Android Central

It has been one heck of a summer for Samsung, with both good press (Olympic sponsorship) and bad press (ongoing litigation with Apple) fueling sales of its biggest device to date, the Galaxy S3. Since it went on sale just a few short months ago, the GS3 has been flying off the shelves, with nearly 10 million sold to date.

Late to the party is Verizon, the last of the big carriers to release its Galaxy S3 into the wild. So how does it stack up to the rest of Big Red's cache, and more importantly, how does Verizon's flavor compete with the rest of Samsung's flagship line? 

The Good

There's a reason the GS3 is the hottest device of the summer: it's fast, it's powerful, and it's beautiful. The 2GB of RAM couple with that screaming S4 processor to create one of the smoothest Android experiences to date. The display is a knock-out.

The Bad

Two words: locked bootloader. The other gripes about the the GS3 apply here too, like the scratch-prone coating and the love-it or hate-it TouchWiz.


The Galaxy S3 is the best phone on Verizon Wireless right now. That said, this is the worst Galaxy S3 on the market today. You'll be hard pressed to find a better total package when it comes to Android smartphones-- this is simply the best Android device to date. That said, Verizon's decision to lock the bootloader does take some of the wind out of the Galaxy S3's sails.

Inside this review

More info

Yet another Galaxy S3 min​i-review?

The Galaxy S3, in its quest towards world domination, has spawned countless reviews, blog posts, op-eds, and opinionated tweets. What more can be said about the most popular phone in the world? Not much, but if we at Android Central are anything it's fair. And while you can read 10,000 articles about the Galaxy S3, none will resonate until you read about the specific model you're considering buying.

We're not here to waste your time, or to beat a dead horse. We are here, however, to give Verizon customers (current and potential) a quick look at what is simply the best phone their hard earned money can buy. You can check out our definitive TouchWiz guide if you'd like to delve deeper; if not, sit back and relax, we promise this won't take long.

The Galaxy S3 one-take walkthrough

The Verizon Galaxy S3 hardware

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An 8.6 mm body? Check. 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display? Check. 8 MP camera? Check. If you've seen one, you've seen them all-- the Galaxy S3 is unchanged across all major carriers. It has grown into a love it or hate it type device, and if you've somehow managed to survive under a rock all summer and haven't seen one for yourself, run to your local Verizon retailer. You'll need to hold one in your hand to be truly won over.

I'm absolutely smitten with the home button, along the sheer lightness and thinness of the device. I could take or leave the scratch-prone backplate and the glossy, fingerprint magnet finish. Overall, though, Samsung has created as close to a perfect device as they ever have. This is the best Galaxy smartphone to date.

The Galaxy S3's display is simply the best you'll find on Verizon-- a title that the AT&T variant has a hard time claiming, what with its HTC One X rival and all. The GS3's color vibrancy blows the Galaxy Nexus out of the water, and its size and viewing angles run circles around the HTC Rezound. Nothing else even comes close. If you need the best display money can buy, and you don't have access to the One X or EVO 4G LTE, you've found it.

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Sixteen- and 32-GB flavors of storage? Check. Qualcomm S4 processor at 1.5 GHz? Yep. Two full GB of super-fast RAM? You bet. You guessed it-- this feels just like every other GS3 on the market. And that's not a good thing-- it's a great thing. The GS3 is simply the most powerful smartphone in the world, and it's top-notch specs add up to one of the most fluid Android experiences to date. The Galaxy S3 flies in nearly every sense of the word, and performs remarkably under any circumstance. 

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Verizon's variant of the GS3 comes fully equipped with an LTE radio, which means you'll have no problem hopping onto Big Red's unmatched 4G LTE network. It's still as fast as ever, and it's growing everyday. AT&T's LTE network might be just a smidge faster, but I'd gladly sacrifice two or three megabites for the stability and reliability that I've grown to expect from Verizon. These specs on Verizon's network add up to mind-numbing speeds. This is the new smartphone standard.

With an LTE radio comes the battery drain that we've all come to dread, but I'm thrilled to say that the GS3 is the first LTE smartphone (save for the RAZR MAXX) that bucks the trend. Battery life is stellar, and I never once found myself running to the nearest outlet. This is the first Android smartphone since my Droid Incredible that doesn't make me feel like I have to carry around a charger all day. While non LTE customers won't be blown away here, those upgrading from Verizon's first wave of LTE devices will be thrilled. 

The Verizon Galaxy S3 software

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Samsung hasn't managed to squeeze Jelly Bean onto the GS3 just yet, so we're still dealing with Android 4.0.4 and Samsung's own "TouchWiz Nature UX" user interface. You can check out our full TouchWiz walkthrough if you're still not familiar-- unlike my colleague Phil, I quite enjoy what Samsung has done here, and I think this may be the most refined and polished Android experience ever. Fair warning: opinions will vary considerably.

We got greedy with Verizon's lack of customization on the Galaxy Nexus, but now it's time to come back to reality. Big Red has put a few of its own touches on the GS3, albeit not nearly as many as we've seen on some other devices. Preinstalled apps include Verizon's App Hub, Guided Tours, Mobile Hotspot, My Verizon, VZW Navigator and a VPN Client. All told, there isn't anything here that I'm itching to remove, but I'd be remiss not to mention them.

There's one more Verizon touch worth mentioning, and its perhaps the most annoying decision Verizon has ever made. Assumedly, in an effort to urge users to switch over to wi-fi and thus stop hogging precious data, Verizon's GS3 includes a notification when your wi-fi is turned off, urging you to turn it on. Swipe away all you'd like-- this isn't going anywhere. Until you turn wi-fi on, the notification will sit in your drawer, taunting you, laughing at you. There is no way to remove it and trust me, it is quite annoying. You'll likely learn to overlook it (or at least cope with it), but it certainly needs to be pointed out.

