Samsung Galaxy S3

The content below refers to the Samsung Galaxy S3 handsets, which we have available to buy here on our website.

Children in Need smartphone cases

Support the cause with the Apple iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4 & S4 Children in Need phone cases

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p>Children in Need is a UK based charity (Registered Charity Number: 802052) that provides grants to projects in the UK which focus on children and young people who are disadvantaged.

The charity currently supports over 2,600 projects 365 days a year.

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What’s the difference between the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S3 mini?

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Galaxy S3 Mini – what’s the difference?

We don’t often look backwards at Clove but it can be useful, especially when the latest and greatest devices might stretch the budget a little for some. This will therefore be the first of a few posts that take a look at the previous generation, which may be useful if you’re looking to upgrade but don’t particularly want or need the  highest end devices.

For this comparison we’ll take a look at last year’s Samsung flagship and its baby brother, the Galaxy S3 and S3 Mini.

The Galaxy S3 was the runaway success of 2012, shipping and selling far more than any other Android device helped in part by a fantastic specification and massive marketing power. As we shall see, the S3 still holds its own against many new devices, but does the S3 Mini still make a decent purchase?

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini

Main differences at a glance

Before we get into the details, here’s a quick look at the main differentiators between the Galaxy S3 and the S3 Mini:

  • Power – S3 runs a 1.4GHz quad-core processor against Mini’s 1GHz dual
  • Screen size – Obviously the S3 has the larger display: 4.8″ against 4″
  • Camera – S3 is far superior with an 8MP sensor over the Mini’s very standard 5
  • Dimensions – the S3 Mini gets its name by being  smaller and lighter
  • The S3 screen resolution trumps the Mini at 1280×720
  • The S3 Mini has no video output capabilities

Display

The Galaxy S3′s 4.8 inch screen can still be considered among the best displays of all the newest devices  of 2013. With a resolution of 1280 x 720, high definition content can be enjoyed on the HD Super AMOLED technology.

The S3 Mini drops the size right down to 4 inches which many may now consider to be too small but could be useful for those with smaller hands. The resolution takes a drop to 800 x 480 so you won’t get 720p content, however Samsung’s Super AMOLED display still delivers higher quality colours than other devices in this class.

Camera

As the more ‘advanced’ device, the S3 proper has the better camera, as to be expected. The 8MP shooter was pretty high end last year and remains in the upper ends of sensor size now, although there have been a number of devices setting the bar higher. In contrast the Mini’s 5MP sensor is beginning to look positively low end. It does the job for taking relatively detailed indoor images in decent light however don’t expect anything else, 5MP main cameras are par for the course on low to mid range units now.

The main Galaxy S3 also has extra software features not present on the Mini for adapting to the environment, and ensuring higher picture quality such as zero shutter lag, and auto-focus. Other minor differences appear when you delve deeper as well including the ability to use S Voice voice commands to take pictures on the S3 – missing from the S3 Mini. Video calling isn’t for everyone however if you are going to spend time using the front facing camera then the S3 is easily the better choice with a 1.9MP HD front sensor over the VGA (640×480) resolution on the Mini.

Also worth pointing out is the possibility of future updates to the Galaxy S3 software that will draw on some of the features found in Samsung’s latest devices. The Android 4.2.2 update for Galaxy S3 will likely improve the camera feature set and we may see some of the most recent introductions such as: Drama Shot – take a burst of photos and combine them into a single frame; Sound & Shot – record a sound clip with your photo; Eraser shot – erase unwanted objects from the photo and Dual camera shot – take a photo with the rear and front facing camera at the same time, which means that you can photograph yourself whilst capturing others and then stitch them both together.

The update may also mimic the interface on the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy camera where a still photo and video are captured using the same interface, so you don’t lose time or miss the moment switching between the two. Whilst not yet confirmed, it seems unlikely that any of these updates will make it to the Galaxy S3 Mini and with Samsung no news is probably bad news.

Battery Life

Much has been made of the battery performance of the Galaxy S3 and reviews are understandably mixed. The 2100 mAh battery is large, even in 2013 however the quad core processor has a tendency to drain it quickly if you are a power user.

