Once upon a time, the Samsung Galaxy S3 was the best smartphone in Samsung’s arsenal. These days, the two year old Galaxy S3 serves as a budget option for those unwilling or unable to buy a newer phone. And while the Galaxy S3 is certainly still an option, there are some reasons why we think you should avoid it today and moving forward.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 arrived in the summer of 2012 to great fanfare. The device, which had been shown off at an Unpacked event in London, arrived with a number of brand new features that were a huge step up from the previous version of the Galaxy S, the Samsung Galaxy S2. The Galaxy S3 featured a brand new design that utilized curves, a larger beautiful display, a faster processor and improved camera, the company’s Nature UX, and an assortment of other tweaks and enhancements that helped separate the Galaxy S3 from the rest of the pack.
Thanks to these features and a smart and efficient marketing campaign, the Galaxy S3 helped to put the Galaxy S and Samsung on the same pedestal as Apple and the iPhone. That, of course, was more than two years ago. Now, we’re in 2014 and the Galaxy S3 is two plus years old and is no longer a top option in the United States or in countries around the globe.
It is, however, an option. Thanks to a cheap price point, hardware that’s still decent enough for some consumers, and updated Android software, the Galaxy S3 remains a presentable smartphone and one that many consumers are taking a look at as we head into the fall.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is an extremely difficult device to recommend due to its age and due to the fact that its software support is coming to an end. And these next few weeks make a recommendation even harder.
The next 40 to 60 days represent the absolute worst time to buy the Galaxy S4 or any other smartphone for that matter. That’s because we’re hitting the tail end of the yearly smartphone cycle. The devices that arrive in the next two months or so will likely represent the top smartphone options until the cycle begins anew in the beginning of 2015.
That’s just one of the reasons why you shouldn’t but the Galaxy S3 today.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
One of the reasons I suggest holding off on the Galaxy S3, at least for right now, is due to the the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 launch that’s just over the horizon. We’re talking mere weeks from now.
Earlier this month, Samsung confirmed the Galaxy Note 4 release and tagged it with a September 3rd launch date. While Samsung still isn’t talking about its announcements, this date is set in stone and can be circled in pen on the calendar.
What this means is that in just a few short weeks, we’re going to see another Samsung Galaxy flagship smartphone option emerge. This only happens once a year. And if rumors are correct, the Galaxy Note 4 could be a pretty big step up from the Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note 2 and perhaps the Galaxy S5 as Samsung looks to compete against the LG G3 and the iPhone 6.
So why should you care? Well, you should care because the Galaxy Note 4 looks like it will be a very solid addition to the Galaxy family. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is expected to deliver a number of changes including a better 5.7-inch QHD display, a more efficient Snapdragon 805 processor, an upgraded camera with optical image stabilization, a UV sensor, a fingerprint sensor for added security, and a design that could combine sleek looking plastic with a metal frame.
With its S Pen stylus and unique TouchWiz software, larger screen, and an array of other powerful specs, the Galaxy Note 4 should offer some things that the Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 just don’t have. Maybe you’ll find those features to your liking, maybe you won’t. Point is, I think you should wait a few weeks to find out. The Galaxy S3 isn’t going anywhere.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 isn’t the only device slated to arrive in September. Apple’s iPhone 6 launch is expected to take place on September 9th. That date isn’t confirmed but Recode’s John Paczkowski is a solid source and we expect to see invites sent out sometime in the next three weeks or so.
This year’s iPhone could match up very well with the Galaxy S5 and there’s a very good chance it will put last year’s Galaxy S4 and 2012’s Galaxy S3 to shame. It’s rumored to have two new screen sizes, 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches, both of which will provide more screen real estate for gaming, the web, getting work done, and television shows and movies.
In addition to the screen size changes, Apple’s iPhone 6 is also rumored to have a higher-resolution display, a slimmer and better protected design, a camera that’s improved over the iPhone 5s’, and an A8 processor that could deliver better performance and battery life. The device is expected to be a significant step up from the iPhone 5s and a serious Galaxy S challenger.
So, if you do hold off on the Galaxy S3 for the time being, you’ll not only run into a new Galaxy Note but you’ll probably also be able to weigh the Galaxy S3 against a brand new iPhone. Apple’s iPhone is another device that only comes around once a year so we think it’s absolutely worth the wait now that we’re just weeks away.
Deals & Longevity
If the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 don’t impress you, you can still buy the Galaxy S3. It’s still going to be on shelves, just like it has been for the past two years. Furthermore we expect its successors, the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4 to remain cheap and perhaps get even cheaper once September and the iPhone 6 and Galaxy Note 4 roll around.
The Galaxy S5 is already discounted at retailers like Amazon but we could see them drop the price even more to make it a more attractive alternative to the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6. The Galaxy S5 is worth a look and not just because its hardware features trump the Galaxy S3’s. It will also get longer software support. Same goes for the Galaxy S4.
We’re also expecting deals from other high-end devices as well. Devices like the iPhone 5s, LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and HTC One M8 will likely see their prices drop in September as retailers sweeten their offers after the arrival of the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6. All of these devices are better than a two year old Galaxy S3.
So, if you’re not in any hurry to replace your current smartphone and you aren’t one hundred percent sold on the Galaxy S3, I highly recommend waiting, at least until September. In September, you’ll have two more options to weigh against Samsung’s former flagship and you should also have access to cheaper devices including cheaper Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4 variants.
We understand that every situation is different. Phones break, money appears, whatever. If you simply can’t wait, make sure that you don’t pay a ton for Samsung’s Galaxy S3. It’s now two years old and it won’t be getting any more Android updates.