Last week, Samsung finally announced the new Samsung Galaxy S4, its new current generation Galaxy S smartphone that is set to replace the Samsung Galaxy S3 as the company’s flagship model. Prior to the launch, we took a look at how the rumored Galaxy S4 stacked up against the Galaxy S3 and now that it’s official, it’s time to take an official look at how the Samsung Galaxy S4 matches up with its predecessor.
In May of last year, Samsung introduced its most successful smartphone to date, the Samsung Galaxy S3. The device replaced the Samsung Galaxy S2 as the company’s flagship and it went on to exceed the success that the Galaxy S2 achieved. Since May, Samsung has sold more than 40 million Galaxy S3 models around the globe, a staggering number for any Android manufacturer.
The phone itself was a delight, featuring a number of high-end hardware features to match the device’s powerful software. It also arrived on a number of carriers including the five largest mobile operators in the United States. And finally, Samsung embarked on a massive ad campaign for the Galaxy S3 that propelled the device into the minds of average consumers.
Samsung successfully put the Galaxy S3 on the same pedestal as the iPhone and unsurprisingly, the attention that was given to the Galaxy S3’s successor was worthy of a new iPhone model.
As far back as September of last year, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has been rumored to be coming to shelves. In the months since that day, the Galaxy S4 leaked, and leaked, leaked. In fact, the device was leaking all the way up until its launch date last week when Samsung finally took the curtain down from around the device and showed it off to the world.
As expected, the Samsung Galaxy S4 features a number of enhancements over its predecessor and it will be one of the top Android devices for the months to come. That doesn’t mean it won’t be without competition though. In fact, the Galaxy S4 will face competition from the Galaxy S3, the phone that it replaced.
While the Galaxy S3 may be old, it will remain on shelves for some time, likely as a budget option for those that don’t need next-gen features. That said, how does the Galaxy S4 stack up against the Galaxy S3?
Here, we take a look at just that and see how the official Samsung Galaxy S4 matches up versus the Samsung Galaxy S3 in terms of hardware, software, release date, price and more.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is less than a year old but nonetheless, it’s still an aging smartphone. The Galaxy S3 did not arrive in the United States until the end of June with some carriers releasing the device during the month of July. This means that despite the arrival of a new Galaxy S smartphone, the Galaxy S3 is still a completely capable device. After all, it’s not even a year old in the United States.
The Galaxy S3 remains available across a number of carriers and with prices naturally dipping after the Galaxy S4 launch, it remains a solid option even though it’s an aging device.
Samsung will be replacing the Galaxy S3 with the new Samsung Galaxy S4 in the weeks ahead. However, at least for now, the Galaxy S3 remains unopposed. That is because the Galaxy S4 won’t be arriving on shelves, at least in some regions, until late April.
At the Galaxy S4 launch event, Samsung revealed that the Galaxy S4 would be arriving in some regions by the end of April. Already, we’ve seen UK retailers and carriers confirm the device for arrival on April 25th and April 26th. Other regions like India and Italy are supposedly going to be getting the device in the first two weeks of May.
However, we have heard nothing about the device’s arrival in the United States. Rumors suggested that the Galaxy S4 would touch down in May and or June in the United States but thus far, there is no confirmation of that timing. Instead, U.S. customers are left with little to go on in terms of the Galaxy S4 release date.
All along, rumors pointed to a Samsung Galaxy S4 design that mirrored that of the Samsung Galaxy S3. And while they aren’t exactly the same, there are certainly some similarities.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 features a polycarbonate plastic design that is nice to look at, durable and pocketable. It’s bigger than some smartphones on the market, like the iPhone 5, due to its 4.8-inch display though it’s not as big as a phone like the Samsung Galaxy S4. Specifics include a 8.6mm thin form factor and one that weighs about 4.39 ounces. Both of those are middle of the road for a flagship.
Its overall form factor features the curves that Samsung says were inspired by nature and it comes with a home button for navigation toward the bottom. The Galaxy S3 is available in several colors in all regions of the world.
The Galaxy S4 keeps a similar polycarbonate plastic design as the Galaxy S3 but as we experienced first hand, the back of the device feels a lot less like plastic than the back of the Galaxy S3. It took also feels extremely durable, something that is a hallmark of Samsung’s plastic designs.
The side of the Galaxy S4 also features a silver band, which looks metallic but is not made of metal. It’s one of the big aesthetic differences between the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3.
Like the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy S4 also features a home button for navigation and keeps the different ports in similar positions. It will be coming in black and white at first with other options coming at a later date.
As expected, the Samsung Galaxy S4 display has upped the ante and brought full HD 1080p resolution to a Samsung smartphone for the first time.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Super AMOLED HD display is a full 5-inches in size which is larger than the 4.8-inch display on the Galaxy S3. Samsung has also outfitted the new Galaxy S with a 1080p resolution display that features 441 pixels-per-inch. Samsung’s Galaxy S3 sports a display that features 720p HD resolution and a much lesser 306 pixel-per-inch count.
What this means is that content on the Galaxy S4 display is going to look richer, crisper and sharper than content on the Galaxy S3 making the former a more suitable option for those that watch a lot of movies or consistently browse the web on their phone.
The Galaxy S4 display also utilizes the new Gorilla Glass 3 technology that we saw at CES and which is three times more resistant to scratches that Gorilla Glass 2 (found on the Galaxy S3), but also boasts a 40 percent reduction in the number of visible scratches once scratching does occur.
Samsung has also outfitted the Galaxy S4 with touch less gestures. What this means is that owners are able to use the display without physically touching it.
