probably get the International version again, screw "North American" versions and LTE - HSPA+ and WiFi is all I need :)

Then again if S4 version end up being better on battery life I might get that one instead just for that reason. Custom ROM will be able to turn OFF the LTE radio or portion as I'll never need/use it. AT&T has it around here but i'm not sure if i'd be allowed to use it since i'm on an MVNO of theirs anyways :)

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It's not that I can't afford one, I just can't see spending 200-250 dollars on a phone when a really nice upgrade would be around 50 dollars. A dual core and a flash on the camera would be nice, but I don't game on my phone so it's not like I need tons of processing power. On the other hand, I went with the 2600k because I wanted the best quad core for my computer. I was willing to spend the money on that chip and many here would argue it's not worth it. It's all relative, I guess.

I am just trying to get an idea if it's going to be worth waiting for AND spending more, or just spending less now and getting a really nice phone with tons of dev support. :)

what i mean in other word

i think it is worthwhile , and tempting

but didn't feel like to burn 500$ too soon :p

afik, oft

<<< using i7 940 if you don't know , harrrrr track record ;)

Thanks for the S2 on top of S3 picture as I kept trying to find one showing how much bigger the S3 is. Doesn't look like it's any wider (good) but just a "touch" longer which is also not so bad. Still gotta hold it though first but starting to want it more and more now and i'd probably get the International version again, screw "North American" versions and LTE - HSPA+ and WiFi is all I need :)

Then again if S4 version end up being better on battery life I might get that one instead just for that reason. Custom ROM will be able to turn OFF the LTE radio or portion as I'll never need/use it. AT&T has it around here but i'm not sure if i'd be allowed to use it since i'm on an MVNO of theirs anyways :)

huh

you can already switch between radio techs

ahhhh or maybe it is just Cyanogen and i forgot about samsung toach**** (i learned to hate it :s ) :| ?

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I forget which phone it was but I think it was on Verizon but there was no option to turn off LTE. So for people that live in an area without LTE even turned on at all they figured it might be a battery wasting thing to not have. Not sure if there's AT&T LTE here actually now that I think of it. Maybe turned on but not announced yet or something though. Prolly should check in the stores on their LTE devices to see what it says.

EDIT - Actually just did a google search and it's the AT&T version of the HTC One X that can't turn off LTE. There's no option in the menu. I'm guessing you can just use the *#*#4636#*#* to do it but most people don't know of that option.

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Thanks for the review. It's a shame how much the design of the S3 sucks (IMO), so I don't really feel 'hard done by' for going with a One X only a month ago.

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thanks for the good review! i am still not in love with the s3 shape, but it looks much much better here than in pics ive seen before. and its ultra thin :D loving the docking station :)

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Dude i love all your reviews!! Well done!

..So in the US, we're not going to get quad-core S3? :(

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Wow, I think the S2 looks much more attractive than the S3. It's slick black bar phone and looks calm right before the storm kinda way.

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..So in the US, we're not going to get quad-core S3? :(

Nope. Rumor is it's going to be a dual core. I doubt it's even going to be the same shape as the international version. Look at how many models and shapes there were for the original SGS.

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Nice review, Also glad to see its not considerably larger than the S2.

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Is the dock included? I get my S3 tomorrow :)

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Sorry no the dock is the one I bought for my S2, it fits the S3 just fine :)

It's

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I'm also getting the wireless HDMI dongle and the C-Pen and Wireless charging pad at some point.

:woot:

Nice.

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I mentioned about the button and led notification bleeding around the front of the phone, here's a picture showing the extend in a dark room. Note: This only affects the white S3, also other brands/models that are white, not just Samsung handsets :)

white_ledbleed.jpg

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Posted

Great stuff mrk!

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Updated with video of Zenis dock and official case usage :)

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