Whilst no device is likely to abate the power worries of truly heavy users, the S3 gave the issue a good stab and for most seems to work through the day well enough. The S3 Mini on the other hand drops right down to 1500 mAh. Now whilst the device is aimed at a lower end market than its bigger brother and the processor is clocked slower with less cores, this is a pretty small battery considering the aesthetics of the unit were less in scrutiny (it is in fact the thicker of the 2 devices – space was saved in height and width).

MHL / Video out

This was a big bone of contention when the devices were originally launched and I have personally lost track of how many people I have had to inform that the S3 Mini has no video out option as standard. Whilst Samsung made sure connectivity was the major buzzword for the S3, they silently dropped this feature from the Mini version.

Samsung has included MHL compatibility in high end devices since the Galaxy S2 and whilst they may have tampered with the standard to their own benefit in recent generations, it did come as a shock to see it omitted from the Mini. Whilst this could have been overlooked if Samsung’s DLNA implementation “Allshare” (now rebranded as Samsung Link) had been included, this was not to be the case. This leaves the S3 Mini an absolute no-go if you want to share content from handset to second screen in any manner.

Connectivity

Continuing from video out, both devices have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 support, although as discussed above, the Mini does not include DLNA.

Another issue to consider if looking at either device is that neither of them has a 4G LTE radio installed. There are versions of the Galaxy S3 with LTE, however these are not available SIM free. At the time this was not much of a concern with the UK LTE market in its infancy however with many UK networks providers releasing their plans for LTE rollouts and expansion for the end of the year and early 2014, picking up a new device without the technology inside could be seen as a backward move unless you are planning another upgrade in about a year.

Size & Design

Many called out the S3 for being too large for a flagship device last year but Samsung silenced everyone when they released the comparatively huge Note 2. The question of size seems to have gone out the window now with the Galaxy Mega and Huawei’s Ascend Mate looming in the distance. Still, the S3 is touching on being too large for one handed use for many people and can take some getting used to have you been using a smaller device.

On the other hand the S3 Mini’s 4 inch screen is now looking a bit antiquated in terms of size. If you are looking at upgrading for a boost in productivity or media use then the Mini will disappoint.

The ‘Mini’ part of the name also seems to be a little bit of a misnomer when the two devices are held close together. Whilst the Mini is about 15mm shorter and 7mm shorter, it is actually over 1mm thicker, although that does take a good eye to notice. So whilst the Mini does significantly drop screen size, most of this is traded for by increasing the bezel on the device. The chassis remains very similar – it seems there was only so much that could be dropped from the internals when making a budget version.

Being of the same range and generation, the styling on the two devices is practically identical. The same materials have been used although the S3 is available in a wider range of colours (although availability of these can have a big affect on the price).

Power

The Galaxy S3 is still able to hold its head up high as one of the fastest units on the market with its 1.4GHz quad core processor. Whilst its successor may have surpassed this, it is still very much a high end spec. The Mini drops to a very mid range 1GHz dual core chip. Now this by itself is by no means a bad component for the price point of the device but when you are following the flagship Galaxy brand it is a slight disappointment.

This does give cause to think of the future if looking at these devices now though. Where the S3 is still a very capable device that will have plenty of life left ahead of it for any user adopting it today, the same cannot be faithfully said of the Mini. If one were t pick up a Mini today it should probably be under the knowledge that they would likely want to upgrade early in the next generation.

As is often the case you get what you pay for and with the S3 Mini coming in at a bargain discounts towards the end of its lifespan, the power trade-off could be well worth it as a backup / secondary unit or one for a novice user or child.

Storage

The issue of storage is one which has been quite prominent in the news recently, especially for Samsung. Whilst neither of these handsets suffer from the same heavy implementation of TouchWiz that newer Samsung units do, a fair chunk of the main storage will be taken up before use.

The base storage available for the S3 and S3 Mini is 16 GB and 8 GB respectively, with larger units announced but incredibly difficult to source in many territories.

Pricing

At this point in both device’s life cycles their prices are understandably volatile. I would expect the S3 Mini  to see the biggest cuts soon as Samsung drop off support for the device in favour of other devices however the main S3 will likely remain supported and relatively available for some time yet.

At the time of writing Clove have the S3 Mini listed at 189 GBP ex VAT for the White model. The S3 varies from 300 – 365 depending on colour variant. Both are now excellently priced considering their own specifications and the competition in their class if one considers the S3 as a mid-to-high end unit and the Mini as low-to-mid range.

