Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE hands-on

Here within the UK, we’re used to bumbling along on rubbish old 3G, barely aware that our US cousins — and other nations besides — enjoy faster mobile data owing to 4G tech. That’s about to vary. Everything Everywhere has created EE, a brand new network for its 4G LTE service, and one of many first phones to exploit that faster technology would be an LTE version of the Samsung Galaxy S3.

There’s no word yet on when this LTE-capable smart phone might be released, or how much it would cost, but with EE’s 4G network launching within weeks, I’d cautiously expect this mobile to be out before Christmas.

I’ve been hands-on with the 4.8-inch Galaxy S3 LTE previous to its official launch, so read on for everything you should know (including the result of my speed test), and check this page later for more photos and an entire review with a celeb rating.

LTE speed

The Galaxy S3 LTE is a 4G phone. That suggests it has the hardware required to latch onto a network’s 4G spectrum band, which delivers much faster data. In practice, videos will load so much more quickly and web sites will appear with less delay. It’ll even be faster to put in apps and do very nearly anything that involves a web based connection.

Designated a 4G phone by the bobbly LTE icon glued onto its rear, this phone performed rather well after I gave it a speed test. My hands-on time was limited, but I saw internet sites loading snappily and was hugely impressed by the implications I nabbed.

The download speeds afforded by an LTE connection rival home broadband.

Using the rate Test app, the S3 LTE managed an extraordinarily fast 39.57Mbps download and 23.95Mbps upload. That’s extremely nippy and it’s significantly quicker than many people’s home broadband.

I ran the test a number of more times — once it came back slightly slower at 26.43Mbps download, though that’s still impressively quick, and on another test it just edged past the 40Mbps mark.

Only time will tell whether this phone, and other LTE mobiles, can manage real-world speeds which are anywhere near that benchmark. Network strain, location and other factors could easily affect the speeds you finally achieve.

It’s also worth noting that I spied a 3G phone loading an internet page ever-so-slightly faster than its 4G equivalent a couple of times, so for everyday tasks like web browsing, the adaptation might not be terribly obvious. I’m also hoping 4G downloading doesn’t prove a horrendous battery drain.

Design and hardware

In design terms, the S3 LTE is sort of completely a dead ringer for its non-4G equivalent. Rounded and light-weight, it is a good-looking mobile. For more in this smart phone’s style, I’d recommend testing the design component to our exceedingly detailed Galaxy S3 review.

Apart from the brand, the handset appears similar to the regular S3.

The only visible difference is an LTE logo plastered at the phone’s rear. i don’t believe it’s particularly attractive, but a minimum of it’s out of ways. EE shall be exclusively selling the S3 LTE in titanium grey (pictured), alongside the commonly available blue and white options.

The S3 LTE is a quad-core phone, this means that it beats the U.S. version of the 4G S3, as that device is dual-core. Once you’ve stopped waving your union jack, you can be interested to be informed that the processor is clocked at a hearty 1.4GHz, so this mobile will power through even essentially the most demanding apps and games. Other benefits from the powerful chip will include an absence of lag if you find yourself swiping in the course of the phone’s menus.

Here’s front-facing camera for video chats together with your chums.

Elsewhere, there’s an 8-megapixel camera at the back and a 1.9-megapixel snapper bolted onto the phone’s front. You get 16GB of on-board storage, which you’ll expand using a microSD card if it isn’t enough.

Software

The Galaxy S3 LTE will arrive running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, that’s the most recent version of Google’s mobile operating system. Samsung has stuck its own TouchWiz interface on top of the default Android software — for more in this Android skin and other app goodies that Samsung might be pre-installing, have a look at our in-depth study the Galaxy S3’s software.

We’ll see how Samsung’s interface tweaks to Android Jelly Bean perform inside the full review soon.

The non-LTE Galaxy S3 is currently running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but could be updated in October. Jelly Bean brings new features including Google Now, a service that provides you information relevant to you in keeping with such things as your location or search history. Let’s say, conjure up Google Now before you permit for work and it can offer you travel information in your commute.

Outlook

The arrival of 4G is a thrilling technical breakthrough for mobile Internet connection inside the UK, and a favored, powerful smart phone just like the Galaxy S3 is a perfect standard bearer. As for whether this phone might be worth dishing out for, we’ll must be patient how the impressive speeds 4G is promising delivers in real life.