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The Verizon Galaxy S3 cameras

Again, nothing surprising here. The Galaxy S3 has the same 8-megapixel rear shooter that we've been enjoying for a number of weeks now. 

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Whether you're Team HTC, Team Apple, or even Team Nikon, you have to admit that Samsung is doing something very right with their camera technology. The company has, perhaps most of all manufacturers, pushed smartphone cameras past a novelty and into a real-world tool. The GS3 marks the next step in Samsung's quest to permanently put the point-and-shoot to rest.

There are of course certain conditions where performance could be better, but 99 out of the 100 shots you'll ever take will turn out well. We'll let the sample photos and video do the talking.

Warning: Images open in full resolution in a new window

Android Central GSIII cameraGSIII camera GSIII cameraGSIII camera GSIII camera

That bootloader...

After nothing but praise, this is where I have to take Verizon's GS3 down a few pegs. One of the things that makes Samsung's devices so approachable, in my opinion, is the combination of both accessibility and customization. For those first time smartphone buyers, or the folks who buy a phone simply to make calls and send emails, Samsung's TouchWiz creates an easy-to-use, friendly and approachable interface. In a few weeks, your grandma would know her away around a Galaxy S3. But for those slightly more skilled, as well as the easily bored, Samsung's devices are generally quite easy to hack, opening the doors to a million and one ROMs, kernals, skins, themes, and customizations.

Verizon has ruined the fun for that latter group.

Big Red's decision to lock the Galaxy S3's bootloader has been the topic of endless discussion, and rightfully so. Verizon says that device stability and customer satisfaction is the reason behind the move; critics say that Verizon's ice-cold grip defeats the purpose of Android's openness. Both sides of the discussion have valid points but one thing is exceedingly clear: Verizon's decision to lock the GS3's bootloader makes this version the most unique out of all U.S. carriers'.

While a locked bootloader isn't necessarily a nail in the coffin for developers' hopes and attempts, it is certainly a crater in the road. For those who are hell-bent on flashing custom ROMs, Verizon's GS3 is a device to avoid at all costs. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint each have the same exact device without this huge detriment.

But there's a bright side: Samsung has said that it will sell a Verizon-compatible GS3 with an unlocked bootloader. We're still waiting to see the device hit the market, but for those who are loyal to Verizon and absolutely must get into the guts of their smartphone, this is your best option.

The bottom line ...

There are only so many good things you can say about Samsung's flagship device before you begin to sound like a broken record. It truly lives up to its reputation as the most popular Android phone on the market today. It's combination of superb hardware and blazing-fast internals create a perfect storm: this is simply the most advanced Android device to date.

That said, Verizon's take the GS3 has one flaw that is nearly impossible to overlook. The locked bootloader easily knocks the GS3 down a few pegs, especially when it sits on a shelf next to the Galaxy Nexus. This is no fault of the Galaxy S3-- on any other carrier, I'd say the device is as close to flawless as I've ever seen. But here, under the Big Red banner, the GS3 has a black eye.

If your hands are itching to hack, and you simply cannot wait any longer for Samsung's developer model, the Galaxy Nexus is a worthy alternative. The screen isn't quite as nice as the GS3's, but with Jelly Bean onboard, the Nexus performs as admirably as its higher-spec'd cousin. 

If bootloaders aren't an issue, and you can sit tight a few weeks/months for Jelly Bean to arrive, you absolutely cannot go wrong with the Galaxy S3. Even with its locked bootloader, it's the best phone on Verizon right now, even if it is the worst Galaxy S3 on the market. 

There are 128 comments

I upgraded from a HTC Thunderbolt and I gotta say the first couple of weeks I kept getting nervous around the ten hour mark being off the charger but wouldn't you know it my S3 has not disappointed. I love my phone no complaints about it. Yeah it sucks about the bootloader but as someone who doesn't do any of that stuff it does not affect me.

ponyboy#AC says:

Same here! I got my Tbolt out the other day and I couldn't believe I used to use it all the time! It felt so tiny and dull compared to the GS3

For what it's worth, there are workarounds for the bootloader already, so all is not lost.

PamelaBB says:

yes, this phone has excellent battery life, playing games does drain the battery but that's how it went with my other phones as well.

StuartV says:

Is the GS3 world-capable? The Rezound is.

Can you talk on the phone on the GS3 while simultaneously looking something up on the Web a 3G connection? You can on the Rezound.

Is there anything functional that you can do with the GS3 that you cannot do with the Rezound?

Conclusion: The Rezound can do everything the GS3 can do, but the GS3 cannot do everything the Rezound can do. And the Rezound bootloader is unlockable using the website that HTC provides for doing so.

In light of these facts, I don't see how anybody can say the GS3 is The Best phone on Verizon. It may be a really good phone, but there is just no way to logically assert that it is The Best.

mezmryz03 says:

I was going to list the plethora of improvements that the GS3 has over the Rezound but then I thought of a fun game. Everyone reply with one thing that the GS3 has or can do better than the Rezound, I'll start:

S4 Processor

StuartV says:

And what, exactly, does the S4 processor let me accomplish using a GS3 that I cannot accomplish using a Rezound?

What do ANY of the specification upgrades on the GS3 (as compared to the Rezound specs) let me actually accomplish that I cannot accomplish on the Rezound?