Conclusion

Clearly the S3 was always going to win out against the miniature version on paper but this comparison is looking at more than raw power and specification.

From a usability and value for money perspective, the Galaxy S3 remains an incredible device that is still relevant in the modern range of devices. The Mini however, whilst still providing a decent specification for the price, suffers from a lack of features that make it less capable of being seen as a quality device in the months and year to come. As a budget device however, the Mini offers plenty against other similarly priced handsets.

Either device is a good choice as long as you are well aware of your needs, although with the chance of the S3 dropping in price again as the S4 gains momentum, it could be very hard to recommend anything else to the budget conscious customer

What’s the difference between the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4?

Samsung galaxy S3 vs. Samsung Galaxy S4 – what’s the difference?

At first glance, there’s not a huge difference between the Samsung galaxy S3 (available to order here) and the S4 (available to order here), – their form factors are incredibly similar; the dimensions of the devices are pretty much the same and they have a similar look about them.

However, if you’re weighing up a purchase between the two, you’ll notice there’s a fair bit of difference in the price tags – £315 + VAT for the S3, £445 + VAT for the S4.

So what generates this difference in price? Is it worth paying the extra for the S4, or should you save a few quid and stick with the still impressive S3?

First of all, here’s a brief run through of the differences between the two. These are discussed in more detail throughout the rest of the article, so keep reading if you want to know more.

Differences S3 vs S4

What’s new in the Samsung Galaxy S4?

  • Larger display, with a higher resolution
  • More built-in features
  • Better camera
  • More processing power
  • Newer version of MHL (TV out), which requires less cables to set up
  • Better battery life
  • Slimmer and lighter design
  • Better accessory range

Read the full differences below or sit back and watch the following video:

Size

Overall the two handsets are pretty much the same size. The main difference is the thickness – the S4 is slightly thinner – but the width and height are pretty much the same. The S4 is also lighter, but marginally so.

Display

Samsung has increased the screen size of the S4 by 0.2” to 4.99”.  It has also reduced the bezel, which is why it’s possible to have a larger screen but smaller dimensions.

While a larger screen gives you more viewing real estate, it also creates a bigger reach from one side of the screen to the other. This can make one-handed use tricky at times. A reduced bezel can also cause you to accidentally touch the screen more frequently, so bigger does not necessarily mean better.

As for screen resolution the S4 definitely comes out the winner. It has full HD (1920 x 1080) and a pixel density of 441 ppi. This really does produce a crisp picture. The S3 isn’t far behind though; it’s got a resolution of 1280 x 720, which is still very impressive when playing back videos. Both handsets user Super AMOLED technology so there’s not much difference to draw in that aspect.

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Can I use my Samsung Galaxy S3 MHL/HDTV adapter with the S4?

In short the answer is YES.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 HDTV adapter works with the Samsung Galaxy S3 & S4.

The S4 HDTV adapter works with the S3 as well.

The S3 HDTV adapter has a 24Hz refresh rate whereas the S4 adapter has a 60Hz refresh rate. This is the key difference between the two. The S4 adapter creates a sharper on screen image.

The S4 does not need power to be connected for either MHL adapter to work, but it is advisable to avoid excessive battery drain.

When using either the S3 or S4 adapter with the Galaxy S3 you do need to have mains power connected.

See both adapters in action below.

Disable S Voice on your Galaxy S4 to speed up the home button

Samsung Galaxy S4 Pros

Samsung’s S Voice feature has improved considerably since its initial release, but if you’re still not a regular user of the feature it’s worth disabling it to get improved performance from your handset.

Going by the default settings of TouchWiz, S Voice is activated when you double tap the home key. This means that when you press the home key once, there is a short pause while the handset waits to see if a second tap is registered to activate S Voice. If you’re not using S Voice all that much, you may wish to disable the double tap feature to remove the lag.

To do this, load S Voice and go to menu > settings > open via the home key.

If you don’t want to disable S Voice but still want to speed up the home button, you could use gesture controls to launch the app instead. These are included within some launchers or can be configured with other apps, such as Trigger.

S Voice runs on Samsung’s Android handsets that have been updated to Jelly Bean, so you should be able to make the tweak on the Samsung Galaxy S2/S3/S4 and both the Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 2.

[Read more...]

