Channel 5

Samsung Galaxy S3 4G

Thursday 08 November 2012


Rating of 5

The basics

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is back, only this time it’s rocking some seriously souped up tech, as well as brand new software. The Samsung Galaxy S3 4G can now connect to EE’s super speed LTE network for download and upload speeds up to ten times faster than you’re used to on 3G - and you’ll find all the extra features of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean tucked inside too.

Read our full HTC One review here

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The good

It’s a Samsung Galaxy S3. You don’t need us to tell you that this is the big daddy of Android phones. Its design hasn’t been changed in anyway, and it’s scorchingly, shockingly fast. It’s impossible to make this phone wobble, and the the 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED screen is absolutely gorgeous, not to mention pin sharp.

But it’s a Samsung Galaxy S3 that can go even faster. The Samsung Galaxy S3 4G can hook up to EE’s 4G network (the only one in the UK live at the moment, though if you buy it unlocked it will work with O2 and Vodafone’s frequencies when they go live) for absolutely insane speeds. In fact, the fastest of any 4G device we’ve tested so far. We often saw downloads speeds between 20 and 45Mbps, beating 3G by a factor of ten.

Pages pop up in an instant, and you can comfortably stream video on the go - though you probably wouldn’t want to do this very often. Perhaps more usefully, the solid upload speeds mean uploading video wherever you are is much, much quicker than it ever has been before. That extra speed doesn’t seem to affect the battery life in anyway either.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 4G also runs the fantastic Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a software update not every Galaxy S3 on every network has received yet. It looks much the same, but Google’s Project Butter tweaks behind the hood make it even faster, eliminating any lag. Google Now can also be launched, which combines fast accurate voice search with clever predictive cards of information it thinks you’ll need. It’s not perfect, but it’s nice to be presented with train times when you’re on the move at the very least, and we can’t wait to see how Google improves the service further.

The bad

While the Samsung Galaxy S3 remains sturdily built, it doesn’t have quite the same premium feel to it as the unbelievably light iPhone 5, or the beautiful, curved HTC One X line. It’s just a piece of plastic, and design aficionados may not be too happy with that. (Of course, the plus side of the plastic case is a removable back cover, so you can switch out the battery and add in a micro SD card for extra storage, something its rivals don’t allow).

Hairsplitters could also argue that it’s not running the very latest version of Android, 4.2. But the truth is this adds very little to the mix beyond a Gmail bug fix which fits text onto the screen, so it’s not missed - and rumours have it Samsung is working on an update anyway.

Perhaps more pressing is the current 4G coverage situation in the UK. EE’s rolling it out aggressively, but right now there are still dead zones in the middle of central London - including areas where EE says its 4G signal penetrates on its website. For the price EE is asking (Starting at £36 per month), that doesn’t scream value as it does super speed. Yet. If you’re not in a 4G area, you could do well to go with a 3G Galaxy S3 with unlimited data on a cheaper tariff.

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The bottom line

It may not be quite so scorchingly beautiful as the iPhone 5 or the HTC One X and One X+, but the Samsung Galaxy S3 4G is a worthy update six months on from the original. It’s packing (nearly) the latest software, and if you’ve got those super speeds where you live, you’ll reap the benefits. Samsung’s still very much on top: now where’s the Galaxy S4?

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Samsung Galaxy S3 4G is tagged with Samsung, Galaxy S3, LTE, 4G and Android. Select a tag (Samsung, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

User comments (8)

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I love the gadget show best tec show on tv love the galxey s 3 phone yesits the number one phone i got the s2 i love it i woulden have any orther phone

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The thing that worries me about 4G is that the data limits aren't respective of the speeds these phones can achieve. Limits should really start at around 5gb not 0.5. What's the point in having 4G if you can only use it for 5 minutes then your data limit is reached.

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Just bought it for my daughter she loves it, amazing picture quality...

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what about the battery life?

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I have had my S3 for 3 months and have had no problems, even though it may be thin and screen could smash easily, at the end of the day if you put it in a case it should be alright, i love my s3 and wouldn't change it.

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Had the s3 for one month now, on EE first thing I noticed from my xperia x 10 was how fast and responsive it was, that's own to the quad core . Screen was bright thanks to the amoled 4.8 screen, its wide compared to some phones like the iPhone 4 or 5 but you soon get used to it, it's light and there's so many tricks samsung have put on this phone it's like Christmas come early for us gadget peeps, you can use the voice button like siri on the iPhone but its good but the iPhone just pips it to the post but nothing to split hairs. You can enable the phone to wake up via voice control if you have the phone locked rather than swipe you finger across the screen as well as reject incoming calls by saying "reject" . Battery last around a day, long gone are the days of battery's lasting 3 or 4 days but when you have your smart phone your going to be using it not left in your pocket, with all smart phones like the s3 its expensive unless you have insurance or like me have it in a case . I can't stress how good a case is and you get what you pay for, iam using a otterbox commuter case with three layers of protection, so if I drop it I know unless it gets run over by a bus it's going to still be in one peice .

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An absolutely brilliant phone, had it for a couple of months now and it just keeps getting better. I recently brought a apple mac book pro and was worried whether the two would be compatible but no problems at all they both sync well ical etc. A very speedy device also, I really appreciate the larger scree.

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The iphone 5 is still the best phone available overall !!!! I work in the industry and nearly everyone i know still uses the iphone as a personal device.

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