In just a few days, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is going to launch around the world, replacing the aging Samsung Galaxy S3 as the company’s premier Android-powered smartphone. However, despite its age, the Galaxy S3 remains a viable option for many consumers looking for a new piece of hardware. Here, we take a look at five most important things to know about how the Galaxy S4 matches up with the Galaxy S3.
After weeks of rampant rumor and speculation, Samsung finally debuted the Galaxy S4 at a launch event in New York City on March 14th. The event, which took place at the Radio City Music Hall, was full of flash including Broadway actors and actresses and an orchestra. It was a launch befitting of a device as large as the Galaxy S4.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the most anticipated smartphones in recent memory with consumers and it’s a device that figures to become a staple on shelves for the rest of 2013 and beyond. Of course, the Galaxy S4 won’t be without serious competition, from outside competitors, and also from internal ones as well.
One of those devices is the Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung’s previous Galaxy S smartphone which launched last year and became the company’s top selling device, selling over 40 million devices around the world since May of last year. And while the Galaxy S3 is going on a year old, it remains an extremely solid pick for those that are looking to invest in a new smartphone.
That said, many consumers are likely eying both of these devices, trying to figure out the differences, or similarities, attempting to decide which is right for them. While the Galaxy S4 may be the newer piece of machinery, for many, choosing between the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S3 is a tall order.
In an effort to break it down, we want to take a look at the five most important things to know about in regards to how the new Galaxy S4 matches up with the Galaxy S3.
Maybe the most important thing to know about the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S3 is that there is going to be a difference in price. When the Samsung Galaxy S4 arrives in just a few days, its price tag is going to be more expensive than the Galaxy S3 through most outlets. However, the price difference isn’t going to be as significant as one might think.
Right now, the Galaxy S3 is cheap through carriers that have dropped the price to $99.99 on-contract or in the case of T-Mobile, $70 minimum down payment. It’s also cheap through retailers like Amazon that have it for far below that asking price with it often being free on-contract. On average, it’s going to be a lot cheaper than the Galaxy S4 so those looking to save a buck will want to give it a close look.
Indeed, the Samsung Galaxy S4, at least through carriers is going to be more expensive. Some have it starting at $199.99, $100 more expensive than the Galaxy S3, while others, like Sprint, have it at $250 for those that aren’t bringing a new line.
And yet, there are other places where the price gap is much less. For instance, Walmart is selling the AT&T Galaxy S4 for $168. That’s only $68 more dollars than the Galaxy S3. We should see places like Amazon offer the Galaxy S4 for cheap as well.
So before settling in on the Galaxy S3 and its cheap price, remember, the Galaxy S4 and all of its bells and whistles will be cheap as well.
The Samsung Galaxy S3, while still very relevant, is still an aging smartphone. And that means that its days are numbered, not only on shelves, but also when it comes to software updates.
Samsung has done a fairly good job of keeping its older devices updated with newer software. For instance, the Galaxy S2 recently got updated with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Still, there will be a time when the Galaxy S3 stops getting software support from Samsung and that time will come far sooner than it will with the Galaxy S4.
There is already talk of the Galaxy S3, at least in some regions, not getting Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie due to it requiring a quad-core processor. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but the end of the rope for the Galaxy S3 may still come soon, something to keep in mind before taking the plunge in the coming days.
Galaxy S4 Has Unique, Powerful Features
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is the newer smartphone which means that it sports the newer technology. For many average users, this won’t make a big difference as both phones are capable of running applications browsing the web, answering email, making phone calls and pretty much handling all of the main tasks that a phone should handle.
Those that are looking for more horsepower though are going to want to take a closer look at the Galaxy S4 and the many sensors that it has on board, sensors, that the Galaxy S3 simply does not have.
Unlike the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy S4 is outfitted with a number of new features that allow owners to take advantage of some pretty powerful and sometimes hidden functions.
To name a few, the Galaxy S4 possesses something Samsung calls an Air Sensor which allows owners to manipulate things on the display without physically touching it. This means that users can cycle through music or browse web pages, simply by waving their hand above the display. Users can also hover over content with their finger to get a preview. Those familiar with the Galaxy Note 2 will recognize this as Air View, only, the Galaxy S4 doesn’t require an S Pen.
Another big time sensor on board the Galaxy S4 is the IR Port that allows owners to use something called Samsung WatchON, something that turns the Galaxy S4 into a universal remote for use with a home theater system. The Galaxy S3 simply cannot take advantage of features like these, meaning, those looking for a more powerful device will want to study the Galaxy S4.
Galaxy S3 Will Get Galaxy S4 Features
That of course is not to say that the Samsung Galaxy S3 won’t get any of the Galaxy S4’s powerful features. It will, Samsung has confirmed this to be the case. However, the company has not yet said which features those will be. It has only said that features that require hardware like these new sensors/ports obviously won’t be on board.
Our suspicious are that it will get the new camera functionality, at least, which means features like Dual Camera and Sound & Shot. Both are fantastic features and ones that should help prolong the life of the Galaxy S3.
So, while the Galaxy S3 may be getting towards the end of its update rope, buyers should know that it will likely be getting outfitted with some fantastic new software. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the upcoming Galaxy Note 3 software features arrive for it as well.
Samsung Galaxy S4: Larger Screen + Better Design
And finally, one last important thing to know. The Samsung Galaxy S4 may feature a larger 5-inch display, the Galaxy S3’s is 4.8-inches in size, but that doesn’t mean that the device is any wider or any heavier. In fact, the Galaxy S4 is both lighter and thinner than the Galaxy S3, despite boasting a larger screen.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 checks in at 7.9mm thin with a weight of 130 grams. By comparison, the Galaxy S3 weighs about 133 grams and is much thicker at 8.6mm thin. Additionally, the Galaxy S4 design, which is also made of plastic, feels much more sturdy in the hand and it’s outfitted with the new Gorilla Glass 3 in the front which is said to be three times harder than previous versions of the product. The Galaxy S3 features Gorilla Glass 2.
We should also mention that the Galaxy S3 display features aging screen technology. While good, the Galaxy S3 only boasts 720p resolution. The Galaxy S4? A full 1080p HD resolution making it the better option for those that consume a lot of video, photos, and web.