With a Rezound, you can be in a 3G coverage area, be talking on the phone on your Bluetooth headset, and look up a movie time while you're still on the phone. Or talk on the phone while you're looking up a place in Google Nav and then have the phone navigate you there all while you're still talking on the phone.

Can you do that with a GS3?

With a Rezound, you can fly to Europe, put in a local SIM, and actually use the phone to make *gasp* phone calls.

Can you do that with a GS3?

What actual tasks can you perform on a GS3 that you cannot perform on a Rezound?

Citing differences in the software that comes pre-installed is kind of silly. That's kind of like saying a Ford Focus is a better car than a BMW 5-series because it came with a better stereo from the factory. One of the best things about Android is how you can take just about any recent model Android phone and upgrade the software on it to match the software on any other Android phone.

The GS3 is a good phone. But, it is total fanboism to go around saying it is The Best (when it flat out CANNOT do some things that the Rezound can do, but the Rezound can do everything the GS3 can - in terms of actual tasks the user can accomplish).

richardfoc says:

I love HTC guerrilla marketing.

StuartV says:

No HTC marketing here. I don't like fanboism from the Appleheads or the Android fans. And especially not from the editors of sites like AC or iMore. (Some) people rely on the editors of these sites to provide objective, accurate information.

And if you look at all the phones available on Verizon, it is clear there is no way to objectively assess them and conclude that the GS3 is The Best. So, saying that it is is pure fanboi hogwash. One of the best? Sure. But, when you use objective, comprehensive criteria for assessing the different phones, you can only conclude that the GS3 is better than the Rezound in some respects and the Rezound is better than the GS3 in some respects.

And, if you're being objective, you have to admit that there's a pretty good case for saying that if A can do everything that B can do, but B cannot do everything that A can do, then A is better than B. Ergo, a case to say that, using objective, comprehensive criteria, the Rezound is actually THE BEST phone on Verizon. With 4G LTE, World capability, and simultaneous voice and 3G data it is literally more capable than ANY other phone Verizon has. It is the only phone they have that has all 3 of those things.

joebob2000 says:

Haha. So it's fanboyism to go around saying "x is the best phone" but you have no problem saying "the rezound is the best phone"... Nice try, fanboy. And in case you want some data to back that up, the SGS3 on verizon has 2GB of ram, the rezound has 1gb. You can whine all day about how the rezound is sim-unlocked and can be used in europe. However, a lot more people will use that extra 1 gig of ram than will EVER go to europe or any other backwater that requires clumsy sim swapping all the time just to make a phone call.

Get a life.

Notus says:

However your rezound's battery will be dead in three hours and you'll be left wanting..

mwara244 says:

Also the SG3 IS READY FOR GLOBAL, it is built in, you can root your phone to unlock global or wait a few weeks and verizon will send the ota update that unlocks the global roaming.

johnsonwcjw says:

Umm you do know that the GS3 has simultaneous voice and data over 3G also...

lithium98 says:

It's not a Rezound.

21plays says:

Better screen

shuura says:

multitasking (PIP, record video and snap a picture simultaneously)
intuitive gestures
battery life (I've clocked three days on one charge with normal usage)
much better camera
it's not made by Motorola

spock123 says:

Popup-video player

spock123 says:

"Smart-Stay", the screen stays on while you look at it. Genius

skiinian says:

I've heard there were issues with this at night though. The phone can't really tell that you're there. I don't actually have one, just heard it through a friend. That being said, I Really want this phone!!

ponyboy#AC says:

Yeah... well it uses the front-facing camera, so if it's too dark to see your face then it isn't able to tell if you're looking at it. Personally though, I've never noticed a problem.

spock123 says:

Burst-shooting camera mode

spock123 says:

Screenshot with hand gesture

This is a fun game :)

ponyboy#AC says:

I know this is just flame-bait, but yes, you can do all of this on the GS3 [see recent articles on global roaming]. It's ok, the Rezound is a really nice phone too, I almost got one before the GS3, but the SGS3 is just a little better. Technology marches on.

Cobravision says:

The VZ GS3 is world capable. Unlike the Sprint version, it has a GSM SIM on board. For some reason it isn't enabled out of the box and won't be until Verizon releases a software patch, but rooted users can enable it.

Once again, Verizon goes out of their way to make their users hate them. They do that so many times I have to think it's all part of some psychological experiment. It's like they're trying to make their customers suffer from Helsinki Syndrome so they never escape their clutches.

Alfonsca says:

StuartV, actually, you CAN do ALL of the things with the GS3 you mentioned and more. You should familiarize yourself with the specs before you say what you think the GS3 can't do.

Not to mention..I hate pentile. The rezound is better in the department of display. If it was larger and thinner. And have the s4 chip it would win. I have both..selling mine. Rezound like new with many accessory. 1 month old. 180 firm. Rooted and unlocked boot loader. for details..warner robins Ga..sorry but need money back from buying S3 new from friend for 250! Stoked ..and 5minute unlock root and flash recovery. Lol

Murph5150 says:

I'll go ahead and say the Galaxy Nexus is still the best phone in Verizon's arsenal. My opinion.

ryan5609 says:

Strongly agree with Murph. As long as your Verizon Gnex is running Jelly Bean.

Mtn_Scott says:

Arguably the best software, definitively not the best hardware across the board.

yeah maybe it would be if verizon would update it to jelly bean as soon as the gsm variants got jelly bean.

Oh look it's the 'my opinion' cop out. No, the Galaxy Nexus is clearly not the best phone on Verizon. Reality.

Doan says:

If you can't accept another's opinion, you're simply close-minded. Reality.

