Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Has the successor dealt a fatal blow to the old timer, or is this an ideal time to pick up a bargain?

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Samsung Galaxy S II – design

The Galaxy S3 has gone up in screen size to a perfect 4.8in, while maintaining a relatively small body at 133g and 8.6mm thin. The hyperglazed shell feels strong while its pebble inspired design sits comfortably in the hand.

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Read our Samsung Galaxy S3 review

The S II is still an attractive phone with a plenty-big 4.3in display and 8.5mm thin form at its thinnest point. But the black model does feel a bit plastic. The white version feels a little stronger but still hasn’t escaped that plastic back which feels like a drop would end it.

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Samsung Galaxy S II – screen

The Galaxy S3 comes with one of the most beautiful mobile screens we’ve ever seen. The 4.8in Super AMOLED produces vibrant colours, true blacks, and can serve up smooth video – even with fast-moving action scenes. It’s also – so Samsung claims – more power efficient than other similar smartphones, even though its 720x1280 screen packs in 306ppi.

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The Galaxy S II has a bright 4.3in AMOLED screen that produces great colours but is slightly lacking when it comes to pleasing those of you that crave pixels. With 480x800 pixels on the screen you’re only getting 217ppi, which doesn’t hold up to the S3 or HTC One X.

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Samsung Galaxy S II – performance

With a 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos processor the S3 is – if early benchmarking tests are to be believed – the fastest smartphone on the planet. The power efficiency of a quad-core, coupled with the more battery friendly screen and huge 2,100mAh battery should make the S3 an all-day mobile, even with heavy use.

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The S II's dual-core 1Ghz processor might not sound that impressive – but it can still handle most tasks quick enough to keep up with you. While the 1,560mAh battery may give up before the day is out when used heavily, its lifespan can be stretched with tools like Advanced Task Killer.

More after the break...

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Samsung Galaxy S II – camera

The 8MP, 1080p zero shutter lag camera crams in the features. Burst Mode lets you shoot 20 photos at 3.3 shots per second, Buddy Mode automatically tags faces using your contacts list, and Best Mode chooses the top pic out of a burst of eight. You’re also able to keep snapping photos while recording full HD video.

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Once you've taken your snaps, you can easily share them with the people in the photos – the gallery flags up your contacts in shots and offers one-touch sharing. You can also zoom face transitions to focus on your mates’ mugs while viewing a slideshow. Video stabilisation and backlit illumination for pics makes light work of shaky and low light situations. The front-facing camera is a respectable 1.9MP snapper that can shoot 720p video, so it can watch you while you work.

It might not be new anymore but the S II's 8MP, 1080p snapper was way ahead of its time and still produces great quality photos and videos. Thanks to Android’s easy sharing options there’s a plethora of ways to dish out your pics – even if you have to pick out your friends' mugs the old fashioned way.

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Samsung Galaxy S II – killer features

The S3 knows what you want – so if you’re reading a text and want to call the person, simply putting the phone to your ear will do it. It even watches you using the front-facing camera and keeps the screen from dimming while you’re focused on it.

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S Voice listens to your every command and responds helpfully – with impressive accuracy, whether you want to check the the weather, send a text, set an alarm or fire up the camera. S Beam uses either NFC or Wi-Fi to share with other S3 handsets while AllShare lets you mirror your screen to potentially any HDMI screen (using an adapter, sold separately).

The Galaxy SII responds to voice commands pretty well. It can roll with the punches using the up to date Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. And it… well, it… okay, the S3 wins on this front, but perhaps some of these software advantages will filter down to the S II.

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Samsung Galaxy S II – conclusion

While the Galaxy S3 will give you more power, a better screen, longer battery life and a host of camera tricks, the S II is still a contender. When the S3 hits the shelves on May 30th, we expect the S II to drop considerably in price. With a good 12 months left in its hardware abilities, it's a good option for those who want smart on a budget. If money is no object, though, the S3 is a must.

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