Specs Comparison: Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. Galaxy S3; Should You Upgrade?


The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been unveiled to the public.  The question now for would-be buyers is this: is it a worthy choice compared to the Samsung Galaxy S3?  The price difference between the two phones is expected to be considerable so it’s really a tough decision for anyone to make.  After all, the Galaxy S3 is already a very capable phone in terms of hardware specs and software features.  For current Galaxy S3, owners, is it necessary for them to feel bad about their phones and aim for an upgrade?

A look into the hardware specs of the two phones is necessary.

Samsung Galaxy S 4 vs. Samsung Galaxy S III

 Samsung Galaxy S 4

 Samsung Galaxy S III

Display 5 inch Full HD Super AMOLED 4.8-inch Super AMOLED
Resolution 1,920 x 1,080 1,280 x 720
Glass Gorilla Glass 3 Gorilla Glass 2
Pixel Density 441 ppi 306 ppi
Processor 1.6GHz Exynos 5 Octa / 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 (varies by market) Samsung Exynos 4 / Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 (varies by market)
Memory 2GB 1GB / 2GB (Variants)
Storage 16 / 32 / 64 GB User memory + microSD slot (up to 64GB) 16GB / 32GB
OS Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
Primary Camera 13-megapixel BSI AF 8-megapixel BSI AF
Secondary Camera 2-megapixel BSI 1.9-megapixel BSI
Battery 2,600mAh 2,100mAh
Cellular GSM/EDGE/UMTS/DC-HSPA+/LTE Cat 3 (bands vary by market) GSM/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA+/LTE (bands vary by market)
WiFi WiFi 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n, HT80 802.11 a/b/g/n, HT40
Bluetooth 4.0 LE 4.0 LE
Connectivity NFC / MHL 2.0 / IR LED NFC / MHL
SIM Micro-SIM Micro-SIM
Weight 130g 133g
Dimensions 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm



The design of the Galaxy S4 is almost similar to the design of the Galaxy S3.  The home button is still there, even the curves on the corners.  The battery is still removable but the silver band on the side is noticeably thicker.   The screen is bigger, sure, but the dimensions of the Galaxy S4 is almost identical to that of the Galaxy S3. Samsung was able to shave off a few millimeters  on the thickness and a dew grams on the weight.  So the S4 is slightly thinner and also slightly lighter than the S3 even if it has a bigger screen.



In every respect, the display on the Samsung Galaxy S4 is better compared to the display of the Samsung Galaxy S III.  When you look into the specifications of the S4’s display, it is simply bigger and better.  The S3 has a 4.8-inch display while the S4 now sports a 5-inch display.  This is the size of the original Galaxy Note so it’s supposed to look big.  Surprisingly, it doesn’t feel so when held in the hand.  Or maybe I’m just used to using phones with big displays.

In any case, the 5-inch Super AMOLED display of the Galaxy S4 is now full HD, packing a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution for a 441 ppi pixel density, while the Galaxy S3 only has a 1,280 x 720 resolution for a paltry 306 ppi pixel density.  In terms of toughness, the S4’s display is tougher since it now uses Gorilla Glass 3 while the S3 is reinforced by Gorilla Glass 2.

Processor, RAM and Storage

The Galaxy S3 used a quad-core Exynos 4 processor clocked at 1.4GHz but Samsung pushed the envelope this time by using an Exynos 5 1.6GHz octa-core processor.   That’s double the number of cores so multi-tasking performance is expected to be through the roof.  The CPU will vary though and will depend on the market.  The other processor Samsung will be using for the S4 is the 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 processor by Qualcomm.  That’s also a beast of a processor so performance will be equally fast whichever processor you end up with.

The RAM is now 2GB so that should be another reason to expect a really fast performance from the Galaxy S4.

For storage, the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 are practically the same. The S4 and S3 both have 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models and both also have a microSD card slot.

Camera, Battery and Connectivity

The Galaxy S3 features an 8-megapixel camera but the Galaxy S4 boosted that further by using a 13-megapixel main camera.   The front shooters are almost the same, with the S4 using a 2-megapixel sensor while the S3 using a 1.9-megapixel sensor.  The 13-megapixel camera on the Galaxy S4 is better based on the demo units from Samsung Philippines.

The battery on the Galaxy S4 is bigger than the one on the Galaxy S3.  The new handset has a 2600mAh battery while the S3 has a 2100mAh battery.  That’s a huge boost but you have to consider that the S4 has a bigger screen and a full HD type at that. That should mean more juice consumption so in terms of real world results, the bigger battery on the S4 is not necessarily better.

In terms of connectivity, the two handsets are practically the same.  Both offer LTE and NFC but the S4 is compatible with more Wi-Fi bands and has an IR blaster to boot.


The Galaxy S4 runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean while the Galaxy S3 runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.  Both are great versions and are practically the same in terms of performance and main features.  Both phones run the TouchWiz UI but the Galaxy S4 has new tricks up its sleeve.  Enhancements like the Smart Scroll, Smart Pause and Air Gestures make the S4 an interesting device.  But being software enhancements, they are expected to also arrive on the S3 in future updates.

Should you upgrade?

The question of whether you should upgrade from the Samsung Galaxy S III to the Samsung Galaxy S4 is not as easy as it appears to be. The main enhancements on the Galaxy S4 make it much better than the Galaxy S3, but the fact is, the Galaxy S3 is, by itself, a very good phone with very good hardware specs.  The processor, the display, the design and the features are already sufficient for most mobile phone users.  The question of whether you should upgrade is therefore dictated by your needs.  Do you need the full HD display on the S4, or the faster processor perhaps?  Overall, the two phones are both compelling choices.  If I were an owner of the Galaxy S3, I would not be upgrading to the Galaxy S4 soon.  In any case, the software features on the S4 might soon be available on the S3 through updates.

Now if you are not an owner of a Galaxy S3 but you’re thinking if the Galaxy S4 is a worthy device to purchase, that would be another story altogether.  Considering that the Galaxy S4 has the best combination of features among the current crop of Android phones, I won’t hesitate to recommend the S4.  Note, however, that you have other good Android phones to consider like the Sony Xperia Z and the HTC One. is one of the most active tech sites in the Philippines. We enjoy sharing interesting and relevant stories about the latest trends in technology, developments in mobile phones and social media, and modern digital and geek culture.

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