All we know about the Samsung Galaxy S3 in the United States: Prices, availability, versions, and release date

May 4, 2012

[Update June 6] We’ve put together a new roundup of all the information you need to get the Galaxy S3 in the United States, including pre-orders, availability, pricing and versions for all the networks that will carry the Samsung Galaxy S3 in the US: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular. Check it out here.

Last night in London, Samsung unveiled its next Galaxy flagship phone, the long awaited and much rumored Galaxy S3. We’ve seen the specs of the new Galaxy S3, we’ve seen its design, and how it stands up against its top competitors. We’re sure that, by now, most of you want to know when you will be able to buy this amazing device and at what price.

So, American readers, we’ve scoured the web, scrutinized every piece of Samsung official material, and listened to every last shady rumormonger to bring you all we know about the Samsung Galaxy S3 availability, release date, and price in the US. Here we go.

Samsung Galaxy S3 in the United States

Last year, US customers were among the last in the world to get the Samsung Galaxy S2. Carrier interference and bad management were cited as reasons for the staggered rollout. But will history repeat itself with the S3? We don’t think so, fortunately!

Samsung Galaxy S3 US carriers

Last year, the Galaxy S2 came to almost every major American carrier (in one form or another), except for Verizon, who got the Galaxy Nexus exclusivity instead. This is why we believe that the Galaxy S3 will be available across the board, and it will probably even grace Verizon this time.

Samsung US put up a registration page, so you can get fresh info on the availability of the S3 in the US. In the registration form, you can see that all big four carriers and a few smaller ones are listed:

  • AT&T
  • C Spire Wireless
  • Metro PCS
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • US Cellular
  • Verizon

As The Verge notes, this could be a random list, but also, it’s odd that Cricket and a few other second-tiers are missing, which may indicate that the list is based on actual release plans.

Also from The Verge’s sources, we learned that at least Sprint is in the race to get the Galaxy S3. Sprint did collaborate with Samsung well for the previous two iteration of the S series, so this seems most plausible. We don’t have yet concrete information or even rumors about AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile, but, again, it’s highly probable that all three will carry the Samsung Galaxy S3.

The skinny: The Galaxy S3 will probably come to all major US carriers, and several of the smaller ones.

Samsung Galaxy S3 US hardware versions

As you probably know, the Galaxy S3 will be available in both 3G and 4G LTE versions. On the registration page we’ve talked about above, Samsung says that “Appearance of device may vary. Some features may not be available in all areas.” In addition, we’ve heard from the product press release that the specifications “may vary” for the LTE version of the device.

Also, older rumors indicate that the US versions of Samsung’s flagship will come with a Snapdragon S4 SoC instead of the Exynos 4 Quad chip found on the global version, supposedly to accommodate the LTE radio. This is what happened with HTC’s flagship, the One X, which dropped the quad-core Tegra 3, in favor of the same S4 chip from Qualcomm. As Android and Me speculates, one other possibility would be that Samsung will use its new dual-core Exynos 5 chip in the US, but that seems a bit of a stretch.

Most likely, the Samsung Galaxy S3 will come with a dual-core Snapdragon S4 chip in the US, for all three LTE carriers: AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. T-Mobile, on the other hand, runs a 4G HSPA+ network, meaning that the carrier will be able to range the global version, or at least, a version that contains the quad-core Exynos chip found in the global version.

As for names, skins, and other specifications for the US versions of the Samsung Galaxy S3, we really can’t predict anything at this point. Last year’s Galaxy S2 arrived stateside in a variety of forms, not to mention names. We just hope that, this time, Samsung will be able to impose its will against the mighty US carriers and we’ll have fewer variants and fewer mouthfuls of names.

The skinny: The Galaxy S3 will probably come in dual-core LTE versions on AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, and in the quad-core version on T-Mobile.

Samsung Galaxy S3 US release date

At the Unpacked event last night, Samsung didn’t offer a concrete release date for the Galaxy S3 in the US. We saw a big slide that said “USA in June”, but we can’t tell if that referred to the launch of the device or the actual availability in stores. What we do know is Samsung will do local launch events around the world, and one of the cities included in the tour is New York. We can expect more precise information when this event takes place.