Samsung Galaxy S3 & S4 using same MHL/HDTV adapter

This video shows the Samsung Galaxy S4 using the official Samsung S4 HDTV and S3 HDTV adapter as well as the S3 using the S4 HDTV adapter.

Both the S3 and S4 can use either HDTV adapter, the difference is that the S4 HDTV adapter operates at 60Hz whereas the S3 works at 24HZ, thus the S4 adapter re-draws the picture on screen more frequently and allows for a clearer image on screen.

Samsung Galaxy S3 price drop

imageWe have just dropped the price of the Samsung Galaxy S3 by nearly £40.

You can now pick up a White, Blue or Black Galaxy S3 for less than £400.

For more information please click one of the following links:

Samsung Galaxy S3 – Blue

Samsung Galaxy S3 – White

Samsung Galaxy S3 – Black

Which MHL Cable should I buy?

MHL Cable choices

The chances are that if you’ve come to this post, you’re already aware that your device has MHL (video out capability), so I won’t explain what an MHL cable is used for (there are good definitions within the linked products below) and we also have this post, which explains what MHL does and shows off some of its coolest features.

MHL Cable

However, while MHL is an industry standard (meaning that in theory the same cable should be compatible with all MHL-enabled devices), that is not the case – some use an 11 pin arrangement, others use a 5 pin arrangement. The point of this post therefore is to tell you which MHL cable is compatible with your device.

Samsung Galaxy S4 / Samsung Galaxy S3 11 pin MHL Adaptor

We have created a video to show the description below in action, which you can view here

The Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy S4 MHL adaptors are interchangeable with both handsets. That’s to say, the S4 MHL adaptor will work with the S3, and the S3 MHL adaptor will work with the S4. However, there are still some differences.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 uses MHL 2.0. This means that there is no power connection needed for the MHL adaptor to work – the S4 can power the connection itself. That being said, it is advisable to power the connection if possible (using your handset’s microUSB charger) in order to prevent battery drain. Both the S3 and S4 adaptors work with the S4 without the need to power the connection.

The situation with the Samsung Galaxy S3  handset is the opposite. Both the S3 and S4 MHL adaptors will need to be powered if you are using them with the S3. This isn’t a huge problem as the microUSB charger supplied with you handset is fine for this purpose, it just makes the setup slightly more inconvenient.

The other difference between the two adaptors is that the S4 adaptor has a 60MHz refresh rate, whereas the S3 has a 24MHz refresh rate. This means that the S4 adaptor will provide a better image on screen, whether you are using it with the S3 or the S4.

Galaxy Note range

All Galaxy Notes  include support for MHL. The rules for choosing  an MHL cable are the same as the Galaxy S device of the same generation and follow the same guidelines as above

  • Galaxy Note = Samsung Galaxy S2: available HERE
  • Galaxy Note 2 = Samsung Galaxy S3: available HERE
  • Galaxy Note 3 = Samsung Galaxy S4: available HERE

Samsung 5 pin MHL tip

Samsung’s change to 11 pins stopped their new adapters being compatible with older devices and vice-versa. Due to this, a small tip accessory was created to convert original 5 pin adaptors to the new 11 pin arrangement. This is available HERE. Be aware that whilst this will make older 5 pin adaptors able to output over HDMI on newer Samsung phones, the adaptor specification remains the same. Any new MHL features present on up to date adaptors designed specifically for newer devices will not be available.

11-Pin MHL adaptor

From the Galaxy S3 onwards, Samsung modified the MHL standard to produce a specific 11 pin adapter for their range of devices. As stated above there is some interoperability between the S3/S4 generation.

Samsung Galaxy S4 MHL Cable (demo video)(also compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S3)

Samsung Galaxy S3 MHL Cable (demo video) (also compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S4)

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 MHL Cable (demo video) (the same generation and adaptor as the Galaxy S3)

5-Pin MHL adaptor

The original MHL specification. Most devices use this standard. The Samsung Galaxy S2 was the first device with this connection and the adapter for this is universal across all 5 pin handsets. For this reason, most of the devices listed below have links to a Samsung MHL adapter, rather than their own manufacturer, as this is the most readily available.

