Samsung Galaxy S3 – hands on experience!

by: SamMay 3, 2012

Firstly, thanks to the tens of thousands of people who tuned in to the the site and the live blog! It was great to be able to bring you what we were hearing and seeing as it happened. Unfortunately though, we only had enough bandwidth for web browsing, and didn’t have anywhere near the upload capacity needed for images. We do now though, so let me show you them and give you my thoughts!

It’s a big boy

Good line-up right?

As you can hopefully see from the image above, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is large, very large. I think it is a little fraction longer than the One X. As I predicted, it is a blend of design from the SGS2 and the One X. The iPhone 4S in the picture below gives you a good screen-size comparison. We’re talking about some serious, serious screen real estate here people. The screen to bezel ration is out of this world.

The SGS2 and the SGS3 together. Both beautiful.

The SGS3 and the One X! The SGS3 is indeed slightly larger – but better?

I think the SGS3… wins?

How does it feel in your hand?

In a word, amazing. Despite its large display, it still manages to feel incredible in the hand. It’s amazingly light for its size, and weighed substantially less than an iPhone. Honestly, putting the two next to each other felt just wrong, actually.

Light, and comfortable to hold

Many words spring to mind: sleek, elegant, gorgeous. One that stands out in my mind more than any other though is ‘light’. This phone feels feather-like and makes the iPhone 4S feel like a brick.

In hand it feels about the same weight as the Samsung Galaxy S2, coming in at 133grams.

What’s the user interface like?


The Samsung Galaxy S3 is running our beloved Ice Cream Sandwich to the point that there is no loading lag. Everything is instantaneous. I can visualise the 1.4Ghz quad core sitting somewhere in this phone, crunching away at whatever I threw at it.

Altogether the user interface resembles that of the Samsung Galaxy S2, but done up to the max. Everything is at a rich resolution with deep vibrant colour.

Which features impressed me the most

The larger 2,100 mAh battery is great. I was hoping for more, but that is still a decent size. I also like the ability the phone has of detecting your friend’s faces in photographs, and then giving you option to distribute the photograph to them by whatever means you choose.

NFC was hoped for, and I’m glad they’ve included it. At the show one of the speakers mentioned they are working closely with Visa to make contactless payment ever more popular.

Oh, and I like the idea that the phone knows when I am looking at it. Probably going to end up being a battery hog or something like that, but it was definitely a neat thing to see in action (small eye icon appears at the top right of the notification bar when it detects you looking back).

What disappointed me

Although I am personally not that fussed, the lack of a higher megapixel rear camera was a surprise. A lot of rumors said 12MP and it turns out they were false. However, it does have the fast-capture feature to make up for this – 3.3 pictures per second!

The biggest thing that disappointed me is that they didn’t give a price! I also asked Samsung’s Head of Marketing what the RAM capacity was and his was “I don’t know, but I can tell you the flash memory, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB”. Since he is the guy in charge of selling these phones you would think he would know, but we had to get it from another source in the end.

Final Thoughts

Again, thank you to those of you who viewed the live blog, and also thank you for bringing Android Authority its most number of of readers yet. Everything we do here is for you, our readers.

I’ve just gotten home from the event, and it’s 01:26 now. Tomorrow, I want to wake up to a barrage of comments below asking me about the Samsung GS3. I want you to ask as many questions as you can think of, so I can really lay out everything I know for you.


for more Samsung Galaxy S3 videos please have a look at our Youtube channel

  • Freddycastaneda

    Is the battery removable? Is the us lte version quad core? Or is it snapdragon? How does the speaker sound? Did u hear the voice equalizer? Is the screen gorilla glass?

    • sj

      yeah screen’s gorilla glass..check out full specs at

    • Sam Cater

      Removable battery – the speakers sound good, the voice recognition system was pretty good and the screen is Gorilla glass.

      • vodka4boris

        I read the screen is Gorilla Glass 2 not just Gorilla Glass

  • d16n

    Do you have any idea when it will be released in Canada?

    • Xenogenesis

      They announced a north american release date of some time in the summer. I believe there’s supposed to be worldwide events including New York at the end of may, where hopefully more details on the north american LTE version will be released. There was no mention of whether the quad-core would be in the NA version.

