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

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.


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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  1. BooM
    September 30, 13:00 BooM

    in regards to your comment “including an icon dock that can’t be changed. It’s one of those odd things that actually worked in the 3G S3”. That was actually removed in the latest ICS firmware of the S3 3G model. So its not 4G model only. Looks like its carried over to JB too

    Reply this comment
  2. Timmah
    October 01, 09:05 Timmah

    Ordering the Samsung S3 4G as my first phone replacement since the iPhone 3g. My iPhone 3G was alright for the first 3 years, but for the last 2, it really has been a pain. Im not really that hyped about graphics or anything, but I just want a reasonably fast phone. Was considering the iPhone 5 since it had LTE, but it didn’t seem that much different from the 4S. I am hoping that Apple loses some of its elitism (ie. trying to be competitive) and instead focuses on innovation again. Hoping this phone will last me another 5 years :D.

    Reply this comment
  3. Dimitri Rytsk
    October 01, 10:36 Dimitri Rytsk

    According to Apple site iPhone for Australia has LTE bands 2100 1800 850. So this Galaxy compatible only with 1 (1800) out of 3 available LTE bands in Australia, meaning less connectivity in comparison to iPhone ?

    Reply this comment
    • mxs
      October 01, 11:12 mxs

      According to Samsung website, the i9305 support LTE 1800MHz and 2600. Currently only Telstra and Optus use the 1800MHz band, so the other bands that the S3 and iPhone support are not going to be useful unless you are travelling …..

      Reply this comment
    • Leigh :) Stark
      October 01, 11:16 Leigh :) Stark

      Not from what I know about connections, no.
      Last I checked, Australia only used 1800 for LTE, suggesting we only have one band. The S3 supports 850 and 2100 but in a 3G capacity from what I know.

      Reply this comment
  4. belinda t
    October 04, 17:11 belinda t

    i want to load my own cds onto this model but am unsure what to do. any advice greatly appreciated

    Reply this comment
    • Greg Eden
      October 12, 10:17 Greg Eden

      There are many ways to add music. I purchased a 32gb MicroSD card and using a card reader I created a folder called media, then inside that another called music. Then using the card reader I just drag and drop the albums into the music folder. Insert card back into phone, turn it on and it scans the SD card and all your music in available. You can just connect the phone to your computer via USB and use Windows media to send the music to the phone. The good thing about Android is that there are lots of ways to do it and no restrictions. Most music software will allow you to send music to a USB device and you can also use the new version of Samsung Kies..

      Reply this comment
  5. David
    October 05, 18:07 David

    Will the Samsung Galaxy III GPS and mapping features work without network coverage ? ie in Airplane mode ?

    Reply this comment
  6. indoboy
    October 13, 01:18 indoboy

    I was just curious about whether or not this phone is compatible with the 4G LTE network in North America. Does anyone know if it is?

    Reply this comment
  7. AMM
    October 16, 04:45 AMM

    Is i9305 an international model and will it work in Dubai, UAE with ETISALAT or DU?


    Reply this comment
  8. Michael Baker
    October 18, 20:15 Michael Baker

    Gorilla Glass my ass. i just got this phone, it was all good till i dropped it 1 inch!!!!!!!! and the Gorilla Glass screen cracked. its going to cost $550 to fix it

    Reply this comment
    • Leigh :) Stark
      October 19, 10:06 Leigh :) Stark

      It should be noted that Gorilla Glass is scratch resistant, not drop proof. It’s better at dealing with drops than regular glass, but depending on how it’s dropped and where it lands, it may not save you.

      Corning’s glass isn’t quite drop proof yet. I don’t think anyone has really nailed that.

      Reply this comment
  9. Julian
    October 22, 13:23 Julian

    will this come to canada?

    Reply this comment
  10. Leigh :) Stark
    October 31, 09:42 Leigh :) Stark

    You’re right that it’s a TouchWiz issue, and can be fixed with a different launcher, but some people actually like TW, or may not want to setup another launcher.

    Reply this comment
  11. Adriano
    November 05, 23:59 Adriano

    It´s curious, nobody talks about there´s no more FM Radio on this phone!! That´s really bad to me… 🙁

    Reply this comment
    • Leigh :) Stark
      November 06, 09:53 Leigh :) Stark

      Our Galaxy S3 3G (the 4G was returned after review) has FM radio, which suggests the 4G one will too.

      We don’t really mention it anymore because it’s sort of become a standard feature.

      Reply this comment
  12. TheAussieTim
    November 18, 12:18 TheAussieTim

    “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.” – This is false, you don’t need to remove the battery to install a microSD card. I swap a 32gb in and out of mine nearly daily, all you need to do is use the ‘safely remove storage’ option in the Settings under ‘Storage’.

    Great phone, my only two gripes are that the screen can be hard to view in direct sunlight (even when the brightness is turned to max), and the only internal storage size appears to be 16gb right now. Having moved from a 32gb iPhone 4, I would’ve thought that more internal storage would’ve been standard.

    Reply this comment
    • Leigh :) Stark
      November 19, 15:03 Leigh :) Stark

      The sunlight thing is annoying, though we haven’t seen many phones that can cope with this.

      Storage size isn’t a big deal to us, because even though 16GB might seem small comparatively, you can throw in the microSD card, which is an inexpensive way to boost the memory.

      Reply this comment
  13. Asmatullah mayar
    November 25, 01:30 Asmatullah mayar

    i wanna buy Galaxy s3 , but i don’t know which one is better to buy Galaxy s3 GT-i3900 or Galaxy s3 GT -i3905 ?

    how much is them RAM of s3 GT -i3905 ?

    which is new model between s3 GT -i3905 and s3 GT -i3900 ?

    in the under like there are 3 front camera in s3 GT -i3900 Galaxy but in s3 GT -i3905 has 4 camera ( 1 extra in left side ) what is the difference of them ?

    Reply this comment
    • Leigh :) Stark
      November 26, 10:43 Leigh :) Stark

      Well, the i9300 is 3G and 1GB RAM, the i9305 is 4G with 2GB RAM.

      No idea on what you’re referencing with the camera on the front, though.

      Reply this comment
  14. Michael Kerr
    January 17, 19:25 Michael Kerr

    Just be careful as I’m pretty sure the NFC chip is in the battery

    Reply this comment
  15. becky
    April 05, 13:07 becky

    With both phones fit the same battery? I have an i9305 so if i were to purchase an i9300 battery would it fit my phone

    Reply this comment
  16. Bugger off would yas.
    April 22, 12:22 Bugger off would yas.

    Navigon is Free. So is google maps. Of course youve dropped your iphone and it did nothing. Thats because it was already a piece of shit.
    Theres one of these “I switched from iShit to android and it was crap” comments in every single solitary android article.
    Youve never owned an android in your life. Stop trolling.

    Reply this comment
  17. Leigh :) Stark
    May 21, 12:54 Leigh :) Stark

    Different devices. Both are great handsets, it’s just a question of do you prefer the plastic build and 4G (S3 4G) or would you rather have Google’s stock Android with 3G and a glass design (Nexus 4)?

    Reply this comment

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