If you believe that simply stating 'my opinion' without providing any justification whatsoever is conducive to constructive discussion then you are sorely mistaken. Likewise if during a discussion someone simply quits by pathetically retreating to the default 'my opinion' line. Besides where do you draw the line? If I stated something that was fundamentally incorrect does providing an infantile 'my opinion' magically make my claim beyond reproach? It is a cop out. It is pointless. It should be pointed out.

As should you. Why, when someone offered their opinion, did you feel the need to refute their opinion? You are certainly entitled to asserting your own opinion. But, was your comment in the least bit constructive? After all, "best" is absolutely subjective in this instance. Perhaps a phone that is best for someone, is not best for someone else. He probably should've stated that this is "the best phone on Verizon for him." Although the phrase "my opinion" would seem to preclude any pretense of factual basis, and simply makes you look like a troll when calling it out.

However, the opinion troll cannot simply ignore when one's opinion disagrees with his own, and must, with extreme prejudice, denounce said opinion, and then claim his own opinion as "reality." This, in turn, creates a black hole as the universe is utterly incapable of withstanding such levels of irony in one statement.

Thus, your argument is invalid, as "best" is subjective in this instance. It can only be quantified based on personal preferences.

Iv88 says:

I completely agree. Some people are too stuck on spec's as the absolute and only determining factor of quality.

droidman2177 says:

close-minded? Really Comeon! The GS3 is the best phone on VZW. If you can't see that, it's because you don't have one and are just jealous. Get Real. And just get one already. To hell with someone elses opinion!

You...see my answer above. But, as I see in your clever retort, personal preference must equate to jealousy.

That's odd.

I prefer water to Gatorade. I am simply jealous of someone drinking Gatorade because I do not have one, despite the fact that I prefer water? Should the person drinking water feel the same about the person drinking Gatorade, just because he/she is drinking something different?

That doesn't make shit worth of sense.

Iv88 says:


anekdotos says:

This is comical. You just said someone's opinion is wrong. Hate to burst your bubble, but some people like different phones for different reasons. I love my Nexus, and I've spent several hours with EVERY SINGLE one of Verizon's phones (Sales rep here) and IN MY OPINION, I still wouldn't go with any other phone because I think, for me (this should be implied given the, "MY OPINION"), that the GNex is still the best phone out there.

I don't have to justify it. I don't have to elaborate. No matter what you say, MY OPINION is MY opinion and you can't do anything about it.

I agree..All people should realize that whatever you have and feel is best is the winner not wishing you had the latest and showing ego quilt

impulse101 says:

Agreed. Gnex is a much better phone and it has JB. Have fun waiting until March 2013 to get JB on GS3 and no dev support.

jteply13 says:

I like my Gnex. But I wish it had 2gig ram, then I would love it and it would b the BEST phone on Verizon!

codiusprime says:

Ugh, I realize this is an enthusiast site and because of that the content will be geared to an audience that cares about a locked bootloader, but in reality 98% of people who buy this phone won't even know what a bootloader is. Not saying it isn't a big deal, or that it shouldn't be mentioned, just that we need to keep in perspective how important of an issue that is to Joe Public.

JobiWan144 says:

Agreed. If you're on Verizon and you have no desire to hack or mod, this is your go-to device. If you're on Verizon and do want to hack and mod to your heart's content, get the VZW Galaxy Nexus. Without new, top-of the line HTC and Motorizon devices out on Big Red yet, Samsung and Google have little competition. The Droid RAZR MAXX and the Droid Incredible 4G LTE are solid phones, but unless you must have a massive battery or an HTC device, they're 2nd-tier options at this point.

Suntan says:


Yeah there's a lot of well-deserved nerd-rage point at Big Red for their actions, but at the same time, if/when J6P happens to google "Verizon GSII" to try and get some reviews of that fancy phone he saw on the commercial, websites like this pop up. Said person has no real appreciation to the fact that all the angst that gets lamented about endlessly has *zero* relevance to him/her.

How about just flatly coming out and saying in the review, "the bootloader is locked, anyone that should care about it already knows what that means and already knew about it weeks ago."

But I realize we nerds need our pound of flesh too, and what else is a person going to write in a review about a phone everyone already knows everything about?


rocket321 says:

I completely disagree. All to often you have review sites that only state the positive. There are lots of reviews out there that will shy away from mentioning anything negative about products and I loath reading reviews like that because its a complete waste of time. It has been said before that although its a small number of people that fall into the enthusiast category, the AC readership is composed of a large percent of enthusiasts so they are simply writing to the audience.

Were you a smartphone enthusiast before buying your first smartphone? If I wasn't "in the know" but looking at a smartphone, even if I didn't know what root/recovery/boot loaders were about I think I should still have the right to that information before dropping hundreds of dollars on a device. I believe VZW should have it as a bullet point on their website.

codiusprime says:

Please point out where I said it shouldn't be mentioned. Oh wait, I said the exact opposite. My point that 98% of people won't even know what a bootloader is still stands though.

Also LOL at Verizon having it as a bullet point on their website. Android Nerds are hilarious sometimes.

Edit: Also if you can point me to a review that doesn't mention the locked bootloader I will give you an e-highfive. I'll agree that sites all to often just jerk it to the latest and greatest but Android Nerds have been raging about the GS3 bootloader since it was discovered.

Does the LTE cut in and out like Gnex?

Mtn_Scott says:

rarely see the 3g icon.

XavierMatt says:

It's sooo annoying right.

ponyboy#AC says:

It's been perfect here. Solid 4G

Wired03 says:

Is there a way to UNLOCK the bootloader? Is that something people are working on getting around?