      • BJC

        i have a family member in rogers, she said they received an email today stating that rogers canada will be getting the S3 in june

  • TNM

    How is this phone not a disappointment?

    – glossy plastic? they did it right on the sgs2, and now are going back to glossy plastic…someone hit them please
    – autumn 2011 screen…in worse. year right, its worse then GNex screen, wich has higher dpi. what happened here? oled-association released the information that rgb-matrix 4,6″ screen is ready for mass production….wo what is going on here? did they promise these screens to apple somehow? what other explanation is there.
    – 1gb ram. this is a phone that has to do for 2 years (yea, contracts). we can see it already, JB (Android 5) wont come for SGS3 because of “touchwiz”…again.

    So, why not make this a special-edition phone for the olympics…why call it SGS3…they must have known this to be a disappointment to many, its not a flagship anymore. Its a GNex with a new CPU (GPU is even older).

    • Samsung always makes their phones out of plastic, and the GS2 is the best Android phone that can be bought today. The GNex was an incrimental update with downgrades like the 5mp camera. You must not be familiar with their products. On the Gs1 it mattered that it was plastic while I was an HTC fan, but 3 phones later plastic is fine with me.

      Would you rather a glass sandwich that breaks when it falls 1meter from the ground, or would you rather plastic that can survive a drop from your ear to the ground?

      • scottyboy

        not plastic, polycarbonate (stronger, lighter, and more durable) :)

    • Yasir

      You say that this phone is not good because it does not have the specs you expected… This is wrong way of judging a phone… Compare it with all the high end smartphones in all aspects and only then you will be able to find the true pros and cons of this phone and any other phone…

    • Code_14

      using plastic decreases the size and the weigh of the phone, and increases the space left for the battery, and, if you ever used “Metal Detector” application with the SGS2, you can’t use a Metal Detector application with a “Metal” back cover.

      using the SGS2 with Android 2.3.5 and Android 4.0.3 now, SGS2 is the best thing I have ever bought and the smartest machine ever produced, combining software made by Google the world’s biggest company on the internet with the highest technologies ever coded, with Samsung’s hardware the number 1 smart phone manufacturing company in the world well known by their hardware, monitors and screens, you get “perfection” in your hands. I love my SGS2.

  • BJC

    it looks awesome, how was the blue colour? you know if it had or will have some sort of notification led/light on it? thanks for the info

    • Sam Cater

      Honestly, I didn’t notice a light. Hope it has one though!!

      The blue colour is like pebble say – mostly black with a blue tint in the light, very nice and looks far less plastic-y than the white one.

      Thanks for reading!

      • BJC

        good!! glad the pebble blue is nice, cant wait to get this phone, thank you for the info

    • Litlprince

      I saw a video of it and it does…. It a big one.. well not that big but much bigger then the one x’s micro dot.

  • Iamjoejoe

    Samgsung – retain your own design and stop copying iphone which makes your brand a division under apple….

    • DennisJ

      Really?!?!? The iPhone looks like an old jalopy next to this phone!

    • Daryl Peris

      the iPhone is a midget in comparison !

    • Sam Cater

      The white colour is what reminds you of the iPhone 4S. The Dark pebble blue is far more akin to the SGS2

      • Yasir

        Do you mean that samsung must stop making white coloured phones because a white coloured brick already exists in this world…

    • I guess if I squint, hold my breath and the sun beats off of the GS3 the right way I can see how it looks like an Iphone……..Nah you are just blind.

    • Kapaa1970

      Wtf, iPhone really. When you start up an iPhone they all still look the exact same. From the original iPhone to the iPhone 4s, same dumb screen with same old icons. If apple doesn’t seriously start changing their format then they need to open source their crap so developers can come in and spice things up, like Linux did. People like to have control and freedom and not be locked out of their own phone. IPhone……..piece of CRAP!!!!!!!

      • Android 4 Life

        I am so glad that someone besides me feel this way. There is no way in HELL im paying for a phone and the maker will tell me what to do with it or void my warranty if I jailbreak it to personalize what I paid for.
        Can’t remove the battery
        can’t upgrade memory
        can’t personalize
        same standard screen in all their iphones
        and lastly not something I myself am interested in. I’ve had them all.

  • +1 for the removable battery and sd card. That gets to the heart of Android … customizable and expandable.

