If you're not an Apple fan, and the HTC One X has already passed you by without lightening your pockets, chances are you've been waiting for the Samsung Galaxy S3 to make your smartphone purchase in 2012.And who can blame you? In some circles, the S3 has garnered as much excitement as the much-feted iPhone 5. The Galaxy S3 made its UK release on May 29, and it quickly became the most pre-ordered gadget in the history of, well, everything, with nine million pre-orders. With experts predicting that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is going to be the phone that hands Android the smartphone market on a plate, it would be fair to say that expectations have been set high for the S3.
For the most part, Samsung didn't ‘do an Apple’ and stay silent prior to the handset's release, so many of the rumours surrounding the phone were quite true; this means we've had a decent picture of what the S3 will be like for a while. It’s no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has pulled out all the stops to offer arguably the most hi-tech handset of the year, with top-end specs and cutting-edge technology deployed with perfect precision. It’s a high-end smartphone that will likely throw up some tough competition for the iPhone 5 when it comes to crowning the phone of the year for 2012.
But enough hyperbole; let's get down to specifics, shall we? The Samsung Galaxy S3 offers a spacious 4.8-inch display, making it one of the largest smartphones currently available. It's a good size, too – big enough to wow a small crowd, but not so big that it looks ridiculous when it's being used as a phone (see: the Samsung Galaxy Note). If you're looking for a phone that will, at a stretch, double as a tablet, then the S3 is a good bet. It's also got an HD super AMOLED display, by the way, so colours are brilliant, vibrant, and deep; the viewing experience on the Samsung Galaxy S3 is, arguably, second to none in the mobile technology industry today.
Of course, what we've all been looking forward to in the Samsung Galaxy S3 is the phone's performance. For a slim little handset, the S3 packs in a powerful punch thanks to its 1.4GHz quad-core processor. Like the HTC One X, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is perfectly capable of handling complex, hi-def content, from 3D games to HD videos. This is no great surprise given the beefiness of the processor, and it's something that the S3 shares with every quad-core handset released this year, from the HTC One X to the Huawei Ascend G300. While your handset is unlikely to be pushed to the limits by any apps from Google Play at present, the S3 certainly offers peace of mind in being able to handle anything that's thrown at it – for now at least.
The S3's massive processor also means that browsing the web is super-fast; in fact, twice as quick as it was on the S2, and a good deal faster than the iPhone 4S. Of course, both of those handsets are simply powered by dual-core chips, so it's no huge surprise. However, the S3 certainly shone in the Antutu benchmark test, which examines memory, CPU speed and graphics. The S3 scored 12,112, which is an impressive score indeed, and much higher than that of the HTC One X; there's no doubt that if you're looking for a hugely powerful handset available right now, the S3 should be your first port of call.
The Samsung Galaxy S3's powerhouse core is bound to take its toll on the phone's battery, however; as is the case with all handsets, users who need a phone with longer lasting battery life would do well to buy something with a little less power – such as one of Sony's latest Experia handsets, all of which offer top-quality features but stick with the dual-core innards. If you do opt for the S3, there are a few ways to increase battery life: keep the screen brightness capped at around half, and keep Wi-Fi and data turned off when you're not using it.
The S3's 2,100mAh battery isn't much bigger than the battery you'll have found in phones released last year, so it's not surprising that the handset chomps up power at a rate of knots. Still, the S3 performs better than a lot of its rivals on the Antutu battery test, where it scored 597 – higher than the HTC Incredible, the LG Optimus 2X and the Samsung Galaxy S2. Not bad, but nothing to turn any heads, either. CNet also report that the S3 streamed an HD video over Wi-Fi for 3.5 hours, which ran the battery down by 40%; while this might sound like a lot, it's actually a pretty decent level of performance from such a phone. If you're browsing the web and making calls throughout the day, you'll just have to remember to recharge your phone every night.
Ultimately then, does the Galaxy S3 live up to expectations? Samsung have settled upon a pretty solid formula, just like Apple have; push the boundaries of technology with every new release, including all the latest mod cons, whilst changing the phone's design just enough to make it contemporary, but not so much that it becomes unrecognisable. The Samsung Galaxy S2 was a great handset, and its successor is everything we thought it would be. Is it worth the £500 you'll pay for a SIM-free handset? Well, if you're looking for a high-end smartphone, that’s the sort of money you’re gonna have to stump up these days. Using a comparison website like Best Mobile Contracts can help you to find the best phone deal available, but you should expect such a high tech piece of gadgetry to set you back quite a bit of money. Thankfully, Samsung’s latest effort doesn't fail to please – the S3 will keep you entertained for at least another 12 months.