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Samsung Galaxy S3 hands on review

How did we get on in our first minutes with the hottest phone in the world right now? Well, since you asked so nicely..

Read our Samsung Galaxy S3 review

Samsung Galaxy S3 hands on review: build

The pleasantly rounded Galaxy S3 instantly feels better in our hands than the Galaxy S II ever did – where Samsung’s insanely popular S II admittedly seemed a bit flimsy and cheap, the slim (8.6mm) S3 is one hell of a premium bit of kit. It’s light at 133g but still feels expensive and sturdy.

Samsung Galaxy S3 hands on review: display

Let’s make this clear, the S3 has a very nice screen but that’s to be expected from Samsung these days – it’s a HD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 720×1280. We also loved the almost edge-to-edge design, with slimmer bezels than the Galaxy S II’s surrounding the sharp 306ppi screen.

Samsung Galaxy S3 hands on review: performance

With a quad core processor under the hood, we’d expect super-fast smarts from the Galaxy S3. And menus are certainly slick and responsive – then again they’re always likely to be on a phone that isn’t clogged up with apps, pics and videos. Even in our short time with the Galaxy S3, though, we found lots to discover and an intuitive, fluid interface.

Voice control with S Voice is almost instantaneous – despite the crowded, noisy environment it picked up on our request to take a picture and brought up the camera app in a flash. Speaking of which…

Samsung Galaxy S3 hands on review: camera

We didn’t have time to properly test out the Galaxy S3’s imaging smarts in our brief encounter but we’ve got high hopes for the 8MP sensor round the back and 1.9MP snapper up front. The rear cam shoots 1080p video and for stills, it seemed especially fast when booting up – not surprising when Samsung claim it can reload quickly enough to take three shots a second.

Samsung Galaxy S3 hands on review: verdict

Wow, we don’t do a hands on like that everyday – there are tons of features like the face detection and pop up play video smarts that we want to delve into in more detail – but on first impressions, this quad core beast still somehow manages to feel sleek and premium in the hand with tons of extras to push you away from the HTC One X and into Sammy’s hands.

Based on hardware and features alone, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is the best phone in the world right now. Whether it can hold its own against the app smarts of Apple’s iPhone 4S is another matter entirely, but we can’t wait to pit it Galaxy S3 against the best Apple, HTC and Sony have to offer.

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Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home