Now, we do have some rumors and tidbits that can help us guess when the Galaxy S3 will reach American shores. First, the Olympic Games are upon us, and we are sure that Samsung (a major Olympic sponsor) will do its best to make its shiny new superphone available on shelves by the opening ceremony, which is on July 27.

Of course, if Samsung has its way, the device will be available much sooner than that, hopefully, in June. In a press statement, Samsung US said that the device will come to the States “this summer”, which pretty much excludes the possibility of a May release. The good news is we can also pretty much exclude the possibility of the S3 coming to the US five or six months after its announcement, like it happened last year with the S2.

The skinny: The Galaxy S3 will probably be released in the US in the June-July interval.

Samsung Galaxy S3 US price

Not much to say here, unfortunately. However, the Galaxy S3 will be Samsung’s flagship for at least this year, so don’t expect it to come cheap.

Most likely, you’ll be initially able to get the Galaxy S3 for $299 on a two-year contract from most carriers, although, we can’t rule out a smaller, $199 price tag. As always, expect Amazon Wireless and others to offer discounted prices a bit later in the game.

As for the contract-free, unlocked version of the Galaxy S3, we expect that it will cost you about $700. We made this assumption based on the pricing of Samsung’s previous flagships such as the S2 or the Note, as well as the price tags of competing devices, such as the HTC One X or the Droid Razr MAXX.

The roundup

To recap: We expect that the Samsung Galaxy S3 will become available in the US over the next two months, from all major carriers, in an LTE dual-core version and the quad-core version on T-Mobile. Expect to pay $199-$299 for a two-year contract and about $700 for an unlocked model.

[Update June 6] We’ve put together a new roundup of all the information you need to get the Galaxy S3 in the United States, including pre-orders, availability, pricing and versions for all the networks that will carry the Samsung Galaxy S3 in the US: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular. Check it out here.

Comments

  • Fantom

    Conclusion: I am happy to have bought the HTC One X …

    • AndroidBrian

      Yeah one X was good buy. Unless you bought the one s from T-Mobile.

      • george

        This one also has a sealed battery and no sd card. What are manf. thinking? If you can’t put an all day battery in it, why seal the case? Good luck keeping it charged a year from now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Georgi-Angelov/589196387 Georgi Angelov

      I can conclude that at least in the US, it doesn’t matter if you get the One X or S3 as they will both be similar in specs except screens, battery, sd-card. Furthermore, the One X is a MUCH better build than the S3.

      • george

        Batteries and sd card is huge, especially since the htc one x has a smaller battery, is maxed out with a 32 gig mem. The only justification for sealing the battery is if you can get a razr maxx kind of life out of it.

        • Kippy

          AT&T is only 16GB, not 32. :(

          • Sschrupp

            This right here is what’s really making it difficult for me to decide between One X or waiting for the S3. If it had 32 GB I would have one in my hands already. With only 16 GB though… arrrghh… Why on earth did they do that? I’m sure most people would have been fine paying more if it included 32 instead. So now I’m torn… wait an undetermined amount of time for a phone we know only a little bit about, or go with a great phone that will limit my songs/movies/apps installed on it?

  • Cole Raney

    Maybe Samsung will allow a 3G version and an LTE version on all carriers. Allowing people who prefer quad core over LTE to get the quad core and allowing people who want LTE over the quad core to get the LTE version. This would be the ideal situation. I would prefer the 3G version for 2 reasons.

    1) My area has very little if any LTE coverage (I think one city that is an hour away from me has it and that’s it).

    2) I would prefer a more powerful phone over faster downloads over LTE. I use wifi most of the time, and when I do use cellular data, 3G is fast enough for me.

    I’m sure there are plenty who would prefer a quad core phone to an LTE phone. Maybe not the majority, but a decent amount of people probably.

    • AndroidBrian

      That won’t happen. 0% chance of that occurring.

      • Cole Raney

        I realize it is a bit of wishful thinking. It would be awesome though. I feel as though the carriers have way too much power when it comes to android. They can control when updates roll around and they can control when we get a product (referencing the huge delays in the S2).

