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Better, faster: Samsung’s 4G LTE Galaxy S3 reviewed

By Leigh D. Stark | 1:26 pm 28/09/2012

Did you play with the Galaxy S3 but decide you needed to wait for a 4G model? Good move, because that’s exactly what Samsung is delivering with the LTE phone that manages to not only live up to the reputation its sibling had, but improve on it considerably.

Features

The next generation of Galaxy S3 isn’t far out from its brother, the recently released model known by the code GT-I9300.

Here in the new model – GT-I9305 – Samsung has taken the S3, added some memory, changed the operating system, and given the handset the ability to use Long Term Evolution mobile networks, the same type on offer from Telstra and Optus now, and Vodafone in early 2012.

Like that model, you’ll find a 4.8 inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, running the HD resolution of 1280×720, also known as 720p. The screen is still protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2, the second generation of the scratch-resistant technology, thereby helping your phone resist drops.

The 4G Galaxy S3 on the left, the 3G on the right. Spot the difference, aside from the colour.

Google’s latest version of Android is also here, with Samsung opting to run Android 4.1, also known as “Jelly Bean.” This is coming soon to the 3G Galaxy S3, but the 4G model does appear to get it ahead of the first model.

The casing and materials on offer are still of the plastic variety – like the first one – and Samsung is still using its own quad-core Exynos processor clocked at 1.4GHz, with a Mali 400 graphics chip. Storage came in at 16GB on our model, though like the original S3, you can grab a microSD card and upgrade it quickly once you pull out the removable 2100mAh battery.

Multimedia is provided with an identical 8 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash on the back supporting 1080p Full HD video capture, with a 1.9 megapixel for the front.

Outside the 4G modem, connectivity is spot on, with WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA, WiFi hotspot mode, GPS with GLONASS support, and a microUSB port on the bottom.

That fourth-generation connection is a big deal, though, and this Galaxy S3 can not only support 3G speeds like the first model at a max of 21Mbps down, but also a higher and faster 4G connection. Currently in Australia, fourth-gen speeds seem to peak at roughly 40Mbps, so that’s your current maximum download speed whenever you’re in reach of a 4G network.

Take the back off, and you'll find ports for microSD and micro-SIM, as well as the battery.

Just like the original Galaxy S3, there’s still a small amount of buttons to be found here, with a single main home button on the front flanked by a soft button on each side, serving as the menu button on the left and back button on the right.

On each side of the handset is a physical button, with the left showcasing the volume rocker, while the right features the power button.

A 3.5mm headset jack sits at the very top of the handset.

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Price (RRP)

$Available on plans from Optus and Telstra

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

Blazingly fast 4G download speeds; More RAM makes it faster; The most recent operating system from Android comes preloaded;

Product Cons

Still the same plastic body as the original S3; Mediocre battery life;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Ease of Use

Design

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