So here we are – after covering every inch of the Samsung Galaxy SIII both inside and out and then comparing it with HTC’s One X, it’s time for a verdict. These two devices are likely to be the closest top-dog Android competitors this year, as both manufacturers are relying on their respective handsets to take their premium Android sales into 2013. In fact, these two are probably going to end up as two of the most successful smartphones of 2012, and not just in the UK. That is, until the next iPhone hits of course. But there’s a good few months to go before that comes along, and for now these are the hottest devices around.
So which one offers the best overall package for you? Read on to find out.
If you missed them, the earlier parts of this review series are here – it’s recommended you read them first before this conclusion.
A quick reminder of the Samsung Galaxy SIII specification:
- Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich with TouchWiz UI
- Samsung Exynos 4212 Quad-core processor @ 1.4GHz (Cortex-A9)
- 1GB RAM, Mali 400MP graphics
- Quadband GSM, GPRS & EDGE, quadband HSPA (21Mbps up, 5.76Mbps down)
- Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
- NFC, Android beam, S Beam
- Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, EDR
- GPS, with A-GPS and GLONASS support
- micro USB with MHL, USB on-the-go
- Height: 136.6mm
- Width: 70.6mm
- Depth: 8.6mm
- Weight: 133g
- Super AMOLED 4.8" touchscreen, 720×1280 resolution, 306 ppi
- Gorilla Glass 2 display
- 16/32/64GB internal storage, external microSD slot up to 64GB w/ exFAT support
- 8 megapixel camera, with 1080p @30fps video recording, 1.9MP 720p front facing camera
- Accelerometer, gyroscope, RGB sensor, proximity sensor, compass, barometer
- RGB notification light
- FM Radio with RDS
- Micro-SIM support
- 2100mAh battery
- S-Voice, Smart Stay eye tracking, 50GB Dropbox storage (2yrs)
- Available in Pebble Blue or Marble White
And the HTC One X specification:
- 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
- 3G Network: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
- Dimensions: 134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm
- Weight: 130 g
- Display: Super IPS LCD2 capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours, 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.7 inches (~312 ppi pixel density)
- Corning Gorilla Glass
- HTC Sense UI
- 3.5mm jack
- Memory: 32 GB (26 GB user-available) storage, 1 GB RAM
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
- Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP
- microUSB (MHL) v2.0
- Camera: 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
- Video Recording: 1080p@30fps, stereo sound rec., video stabilization
- Secondary Camera: 1.3 MP, 720p
- OS: Android OS, v4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
- Chipset: Nvidia Tegra 3
- CPU: Quad-core 1.5 GHz
- GPU: ULP GeForce
- Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
- Stereo FM radio with RDS
- GPS with A-GPS support
- Standard battery, Li-Po 1800 mAh
Firstly let’s address those of you out there who had (understandably) decided on last year’s Samsung showstopper, the Galaxy SII. This was a hugely popular phone, and for good reason – it was a super-fast device that was far ahead of the Android competition, offering the best of almost everything. If you’ve enjoyed using your SII and are soon due for an upgrade, the SIII is a perfect choice. Samsung’s build quality and choice of build materials have often come under fire, and that’s no different with the SIII. If that wasn’t an issue for you and your SII, then you’ll have no problems with the SIII – it is just as, if not more, solidly built even if it is made of plastic. The SII is still a respectably fast device, but the SIII is on another level in terms of speed; especially with the camera. It changes how you think of a camera on a phone. That, along with the larger and higher resolution screen is what makes this a worthy upgrade over the venerable Galaxy SII.
While the SII last year was a pretty clear choice to get the best Android experience, it’s much closer this year; the very fact that it isn’t as clear cut a leader (thanks to the One X released just before) was partially responsible for the rather hasty disappointment soon after the SIII launch event. HTC did a great job of not only beating the SIII to market, but also not compromising on the phone. It has a screen which delivers more accurate colours than Samsung’s SIII, and also performs slightly better when used outdoors in bright light. And of course, no HTC is an HTC without their famed design skills – the One X is undoubtedly the better looking device, and it’s rock solid too thanks to it’s unibody build.
But overall, the crown of the best Android device of 2012 goes to Samsung for their SIII. It may not be as beautiful as the One X, but it more than makes up for it in my opinion. Firstly, the display – it’s only 0.1 inches larger than the One X, but the One X also has a menu bar taking up screen space making the usable space in many apps closer to 4.45 inches. And when you consider than the body size is virtually the same, the SIII has a considerably larger screen in a more ergonomic design that is also more flexible; the microSD expandable storage and removable battery can be much more useful than you may think. Their combined advantages are much more significant than any AMOLED ‘blue-tint’ complaints you may have heard.
Secondly, there’s just raw speed. The hardware has got to the point where it’s totally reasonable to expect an instantaneous device when Samsung and HTC demand this kind of money for these phones, and only the SIII offers that – wherever you go, whatever you do on the phone, the SIII is always faster. And that’s a real shame because the benchmarks show that the hardware within the One X is competitive. Whether the cause is HTC Sense, or a lack of optimisation isn’t important – the bottom line is that it just isn’t as quick.
If aesthetic design is critical to you, the One X is the one. For everybody else, the Galaxy SIII is the better choice. It is important to remember though, that it is very easy to say that the SIII is better and then forget the One X’s merits – it may be second-best, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a beast of a phone with an also excellent camera strapped on. It just so happens that the SIII is a more user-friendly beast, on steroids.
Review by: Vince