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

Performance

Playing with the Galaxy S3 4G, you quickly find that this is one fast piece of kit. From running multiple apps, performing the 4G speed tests, browsing the web, and cruising through the menus, it’s clear that Samsung has improved on an already excellent device.

We don’t really need to get into the nitty gritty of what made the original Samsung Galaxy S3 so excellent, and there’s already a review pointing it out, but the improvements that have been made here result in a better product altogether.

There is literally no lag, no slowdowns, and no reason to ever question is the 4G S3 isn’t working for you. That whole idea of “it just works” is completely warranted here.

Perhaps what’s strikingly clear in the Galaxy S3 is that not only have the internals been upgraded slightly with more memory – 2GB RAM over the 3G’s 1GB – but the operating system is even more recent, with Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” provided out of the box.

Google's new search box shows you more than just what you're looking for. It also shows you what's happening near you.

With Google’s latest, you’ll find a new menu layout that’s easier to use, an improved dropdown bar with more detailed information, the ability to switch off notifications and messages at the drop of a hat with blocking mode, and an updated Google search system that shows you what’s around, including weather information, public transport, restaurants, and past searches.

The status bar drop down now shows even more information than it used to.

There are also a whole host of little fixes that help to make the experience of using an Android phone so much quicker, and Samsung has done a mostly excellent job throwing it all together.

While Samsung’s TouchWiz isn’t the best home screen software for Android out there, it’s reasonably respectable on the 4G Galaxy S3, and we have no problem with using it.

In fact, Samsung has even introduced a few widgets we’ve not seen prior to this, including a fullscreen keypad that can be added to any home screen, allowing you to swipe and always have a phone dialpad to call from.

The alarm clock has been updated too, now featuring images showing what time of day your alarm has been set to – night or day – so you know, especially if the whole 24-hour time thing has always confused you.

Samsung still has the same features from the first Galaxy S3, and that means you’ll find a decent camera app with an instant shutter, the voice assistant found in S-Voice, the swipe to call functionality, and all the other nifty things that were native to the Android installation on the first model.

Not much has changed outside of this, with a plastic chassis, 2100mAh battery, nice 4.8 inch Super AMOLED screen with 720p resolution, WiFi connectivity for 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, microSIM, and everything else you’ve come to expect from Samsung’s third Galaxy flagship.

There is one very new thing, and it’s the main reason you grab a 4G phone: to surf the web, check emails, watch online videos, and take advantage of the high speeds on offer.

Good news, then, because the Galaxy S3 4G offers insanely fast speeds, with our tests showing a maximum of 38.58Mbps down and 23.89Mbps in our area on Telstra. Optus didn’t perform quite as well, pulling in a maximum of roughly 20Mbps down, but GadgetGuy’s offices in Woolloomooloo tend not to have the greatest reception for Optus, and you may find better results.

No matter what ever telco you choose to use with the Galaxy S3, you shouldn’t be disappointed with the download speeds, especially when you’re connected on 4G.

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  1. 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)?

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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 ?

  5. “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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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?

    1. Theres also the option to cache sections of maps in google maps but if you want the whole.country it will take a while

    1. 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..

  7. 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 ?

    1. 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 …..

    2. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

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