After many months of speculation, leaks and rumors, it all came to an end when Samsung launched the Galaxy S3 I9300 on May 3rd 2012. The biggest question now is whether is S3 a worthy upgrade over the S2. In this blog post, I will list down the major differences and give my personal conclusions. In the end of the day, remember that it is up to yourself to decide whether it is worth buying or not.
Let’s begin with the specs comparison which I have obtained from GSMArena.
The biggest difference between the two are the screen and the CPU. For the screen, Samsung has upgraded the Super AMOLED Plus (RGB matrix with a resolution of 480×800) to Super AMOLED HD (PenTile matrix with a resolution of 720×1280) and increased the size from 4.3″ to 4.8″. This also increases the pixel density from around 217 ppi to 306 ppi.
The processing power has been increased from a 1.2GHz dual-core processor to a 1.4GHz quad-core processor. This is a huge increase of processing power as is demanded from the latest generation of droids. The shift from dual-core to quad-core was inevitable just like the switch from dual-core to quad-core on the desktops and laptops. It is a welcomed move though the S3’s 1.4GHz quad-core loses out to HTC One X’s 1.5GHz quad-core processor slightly. I believe that S3’s 1.4GHz quad-core is capable of running at 1.5GHz as well so Samsung may have limited it to 1.4GHz for power or stability concerns.
However, the biggest disappointment for most people will be the RAM. Many, including myself, had expected Samsung to outfit S3 with 2GB of RAM. Instead, they chose to retain S2’s 1GB. While 1GB is sufficient for general users, heavy users may experience some lag when the RAM is heavily or fully utilized. Second to that, the next disappointment will have to be with the GPU. Samsung decided to stay with S2’s Mali-400MP GPU which is at least a generation old. It is true that it may still be quite usable in today’s environment but many would have been expecting a newer and better GPU to power the new Galaxy S3.
Samsung may have decided to keep 1GB of RAM and the Mali-400MP GPU purely for power, price or stability concerns or perhaps the new chips did not make it on time. While it is not a major issue as 1GB of RAM and the Mali-400MP GPU are quite good, it does deter some Samsung Galaxy S2 users from upgrading to the S3 as the only major improvements are on the display and CPU.
Speaking of the display and CPU improvements, the higher resolution and size display may well drain more power than S2 which is the reason S3 was equipped with a 2100mAh battery. Despite the battery being about 27% larger than S2, I expect the battery to last about the same as on S2. If indeed the battery life is better, it would probably be only slightly better, say about 5%. I do not expect a 27% longer battery life due to more power being consumed by the display. Talk time and standby time would probably see a big improvement as these do not use the display or CPU much but for web surfing, video watching and all other Smart phone usage scenarios, those utilizes the display a whole lot and their results will not improve drastically.
I expect that the price tag in Malaysia during launch will be around RM2.2k-RM2.5k. Compared to the current price of S2 in Malaysia which is around RM1.4k-RM1.6k, I would definitely say that the S2 is the better value for money choice at the moment. If Galaxy S3 is launched below RM2k, it would certainly be a different story and would entice more users to go for S3 since the difference is not large.
In conclusion, for most S2 users like myself, the upgrade to the S3 is not a crucial one and can be looked over. The exception is that if you want to have the latest or feel that you need the power of a quad-core processor, in which case, it is justifiable for you to upgrade to the Galaxy S3. For users of the original Galaxy S or the many variants of it, the S3 will be a good upgrade as it is a major improvement in almost all areas.
For myself, I will be waiting to see what comes next after Galaxy S3.