5 Reasons to Buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 Instead of a Cheap Galaxy S3

The Samsung Galaxy S4 release is still weeks away, and carriers are already cutting the prices on the Samsung Galaxy S3 to clear out inventory and lock customers into two-year contracts.

While the Samsung Galaxy S3 is a good phone and continually makes our Best Phone of the Month list on most major carriers, it is soon to be replaced by the Samsung Galaxy S4.

As the release date approaches, carriers and retailers are already offering the Samsung Galaxy S3 for as little as $10. This is a great price for a phone, but it’s one that many users should skip considering the two-year contract and relatively cheap price to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Read: Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. Samsung Galaxy S4

The Galaxy S3 is thought to be getting Galaxy S4 features. But will U.S. carriers oblige?

The Galaxy S3 is thought to be getting Galaxy S4 features. But will U.S. carriers oblige?

$190 to $150 isn’t cheap for most people, but compared to the overall cost of a cell phone contract over two years, it is a drop in the bucket. Even if it means waiting out one or two more months to get the Samsung Galaxy S4, we think it’s worth the wait and the price.

5 Reasons to Skip Cheap Samsung Galaxy S3 Deals

While some of the Samsung Galaxy S4 software features may come to the Samsung Galaxy S3 in a future update, there are a number of reasons to skip these deals and buy a Samsung Galaxy S4.

Bigger, Better 1080P Screen

The Samsung Galaxy S4 offers a much improved display, one that is slightly larger than the Samsung Galaxy S3, and with a much higher resolution. The Galaxy S4 features a 1080P HD resolution on a 5-inch display. This is the same resolution as most HDTVs, but in a smaller package.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 features a bigger, better display with a 1080P HD resolution.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 features a bigger, better display with a 1080P HD resolution.

In addition to allowing users to watch HD movies at full resolution this high-res screen delivers sharp-looking text and photos that look as good, if not better than the iPhone 5’s Retina Display. Check out this Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. Galaxy S3 vs. iPhone 5 screen showdown to see how the two compare.

In short, the Samsung Galaxy S4 screen is bigger and better than the Samsung Galaxy S3, and there are other features that help set the two phones apart, covered under sensors and software.

Better Design and Build

The Samsung Galaxy S4 features a plastic design, similar to the Galaxy S3, but Samsung improved the build quality and materials to make the Galaxy S4 stronger. The plastic also feels less like a low-end plastic and the overall design is more solid without the typical weak spots a plastic back cover can come with.

Despite the larger screen size, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is about the same size as the Galaxy S3, which means users don’t need to worry about carrying a larger phone around to get the benefits of a larger screen.

More Sensors and Software Features

Samsung includes a number of sensors in the Samsung Galaxy S4 that offer up features not found in the Galaxy S3, and features that software updates can’t add. One of the most impressive is Air View, which allows users to hover their finger over the phone to see a message or larger preview of and image. This is similar to the Galaxy Note 2, but doesn’t require the S Pen.

Users can also use the built-in IR support to control an HDTV with Samsung TV software, something that cannot come to the Galaxy S3.

Samsung offers up new software features like Smart Scroll, which lets users combine eye-tracking technology and motion to scroll without touching the screen and an auto pause feature that will pause a video when it detects the user looked away.

Samsung also includes Multi-View, a way to use two Android apps at once on the screen. This is another Galaxy Note 2 feature, one we expected to arrive on the Galaxy S3 earlier this year, but it remains missing in action.

Faster and Longer Software Support

Some Galaxy S4 features will come to the Samsung Galaxy S3, and there are rumors of Android 5.0 for the Galaxy S3, but the Samsung Galaxy S4 is destined for faster, longer lasting software support.


The Galaxy S3 will likely be much slower to Android 5.0.


As we saw with the Samsung Galaxy S3 Android 4.1.2 update, U.S. versions of the device did not get the Premium Suite, which means no Multi-View support and a lack of other popular Samsung features.

In addition, the Galaxy S4 will likely see a faster update to Android 5 and comes with a better chance of getting future Android versions that may not arrive on older hardware.

Battery Life and Wireless Charging

The Samsung Galaxy S4 ships with a larger battery and what should be a more efficient battery than the Galaxy S3, which should translate into better overall battery life for the Samsung Galaxy S4. The early Samsung Galaxy S4 battery life tests show promise of good overall battery life.

In addition to the bigger battery users should see Samsung Galaxy S4 wireless charging support at or near launch with a replacement back and Qi compatible charger. The kit is thought to cost around $50, making it an affordable way to upgrade the Galaxy S4.

The Galaxy S4 will come with a removable back to handle wireless charging.

The Galaxy S4 will come with a removable back to handle wireless charging.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is headed to AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and U.S. Cellular. AT&T starts Galaxy S4 pre-orders on April 16th and T-Mobile is planning for a Galaxy S4 release date on May 1st. U.S. Cellular is also taking Galaxy S4 pre-orders on April 16th, with no official release date yet. The Sprint and Verizon Galaxy S4 release and pre-order details are still up in the air.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 should start at $199 on contract, but like many Samsung smartphones we could see price cuts on third-party sites like Amazon or Radio Shack within weeks of the release, dropping the price down $50 or more.