Samsung Galaxy S3 4G review: Samsung Galaxy S3 4G

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Pricing Unavailable
Reviewed:

The Good Same great Galaxy S3 design. Great 4.7-inch screen. 4G data speeds.

The Bad 4G heavily impacts battery life. No HDMI port.

The Bottom Line Samsung has slipped 4G into the GS3 mix, but sacrificed battery greatly in the process. This is the still same great phone we saw earlier in the year, but the shorter battery cycles will be a deal breaker for many.

Don't Miss

Here come the 4G phones. What started out as a slow trickle has now become a steady stream, and Samsung's Galaxy S3 4G is set to be one of this year's biggest sellers with long-term evolution (LTE) speeds. But is it worth your hard-earned money?

Quick specs

  • Screen: 4.7-inch
  • Processor: quad-core 1.4GHz
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Platform: Android Jelly Bean
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC

There are several differences between the new 4G version and the original Galaxy S3, but none of these changes are on the surface (with the exception of a few new colours). To save you from reading the same review over again, we'll instead refer you to the original Samsung Galaxy S3 review if you want to know our thoughts on this handset's aesthetics.

User experience

Those picking up a 4G Galaxy S3 in the first weeks after it comes out will have the advantage of getting the Jelly Bean version of Android first. This adds a number of useful new features and tweaks, though after Samsung adds its own layer to the top of it, it does end up looking very much the same as the software on the original GS3. Two of our favourite new elements are the expanded notifications in the pull-down window and Google Now. For a detailed look at both of these features, check out our review of the Jelly Bean update.

Performance

There are a few fairly significant changes under the hood, though. There is now 2GB of RAM, double the memory of the original, and LTE is built in to the quad-core Exynos processor. Now, we're never going to knock having more power in a phone, but it is hard to gauge just how great an effect this extra RAM has on the performance across the system. The GS3 4G benchmarks pretty much the same as the original GS3, with a slightly lower Geekbench score, a slightly higher Vellamo score and a virtually identical Basemark 3D benchmark result.

Battery life is the big difference, and the 4G model comes off worse for wear. We can't say with absolute certainty that 4G networking is the culprit, but we did collect some pretty damning evidence.

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Where to Buy

Samsung Galaxy S3 4G

Part Number: CNETSamsung Galaxy S3 4G

Typical Price: $899.00

See manufacturer website for availability.