    • Sam Cater


    • Yasir

      You are right. Samsung made this phone razor sharp but did not lose its ability of removable battery cover(and even SD card)…

  • Guest

    I don’t see anything spectacular…
    so the one X looks pretty good now.

    • Sam Cater

      Bigger battery in this baby, plus TouchWiz beats Sense 4 in pretty much every possible way I can think of :)

      • sammy richard

        What Touchwiz beats Sense 4…??
        You are way out of tech….

        • I guess people have differing opinions. Who’d-a thunk it!?

      • sense 4 is better

      • Sat

        Touchwiz is no where near Sense

        • Yasir

          Who says this….
          Touchwiz is far better than Sense…..

        • Yasir

          Go and check out user reviews and then post your valuable comments… :-)

        • Kapaa1970

          Sense is a battery HOG!!!!!

      • touchwiz beats sense…

        wtf did you smoke dude…

    • Yasir

      This beauty is better or at least equal to the one x in all aspects… A powerful processor,sleek looks and some pretty good innovations worth giving a look….
      It definitely beats one x….

    • Yasir

      Everything is bettter than one x except the processor. But is a 100 mhz clock speed difference enough to compensate all the innovations in the s3…

  • It is great.WoW.Can not wait to grab this one.I’ve known more on

  • sara

    i have to say this phone is a bit of a disappointment to me. i could care less about NFC and io think the 4.8 inch screen is too big, 4.6 is large enough and IMO perfect size for women’s hands. really wanted 12mp camera but i bet iphone 5 will be the first to get it. shouldn’t have ditched the black for blue-black and IMO it looks too tapered. will be disappointed with the mega high pricetag. this ‘rado watches’-like ceramic doesnt show up in the pics, looks more like plastic – looks same as s2 plastic but bit less shiny.

    now im just interested in availbility and price

    • michael scott

      well i wouldnt bet on iphone being first to get 12 mp camera. not sure who was first but the nokia n8 which is 2 years nearly old has the 12 mp. but unless you plan on making a 2metre by 1.5metre photo blown up from your camera you really dont need 12 mp. 5 is plenty 8 is more than enough

      • AMJ

        Xperia S has 12 mp. Gingerbread Tho

    • Litlprince

      12mp? that’ll never happen… Apple is all about more with less so i can say with confidence it wont be. They perfer better quality hardware and software to produce better pictures.

    • Atnowinz

      iphone 5 will be the first to get 12mp camera??? Forgetting the Sony Xperia S, are we?? :)

    • Someguy

      I agree with this being too big. What the hell are these phone companies thinking? I thought the whole idea of having a mobile phone was so you easily carry it around. At point do we stop calling these cell phones and start calling them tablets? Are clothing manufacturers going to have to start making pockets larger so we can all carry our ridiculously large cell phones around? Or are we just going back to everyone walking around with silly looking belt clips? I have a Motorola Photon 4g and I like it, but even this I wish was a bit smaller.

  • JacobGurilla

    I will buy it on any market for any price as long as it is unlocked, do you know when and where that might be. Thanks for the info.

    • Sam Cater

      You can get them from Carphone Warehouse in the UK. Unlocked I think :)

  • JP

    I wonder if the video recording is at 30fps, more or less?

  • blitz

    I think that the phone does look great overall. For those who are put off by the “blue pebble colour” It essentially looks black with a slight blue tinge. Its just the surrounding lighting imo. Also, it has a decent battery, and to run quad core means that it requires less battery, yet better performance. the HTC is 1800mAh compared to samsung’s 2100mAh. There Sammy will ultimately win as a dead phone is no good no matter what specs you have. 8MP is plenty, I guarantee you that MP is not everything for image quality. And sammy I’m sure have tweaked the photo quality. I also wonder whether it has gorilla glass…

    • Sam Cater

      Well said :) It does indeed have Gorilla Glass.

      • faco

        Actually Gorilla Glass 2. :-)

    • Funkswing

      ‘to run quad core means that it requires less battery” – ???

      Doesn’t matter b/c in the States its not going to be quad core. Prolly be the snapdragon.

      It beats the HTC One X with the SD slot (and removable battery if that matters to you), but who knows when it will be available in the States and with which carriers…

      • Litlprince

        June Earliest – – Probably NLT end of July

  • any fingerprinting on the back/front?

