As we first reported, T-Mobile is currently in the process of phasing out its Galaxy S3 HSPA+ from stores, replacing it with an LTE-friendly version of the device. Today though, the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE finally emerged onto T-Mobile’s online store but unfortunately, with the price tag that it has now, it’s not worth the price of admission.
At CES 2013, T-Mobile announced that it would be bringing a Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE to shelves later on this year to join the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S4, both of which are compatible with the carrier’s massive 4G LTE network. Six months later, the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE has finally made it onto T-Mobile’s growing network though at this point, it’s a tough phone to recommend as it’s not worth the price that T-Mobile has bestowed upon it.
First thing’s first. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is a fantastic smartphone. Despite its age, it’s still one of the best Android smartphones on the market and thanks to Samsung’s dedication to its Galaxy brand of devices, it should be improved with several more big updates including one that will bring Galaxy S4 software features to Samsung’s older flagship.
It also has all of the bells and whistles that an average consumer or a first time buyer could want. A spacious HD display, a dual-core processor, an 8MP camera, a removable back, lots of storage and quality software. It’s a device that’s worth considering but it’s probably not the device that most consumers should buy.
For one, it’s old. Buying it now, one year into its life, is a calculated risk because there is no telling how much support it has left. Samsung has been good about upgrading its devices, but Android updates are unpredictable. Support is a big key to owning a smartphone and newer devices unfortunately get much of the attention when it comes to updates.
That’s minor though compared to the price that T-Mobile is charging for the Galaxy S3 LTE. While it only costs $70, owners are ultimately going to have to pay down $550. Considering the price of T-Mobile’s data plans, that’s relatively cheap, but when flagship devices are only a little more costly, that price becomes less attractive.
For example, the HTC One, a flagship from 2013 and one of the best phones available is only $30 more than the Galaxy S3 LTE. The Samsung Galaxy S4, the phone that replaced the Galaxy S3? It’s only $80 more expensive and it comes with improvements in just about every single area one can think of. 1080p display, faster processor, better camera and yes, lengthier software support.
One other thing that consumers should remember is that while LTE support is nice, T-Mobile’s network is still extremely small, available in only a few markets across the U.S. For many consumers, there will be a lengthy wait for LTE.
A year ago, $550 for this phone on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network would have been easy to swallow. Now, with the options that the carrier has available, at the prices that it has them available for, the Galaxy S3 LTE simply isn’t worth the price.