I see abunch of people posting info on CM10 and stuff for the verizon GS3

Murph5150 says:

Running Bugless Beast 4.1.1 on my GNex with franco kernel.

codiusprime says:

Cool story bro

What does that have to do with an SGSIII article? Or are you just whipping your schmeckle out and waving it around so we all know you have one?

21plays says:


shuura says:

"schmeckle" - HAHAHAHA!!!!! Many thanks for that laugh!!!!

jefmoody says:

Running KILLKANG (JB 4.1.1) also with Franco's latest nightly.

ArgonNJ#CB says:

What about all the posts in the forums about how crappy the radio is in this device. Sorry but I don't trust this review. I still remember the glowing reviews for the original Galaxy S devices and how it was the biggest POS i've ever owned to the point where I was turned off to Android for a few years.

JDub313 says:

Have to agree here. The radio issue is one that should definitely have been covered in this article. I own a GNEX and a RAZR (needed them for work) and use the RAZR as my day to day phone because the radios (both Wi-Fi and Cellular) in the GNEX are absolutely terrible.

I'm not saying that this is the case with this phone, but you should definitely do your homework before purchasing.

TallyHo says:

There is no radio issue with this phone at all. I came from a DX that had a great radio. I never dropped calls and never went in and out of service. My GSIII is just as good. I always have a strong (-68 - -95) 4G signal in Denver. when I leave the area and drop to 3G it is just as solid. In fact, I would say it picks up a signal in fringe areas better than my DX did. Oh yeah and the GPS locks on in about a half a second.

wscaddie56 says:

this, i work on the fringe of 4g area in the twin cities and my droid charge used to have no signal constantly so the battery life was terrible.

this is the best radio of the 4 sammy phones i've had, bootloader is a hassle but there is a solution to that and google wallet has been made to work so it's not so bad.

ponyboy#AC says:

Keep in mind the GS3 uses a different radio than the GNex due to the S4 having LTE-on-chip, or at least from what I understand. Like I said above, I haven't had any problems.

SprintGuy says:

Hey. Been running two Verizon S3's since one week after launch and have never dropped a call. Have not even noticed any "dip in bars". Secondly, Wi-Fi...there is a known issue. I had my S3's attached to my router for a few days using the 2.4GHz band. I had all kinds of connection stability issues. Drove me crazy. Couldn't figure it out (but it is a known issue). Then I remembered I had a dual-band router, and noticed the S3 can connect to the 5GHz band. I enabled my router's 5GHz band, "forgot" my 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection on both S3's, attached to the 5GHz SSID and let me tell you...what a friggin' serious difference. 100% stability for several weeks now, and extremely fast. I cannot recommend this enough, and I would even say go buy a new router if your's doesn't have the 5GHz radio. (I have a NetGear N600 Dual-band, about $85) Also, I see my 4G icon on 98% of the time, and yes the GPS lock is outrageously fast. Hope this helps guys... (PS. I used to be on Sprint.)

s14tat says:

What radio issue? Show me in the forums for all 4 carriers where it was a known wide spread issue. The people with wifi problems either had a defective phone, or they didn't update the firmware on their router or is not running the same frequency. Nobody else, and I mean NOBODY else has issues with the GPS or radio.

SprintGuy says:

Hey s14tat. I actually used some of the AC forum "Wi-Fi issues" posts in my trouble-shooting (to no avail); and never said it was "wide-spread", just "known". Upon calling Verizon tech support, they did confirm some issues with Wi-Fi connectivity being lost and they said it would be addressed in their upcoming over-the-air update coming in October. That's just my experience, and they did refer to it as previously-reported and "known". But u r right...I don't see it as wide-spread. Also, I did swap my S3's at Verizon, and it did not cure it.

I've seen a few posts about people having problems like this, but everything I've seen has been isolated issues. I had a Galaxy S Fascinate that I had no problems with and I'm very happy with my Galaxy S III so far. I haven't had any problems with the "crappy radio" that you speak of.

GuyverV says:

why did at&t lock the one x bootloader, but not the GSIII bootloader?

JobiWan144 says:

Let me explain the whole bootloader situation. Every device I can think of has a locked bootloader. Even Nexus devices ship with locked bootloaders. However, Google has made it very easy to unlock the bootloader of a Nexus device if you know what you're doing. Many OEM's make it possible to unlock their devices' bootloaders. HTC, for example, provides a method of partially unlocking the bootloaders of their devices, including the One X (as far as I know); this is usually called HTC-unlocked or S-on. They also don't stop devs from fully unlocking the bootloader (LazyPanda or S-off). Bottom line: most bootloaders come locked but can be unlocked.

However, Verizon routinely encrypts the bootloaders of their devices (excluding their Galaxy Nexus), making it close to impossible for devs to unlock the bootloaders. This is what they've done with their Galaxy S III.

So AT&T did not lock the bootloaders of the HTC One X or the GS3 (HTC and Samsung did), nor did they stop people from unlocking them.

XavierMatt says:

Beautiful explanation.

GuyverV says:

thanks for the explanation. i was under the impression that telecoms requested encrypted bootloaders.

bpear96 says:

Well at&t did stop you from unlocking there One X through HTC-Dev at first, but was easily bypassed (thanks to superCID).

Grahaman27 says:

What a great idea! "S3 mini-review"

A galaxy S3 mini (4" maybe) would be a knockout seller too! at least to me.

sorry if I am weird and like compact and mobile gadgets :P

If the Maxx is the first 4G LTE Smartphone to "buck the trend", then why say the Galaxy S3 is?

I know you threw in the phrase (Save the Razr MAXX) but why not leave that whole thing out and not say the S3 is the first? You can say the battery is the best performing, second only to the Maxx or something like that. But it's not first if another phone already is. It doesn't work like that.

