Many Samsung Galaxy S3 owners are looking to upgrade to the new Samsung Galaxy S5, and this Galaxy S3 vs Galaxy S5 comparison is written with upgraders in mind.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is two-years-old in May, and that is when many contracts will expire and allow owners to upgrade to the Galaxy S5. Samsung delivers a much nicer design and build quality than it did with the Galaxy S3 and owners are in for another round of upgrades that arrived with the Galaxy S4 and are refined in the Galaxy S5.
While the Galaxy S5 features a larger display, the phone is not that much bigger than the Galaxy S3, which should put some upgraders at ease. The Galaxy S5 is also water-resistant, so users can take it in or near water without a bulky and expensive case like the Galaxy S3 requires.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is available on all major U.S. carriers and the two-year contract price is $199. Most carriers also offer a $0 down option with monthly payments from $25 to $33 and an option to trade it in towards an early upgrade down the line.
There are already some Galaxy S5 deals that offer a buy-one-get-one-free option and discounts that knock $30 or more off the price of a single Galaxy S5. While there are still options to find the Galaxy S3 for as low as a penny on a two-year contract it is not a phone that most user should buy at this time, at least on a contract.
For owners looking to upgrade from the Galaxy S3 to the Galaxy S5 there are some trade-in specials available that offer about $100 for your old Galaxy S3, selling it through a service like Glyde could net you around $200, and selling the Galaxy S3 on eBay could earn $200 or more as well. This is a good way to cut down the cost of upgrading to the Galaxy S5.
Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy S3 Video Comparison
This short four-minute video shows the Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy S3, with a focus on the major features that separate these two devices.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 features a 4.8-inch display with a 1280 x 720 resolution that delivers a 306 pixel per inch (ppi) rating. The Galaxy S5 features a 5.1-inch display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution and a 432 ppi rating. A higher ppi rating means there are more pixels per inch, and that users are less likely to see pixels in photos, videos and text — resulting in a better looking screen.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 display is noticeably nicer than the Galaxy S3, but the higher resolution isn’t the only reason. Samsung delivers a more power efficient display that is brighter and easier on battery life. Putting the two phones side by side it is clear that I would rather look at the Galaxy S5 display all day. The Galaxy S5 display is also better on battery life, delivering more than a full day of heavy use with the screen on full brightness.
Samsung also includes a mode for the Galaxy S5 that turns the display black and white and limits some apps to extend the last 5% of battery for up to 24 hours. This mode is not available on the Galaxy S3, and it is not likely that Samsung will add this option with a future update.
There is nothing wrong with the Galaxy S3 display, but Samsung’s display technology is dramatically better than it was two years ago, and the results are visible on the Galaxy S5.
While the Galaxy S5 uses a larger 5.1-inch display it is not that much bigger than the Galaxy S3. The biggest difference is in how tall the Galaxy S5 is. Samsung includes a one-hand option to shrink the usable screen space, but it is not something everyone will need. Here is how the Galaxy S3 size compares to the Galaxy S5.
- Galaxy S5 – 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm
- Galaxy S3 – 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm
The biggest differences come in the actual design and materials of the device. The Galaxy S3 is made of a cheap plastic material that feels just like cheap plastic. The Galaxy S5 offers a soft touch plastic finish with small dimples. So far there is no metal Galaxy S5 option, so users will need to stick with plastic.
Samsung built a fingerprint scanner into the Galaxy S5 home button and there is now a multi-tasking button to the left of the home button instead of a menu button like on the Galaxy S3. It is easier to access Google Now on the Galaxy S5 with a long press of the home button or simply saying OK Google, compared to a long press and then an additional tap on the Galaxy S3.
While the back on the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4 both come off, there is a small seal on the back of the Galaxy S5 cover which makes the device water-resistant. There is also a small USB cover that is attached to the phone, but needs unplugged to charge. The Galaxy S5 is water-resistant without any case, but only to 1 meter for 30 minutes. The photo below shows the size comparison between the Galaxy S5 and a Galaxy S3 in a waterproof case.
Both designs allow users to add a Micro SD card for more storage and to swap out a battery for a fresh one if you run out of juice.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 features an 8MP camera and the Galaxy S5 arrives with a 16MP camera. The Galaxy S5 camera is a major improvement with better looking photos in any environment and faster auto focus thanks to the new hardware. While taking photos in low light, of flowers and of pets the new Galaxy S5 camera is a clear winner. For users that rely on their smartphone to be a camera this is one update that will make a major difference.
Check out the Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy S3 photo samples below. All of these were taken with the automatic mode that most users will use, and for low light, flash was disabled.
Software, Features & Performance
The Samsung Galaxy S5 runs Android 4.4.2, the latest version available from Google. The Samsung Galaxy S3
will see an Android 4.4.2 update at some time in the future, but it is not likely going to bring the new TouchWiz look, apps and features that are available on the Galaxy S5. This will also likely be the last or one of the last Galaxy S3 software updates.
Samsung includes a n Ultra Power Saving mode, an emergency mode and many other cool software features on the Galaxy S5. The video playlist above runs through more than 20 of the new Galaxy S5 features. In addition to adding new features the Galaxy S5 software features a new flatter look that is different from what Galaxy S3 owners are used to.
In terms of performance the Galaxy S5 is much faster than the Galaxy S3. Opening apps, switching apps and navigating around the phone feels much smoother on the newer device, which is to be expected compared to the older Galaxy S3. For users that aren’t fully committed to the Galaxy S5, check out our Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy Note 3 comparison to see how the two newest Samsung devices compare.