Sony Xperia Z (see a demo video for this here)

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Sony Xperia Z1

HTC One (see a demo video for this here)

Sony Xperia T

Samsung Galaxy S2

Samsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Galaxy Nexus 

HTC One X

HTC One X+

HTC One SV

MHL 3.0

In August 2013, the MHL consortium announced the specification for MHL 3.0. Continuing the improvements to 2.0 that brought powered MHL, version 3.0 has support for 4K video (2160p@30fps). The full list of improvements is below:

  • 4K (Ultra HD): Support of 4K formats up to 2160p30
  • Simultaneous high-speed data channel
  • Improved Remote Control Protocol (RCP) with new commands
  • HID support for peripherals such as a touch screen,keyboard and mouse
  • Higher Power charging up to 10W
  • Backward compatible with MHL 1 and MHL 2
  • Latest HDCP 2.2 content protection
  • Enhanced 7.1 surround sound with Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD
  • Connector agnostic – uses as few as five pins
  • Support for simultaneous multiple displays

Other accessories that offer MHL capability

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Smart Dock – due early April. It’s possible that this will also be compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S3, but we will confirm this once we have received stock.

There was a similar product for Sony handsets called the LiveDock, but this has now been discontinued.

Handsets that you may expect to have MHL, but don’t

MHL is a relatively new standard when it comes to its inclusion with smartphones, so you could be forgiven for expecting it to be included with newly released handsets. however, some new handsets do not include it, but use other standards such as SlimPort, which we explain here. Here are a list of those that we are aware of that do not use MHL and the equivalent standard that they do use.

LG Nexus 4 – SlimPort

Should Samsung increase the screen size of its flagship smartphone? [POLL]

Has the success of the SGS3 & Galaxy Note II paved the way for an even bigger screen on Samsung’s next flagship?

The success of the Samsung Galaxy Note II and the Samsung Galaxy SIII shows that there could be room for Samsung to once again increase the screen size of its flagship device. Both the Note 2 and S3 successfully increased on the screen size of their predecessors and the popularity of the huge screen on the Note II shows that users are becoming more and more interested in a large smartphone display.

With Samsung having confirmed a 4.99″ Full HD AMOLED display for its 2013 roadmap, rumours are rife that this will be used for the ‘Samsung Galaxy S4′. Sony will be launching the Xperia Z with a 5″ display and HTC has the Butterfly J/Droid DNA. This pegs them halfway between the SGS3 and the Note II, but without the S Pen functionality, they rival the former more than the latter.

The branding of the Galaxy S series has now become so strong that Samsung has a strong influence when it comes to setting the benchmark for the ideal Android screen size. A jump to a screen size of 5″ would make for a flagship that is an entire inch larger than Apple’s rival offering, the iPhone 5. Apple argues that 4″ is the ideal screen size for the masses, Samsung would suggest otherwise.

Of course, if a 5″ display isn’t right for you, Samsung still has you covered. There’s the S3 mini with a 4″ display, the recently-announced Samsung Galaxy S2 Plus at 4.3″, then there’s the S3 with a 4.7″ display, the Note with 5.3″ and the Note II with a 5.5″. A five inch device would slot very nicely into the current Samsung range. One of the luxuries of Android is that if you do choose a certain screen size and it isn’t right for you, there is the option to switch to another device fairly easily.

If Samsung does increase the screen size of its next flagship, it won’t necessarily mean a much larger overall footprint, as was the case with the progression from the Note to the Note II. However, some may argue that the S3 already pushes the limits of what would be regarded as an acceptable size for the mainstream consumer. We’d like to put it to the vote of the Clove readers – would you like to see an even larger screen on the ‘SGS4′, the same size as the S3, or maybe even a slightly smaller screen?

Fitbit set to sync directly to your Samsung Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note 2

image

The Fitbit family motivates you to stay active, live better, and reach your goals.

For those that are unfamiliar with Fitbit and their products please click here

The latest Fitbit Flex wristband activity tracker that was recently announced at CES is set to sync directly to your Samsung Galaxy S3 or Samsung Galaxy Note 2. There is no need to worry if you do not own either of these devices as Fitbit have said they are working to bring additional device support in the near future.

Fitbit have said that Bluetooth 4.0 syncing will be available for Android users towards late January or early February, the latter being the most likely.

This announcement is sure to please a large crowd of Android users who are always on the go, as tracking your results and logging progress will not come any easier.

The Fitbit One is available to purchase from Clove Technology, we are currently stocking the Black & Burgundy variants at £66.65 ex VAT

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