Samsung Galaxy S III: Review of rumours, features, pictures and specs
The Samsung Galaxy S 3 is one of the biggest gadgets of 2012. With its predecessor topping the Android charts in the previous year and pretty much sweeping up all the best mobile phone awards it could find, it’s of little surprise that the world has its ears like a safe cracker to the web for news about the next member of this highly acclaimed super-smartphone dynasty.
Naturally, it’s our job here at Pocket-lint to sweep up any such tidbits of information and mould them in our experienced grip until we have a fully formed model of what we all expect the Samsung Galaxy S III to look like. Whether that turns out to reflect what the real phone shapes up to be remains to be seen, but read on to find out the shape of things right now according to the Samsung Galaxy S III rumours.
Samsung Galaxy S III quick facts based on rumours so far
If you take all the latest intel, fact or rumour, on the new Samsung Galaxy S3 or S III depending on how you write it, the phone will have a 4.8-inch screen, be powered by Samsung's own Exynos chip, feature slightly curved design like the Galaxy Nexus and come with an 8 megapixel camera.
It will be available on Vodafone and O2 in the UK in the coming weeks and run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. You'll also be able to get it at Phones 4u too in the UK. It won't feature LTE for the UK and it is unlike to me made from Unicorn horns.
Samsung Galaxy S III release date
It all began just one month after the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S II when the president of Samsung’s mobile division, J.K. Shin, told the Dow Jones Newswires in an exclusive interview: “Samsung may launch a third version of its Galaxy S smartphone in the first half of next year after launching a second-generation version called Galaxy S II last month.”
Now that “may” might have sounded a shade wishy-washy at the time but we only had to wait until the 11 October 2011 for our next glimpse into the future when Phandroid.com received a leaked slide of the Samsund roadmap which featured none other than the Samsung Galaxy S III at the top of the tree. There were no dates along with the information but, with around six months to go, a Mobile World Congress 2012 launch wasn’t a big stretch.
But a big stretch it turned out to be by the end of January 2012 when Pocket-lint reported via Sammyhub and the Verge that what looked to be nailed on seemed to be suffering from delay. According to a well-trusted source group called “people familiar with the matter”, Samsung had been planning an MWC 2012 launch but there were issues which meant the timescale had been set back to a “before summer” release and that could have been about trying to reduce the long gap before users in the US got to buy them, as occured with the SGS2 arrival.
“We are still reviewing several options when to launch, so we'll let you know when it's decided,” was the official line at the time from Samsung’s head of Global Marketing, Younghee Lee, as he more or less made the handset official for the very first time.
All the same, it wasn’t until Samsung dropped a memo into Pocket-lint’s inbox a few days later on 1 February 2012 that we knew for sure that MWC 2012 was simply too soon.
"The successor to the Galaxy S II smartphone will be unveiled at a separate Samsung-hosted event in the first half of the year, closer to commercial availability of the product." was the word and the current anticpated arrival time for the Samsung Galaxy S III is May 2012.
Following the leaked image of the phone by GSMHelpdesk.nl, it was then suggested that 22 May would be the date of the phone's launch and that it would happen in London. However, Samsung finally debunked at least part of that theory by sending out an invite for its next Samsung Mobile Unpacked event, which will be held on 3 May. The host city of London though, was spot on.
Samsung Galaxy S III screen
The Galaxy S II had a whopper of a display when it arrived and Samsung even inched it out a little further for the LTE version, so one might expect something similarly grand for the Samsung Galaxy S III screen.
According to the leaked information on Phandroid.com in October, that’s exactly what will be happening with 0.1” addition taking the total to 4.6” on the diagonal. The same rumour talks of a much expected upgrade in the actual technology of the screen too. First it was Super AMOLED, then the SGS2 made it a Super AMOLED Plus and then the Galaxy Nexus came out with a 720p Super AMOLED HD. Apparently the Samsung Galaxy S III will have a Super AMOLED Plus HD. What this means in real terms has not been said but, in practice, it’s either going to be a 720p or 1080p resolution.
The only other story so far on the matter came from Samsung itself. Just after CES 2012, the company produced a video with its new product launch triumphs fresh from the show and some bright spark with the pause button at the ready spotted a large, but not Galaxy Note style, mobile device seven minutes in. What we see is a broader mobile with virtually edge-to -dge screen across its width and even less black along the top and bottom than you currently get on the SGS2. It looks great. The chances are, however, that it’s some kind of mock up but one never quite knows.
The latest rumours suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S3 will have a 4.8-inch screen based on a number of leaked images that show the supposed SGS3 next to a ruler, and more recently of a screen protector that shows it will be bigger than the HTC One X.