    How well did the S voice feature work?? Even in standby mode, did it ever turn on accidentally due to a nearby conversation??

    • AndroidBrian

      Yeah I wonder that too.

      • Sam Cater

        See one up :)

    • Sam Cater

      It didn’t recognise my voice very well in the crowded test area, but once the groups thinned out, it worked well. I managed to get my current location, and then ask the weather of it. Works well!

  • Sidd

    When will the new samsung apps be awailable To samsung galaxy s2 owners

  • Omar

    NIce review covered everything (Y)
    Can’t wait for a hands on video though :D

    • Sam Cater

      Thank you :)

  • whens it hit australia. cant wait

  • James_ingram

    Too BIG!

    Not quite sure what it wants to be,


      Too Big? Maybe your just too small? I’m 6’6″ with some big mitts which you know what that means……. The great ability to hold these beautiful giant phone displays. I think these approximately 5″ displays are perfect for those of us who have a fetishes for big bright screens. The If you want a little girly thing display get an iPhone but Android knows how to do it. I was pumped about the HTC ONE STOP but now I’m just confused on what my next phone will be, love the fact that I have options for a great phone now no stuck with 1 choice. All smiles here -KID ANDROID

      • Congratulations on being larger than 98% of the population, Paul. Obviously this means the first XBox controller was perfect. We’ll be quiet now…

        • You must not be in America….Disregard Im sure you are not, but here everybody is tall and these days everybody is fat.

        • Litlprince

          I actually loved the original control…. so there…… but im shorter too and yes i love a large screen on my phones…. even so i kinda hear you. I seems they just keep getting bigger.. Even HTC when they made their small phones the V or whatever its just sad that it doesnt have the same goodies as the larger one x… I want to see the manufactures make a mid sized phone with flagship specs…

  • AndroidBrian

    Big question. How is the display? Is pentile that bad? With a eye test which display is better HTC one or gs3? I think the pentile on gnexus looks great and have perfect 20/20 vision. Looks way better than my gs2.

    So my question is which display is better in your opinion.

    • Sam Cater

      The displays are pretty much equal. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference in quality.

    • The Galaxy Nexus, which has a similar display, is said to be excellent. Pretty much all reviews said that the screen was amazing. I’m sure we’ve nothing to worry about in that respect. At least for the vast majority of people.

      • Yeah, I think the issues with pentile are likely to fall away at a certain density, and at 309dpi this probably gets there.

  • AndroidBrian

    I’m dissapointed to because like everyone, I wanted to be blown away. But gs3 still delivered the best or top 2 phone in the market and people boo. Hopes were way to high.

    Its a significant upgrade there’s no denying that. So people saying that it shouldn’t be called a sg3 is just nuts. Tons of new features, QUADCORE, bigger screen with 720p, and improved camera and that doesn’t warrant a sg3 name?

    Better camera, better CPU, better display and a insane amount of new features like multitasking video watching and fastest camera for any phone and fans are saying its crap. Its OK to be dissapointed but saying it should be some galaxy s2 variant is just insane. Wtf were u expecting?

  • AndroidBrian

    Funny at the start of unpack 2012 there were quotes of what people wanted. The only realistic one was the one about battery life. The rest were so dumb. To bad Samsung didn’t get the memo that no one likes touchwiz.

    What’s up with this pebbles and leaves? Water drops and sounds of nature? I have a inconvenient truth for you, no one gives a sh!t about nature.

    Seriously the video pop feature is sick tho.

    • Sam Cater

      Nobody likes TouchWiz? Compared to Sense 4 they do :)

      The nature thing is just a marketing gimmick they are trying to latch on to – brand identity.

    • “I have a inconvenient truth for you, no one gives a sh!t about nature.”

      Really? I’m pretty sure some of us are responsible enough to care about the world they live in.

    • If I am not mistaken they showed that touch wiz can be turned off during the event. I am 90 percent sure I saw them do this. I was like O shxxt they turned off touch viz.

      • Litlprince

        If that was possible and at anytime you could run stock android when desired… samsung would seriously claim nearly 90% of the market… Its not a new idea but its a billion dollar idea. …. WHY WONT THEY DOOOO IITTTTTT!!!!!

