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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S3: 5 Key Differences



The Samsung Galaxy S3 is still a relevant smartphone. It touts some solid hardware specifications, has an Android 4.4 KitKat update on the way, and it’s extremely cheap. It’s also still in the hands of millions of users around the world, many of whom will be coming off contract this summer. And because it’s still relevant, consumers are going to be matching it up with the new Samsung Galaxy S5 in the weeks ahead.

In May of 2012, Samsung announced the Galaxy S3, its most popular smartphone of all time and one that continues to defy the tests of time. The Galaxy S3 is old, yes, but it still features some admirable traits including very capable hardware, a solid design, and software that will get at least one more major update.

Those in the hunt for a new smartphone probably won’t be lured in by those features though. Instead, it will be the Galaxy S3’s cheap price tag that is the draw. We can’t blame you. This is a solid phone that is practically being given away by the retailers that still sell it.

Armed with its cheap price tag, the Samsung Galaxy S3 will remain an option as we head deeper into 2014.

The Galaxy S3 is also still in the hands of millions of Americans. The device arrived in June and July of 2012 which means that there are plenty of people who signed a two year agreement, a two year agreement that will end later on this year.

So what are we getting at here? Simple. There are people who are going to weigh the Galaxy S3 next to this year’s top options and there are current Galaxy S3 owners who are going to be looking for a change. And one of the devices they will probably focus on is the Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S.

Yesterday, at its Unpacked 5 launch event, Samsung finally debuted the Galaxy S5. As expected, it features new hardware and new software, features that will likely attract smartphone shoppers around the globe.

The new Samsung Galaxy S5 won’t arrive until April but we already know a lot about the brand new flagship thanks to our hands-on experience with it in New York City at Samsung’s Galaxy S5 launch event. And while we’re not comfortable comparing the two just yet, we can point out some of the differences that prospective consumers should be aware of in the build up to the Galaxy S5′s release.

Here, we focus in on five of the key differences between the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the brand new Samsung Galaxy S5.


The Galaxy S5 features a Micro SD card slot.

The Galaxy S5 features a Micro SD card slot.

When the Samsung Galaxy S3 first emerged back in 2012, it was praised for its design that included a better polycarbonate plastic and sleek curves that Samsung said were inspired by nature. The device also came with all of the perks of a typical Galaxy S including a microSD card slot and a removable battery. That was in 2012. We’re now in 2014 and while things have changed a bit, they haven’t changed entirely.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with a design that is different than the Galaxy S3’s. However, there are some things that it still shares in common and we’ll touch on those first.

Like the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy S5 offers a removable back plate, a microSD card slot for expanded memory, and yes, it is made out of plastic, not metal. This is where the similarities end though.

The Galaxy S5 design comes with a unique perforated pattern on the back cover that Samsung says adds a “glam” look to its flagship. We came away impressed with the design (at the moment, we like it more than the Galaxy S4’s), even if it is still plastic.

Samsung’s new Galaxy S also comes with the same dust and water resistant design found on AT&T’s Galaxy S4 Active. This is huge not only for the average and clumsy user but it’s also fantastic for those looking for a rugged smartphone that is also a flagship smartphone.

The Galaxy S5 is 8.1mm thin, thicker than the Galaxy S4, though still thinner than the 8.6mm Galaxy S3. It weighs 145 grams, heavier than the Galaxy S3 which is only 133 grams. These likely won’t be too noticeable though the same can’t be said about the overall size difference between the two.

Thanks to the larger display, the Galaxy S5’s footprint is going to be larger than the overall size of the Galaxy S3 and that’s something that Galaxy S5 buyers will have to live with.


Samsung Galaxy S5

Speaking of the display, the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S3 feature drastically different screens. While the Galaxy S3 comes with a 4.8-inch display with 720 x 1280 pixel resolution, the Galaxy S5’s display is larger and better.

The display on the Galaxy S5 hasn’t seen much change from the Galaxy S4. It’s a tad larger, 5.1-inches as opposed to 5-inches on the Galaxy S4, but it keeps the same 1080p resolution that Samsung debuted on the Galaxy S4 last year. Not that that is a bad thing.

