Korean technology giant Samsung have become somewhat of a superpower in the mobile world over the past few years, pushing aside the likes of Nokia, Sony, HTC and even Apple in their wake to cement themselves as one of most well known smartphone makers in the eyes of consumers.
As part of their rather aggressive strategy, they’ve populated the smartphone market with an impressively extensive list of Android handsets, so many in fact that telling one apart from the other isn’t necessarily an easy task. The most recent Galaxy phones all borrow elements from Samsung’s 2012/2013 flagship: the Samsung Galaxy S3 save for the new kid on the block, the recently announced Samsung Galaxy S4. We’re going to try and clear up which is which in our look at Samsung’s latest Galaxy handsets.
Samsung Galaxy S4
The new flagship Sammy has finally arrived in a big theatrical presentation in New York. The Samsung Galaxy S4 takes the torch from the Galaxy S3 to stand proud as the company’s new flagship Android smartphone. At first glance, the S4 looks very similar to the S3, however it sports a 5-inch Full HD display, a 1.6GHz octa-core (that’s eight cores to you and me) processor and comes in Black Mist or White Frost. Find out more about the Galaxy S4 here.
Samsung say that the S4 will be launching in April and we can confirm that it’ll be available from the likes of Vodafone and EE, with more carriers announcing availability soon.
Samsung Galaxy S3
The source of Samsung’s 2012/13 design language and the best selling smartphone of 2012. The Galaxy S3 won consumers over with great design and impressive hardware including a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, a 4.8-inch 720p HD Super AMOLED display, up to 64GB of inbuilt storage alongside room for a microSD card of up to the same capacity again, an 8-megapixel rear camera capable of Full HD video recording and at launch, the latest version of Android; Ice Cream Sandwich, with the first example of Sammy’s TouchWiz Nature UX UI overlay.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 can be had SIM free for around £350 or free on a 24 month contract for around £21 a month.
Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE
Whilst the 3G Galaxy S3 arrived to market back in March last year, its 4G-savvy brother; the Galaxy S3 LTE didn’t appear until September along with the UK’s first 4G carrier EE. Although on the outside the S3 LTE looks identical to its 3G counterpart, there are subtle differences which give it the edge and of course thanks to its 4G functionality it can process mobile data up to five times faster than the vanilla S3. The S3 LTE gained an additional 1GB of RAM too (bringing the total to 2GB) making for a slightly snappier user experience. The only other obvious differences were the fact that it launched running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and is available in a Titanium Grey; a colour not available with the 3G version of the S3.
SIM free the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE costs up to £100 more than the standard S3, but can be had for free on a 24 month contract for around £36 a month.
Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini
For those who want the premium look and feel of Samsung’s flagship handset without the additional bulk of a 4.8-inch display, the more compact Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini is a suitable alternative. Available in the same Marble White and Pebble Blue colour options as the full fat S3, but with a 4-inch WVGA display and 5-megapixel camera the Mini does a good job of mimicking its larger cousin. The single-core 1GHz processor feels surprisingly snappy with Jelly Bean and TouchWiz in tow but don’t expect quite the same level of fluidity as you would from the real deal.
SIM free, the S3 Mini retails for approximately £270, with a free handset available on a 24 month contract for £15 a month.
Samsung Galaxy Express
Whilst the Galaxy S3 LTE covers the premium slot in Samsung’s 4G device portfolio here in the UK, the recently announced Samsung Galaxy Express aims to offer consumers with smaller wallets the same 4G goodness at lower cost. The Express features an aesthetic reminiscent of the Galaxy S3 with a slightly smaller, lower resolution 4.5-inch WVGA (480×800) Super AMOLED Plus screen. As with the other Galaxys in this lineup, the Express features Android 4.1.2 with TouchWiz Nature UX. To save on cost, the Express also features a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage and a 5-megapixel camera.
The Samsung Galaxy Express isn’t yet on sale, but should hit the market soon.
Samsung Galaxy Grand
The design brief for the Samsung Galaxy Grand must have been somewhat unusual, but as we’ve already pointed out, Samsung’s strategy requires that practically every possible user type is catered for. With the Galaxy Grand, the handset is aimed at users looking for a device somewhere between the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note in size, but with more affordable hardware in tow. As such, the 5-inch display sports a relatively low WVGA resolution, there’s a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB and 8GB of internal storage, with a higher resolution 8-megapixel camera than the Galaxy Express and a 2-megapixel front facing unit. As with every other device in the lineup, the Grand also runs a mix of Android Jelly Bean, blended with TouchWiz Nature UX. Some markets will also have access to a dual SIM version of the phone.
Just as with the Galaxy Express, pricing and availability for the Grand isn’t yet available.
Samsung Galaxy Fame
We’ve moved from the high-end to the mid-range and now we reach the entry-level Sammys, starting with the Samsung Galaxy Fame. A diminutive smartphone in the hand, the Fame packs a respectable amount of hardware into a small shell. On the front sits a 3.5-inch HVGA (320×480) screen along with a VGA front facing camera, hardware home button and backlit capacitive keys. There’s a 5-megapixel LED flash-laden snapper on the back, a 1300mAh battery, removable memory, 4GB of internal storage, a 1GHz single-core brain with half a GB of RAM and the TouchWiz Nature UX/jelly Bean combo we’ve come to expect.
The Samsung Galaxy Fame is set to launch sometime this month.
Samsung Galaxy Young
If the Galaxy Fame is the upper tier of Samsung’s entry-level class Android smartphones, the Galaxy Young is the most conservative device of the entire line. For the most affordable Jelly Bean Samsung around, look no further than the Young; the specs on offer are almost identical to the Galaxy Fame, albeit with one or two slight variations. The capacitive keys on the front are always visible even without the backlight. The camera loses its LED flash, the display drops from 3.5 to 3.27-inches increasing pixel density and beyond that users still get 4GB of internal storage, with microSD support (up to 64GB) a 1GHz single-core processor and a little more RAM than the Fame at 768MB.
As with the Galaxy Fame, the Samsung Galaxy Young is on track for a March-time launch.