For instance, Air Play allows for Galaxy S4 owners to hover their finger over an email to show a preview of it without actually opening it. It’s similar to the feature found on the Galaxy Note 2, though Galaxy S4 owners who haven’t to use an S Pen to take advantage of the feature.
Another feature is called Air Gesture, and this will allow owners to change a music track, browse the web or accept a call simply by waving their hand. These features are not found on the Galaxy S3 and never will be due to the lack of an infrared sensor.
Rumors speculated that the Samsung Galaxy S4 would be coming with a brand new camera, and as expected, the company delivered.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 boasts a 13MP camera, up from the Galaxy S3’s 8MP camera. While we haven’t been able to dive in head first yet with the Galaxy S4 camera, early reports suggest that the camera can hold its own against the iPhone 5’s in both the photo and video departments.
One of the weaknesses of the Galaxy S3 was its poor performance in low light and thus far, the Galaxy S4 is looking like it has improved in that area as well.
Samsung has also put some powerful camera software on board the Galaxy S4 as well. One such feature is called Sound & Shot which allows owners to record small snippets of sound to attach to a photograph. This could be handy, for instance, when signing Happy Birthday during a child’s first birthday celebration. Instead of just having the photo, users can add some sound to make a better memory.
Another feature is called Dual Camera which uses both the front and rear camera to put the Galaxy S4 user in the photo. Users can then choose from a variety of effects to help better blend in with the photo.
These features could arrive for the Galaxy S3 at some point, but the more powerful sensor on the Galaxy S4 never will.
Of course, there are plenty of other specifications that are on board both the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy S4. Here, we take a look at the differences and similarities between the two.
First, the Galaxy S3.
- 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD display with 1280×720 resolution
- 1.5GHz Dual-core Snapdragon S4 Processor
- 16GB/32GB Storage (MicroSD card slot)
- 8MP Camera/1.9MP Front-Facing
- 2100mAh Battery (Removable)
- 2GB of RAM
Now, the Galaxy S4 specs.
- 5-inch Full-HD 1080p Super AMOLED HD Display
- 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 Quad-Core Processor/Exynos 5 Octa Processor
- 16/32/64GB of Storage
- 13MP Camera
- 2,600 mAh (Removable)
- 2 GB RAM
First thing’s first. The Samsung Galaxy S4 will feature a quad-core processor, up from the Galaxy S3’s dual-core processor. While the U.S. will be seeing the Snapdragon 600, most of the rest of the world will be getting the Exynos 5 Octa processor which utilizes eight-cores. Both processors will be upgrades over the Snapdragon S4 found in the Galaxy S3, and will offer not only better performance, but enhanced battery life.
Second, the Galaxy S4 will follow in the footsteps of the Galaxy S3 and be available in three different storage options with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants. Availability will likely differ from carrier to carrier though the devices should also offer 64GB microSD card support for expanded storage.
Third, both devices feature removable backs which means that owners can easily replace the stock battery with an extended one but also replace the battery should it need to be taken out. Samsung has also announced that the Galaxy S4 will support the Qi standard of wireless charging, though it will need to use a special back to utilize the feature. No word on whether the Galaxy S3 will get the same treatment.
Finally, fourth, the Galaxy S4 features a much larger battery than the Galaxy S3 which should translate into much improved battery life from the Galaxy S3. The Galaxy S3 has solid battery life but consumers should welcome the upgrade with open arms.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 arrived with big time software back in 2012 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 has attempted to follow in its footsteps with Samsung unleashing a number of powerful software features, many that we have detailed above.
While the Samsung Galaxy S3 still toils on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Galaxy S4 will be arriving with the most current version of Android, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.
This means that it will be outfitted with features like improved Google Now, Quick Settings, Photo Sphere, lock screen widgets and more. It also means that the Galaxy S4 is in a better position to receive the Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie update.
Samsung has also loaded up the Galaxy S4 with a number of new additions to its TouchWiz software. The Samsung Galaxy S4 will not only include the software features already on the Samsung Galaxy S3, but it will also offer some new powerful features that take advantage of its hardware.
The Galaxy S4 is coming with two features, Smart Scroll and Smart Pause, that have been rumored for quite some time. Smart Scroll allows users to use their eyes to scroll a web page while Smart Pause pauses content on the device when users look away.
Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 features an IR port so users can control their home entertainment system without an extra remote. Samsung calls the feature Samsung WatchON. It also comes packed with something called S Voice Drive which is an in-car version of S Voice and S translator and which can automatically translate between a number of languages.
Like the Galaxy S3, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be available, at least at the start, on the five largest 4G LTE networks in the land. That means that it will be launching on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon. In addition, Cricket Wireless and Sprint MVNO Ting have also confirmed the device for arrival.
The big five will all be hosting the Galaxy S4 on their 4G LTE network, including T-Mobile, which will be launching its 4G LTE network sometime in the next few weeks.
4G LTE of course means that the Galaxy S4 will be able to pull down extremely fast data speeds which can sometimes be up to 10 times faster than typical 3G.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is currently available at AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular and Verizon for $199.99 on-contract, the same price that it was released for last year.T-Mobile offers the device for much more than that, though its new 4G LTE enabled Galaxy S3 could come with more affordable off-contract pricing as T-Mobile shifts from subsidies.
We are seeing retailers drop the price though after the arrival of the Galaxy S4, and we expect carriers to lower their pricing once the Galaxy S4 arrives.
Pricing for the Galaxy S4 is not yet available but as we found out, the off-contract pricing in the U.S. could be $650 which is on par with the iPhone 5’s $629 off-contract, unlocked price tag.
We still expect carriers to release the device for $199.99 on-contract however. T-Mobile will likely offer it with different pricing though the carrier remains mum on specifics.