Samsung Galaxy S3 full review

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S3

Samsung's Galaxy S3 was one of the most popular smartphones of 2012 but how does it compare to its replacement, the Galaxy S4? We take a look at how the new flagship handset compares to its predecessor in our Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S3 comparison review. Updated on 26/03/2013See also: Samsung Galaxy S4 hands-on review.

Hype and anticipation surrounding the Galaxy S4 was monumental and now it's  finally here. If you're a Galaxy S3 owner you're probably wondering whether it's worth upgrading or your trying to decide whether to save money by opting for the now well out of date Galaxy S3 instead of the Galaxy S4. Well this comparison will help you decide. See also: Best smartphones of 2012  

We haven't seen the Galaxy S4 in the flesh yet so this article is based on the Galaxy S4 spec sheet compared with Galaxy S3's, plus our opinion of course. See also: Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5 comparison review.

Take a look at the following two articles for more details on each handset.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

Samsung Galaxy S4: details, what you need to know

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S3: Design

As you can see from the image above, the Galaxy S4 looks extremely similar to the Galaxy S3 in design. Put simply, it's just a bigger version. It keeps the rounded corners but has a slightly squarer look to it like the Galaxy S2. The rear removable cover also remains, as does the physical home button which is a slightly different shape.

See also: Group test: What's the best smartphone?

According to Samsung's specifications the Galaxy S4 is marginally smaller than the Galaxy S3 despite it's larger screen. The two are the same height at 136.6mm but the Galaxy S4 is 69.8mm wide compared to 70.6mm. It's also thinner and lighter than its predecessor at 7.9mm and 130g against 8.6mm and 133g. Impressive work from Samsung if these figures are correct. See also: iPhone 5 vs HTC One comparison review.

Samsung Galaxy S4 side profile

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S3: Screen

As rumours suggested, the Galaxy S4 has a 5in screen, meaning it will be slightly larger than the Galaxy S3's 4.8-inch display. Both use Samsung's favoured SuperAMOLED technology. See also: Samsung Galaxy S4 to get 5-inch full HD screen

The size matches up with a lot of the smartphones announced at CES this year, including the Sony Xperia ZHuawei Ascend D2 and ZTE Grand S.

It's resolution has increased from 720x1280 up to a Full HD 1080x1920. This ups the pixel density  significantly from 306ppi to 441ppi.

Samsung Galaxy S4 black mist

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S3: Processor

Samsung used its own Exynos 4 Quad processor for the Galaxy S3, a quad-core chip unsurprisingly. It's clocked at 1.4GHz and is based on the ARM Cortex-A9 architecture.

The Galaxy S4 outdoes this with the Exynos 5 Octa processor which Samsung announced at CES. It's the first smartphone to boast an 8-core chip. It consists of four Cortex-A15 cores clocked at 1.6GHz for performance while the remaining four are Cortex-A7s clocked at 1.2GHz for less demanding tasks and power saving.

The RAM has also been doubled from 1GB to 2GB so we're expecting the Galaxy S4 to ace our benchmarks.


Samsung has confirmed that the UK model of the Galaxy S4 will use a 1.9GHz quad-core processor instead of the octa-core chip.

See also: Samsung Galaxy S4 to have 8-core Exynos 5 processor

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S3: Storage

Samsung was generous with the storage options on the Galaxy S3 matching the iPhone with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models plus a microSD card slot. The situation is unchanged when it  comes to the Galaxy S4 so there's nothing to worry about here.

Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S3: Cameras

The Galaxy S3's 8Mp camera was a fairly standard resolution for 2012 with the exception of only a few handsets. The Samsung Galaxy S4 got its tipped 13Mp rear facing camera and a 2.1Mp front facing camera. It's marginally higher than the Galaxy S3's 1.9Mp but importantly can record video in Full HD 1080p rather than 720p.

We can't say whether the image quality is better yet but the upgrade seems pretty good.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S3: Software

Now running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is almost up-to-date in the world of Android. The Galaxy S4 will ship with version 4.2.2 which is no significant difference and both have Samsung's TouchWiz interface.

The Galaxy S4 does have new features including Smart Scroll, Smart Pause and Air Gesture to name three. We're hearing that the Galaxy S3 will be updated with some of the new features but it's not clear which will and which won't make the move.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Galaxy S3: Battery

We expected the Galaxy S4's battery to be larger than the Galaxy S3's 2100mAh battery - and it is, at 2600mAh (both are removable). Whether battery life will be longer will only become apparent when we give it a proper test. It's a hard one to call since the screen is larger and has a higher res, but the Exynos 5 processor has power saving cores which could make a big difference.


The Galaxy S4 in the UK won't have the power saving saving cores of the Exynos processor. See processor section for more details.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.


Samsung Galaxy S3: Specs

  • Android OS: ICS
  • HSPA+ 21Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps
  • 8MP AF with LED Flash
  • 4.8 Super AMOLED MIPI (C-Type)
  • A-GPS / BT v4.0 USB v2.0 / Wi-FI (802.11 b/g/n/a) OTG
  • Recording definition: 1080p / Playback at 1080p resolution
  • Sensors: Acceleration, Electromagnetic, Gyro, RGB, Proximity, Barometer
  • -1.5GHz Quad Core CPU
  • Simplanner/Video Hub/Chat ON

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