    • Yasir

      That may be your personal opinion buddy. There may be some people who dont like sense at all. But overall, samsung phones with touchwiz UI are selling as hot cakes.
      Go and check the statistics first…..

    • Guest

      so true actually speaking the one x is better in all ways…. and i agree with you that sense 4 is waaaaay better than touchwiz…

  • ripper

    very good job on the first hand review ! my only low point on this is for a phone running quad-core processor and big gpu, they should have provided more on the battery front (personally thinking around 2500 mAh), so that it will keep on running even on very heavy use as many will be wanting make use of all the brilliant features that are on offer to the fullest. Since it has not been fully reviewed i may be wrong, but personally i think so. Even One X also fails at that !! :(

    • The idea behind more cores at lower clock is to provide horsepower when needed without smoking the battery under normal usage patterns. We haven’t yet seen the test data to verify, but the manufacturers are claiming that the quad-core phones will actually use less power than their dual-core brethren under equivalent usage.

      So let’s put the “they put 4 cores in there without doubling the battery!” stuff to rest, shall we?

      • ripper

        the data of One X is there and compared SII, iphone n odrs its battery sucks. The main reason behind this is One X’s 720p display.SIII also has a 720p display. I had mentioned in my comment that i may be wrong since its not been fully reviewed, but my assumption was based on One X. Cuz then it may just last for 7-8 hrs n that too not even on heavy use !!

  • SGS3 OMG!!!!

    Nice preview of the SGS3. Ah could you tell me wwhich feels better in hand- HTC One X or this? and how is the screen quality and fluidity of the interface? Thank you.

  • notedmirror

    dont tell me it doesnt have push email !! OMG !!!!

    hows the browser? does it have full Flash support ? does it have text reflow?

  • Freddycastaneda

    Is the phone plastic? Or aluminum?

  • faco

    Hi! SVoice works in the cloud like Siri or locally on the handset?

  • Hansm

    I dont like the round edges. The design is a complete fuckup compared to the galaxy s2!

  • I’m predicting that an Exynos 5 based dual core will be out in about 6 months time. Exynos 5 quad core shortly after than. Nexus 4, Jelly Bean, Q3.. it’s all happening too fast.

  • G.Realest

    Honestly, there are many ways to look at this new Galaxy. Reading above it’s clear peoples expectations grew way too high lately about this particular phone. Offcourse there are some great improvements and i totaly agree this “Loking detector” has everything to be fantastic, if it really works and, on the other hand, they could have thrown a little extra power on the camera (not exactly talking about increaing Mpixels). The curious thing is, will they do as the GSII, i mean, have 6 or 7 diferent types of them (with different especification) around the world? Theres a SII 4,27′ size and there’s an 4.5′. Some were packed with an 1.5 GHz and others with 1.2 GHz, i mean…I’m totally used to the iunternational version (4.27 inch screen) and seening those pictures i really don’t like the size of it. It might be good for user who watch a lot of videos or oplay a lot of games but waht about my day to day phone_ear sensation? And waht about people who have small hands? I mean…waht if i tell you that a max. of a 4.5′ inch screen was already sounding too big would i be called insane? They need to do another version of it with an smaller screen. Tha’s just obvious!

    • Nklenchik

      The galaxy nexus has a higher ppi because it’s screen is smaller. That’s how the iPhone has a really good ppi, because it’s only 3.5 inches

    • Mamoon Noorestani

      I they launch different variants of the Galaxy S3 like they did last year with the Galaxy S2 in October/November. Then that means the next range of Galaxy S3 variants will come with a 5.1 inch display. And then in 2013, the Galaxy S4 might come with a 5.3 or, 5.4 inch display. But Samsung will be launching a few flexible display smartphones and tablets starting next year, so phablets like the Galaxy Note combined with a flexible display won’t look that big because you will be able to just fold them and put them in your pocket.

  • rihana


  • Morgan B Rudd

    Bravo to Samsung for taking the game to Apple. Samsung are proving to be trend setters when it comes to smartphones. Boy!! does the S3 look like it’s gonna be the phone to beat. I am also dissapointed that the 12mp rear camera turned out to be false!!! Can only keep dreaming. Awaiting for it to come down to good old Swaziland, Southern Africa

    • Private Private

      What planet do you live on?!!