Samsung Galaxy S III camera
Again, it’s really, so far, only October’s leak that’s given us anything to go on in terms of the Samsung Galaxy S III camera. The word on the slide shot is that the 8MP rear-facer is going to be upgraded to a 12-megapixel backlit sensor which should improve performance under low light conditions as well as up the resolution. What’s more is that the sensor is apparently the same size as one you’d find in a compact at 1/2.3" and that might have some very interesting optical improvements so long as the lens put in front of it and circuitary behind it are up to scratch. That’s also if the leaked photo happens to be true, which looks a bit less likely when you notice a couple of typos.
The possible mock up in the post-CES promo video gives us another potential clue as far as the front-facing camera goes and that’s only to say that it’s in the same position as before. One would hope to get a little more resolution than the VGA version in the SGS2 but more on that when we hear about it.
Samsung Galaxy S III processor
The Phandroid.com roadmap listed a dual-core 1.8GHz Exynos 4212 chip backed up with 2GB of RAM as the engine room of choice for the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone. On the one hand, the memory seems about right but, what with Tegra 3 and quad-core processors looking to rule the waves in 2012, the Exynos 4212 seems a touch short.
Indeed, according to a report in Androidandme.com in November 2011, it will, in fact, be an all-new Exynos 4412 system-on-a-chip instead. The Exynos 4412 is still based on an ARM Cortex A9 CPU architecture but comes with four cores running at a 1.5GHz clock. The GPU attached is said to be a Mali-T604 GPU with a 5x faster factor than previous Mali chips and up to, again, four cores to work with.
Samsung has since confirmed that the phone will feature its own Exynos chip, although rumours are now starting to surface that in the US the phone will come with Qualcomm's S4 processor instead.
Samsung Galaxy S III form factor
Form factor-wise, while the Phandroid.com rumour reports Samsung taking a step away from the squared-off candybar shape to disentangle itself from any iPhone infringements, the more interesting information is in the February 2012 story from Korean publication ETnews. The suggestion here is that the Samsung Galaxy S III will be just 7mm thick, thanks to printed circuit boards, connector parts and chips that are 10 to 20 per cent thinner than conventional units. That would make it 1.9mm thinner than the SGS2 and more akin to the Samsung Nexus in design, something that many of the leaked photos suggest.
Samsung Galaxy S III connectivity
The Phandroid.com report from October 2011 stated that the Samsung Galaxy S III would come equipped with both NFC and LTE connectivity. That certainly makes sense, given that two of Samsung's recent top phones have included these standards, so there's no reason why the company would deprive their upcoming flagship model of them either. The question for UK users, of course, is whether we'll see the LTE version this side of the Atlantic?
Samsung Galaxy S III software
With Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich the latest version of the Google Mobile software for the first part of 2012, it's pretty much a cert that that's what will be adorning the Samsung Galaxy S III. The variable is the UI on top and, although there's been no word either way, the obvious choice is whatever the latest version of Samsung's TouchWiz is. Currently, it's TouchWiz 4.0 as released on the SGS2, so either that or an all-new TouchWiz 5.0 would make the most sense.
Samsung Galaxy S III pictures
We've tracked plenty of concepts so far from around the web showing a variety of different designs all purporting to be the Samsung Galaxy S 3.
Indeed, it's often the pictures that tell a thousand words with the mistakes of the pretenders revealing themselves and the hopes and dreams of thousands of fanboys in the oohs and ahhs of the vector-drawn, dream mock-ups.
Here, for your pleasure, we've collected them all. So take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S III in pictures, see if you can spot the patterns and let us know which one you would most like it to be.
Samsung Galaxy S III video
On 20 April, just under two weeks before the phone's official unveiling, Vietnamese website Tinhte.vn has released a video of what it claims to be the Samsung Galaxy S III. And certainly, it's innards, operating system and processor match up to what we already believe.
The casing of the device in the video doesn't look as slick as we'd expect, so it's likely that it is a fake shell or prototype build, but everything else looks convincing. Tinhte has also got a reputation for getting its hands on notable products before release, including several iPhones that turned out to be spot on.
Samsung Galaxy S III price
There’s been no word on the Samsung Galaxy S III price for the time being. One would expect it to come in at under the cost of the iPhone, as is usual for top Android phones, but not a huge amount less. Naturally, bigger and better technology is going to drive the price up but the original £499 PAYG/£40pm contract release tag of the Samsung Galaxy S II would seem like a decent guide.
Samsung Galaxy S III review
Expect plenty more coverage as we get closer to the release date and a full and thorough Samsung Galaxy S III review once we've had a chance to get Samsung’s latest top super-smartphone for 2012 into the Pocket-lint labs.
What are your hopes and dreams for the Samsung Galaxy S III? Let us know in the comments.