Skip to navigation

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

  • Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE
  • Samsung Galaxy S3
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE Speed Test
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE Wi-Fi iPlayer
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE 4G iPlayer
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE gestures
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE browsing
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE camera test


The now venerable Galaxy S3 is still a good phone, but there are better options for most, even at its much reduced price

Review Date: 12 Mar 2014

Price when reviewed: £500

Buy it now for: £206
(see more store prices)


Reviewed By: Chris Finnamore

Our Rating 5 stars out of 5

User Rating 4 stars out of 5

Powered by Reevoo

ExpertReviews Award

Samsung Galaxy S3 Display and Build

The Galaxy S3 LTE has the same chassis as the S3, which means it's a big phone, but we can’t see how it could have been much smaller and still cram in the 4.8in screen. There's only a couple of millimetres of space either side of the screen, and around a centimetre of plastic on the top and bottom to house the front-facing camera and home button. The handset is also just 9mm thick, but, while its slim body is comfortable to hold, we weren't so sure about the all-gloss-plastic back.

The Galaxy S III screen's high resolution makes it simple to browse web pages in full desktop mode, with little need for zooming and scrolling left to right; if you have this phone, there's not really much need to have a tablet as well.

Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE
Despite Samsung's great efforts, this is still a big smartphone

There's one problem with a handset this big - it's very hard to use one-handed. With one hand holding an umbrella, it’s a real stretch to reach the app tray icon and the home button, and we never felt particularly confident about not dropping the phone. This is the only problem we had with the phone's size; the handset's slimness means it still fits fine in jeans pockets.

In contrast to the iPhone 5 and Nokia 920, which have IPS LCD displays, the Galaxy S3 has an AMOLED screen. It's a PenTile screen with just two rather than three coloured sub-pixels per pixel, but there's none of the colour cast we sometimes see with PenTile displays, such as the slight green/yellow tint on the Motorola RAZR MAXX. We found it very hard to find fault with the Galaxy S3's screen; if you look really closely the text isn’t quite as sharp as on the iPhone 4S's and iPhone 5's displays, but it's really splitting hairs.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Gesture Controls

Samsung claims the Galaxy S III is "designed for humans", and to this end the handset has several different motion controls that are meant to make it particularly intuitive to use. Whenever you launch an app for which a motion control is available a help screen pops up telling you about it and asking whether you want to enable the feature. All the motion controls are grouped together in Settings, so you can tweak them later.

Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE gestures
Some of the gesture settings on offer

We had varying degrees of success with the gesture controls. You can turn the phone over to mute a call, and when you pick it back up the Smart alert feature will make the phone vibrate to let you know that you have a missed event such as a missed call or an unread text message. You can double-tap the top of the phone to go to the top of a list, such as your contacts, but we couldn't get the tilt-to-zoom function on web pages and the gallery to work at all. One feature we did like was that if a contact is on your screen or you're in the middle of writing a text message to that contact, bringing the phone up to your ear will automatically call that person.

Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE browsing
Thanks to Smart Stay the BBC homepage won't fade to black while you're reading it

A particularly interesting addition is Smart Stay, which is meant to use the front-facing camera to stop the screen turning itself off when you're looking at it - great for reading text-heavy webpages. However, we found it sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. The phone also has Samsung's S Voice control, which is meant to perform functions such as sending people messages or dialling them, Siri-style. We were able to make the phone open Google Navigation with "Navigate to Guildford", call Dave with "Call Dave", but trying to dictate a message was pretty hopeless, leading to garbled rubbish every time.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Camera

The well-designed camera app makes it simple to get the best out of the phone's eight-megapixel camera. There are several different ways to take a photo, including a 20-shot burst mode, HDR and the fun Panorama feature. The phone takes pictures almost instantly, but we found the thin screen bezel meant we would nudge the touchscreen sometimes and activate an option when lining up a shot. The resulting images are up there with the best we've seen, with natural colours and plenty of detail in bright light.

Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE camera test
As this sample shot shows, the S3's camera rivals the best available, alongside those from HTC, Sony or Apple

The S3 comes with a 50GB Dropbox account for two years, and the phone will automatically upload photos (over Wi-Fi) to your online storage.

Prev Next

User Reviews

Best Prices

Price comparison powered by Reevoo

< Previous   Reviews : Smartphones Next >
Sponsored Links


Award-winning Smartphones
Best Buy
Samsung Galaxy S5
Best Budget Buy
Nokia Lumia 610
Best Business Buy
RIM BlackBerry Torch
Apple iPhone 5S

Sony Xperia Z2 review

Sony Xperia Z2

Category: Smartphones
Rating: 4 out of 5
Price: £535
HTC One Max review

HTC One Max

Category: Smartphones
Rating: 3 out of 5
Price: £564
LG G2 review


Category: Smartphones
Rating: 5 out of 5
Price: £462
HTC Desire 500 review

HTC Desire 500

Category: Smartphones
Rating: 3 out of 5
Price: £210
Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 review

Samsung Galaxy Ace 3

Category: Smartphones
Rating: 4 out of 5
Price: £175
Sponsored Links


Also in this category...




Expert Reviews Printed from

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.