Samsung sat back and watched records break following the launch of their 2012 Android flagship: the Samsung Galaxy S3 and is still riding the wave of its success.
With the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 piquing people’s interest too, the company knew that they only had to make minor adjustments to the S3 in order to keep it competitive and one such decision was to grant it with 4G (LTE) compatibility. The Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE is one of only a select number of handsets which operate on the UK’s first 4G network, provided by EE, but does the update out-do the original, or simply repackage the same device?
Samsung Galaxy S3 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Design
It should come as no surprise that beyond the suffix, the Galaxy S3 name still reflects a distinctive design. The handset features rounded edges and a rounded home button, giving a softer appearance than its predecessor; the Samsung Galaxy S2. The only distinct differences in the designs of the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S3 LTE are purely cosmetic.
Unlike the Pebble Blue and Marble White colour schemes available on the S3, the LTE version is also available in Titanium Grey, a plastic that offers a sophisticated silvery, brushed metal look, which catches the light particularly well on the Hyperglazed back plate. In addition, the only other external identifier over the standard S3 is the ‘LTE’ logo adorning the lower portion of the phone’s back.
Samsung Galaxy S3 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Screen
The Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S3 LTE both share a beautiful Super AMOLED 720p HD display that produces more accurate colours and better whites than older AMOLED displays, including that of their predecessor, despite its superior pixel arrangement. In real-world use, both displays proved equally impressive although compared to say; the Super LCD 2 display employed by the HTC One X, they didn’t have quite the same visual kick and brightness that HTC’s flagship droid offers.
Side by side, they were unsurprisingly equally matched, with additional controls for tweaking colour temperature and contrast welcome inclusions for different scenarios like watching movies.
Samsung Galaxy S3 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Performance
The first significant different between the the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S3 LTE is cosmetic, but there is one other notable addition that isn’t present in the standard S3 that is in its newer sibling. The S3 LTE features an additional 1GB of RAM to help things along, which not only bolsters processing web pages with that super fast mobile data connection, but accommodates faster loading times across all manner of applications, especially demanding 3D games.
Artificial benchmarking scores show obvious improvement in the S3 LTE over the Galaxy S3, but the gap isn’t huge, despite faster loading times on selected apps. The base hardware of the standard Galaxy S3 is already of such a high standard that there’s no significant advantage to the Galaxy S3 LTE’s addition memory, with the only really necessity being if you’re impatience extends to a matter of seconds.
Of course as the name suggests the Galaxy S3 LTE does have one clear advantage over its 3G-only brother which can be seen in our speed test results, which in fact showed that mobile data speeds were around six times faster down and approximately ten times faster up on EE’s 4G network. This blows the classic Galaxy S3 out the water, but does also account for one final more unusual difference.
A feature which seems to get culled when Samsung instill its handsets with LTE functionality is an FM radio and indeed, the Samsung Galaxy S3 features an FM radio app that isn’t available on the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE, something else to consider.
Samsung Galaxy S3 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Price
The classic Galaxy S3 can be had SIM-free for an estimated RRP of £410, whilst the Galaxy S3 LTE is £80 more at £490. The price gap is torn even wider however when it comes to mobile tariffs, with EE’s monopoly of 4G mobile data in the UK meaning that their premium prices on data make for a compelling case against the Galaxy S3 LTE.
£41 a month from T-Mobile will grant you a Samsung Galaxy S3 with a handset cost of £29.99. Tied to this 24 month tariff is unlimited calls, texts and 3G mobile data, whilst the same price for a Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE on EE requires an up front handset cost of £49.99 and grants the user unlimited calls and texts, but only 1GB of data for 24 months.
Samsung Galaxy S3 VS Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Conclusion
On paper, the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE is the better phone; a nicer aesthetic, superior hardware and incredible mobile data speeds, but all of this comes at quite a significant cost. The standard Galaxy S3 still operates on one of the UK’s most robust 3G networks and the phone is still one of the best devices in the world, rivalled by only a few other handsets.
If the speed is key to your mobile life, then the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE is your go-to choice, however the Galaxy S3 is hardly a step down and if you want to save a little money, the original is still the best.