1080 x 1920 pixel resolution offers full HD quality content, something that the Galaxy S3 simply cannot offer. And while this might be last year’s tech, content appearing on the Galaxy S5’s display still looks absolutely stunning. It’s perfect for those that love to watch movies or shows on the go and for those who enjoy gaming on their smartphone.

Samsung has also added a brand new “Ultra Power Saving Mode” to the Galaxy S5 that will not only turn the display to black and white but will also turn off all unnecessary features in an effort to conserve battery life. It’s not clear if Samsung will bestow this feature upon Galaxy S3 owners in a future update.


The Galaxy S5 has a 16 megapixel camera

The Galaxy S5 has a 16 megapixel camera

While Samsung may not have made a huge leap with the Galaxy S5’s display, the Galaxy S5’s camera is another story.

Last year, we saw the Galaxy S4’s 13MP camera trump the 8MP camera found on the Galaxy S3. There was a noticeable difference between the two shooters, not surprising given that the Galaxy S3 is a device from 2012.

Samsung is attempting to extend the gap even further with the addition of a 16MP camera on the Samsung Galaxy S5. The higher resolution should translate into better looking photos though we’re not focused on the megapixel count.

What we are focused on are the other additions, additions that simply aren’t found on the Galaxy S4 or Galaxy S3. The Galaxy S5 uses a hybrid autofocus system which means that it uses standard auto focus in addition to phase detection autofocus. This means that the device can autofocus in  up to 0.3 seconds. That’s huge for those that are constantly pulling out their phone to shoot photos.

The Galaxy S5′s camera also brings changes to HDR adding advanced High Dynamic Range (Advanced HDR) that should provide better colors and more natural lighting in photos and video.

Home Button

The Galaxy S5 features a fingerprint reader.

The Galaxy S5 features a fingerprint reader.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 comes with a standard home button, the Galaxy S5 does not. Instead of the typical physical home button, Samsung has packed in what it’s calling a Finger Reader.

The Finger Reader is a fingerprint sensor that allows users to use their fingerprint to unlock the Galaxy S5. This not only provides an added layer of security but it offers added convenience.

The fingerprint sensor performed better than expected during our time with the Galaxy S5 though we’ll reserve final judgement for our official review.



Samsung’s Galaxy S3 uses an aging Snapdragon S4 Plus dual-core chip in the United States. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is expected to offer Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor and could perhaps also utilize an octo-core Exynos processor from the company itself.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will come with processors that are clocked at 2.1GHz and 2.5GHz, faster than the Galaxy S4 which delivered better overall performance than the Galaxy S3.

These newer chips should not only provide faster overall speeds inside the user interface, but they should also deliver better multitasking and better gaming than the Galaxy S3.



  1. Jason Bryan

    02/25/2014 at 1:12 pm

    Simultaneous 3g/4g and voice, or the s5 can call it quits. The s3 still has a niche in the market for that reason, imo… especially for truckers.

  2. Troy Oller

    03/26/2014 at 9:13 pm

    Way to break it down Admillios.

  3. Admillios!

    07/07/2014 at 1:20 pm

    Admillios! Admillios! Admillios! Admillios! Admillios! Admillios! Admillios! Admillios! Admillios!

  4. earlpurple

    08/06/2014 at 8:04 am

    “The comparison ends there”. So is the battery still removable? I rely on being able to swap them, even if the life is longer than it was before.

    Has the earplug jack problem been solved now? That is the main issue I have with my s3 (that it sometimes plays out of just one ear unless you twiddle it a bit. I want it to play consistently from both ears).

  5. terrym1944

    09/08/2014 at 7:36 am

    Still doesn’t say anything that would make me want to spend another $700 just to upgrade from my S3… Thank you Samsung for not making my S3 completely outdated.

  6. lele

    06/24/2015 at 10:11 am

    I own a Galaxy’s 3. I’m happy with it. You have to be gentle with it. I can’t treat it like any other phone. The price was good. It do a lot my other phones don’t do.

  7. Richard Bolton

    11/29/2015 at 6:56 pm

    Into the s5 because my current s3 even after taking the battery does a few strange things it drops the volume it drops my hands-free it feels to answer my answer or reject on a regular basis and the battery goes down quite quickly

  8. Irene

    12/27/2015 at 9:43 am

    Size of keyboard on galaxy5smini.Got galaxy 3smini. Is there any difference between them

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