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Review: Samsung Galaxy S III

Form Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  21  

Is It Your Type? Body Performance  


The GS3 sports a 4.8-inch, 1280 x 720-pixel HD display. It uses Samsung's Super AMOLED technology and a PenTile pixel design. The GS3 is the first smartphone to get a PenTile display right. Every other PenTile display I've used really bugged me. The GS3's doesn't. What does that mean? You're going to love the display. You're really going to love the display. It is incredibly bright, works perfectly outdoors, and is razor sharp. Pictures, web sites, video content, you name it... it looks fantastic on the GS3's vibrant and impressive screen.


Samsung sent us the AT&T and T-Mobile variants of the GS3. Here are the individual results from Phone Scoop's tests.

AT&T: The AT&T variant of the GS3 supports AT&T's HSPA+ and LTE networks. It showed strong signal performance under both network types. The phone never lost its connection with the network during my time with the device, even when I took it up a mountain in a sparsely populated area of NJ. It never dropped to EDGE, either. Phone calls all went through on the first dial, and never dropped. The AT&T variant showed excellent network performance all around.

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T-Mobile: The GS3 supports T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. As with the AT&T variant, it was a strong performer on T-Mobile's network. It connected consistently and never had any trouble. Even under weak T-Mobile coverage, the GS3 easily made calls and surfed the web at quick data speeds. I attained excellent download speed test results and never questioned the device's ability to serve as my lifeline to the outside world.

One note about both variants: Neither showed good upload speeds. Even under 4G coverage, neither version reached upload speeds above 1Mbps even though they hit nearly 20Mbps down. Other phones on the same two networks were able to reach uploads speeds closer to 2Mbps. We're not sure why the GS3s performed so poorly with the uploads.


AT&T: Phone calls placed via AT&T's network were good, but short of excellent. In general, voices sounded warm, but there was occasional interference. The interference was just a wee bit of scratchiness and some echo. It wasn't awful, but I noticed it. The earpiece is acceptable in terms of volume, but also short of excellent. Set all the way up and pressed firmly to your ear, you'll hear conversations fine in most environments. Anywhere with a significant amount of noise, however, is going to force you to seek out a quieter spot to finish your conversation. The speakerphone produces good volume, but amplifies the interference a bit, and was also prone to some distortion. The ringers are quite loud, and the vibrate alert is very good.

T-Mobile: Phone calls I made with the T-Mobile variant of the GS3 were similar to those of the AT&T version, but the quality was better across the board. There was no interference, no noise, and voices sounded warm and present. The earpiece had good volume, but as with the AT&T variant isn't loud enough for the noisiest places. The speakerphone was much better than the AT&T version in terms of quality and didn't have the distortion effect I noticed, either. The ringers are quite loud, and the vibrate alert is very good.


Whichever variant of the GS3 you choose, you're going to be happy with the battery life. They each include a massive 2100mAh battery that powers the device well beyond a full day's use. I tested both the AT&T and T-Mobile versions extensively for four days, and both made it more than two days before they begged for an outlet. I had the Wi-Fi radio on, as well as GPS, and used both for checking email, taking/sending pictures, reading through my RSS, checking social networks, and many other tasks. I did notice that the AT&T version drained its battery a bit quicker than the T-Mobile version, which can be attributed to its LTE radio. The heaviest users will probably need to charge the GS3 every night, but even if they forget, they'll be able to make it through a portion of the next day before worrying about finding an outlet.


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