    • http://profiles.google.com/kirwoodd Paul Christen

      Its not clear to me that the carrier would allow a 3G only version on their network.

      • Cole Raney

        True, but I wish they would. If T-Mobile gets the quad core phone I may think about buying it out of contract from them and putting my AT&T sim in the phone. Which, that’s something I never do because I don’t like paying $600+ for a phone instead of $199 with a contract.

    • Sschrupp

      What makes you think the quad core makes for a more powerful phone? Benchmarks and real world use between the International and US HTC One X (Quad vs Dual) leans towards saying the dual core version of the phone is more powerful. More cores don’t always mean more power unless you’re dealing with apps that are highly threaded which is pretty much none of them. Otherwise a dual core processor based on newer technology will be more efficient and more powerful than an older technology quad core.

  • Leestorm0706

    It got Bad in Design.

    • Zekep90x

      So is your face

      • Wazup113

        so is your comment

    • Greatmaddyave

      Anyone who thinks this phone looks hood is an idiot. I hope it doesn’t come yo the US looking like this cuz i won’t buy it if it does.

      • Awsnej

        nobody cares if you buy it or not.

      • Noob^

        good*

      • s00pr

        What the hell are you saying

  • c0re

    Solid article, thanks for the info. My thirst for information on the S3 release in the US has been quenched, for now. Glad I’m with t-mo.

    • Alex

      Don’t be so sure t-mo will get the exynos quad core version just because they don’t have LTE. They opted for the snapdragon in their sgs2 when there was no network compatibility issues with the exynos chip.

      • Noone

        Tmobile did get a better chip than all the other carriers, though.

        • So_LowDaDon

          Actually the Snapdragon S3 clocked at 1.5GHz doesn’t even hold a candle to the Exynos clocked at 1.2GHz in the other SGSII’s. T-Mobile had the worst one.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dvdmate Ian Smith

        Actually, the Snapdragon S3 was selected for the GS2 as it was compatible with T-Mobile’s HSPA+42 network while the Exynos was not.

  • Mykal Cox

    Why write an article when the words “will probably” needs to be used so many times.

    • Erod45

      Maybe because these are speculations based on previous launch experiences with Samsung since nothing official has been announced.

    • Wazup113

      because people need to be told rumors in one article instead of doing a little research

  • AppleFUD

    This all sounds like the Galaxy Nexus all over again. Samsung giving approximate time frames such as June and “this summer” just as they did when they said the gNexus would hit by “the end of the year.” Yeah, but with whom? One carrier announcing it in June as Samsung does their “world tour” but the phone not coming out till “the summer” which will most likely be the end of August, and then if it doesn’t have the new A15 Exynos chip with LTE, etc it just won’t be worth it.

    At this point in time I would rather go with the Galaxy Nexus unlocked and enjoy the carrier-less hassle free nature of it and if Samsung does something smart with the SIII by the time it gets to the US then you can always sell the Galaxy Nexus and upgrade, if they do something dumb then it really won’t matter that much. And as others have pointed out, anyone knowledgeable enough to flash ROMs can get the HTC One X and have nearly the same thing now.

    While some of the new TouchWiz features look good to me it just isn’t worth the hassles associated with carrier lock-in and relying on carriers for updates, etc. . . It has to be a killer device to get me away from the Nexus line and it just isn’t.

  • Livelifemsav

    If the Verizon version does not get Quad Core, I will pass on this.
    I am tired of phone being really fast when they first come out and then after several android os upgrades and carrier upgrade it becomes slow and I become impatient. Quad core should ensure at least little bit of upgrade friendly

    • Mike Smith

      They already said it would not be quad core, Verizon’s LTE network is not compatible with the quad core chip. Most likely will be a snapdragon processor of some sort but will be dual core.

  • Vzx_41

    On a good note if the S3 has the old chip set and does come out say August.. Well then I will wait another few months and see what comes out for Xmas or even what till next summer for the S4 lol. We will see maybe a Galaxy Nexus 2 in December again?????