21plays says:

bigger battery doesnt equal better battery performance

MrJazz says:

This kind of crap (along with doubling my bill!) is what finally pushed me away from VZW after 15 years. I bought my own phone and I'm not looking back...

Scarab says:

Same here, but I'm at 26 years and trying to figure out what device to buy. Which one did you buy and where from? I'd prefer to buy one from a 3rd party.

trekmario says:

It's no galaxy note . It's WiFi notification is annoying and browser sucks it locks up to easily.

Doan says:

My browser has never locked up. If yours locks up frequently, then something is wrong with your device or software. I'd get it replaced.

richardfoc says:

Or get a new browser. That's the magic of Android right? Dolphin ftw!

cj100570 says:

99% of those that buy this phone couldn't care less about it having a locked bootloader. I'm on Android phone # 9 and I've rooted and flashed ROMs on each but always went back to stock because stock just works! I got my GS3 on launch day and it's awesome! Knocking it down a peg for the bootloader is just silly.

Doan says:

3 of the top 10 downloaded paid apps on the market require root. The 2nd most downloaded paid app requires root. The modding community is larger than you think.

Pimp Lucious says:

Root and bootloader are two separate things.

shuura says:

I will have to agree with you here. I've flashed roms like crazy on all previous Android phones, but always reverted back to my stock rom in the end. Although, I almost always user a custom launcher.

mjfclf says:

I'm not anywhere close to knowing what you folks are saying! I have a Samsung Galaxy S3. I can't figure out how to get to the "clipboard" and trying to figure out if there is a "user dictionary" to save customer entered words is driving me nuts! I would truly appreciate your assistance. I'm not even sure how I got here. Email if you would to Thank you for any assistance you can give this old fart. Marc

mjfclf says:

PS: Where would I find info on how to use ALL the programs on this thing? Marc

dtreo says:

"You'll be hard pressed to find a better total package when it comes to Android smartphones-- this is simply the best Android device to date."

I don't think many EVO LTE owners would trade for an S3. I know I wouldn't.

JobiWan144 says:

Agreed. If you're on Sprint, I highly recommend the HTC EVO 4G LTE. It mostly comes down to which combo you like better: the best screen there is, period, with Sense (my preference) or the best AMOLED screen there is with TouchWiz.

XavierMatt says:

The Galaxy Nexus still has the best AMOLED Screen on the market. It has a higher ppi. Because the screen on the GS3 is bigger it lost its density. - But I have a feeling what ever screen will be on the next Nexus will be better, or even the note. (Not that screen improvements are needed.

Cobravision says:

Higher PPI <> Best screen. Besides, the 10ppi difference is negligible anyway.

Most reviewers like the S3 screen better than the GNex screen because they don't blindly look at ppi and call it a day.

Joelist says:

Nice look at the phone.

The hardware is obviously top notch except for the usual Samsung cheap plasticky construction. A Samsung using either a metal or polycarbonate unibody shell would be a killer.

I'm not surprised that the LTE is getting great battery life as this phone packs Krait (Snapdragon S4) under the hood with its die shrink and on die radios. Right just now Krait is best of breed for smartphones especially if you're packing LTE.

In software terms, I REALLY wish Samsung would offer power users a way to opt out of TouchWiz and have a "pure" experience. Maybe a special download they can get with a code you send in for that lets you turn TouchWiz off? Android since ICS has not really needed the OEM skins to be usable anymore - it's time to move on Samsung.

s14tat says:

I thought the GS3 was also made of polycarbonate. Also you want the phone be made like the HTC EVO LTE where a few members have literally "bent" them already. LOL smooth move HTC, there is a reason why your losing market shares. Sense is a resource hog, but your unwilling to compensate the hardware for it, and the quality control is extremely lacking.

Joelist says:

Sorry but I have never seen any examples of HTC phones being "bent" or other such. And no one was speaking about Sense.

The S3 may be polycarbonate but their process makes it feel cheap and plasticky. Polycarbonate can be nice and solid but you need to use the right process (like HTC and Nokia do). Their polycarbonate bodies feel just as stiff, solid and grippable as aluminum ones do. Go to an AT&T store and handle a One X. an S3 and a Lumia 900. The S3 feels like it has by far the worst build. The Lmuia feels amazing and the One X likewise.

I love the S3 internals but just wish they would step it up on build quality and allow opt out of TouchWiz for the power users.

I think the build quality on the S3 is pretty good. Clean lines, no offsets in the chassis and light as hell! I think it's all opinions when it comes to feel and what people like. My wife loves her DInc2, I love the feel of my GNex, my best friend loves the way their iPhone 4S feels. Again, it's all preference. I don't like the way the HTC One X feels in my hand (heavy), but that's just me.

rocket321 says:

You can turn off the touchwiz launcher on all samsung phones and use the stock Android launcher. You will still have the TW phone/messaging apps, but the home screens and app drawer are completely stock from AOSP. Its really cool actually, I wish AC would mention this in all their Samsung reviews because a lot of people don't know this and would enjoy it. My SGS2 looks just like stock ICS due to using the stock launcher rather than touchwiz.

michaelw9#AC says:

You can remove the WiFi popup notification. It just requires rooting the phone and following a few simple directions. Anyone with 30 minutes and decent tech-know how (it's merely following directions) can do it. And this does not require a new ROM, messing with the bootloader, etc.

21plays says:

no need for any of that. you can turn it off in settings, at least in the intl version you can

brandogg says:

There is definitely a radio issue - I have a DROID Bionic and my brother has a Galaxy S 3. We can be standing next to each other and I'll have full strength 4G LTE, and he'll have maybe 2 bars on 3G.

