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Samsung Galaxy S III: Galaxy S II Vs. The Galaxy S III - Part 1

The new Samsung Galaxy S III has just been launched at an event in London, where ITProPortal was in attendance, live blogging from the event of all the happenings and capturing a hands-on walkthrough in pictures and on video, of the new top-tier phone.

Owners of the successor to the original Samsung Galaxy S will no doubt be wondering if it is worth upgrading, when the phone becomes available at the end of May. ITPP is now publishing this complete guide to the changes between the two devices, with a view to highlighting the worthy differences between the two Galaxy mobile phones.

With this in mind, you will be able to make an informed choice on what to do, with that moment comes: upgrade or not.


The Samsung Galaxy II and III do not differ greatly in their supported standards, when it comes to accessing the mobile phone network. Both devices support 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz and 3G (HSPA 21Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz.

What was left out, and one we thought would have been included, was dual carrier support. This is an interim measure for regions that do not currently benefit from speeds offered from 4G. DC-HSPA+ can/will deliver speeds of up to 42Mbps.

ITProPortal broke the story in February that Three would have a dual-carrier upgrade to its network, later this year. This is with a view to offer faster mobile broadband, to devices such as the new iPad, which can cope with this standard but unfortunately, the Galaxy S III will miss out.

Last year's Galaxy S II came with A-GPS, Bluetooth 3.0 HS and the usual Wi-Fi 802.11 (a/b/g/n), plus WiFi Direct. The 2012 Galaxy flagship has had an upgrade to Bluetooth 4.0, with GPS and GLONASS support, WiFI HT40 (channel bonding) and NFC. The latter of which is becoming more popular, with what appears to be every mobile phone released.

There have also been some improvements around the sensor department, with the inclusion of a barometer. This is with more uses of the existing sensors of accelerometer, light, digital compass, proximity and gyroscope. These are also a feature of the Galaxy S II.

Operating System And User Interface

Samsung's Galaxy S II came with, then, the new Android ‘Gingerbread' 2.3 OS and there has been a distinct measure of continuity - as the Galaxy S III will ship with the current, Android 4.0 ‘Ice Cream Sandwich' platform. The older phone has recently gained an update, to version 4.0.3 of ICS, whereas its successor will arrive with the newer 4.0.4 variant.

The user interface in the new handset still has the same look and feel to the TouchWiz Samsung UI, which is familiar to us all, as it has been in play for some years. There have been some improvements to the UI, down to the fluidity of the transitioning between screens, but these are very subtle and could very well be down to the new hardware.

A very noticeable change to the UI is the inclusion of another quick-access icon, at the base of the main home screen. Instead of the four, from the 4.3inch SII display (phone, contacts, messaging and applications) there are now five icons. There is a new Internet widget, in-between the last two. These are all still in the same dimension as beforehand, with no loss of size, primarily due to the new 4.8in screen size, which can cater for more icons.

With this new size screen, we would have thought there would be not a great deal more change, to any of the icons, but this isn't the case. Gone are the permanent widgets at the base of all of the home screens, from the Samsung Galaxy S II. In the new handset, there is no phone, contacts, messaging and home icons fixed at the base of all the screens (as in the aplication folder).

Now, there is more room on offer in the apps folder, to display more items. In the S II, there was only room for four columns, of four across and only four down, or 16 apps. The final row at the bottom, was always phone, contacts, messaging and home.

The removal of the always-on set of icons now allows for, four columns, four across and five down, or 20 items, altogether. With the five items on the home screen, at its base, we would have thought this could have been carried across, to the application screen. This should have allowed for 25 items or apps, to be displayed. In turn, this could have shown off the new screen dimensions even more and in a better light.

The drop down connection bar has been slightly rejigged, from the S II to the III. The order, on the ICS older handset is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, silent mode and auto rotation. In the new UI, the format is Wi-Fi, GPS, screen rotation, sound and power saving. Bluetooth has been dropped, which perhaps shows its popularity is waning. There is now quick access to the settings feature of the phone, with notifications being displayed in the usual way.


The Samsung Galaxy S II was initially going to arrive with just a dual-core 1GHz processor. These details changed from its official launch, at Mobile World Congress 2011, to actually arriving in the stores.

The S II finally came with a dual-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 Samsung Exynos CPU. In keeping up with the Joneses - HTC and LG - the Galaxy S III will ship with a quad-core chipset, clocked at 1.4GHz. This is supported by 1GB of RAM, just as the S II was, too.

The Samsung Galaxy S III does appear to be fast, where we saw no lag, from camera loading to running multiple apps and displaying HD video.

There is also a quad-core graphics processor onboard , although how this will fair against the Nvidia 12-core CPU that accompanies the quad-core Tegra 3 chipset of its rivals, has yet to be seen.

The coupling of GPU and CPU does afford the device to offer some unseen aspects, of its competitors. This is along the lines of running a HD video, which then can be popped out into a small window. The movable video can then play in the background, while you check for emails or surf the web. Support for this feature is backed by third party apps, where you can play the likes of Angry Birds and watch a video, all at the same time.

In Part 2, we will be covering the design, followed by the screen, camera and features of the Samsung Galaxy S III, as compared to the Galaxy S II.

Rob Kerr is a journalist with more than 14 years experience of news, reviews and feature writing on titles such as Wired, PC Magazine, The Register, The Inquirer, Pocket-Lint, Mobile Industry Review, Know Your Mobile and The Gadget Show. The mobile phone world is his real passion and forte, having owned a handset as far back as 1994 where he has seen them grow from just a business tool to a necessity in everyone’s everyday life.