      I do not mean to be rude, but apple is VERY likely to use its BILLIONS in earnings to ensure iphone 5 wins the war.

      Like a game of cards, if you show your hand first you better have a knockout hand.

      This is like Samsung showed its hand, and all it had was a pair of two’s.

      I really wanted this phone to justify the $200-300 I was willing to drop on it. I am seriously laughing at the fact Samsung thinks people would upgrade early and shell out $600 plus for this phone.

      It has to be asked, what PLANET are they living on?!!

      • Hubert

        I really support you.
        I’m a samsung fun but I think this really is not up to expectation. Apple is just going to make sure they do something better to beat it. Not too impressive for me to upgrade my galaxy s2.

      • jferr

        9 million pre-orders is the planet we live on……I dont think Samsung cares what you think.

        • Private Private

          Your right. Samsung does not have to “care” about what I or any of the others that thought we were getting a much more advanced phone than what was released, but they should.

          I am now sobering up from the hype and I see that they released a phone that is not that revolutionary.

          And why ANY company would not care to listen to its consumers and respond to demand is beyond me; but again, they should.

  • Vixta

    can anyone tell me if the S3 has adjustable font size for text, contact list etc…? I was told the HTCxone has but i havent heard about the S3

  • Web2012

    re: plastic casing
    I actually like the plastic back of the S2! Has a very carbon-fibre look and feel to it.

  • Malikfahadmuneeb

    + ( C H E A P ) +

  • Malikfahadmuneeb

    ___________________ ( C H E A P ) _______________________

  • Mu

    wait for the galaxy beam or get a galaxy note

  • Scostello28

    What I am really concerned about is the battery life. I know all the phones that are coming out are going to be sweet–specifically the HTC EVO 4G LTE and the S3. What do you know about the battery life of the S3?

  • Louis B

    Which one looks the best? (in the second photo)
    Second from the right is the most beautiful
    First from the left
    Second from the left
    First from the right is the ugliest

  • so what’s the word on the price for this thing

  • Tony NoName

    I’ve gotten so I think the iPhones with just a 3.5″ screen are really Puny and if they want to call any phone a Smartphone, it had better have at least a 4″ screen or it’s Smart side never gets used to it’s best advantage!

    Bigger is always better for a Smartphone no doubt SGSIII is the best looking Smartphone…. too!!! :D …..and don’t give that garbage about either glass or metal being better. Because the Samsung engineered plastic back cover can take a drop, scratching or a bullet a lot sooner than either glass or the generic recycled beer can aluminum on iDevices! …’s not even aircraft grade age hardened Duralumin!

  • Be sure to register your new SGS3 at for free. I would hate to find it on a plane and not know who to return it to!

  • Dude

    Even in this age of ever expanding technology, we still can’t manage to advance our own minds to the point where we can differentiate between simple homophones. “crunching away at whatever I through at it” *”Threw at it”

    Grammar aside, I’m really looking forward to this phone. And for those of you who are here just to rag on Android because you own an iPhone, check this out: “Oooh, a different theme. What does yours look like iPhone owner?…. Oh right! THE SAME AS ALL THE REST!!!”…. Sheep…

    • Sam Cater

      Thank you for that, altered it!

      I agree RE: iPhone :)

  • Robo07

    It’s a horribel smartphone. The design is awful, the whole phone much too big, the interface looks like windows, too fancy, no, no, no, forget it, Samsung. This is a typical phone for Winusers. Better to stay with Applets…

  • Jacob Denesik

    so is the samsung galaxy s 3 better then the HTC one x?

  • Raja

    I really need help here guys. I have heard rumors that samsung is updating SGS3(international version) RAM from 1Gb to 2Gb to support Jelly Bean. If the rumor is true, what will happen to the S3s already in the market. Will they ever taste JB ? I am planning to have one but I am confused whether I should go for it now or wait for the next updated version. Since this is an expensive phone for me, i’d like that its future proof.

    Professional suggestion is needed.

  • banatan kita

    ang pangit ng iphone

    • banatankita

      oo nga mabuti pa ang galaxy s3

  • Zayka

    Hello I want to buy a new phone) But i can’t choose galaxy s3 or iPhone 4s)what do you think?In your opinion which phone i should buy?

  • farid syamsul huda

    i love android