Having said that, the locked bootloader is NOT that big of a deal. Custom ROMs are already out, the phone can be rooted, you really don't need an unlocked bootloader on such a capable device. Since this is the only GS3 that gives you access to what is undeniably the best network in North America, it's pretty excessive to call it "the worst Galaxy S 3." I'd still rate it above all of the other US versions.

scottmporter says:

Didn't notice any radio problems on the device generally -- except at my CA house where my Bionic maintains a 2-3 bar LTE signal and the SIII bounces between 2 bars of 3G, 2 bars of LTE and NOTHING -- making the phone useless at my house (I have no Wifi at the house). Luckily I still have the Bionic and am now adept at placing the smaller SIM from the SIII is just the correct position. I can use the Bionic as a hotspot with no issues and the SIII is unusable. Luckily I am only at the CA house a few nights a week -- because overall I like the SIII much more than the Bionic.

jam4775 says:

I absolutely love this phone... the speed and screen on this thing is amazing. And I'm starting to actually like TouchWiz now (Sense fan here)... it's got a lot better now and doesn't look like a cheesy Iphone knock off.

The camera is very good... my only complaint here is I still get blurriness sometimes on motion shots.

The radios are great on my phone, I've never had any problems with reception. The only time I've lost ever signal so far was when I went camping last weekend, and when I lost signal so did my wife with her Droid X2. I really love the 4G speeds I'm getting in my little rual town in Minnesota... I'm regularly getting 25mb-30mb down and 10mb up.

I'm very happy the battery in this phone, I have no desire to purchase a second or larger battery for it. For example yesterday I took my phone off the charger at 6am, used it heavenly all day at work checking my exchange email, gmail, facebook, and web searching... in addition, was on the on the phone 4 times for a total of about 40mins and had roughly 50 texts back and forth. Then when I got home watched a 1.75 hour movie with my son that bored me so I spent the whole time during the movie on my S3 reading androidcentral. Then when I finally went to bed a 10:30pm my phone was at 30% but then I couldn't fall asleep so I finished watching the last hour of the movie Avatar that I started watching the night before. After that I called my wife spoke with her for about 10mins to say goodnight... and then plugged my phone in just before midnight which my battery was down to 20% by then. I was very surprised that my phone charge had only dropped 10% after watching a move for an hour on it.

jam4775 says:

Also, the WiFi on this phone has worked flawlessly for me... everyday I go between my WiFi at home to LTE to WiFi at work... and my S3 switches between these three networks without any problems at all, it's almost seamless for me.

maryaliceMAH says:

I've had my S3 for a couple of days, and simply love it. I go thru US Cellular for service and it runs flawlessly. The battery life is the best I have ever seen. This is the best purchase I have ever made.

snookiesnoo says:

The now two year old Apple retina display is still better and obviously so especially with text. The iPhone is also faster at most tasks. So specs aren't everything. Maybe this will change with Jelly Bean or if you can freeze or remove the massive amounts of Verizon and Samsung bloatware. Bloatware which Apple does not allow. Apple also has better camera software and battery life and Android phones are only now approaching iPhone battery life.
Too bad because Samsung could have made this phone even better.

droidman2177 says:

Yeah, you must love that really fast 3G Too!

nyc_rock says:

Have you used a phone running ICS? You sound about 8 months ago.

The screen name says it all...

jefmoody says:

Sorry snookie - I have both Iphone 4s and Galaxy Nexus - the GN runs circles around the 4s.
The 4s has better Video (with auto-resize), battery-life and a better speaker but it isn't faster in everyday use...Maybe it benchmarks better or something but it pales in comparison to the GN running apps/web.

BTW - The 4s is a keeper because of the auto-resize video: this is the only reason I kept it.

serpa4 says:

My iPhone says 4S on it. Doesn't that mean it's 4G? Ops, I'm an ignorant iPhone owner.
What is a retina display? Everything is a retina display. Apple says at 12" or some number, you cannot discern the screens pixels. So, take my DX, hold it as 24 inch and the human eye cannot discern it's pixels either. It's also a retina 24 inches. What a bunch of marketing crap. The new Atrix HD is more than "retina" and so are other displays like the S3, HOX, etc. By apple's definition, with a larger display you hold it further away to compensate for it's size and at that magic distance you cannot see pixels, it is a retina display. Look at the pixel density of the new iPad. It's somewhere in the 200 dpi range. It's nowhere near 320. It's called a retina display. What a joke. Those who throw around that term like it means something are sheep.
Go research my dpi I'm using and ya, I'm off. I didn't feel like researching exact answers.

They bypassed the bootloader. I'm shocked that wasn't mentioned on this post.

Before anyone says there is a "widespread" issue with the S3's radios, can we see some statistics on this? What's the return rate for the device back to the manufacturer? If it's less than 5% of total phones sold then there is no issue and the ones having issues with their phones for failed radios is more attributed to manufacturing defects in the acceptable failure rates.

serpa4 says:

Mine was returned for poor radio, dim screen, no BT cell with headphone out being used.

21plays says:

never had any problems with mine

After my fourth return to Verizon I end up with the same camera problem. Yes or no that the camera stutters when you take full 1080p SuperFine video and move the phone back and forth? I've tried four of them and it's the same everytime, stuttery video. I don't know how I could get lemons four times in a row if it's not an overall issue.

The Anti Shake feature is also a joke, that jumps all over the place. The camera images look awesome but the video at the top resolution is very choppy and stuttery.

bgl321 says:

Why does the VZW S3 not have the Wifi Toogle in the drop down menu like the others?

