Inside the Samsung Galaxy S III: Quad-core drives galaxial screen

The Samsung Galaxy S III is a big phone with a burly chip to match.

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Samsung Galaxy S III main circuit board. The Samsung  Exynos 4412 quad-core A9 processor is in orange; Samsung NAND flash in yellow.
Samsung Galaxy S III main circuit board. The Samsung Exynos 4412 quad-core A9 processor is in orange; Samsung NAND flash in yellow. chipworks

The Samsung's Galaxy S III's vast 4.8-inch screen sits atop a quad-core processor and Sony camera, among other goodies exposed in detail via a chipworks teardown.

Before we dive into the specs, let's be clear. For a phone, it's big. Big enough to be brushing up against 5-inch mini tablets.

"I'd say it does verge on being unnecessarily large, but thankfully it isn't as ludicrously big as the Samsung Galaxy Note with its 5.3-inch screen," said CNET"s Jessica Dolcourt in her review of the phone.

And note this is the global version of the phone, not the LTE version that has yet to arrive in the U.S. The LTE-based U.S. version could opt for a dual-core Qualcomm chip that integrates the LTE function. We'll have to wait and see, though.

Nitty-gritty specs:

  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 4412 quad-core A9 processor with 1GB DDR2 memory. The quad-core Samsung chip was only announced in April. So, this is the first chance for Samsung to strut its quad-core stuff. Owing to its 32-nanometer tech, the Exynos 4 Quad has "two times the processing capability over the 45-[nanometer] process based Exynos...Dual while consuming 20 percent less power," Samsung said in April.
  • Camera: the 8MP camera sensor is a Sony back-illuminated sensor (BSI) unit. Essentially the same camera found in the iPhone 4S. "Folks can finally compare Apples to Androids when it comes to picture quality," said iFixit, which provided commentary to the chipworks teardown. And the other camera? At 1.9MP, it "should vastly outperform the VGA unit on the iPhone 4S," according to iFixit.
  • Battery: The 2100 mAh battery is big when compared with the iPhone 4S' 1420 mAh and Galaxy Nexus' 1750 mAh units. The battery incorporates the Near Field Communications (NFC) module used in "S Beam."
  • Glass: One of the first phones to tap Corning Gorilla Glass 2. Corning says it is up to 20 percent thinner, enabling slimmer devices and better touch responsiveness and brighter images but with the same "damage resistance" as before.
  • Display: iFixit makes a good point. At a resolution of 1280x720 the display packs almost as many pixels into a 4.8-inch screen as some laptops have in a 13-inch screen.
  • Other silicon highlights: Samsung NAND flash; Intel Wireless PMB9811X Gold Baseband processor; Murata WiFi Module; Broadcom BCM47511 Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver.
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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