  • Fisaah

    if i order it from the UK, will it work in the US?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628369929 Cesc Shumithira

    which is better s2 or s3?

  • Wait and See

    The S3 is Fugly!!!

  • M_L

    Great another effing boat oar/cell phone. nothing shouts pimple faced teenager more than pulling this out of your pocket.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000686397258 Ebeny Graves

      actually, i’m a 45 year old woman, and can’t wait to get my hands on this phone. so much for the pimply faced teen…… this phone is really nice, and i’ve had them all since the original gray bricks…lol. i’m excited about the new technology in the new s3.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Brown/100000109834239 Josh Brown

    Love the phone Would buy under two conditions. One, must have quad-core, no dual-core. Second, release date must be with in 30 days or less of first release.

    Nice price $700 for contract-free unlocked version, awesome $400 – 500 profit.

    • Txpulse

      $400-500 profit? how do you calculate that?

      • Wazup113

        you know, i really have no idea either…if he is talking about contract, he is going to be paying even more with the bills so the only thing i can thing of is resaling it but i dont think people would buy a phone for 1100

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Brown/100000109834239 Josh Brown

        Most phones cost about $200 to make and package, iPhone is calculated at about $210 to build and package and then is sold to carriers for about five hundred dollars. Carriers then sell the phone for an additional $150 with no contract.

        Google is now selling their unlocked phone for $399 with no contract, good job Google. Thats the way they should be sold.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Rukiri Erick Sitter

    For those who just got a phone don’t worry you can upgrade, it’ll just cost $500. I can’t wait for this phone but I needed a phone asap and AT&T for the most part is very reliable just as reliable as verzion so I’m not worried there. I’m getting the bluish brushed aluminum version or white if they run out.

  • Joseph Gonzalez

    Dose anyone agree with me that the galaxy s 3 for t-mobile would have the best spec’s out of all 3 phone carriers?
    I mean so far every time a phone is released out of all 4 major carriers t-mobile’s variant of the phone released has always been better in spec’s!..
    Best example thus far has been the galaxy s series for t-mobile..
    T-mobile’s galaxy s 2 had the best spec’s compared to at&t, verizon, and sprint..
    So my whole point being T-mobile’s version of the galaxy s 3 will be better than all carriers!
    I’m not trying to be biased I’m just stating facts!
    I’m currently using the samsung galaxy s 2 by T-mobile

    • Ohshin65

      Verizon dont even have s2..so there goes your fact…

    • Gentleman559

      I would agree but Verizon did not get the Galaxy S 2. I think thats because T-Mobile needs the most help out of all carriers.

    • Jkonesavanh

      Actually ATT GSII had the best specs, it was based off the original galaxy s 2 and has the exynos instead of Snapdragon S 3. Clock speed doesn’t always mean ones faster. I have the ATT SII and looking to upgrade. But I’ll be disappointed if its dual core, it says that Exynos 4 Quad is LTE-on chip

    • Princepez911

      Idk sprint has always collaborated with samsung I have the s1 epic it has a keyboard which no1 else has it seems like sprint demands some different specs 2 set the apart

  • Patrick

    Best legit article ive read! You guys rock

  • Phil

    We are always the last country to get everything. I guess every other country is more advanced I don’t know lol.

  • s3 lover

    thanks you so much 4 the info cuz i wuz dying to get some in the usa instead of uk

  • han linn kyaw

    how much on this device?
    i want to buy one.

  • Raul

    sdfiktrjdf

  • Ggn_sngh

    so wht is the date in us they r releasing s3 on att anybody know that?? thanks

  • http://www.kayscase.com/ KaysCase

    Samsung Galaxy phone remains the best selling Android phone even though it’s released the last in US market.

  • Gerryz_09

    im.a t mobile user nd.I cant wait to buy this phone.. Hopefully it doesnt come different like the artice is saying..

  • Jackseddie

    Question. Please help. I am a Tmobile customer in the USA. Would it be better to buy the unlocked international version or should I buy the Tmobile version when it comes out. Quad core versus dual core? 1gig ram vs. 2 gig ram? Tmobiles HSPA+ network or they’re soon to be “reframed” frequencies? Help.