Samsung Galaxy S IV vs. Galaxy S III: Should You Upgrade?

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Samsung Galaxy S IV vs Galaxy S IIIThe Galaxy S III was a universal success that managed to wow critics and capture mass appeal. Samsung has finally taken the wraps off of its next flagship handset, the Galaxy S IV.

Looking to follow in the wake of its predecessor, the upcoming model actually looks fairly similar to the previous one.  With the same fluid curved design, the Galaxy S IV takes a page out of Apple’s playbook, offering a larger display while simultaneously becoming both thinner and lighter.

There’s no question that the Galaxy S IV will provide a few upgrades to its counterpart; but is it enough to entice users to make the switch?

Galaxy S IV

Galaxy S III

OS

Android 4.2.2 Touchwiz UX/US

Android 4.0.1 Touchwiz UX/US

Processor

Exynos 5 (octa-core)

Exynox 4412 (quad-core)

RAM

2GB

2GB

Display

5″ Full HD Super AMOLED

4.8″ Super AMOLED

Internal Storage

16/32/64GB

16/32/64GB

Dimensions

137mm, 70mm, 7.9mm

137mm, 71mm, 8.6mm

Weight

130g

133g

Wireless

LTE, HSPA+

LTE, HSPA+

Wi-Fi

802.11 b/g/n/ac

802.11 b/g/n

Camera

13mp rear, 2mp front

8mp rear, 1.9mp front

Battery

2,600 mAh

2,100 mAh

 

Build and Design

Considering the widespread success of the Galaxy S III, it’s not surprising that Samsung wouldn’t break the mold with its new flagship handset. Both devices offer similar frames and a curved edge design along with the singular home button located below the display.

That’s not to say that the two products are identical however, as the Galaxy S IV will actually be bit slimmer than its predecessor. The fourth model in this series will measure in at 137mm x 70mm x 7.9mm while the Galaxy S III measures at 137mm x 71mm x 8.6mm. While not a huge change the Galaxy S IV is going to be about 8% thinner (0.7mm) than the Galaxy S III. The Galaxy S IV will also weight 3g less than the earlier model at 130g. Again not a drastic change to the overall design, but the reduced weight and thickness of the device will make the Galaxy S IV more ergonomic, even if only slightly.

Display

The display is probably the most prominent differentiator between the two devices. The Galaxy S IV is going to offer a 5-inch display  with a 1920 x 1080 resolution compared to the Galaxy S III’s 4.8-inch one with 1280 x 720 resolution.

The upcoming handset will also provide a higher pixel density (441ppi compared to 306ppi), though increasing pixel density above 300 offers diminishing returns. With higher resolution and larger screen size, the Galaxy S IV will offer obvious visual improvements over its predecessor, and the handset will stand up well against competing high-end handset entering the market.

Processor and RAM

The Galaxy S IV is also going to sport a few technical upgrades over the Galaxy S III, including a more powerful processor. The Galaxy S III shipped with two variations, one specifically for North America and another global version — its predecessor is going to do the same. The global Galaxy S IV will offer an Exynos Octa 1.6GHz octa-core processor compared to the Exynos Quad 1.4GHz quad-core processor in the global version of the Galaxy S III.

The North American-specific Galaxy S IV version is likely to offer a next generation Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processor, which should prove to be drastically faster than the Qualcomm S4 1.5Ghz dual-core processor used in the North American version of the Galaxy  S III. Regardless of whether or not Samsung offers a North American-specific version of its new flagship smartphone, the device is sure to offer noticeable increase in performance thanks to its improved processor.

The Galaxy S IV will include 2GB of RAM, matching what is offered in the North American version of the Galaxy S III and offering an improvement over the 1GB of RAM in the Global version of the Galaxy  S III.

Connectivity and Storage

Both the Galaxy S IV and S III wireless connectivity is regulated to the region of the consumer, not the devices. Thus, depending on location, consumers (of either handset) will receive a model that will max out on LTE or HSPA+ speeds.

Storage options remain the same in the Galaxy S IV as well, with both devices offering 16GB, 32GB, and a 64GB models. Additionally, both devices allow consumers to add additional memory via a microSD card (up to 64GB).

Battery and Camera

The Galaxy S IV’s battery will be larger than the one in the Galaxy S III (2,600 mAh compared to 2,100 mAh). However, it’s unclear if the larger battery will necessarily result in a longer battery life. There are many factors that determine battery life, and with the Galaxy S IV’s larger display the device could potentially offer a shorter battery life than the Galaxy S III. For now, it’s unclear if the larger battery will result in a longer battery life for the Galaxy S IV.

Another large upgrade for the Galaxy S IV will be its improved camera. The 13MP rear camera is going to be a big jump in quality to the 8MP rear camera offered in the in the Galaxy S III. The Galaxy S IV will also offer a 2MP front-facing camera, but that’s a hardly a change from the 1.9mp camera that the Galaxy S III includes.

In addition to the new camera, the Galaxy S IV will offer several camera-based software upgrades, including Dual Camera, which combines video and images from the front and back cameras; Drama Shot, a burst mode that merges multiple shots into a collage; and Sound & Shot, which simultaneously records audio clips along with still shots.

Conclusion

The Galaxy S IV doesn’t appear to be a major change from the Galaxy S III.  A great deal of the design of the Galaxy S IV is heavily inspired by the Galaxy S III, with little to no improvements. That being said, the Galaxy S IV is going to offer a few key improvements, including a much faster processor, larger display, and slightly thinner frame.

The Galaxy S IV will also sport a few new features such as Air View and Smart Scrolling, but at the moment most of these features appear to be gimmicky at best. The Galaxy S IV is going to be an improvement to the predecessor, but the jump probably isn’t drastic enough that Galaxy S III owners will feel left in the dust.

If having the latest tech is a must, you may want to look into the Galaxy S IV, but the average consumer can comfortably wait to see what’s on the horizon. 

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