Spaniard85 says:

Because there is an ongoing wifi notification. It's an easy fix to get the toggle back and remove the notification once you're rooted.

Spaniard85 says:

There is a pretty well established for bypassing the bootloader, so the issue is almost a non-issue now. You can pretty easily flash between Touchwiz- and AOSP-based at this point. A well known kernel developer has already graced the VZW based SGS3 with his kernel as well, so I'd say we're off to a decent start. I know the VZW variant doesn't have as large a community as the other variants with their unlocked bootloader, but we're not bashing our heads against all wall waiting for things to flash...

impulse101 says:

No they haven't. Dev support on VZW GS3 is almost non-existent. Go to XDA or Rootzwiki and see what ROM's there are. There might be 2 and no custom kernels.

Cyrilmak says:

I've used this phone for a few hours and to me personally the Nexus destroys it software wise. I'll keep the Nexus. Touchwiz is bad. Nuff said.

eharty says:

No question that the Nexus software is better than the S3 and the Nexus is almost as fast even though the hardware is a bit dated by comparison. Unfortunately, the Nexus failed as a phone. I went through several and they all had problems with voice and/or data connections. It seems like there are good Nexus phones out there but there are also a lot of bad ones that Verizon keeps re-cycling as refurbs.

xs11e says:

Personal experience with Samsung phones so far is absolutely NO!

I'll stick with my Thunderbolt (rooted, running Virus' excellent Eternity ROM), it does every thing I need and/or want a phone to do. Battery life is more than one day and that's all I need.

Differences between T'bolt and previous Samsung phones I've owned:
1. When someone calls I hear the T'bolt ring, never could with Samsung.
2. When I call someone, I can hear them talk, never could with Samsung.

Unless Samsung has fixed their useless sound system I'll do without.

s14tat says:

Then I will be happy to announce that this phone works great as a phone and the loud speaker volume is very loud.

ponyboy#AC says:

I LOVED my Thunderbolt too, and never really understood why it got as much flak as it did. That said, after having my GS3 for a while now, I don't think I could go back. Nothing against the Tbolt, the GS3 is roughly a year newer.

SparcV says:

I want to love the S3, however its not perfect. I'm on my second new one due to a no sim error that plagues mine. Verizon does not seem to know what do to about it other than replacing the phone and sim every time, that does not fix a larger underlying problem.

impulse101 says:

A Galaxy Nexus with a custom Kernel that allows you to tweak the colors blows aways the the screen on the GSIII as there are no gamma or color multiplier adjustments. It just looks like crap compared to a fine tuned Gnex with Franco Kernel or something similar. You think the editors here would know this but I guess they dont. Its the same screen with out of the box color adjustments but because of the locked bootloader you can't adjust it even more to your liking. Gnex you can. Also the home button and Touchwiz are a disgrace. So Gnex is still hands down the best phone you can buy.

Johnly says:

I have one of these devices, but as for mine is better than yours? Nah....could care so much less, what is important is that you are happy with your device. If you were, you wouldn't be all up in here with that hate.

fascinatej says:

I'm pretty sure 4s does not mean 4g......please correct me if I'm wrong but 4s doesn't even have lte capability

mcleodglen says:

I want to buy this phone so much!!!! I did all the research online and it looks like the BEST phone on the market - BUT- luckily I went to a Version store to test the vibration in silent mode. I almost always miss calls on- vibrate only- on my old phone. Surely the people at Samsung would not drop the ball on this VERY BASIC (and necessary) function if you work in a quiet office environment.... but. they. did. The only way to know if it is ringing, if you are wearing it in the holster on your belt, is if you have your hand on it! Yes, I had all the settings at maximum!! I can't believe I can not use this phone!!!!... I am totally bummed.


I find it absolutely hilarious that people feel the need to compare the GNex to the SGS3. They are both great phones. And, yeah, many people that have the SGS3 realize that the bootloader is locked, and that the DEV community is not as big as the other SGS3 variants. However, though the VZW GNex has a great DEV community, it is still not a true Nexus. And the SGS3 does not have that widespread radio problem that the GNex had when it first launched. If the bootloader is really an issue, then those people concerned should wait for the next Nexus device. The Nexus is the roadmap for Android, not the SGS3. The SGS3 was made for people that wanted a bigger screened phone that worked out of the box. Yeah, it does suck that Verizon takes away that option, in case some people wanted to explore customizing their device, but it is by no means a deal breaker. And by no means does this one issue make the GNex better than it. Software wise, yeah the GNex wins. Hardwise wise, only a fool would say the GNex is better. Specs are not everything, though. As someone new to Touchwiz, I can honestly say that the SGS3 provides a unique user experience vs the GNex.

asmallchild says:

I feel for those people supporting the GNEX. Having owned a GNEX myself and seeing how wonderful a device it is, I understand where they are coming from. It doesn't help to have owned the premier device on VZW (yes, over the MAXX IMHO) and see it replaced so suddenly.

I will agree I enjoy the stock experience better. I will agree JellyBean makes the Nexus just as smooth if not smoother than the S3. I will agree the locked bootloader is a backhanded Verizon move. I will agree the development community will not approach anything what even the Verizon GNEX community is, maybe even with an unlocked bootloader.

But there are some ROMs out there now with Kexec workarounds (including limited versions of CM10, AOKP), certainly ROMs that allow some customization and removal of Verizon tomfoolery (Wifi notification, Wifi alert, etc)

Combine that with significantly enhanced battery life and a better camera and I will concede that even as a huge GNEX fan, the torch has been passed to the S3