Review: Samsung Galaxy S3 Hardware

I won’t hide the fact that I’m always a little bit hesitant when it comes to Samsung Android devices. The decisions Samsung takes in regard to built materials and user interface just isn’t my taste. But the majority of customers doesn’t seem to have any problem with this, as Samsung quickly became the number one Android manufacturer world wide. After the phenomenal success of Samsungs Galaxy S2 last year, i was curious to see what they had in store for us this year.

Upon holding the Galaxy S3 in your hand for the first time you’ll notice how Samsung went for a different hardware design with well rounded corners and a huge 4.7 inch screen. In the past there where many instances where Samsung tried a little bit too much to make their devices look like an iPhone, especially with the Galaxy S, but the Galaxy S3 has an own look.

I’m not sure though if the result is really better than just copying Apple. While the build quality is great and feels much better than the S2, I don’t like the overall hardware design, like i.e. the single hardware button with that weird shape. It looks old school to me, reminiscent of some Windows Mobile phone from the nineties.

Samsung uses plastic as main material again, and even though I’m not a big fan of this decision I understand that it has its merits. Polycarbonate is very durable and light. It won’t wear off as easily as aluminum materials.

The back side is made of high gloss plastic which will show fingerprints quickly, I wonder why Samsung wants to make us clean the display AND the back cover all the time. It’s not like we want to do that.

Having a 4.7 inch display is impressive, and even though the dreaded pentile Matrix is back I was pretty pleased with the overall quality. Colors look nice and thanks to that full HD resolution the pentile effect is not that big anymore. But it’s really time for Samsung to let that old pentile display technology go and give us full RGB stripe AMOLED displays for all new high end devices. The HTC One X display just looks much sharper.

The Galaxy S3 is also very slim, and compared to it my old Nexus S looks like a fat phone. This helps to keep the S3 pocket friendly despite the huge display.

One thing I love about Samsung phones can be found on the S3 hardware too. The power button is on the side, which makes is so much more comfortable to reach. I’d love to see HTC finally putting the power button of their devices on the side, especially on big devices like the HTC One X.

Samsung decided to put the headphone plug at the top, but I would have preferred to have it at the bottom so the cable can not obscure your view.

The bottom of the device only sports a micro USB slot for charging and data transfer.

The Verdict

Samsung tried to accomplish their own hardware design direction with the Galaxy S3 and they did a pretty good job. The Galaxy S3 doesn’t look reminiscent to the iPhone which should help Samsung get rid of that copycat image, but honestly they are still worlds apart from the quality look and feel of an iPhone. While the hardware specs don’t have to hide from the competition there is still a long way to go for Samsung regarding smartphone design.
But other than that this phone is really cutting edge with its quad core CPU, 1GB RAM and huge AMOLED display. Performance is great and we can expect at least the next two Android updates to be rolled out quickly to the Galaxy S3 since its the current Android flagship. If you aren’t turned off by the Touchwiz UI from Samsung and plastic casing of the S3, you will find it to be a very powerful device with impressive specs.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Hardware Specs

CPU Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9
Internal Storage 8, 16 or 32 GB
External Storage microSD, up to 64 GB
Camera 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Video: 1080p@30fps
Front Camera: 1.9 MP, 720p@30fps
Display Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
720 x 1280 pixels, 4.8 inches
Corning Gorilla Glass 2
Features Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
Wireless Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
Connector Micro USB
Battery Standard battery, Li-Ion 2100 mAh
Standby: Up to 590 h (2G) / Up to 790 h (3G)
Talktime: Up to 21 h 40 min (2G) / Up to 11 h 40 min (3G)
Dimensions Size: 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm
Weight: 133 g
OS Android OS, v4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich), upgradeable to 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

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