Our friends over at Samsung have sent us the T-Mobile Galaxy S III for us to review. The Galaxy S III is Samsung’s new flagship device, and is being rolled out to 5 carriers in the US. Today, we have the T-Mobile variant review for you. Now, the other US variants are 4G LTE versions, while the T-Mobile version is ready for HSPA+. However, besides that the devices are all the same. This was a good mode by Samsung, but should you go out and buy the T-Mobile Galaxy S III? We will answer that in our full review which begins now!
Samsung is known for having amazing designs for their devices, and the Galaxy S III was designed with Nature in mind. Samsung has done an amazing job with the design on this device. Samsung sent us out the Marble White version of the Galaxy S III. However, it is also available in a Blue which looks nice as well. The only carrier marking on the device that you will be able to find is the “T-Mobile” logo on the back. But, besides that it looks like any other Galaxy S III variant. On the back you also have the “Galaxy S III” logo, 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, and a speaker. If you take the back off you will find the 2100mAh battery with a Near Field Communication(NFC) chip built-in, micro SD card slot, and a sim card slot. If your take the battery off your will find all of your serial numbers and more. All of the Galaxy S III’s use the same battery, so if you friend has an extra and your battery dies, just simply pop his in. The back cover’s are also universal amongst all of the Galaxy S III’s. I wish that they would stop making the covers out of cheap plastic, and switch to a more durable material. Let’s move to the front of the device, under the screen you will find the physical home button, and the 2 touch buttons. Those buttons are menu and back. Above the screen you have the 1.9 megapixel front facing camera, proximity sensors, earpiece, LED indicator, and a “Samsung” logo. On the bottom of the device you have your micro USB port and microphone, while on top you will find the 2nd(second) microphone and headphone jack. The right hand side is home to your power/sleep button and your volume rocker can be found on the left hand side. Going around the device you have a silver siding, and both the power/sleep button and volume rocker are located here. They have the same color as the siding, but are slightly raised. The rest of the body of the device is Marble White, on the front the “Samsung” logo above the display, is a very light silver and is shiny. On the back you have a darker silver with no shine, that is used for the 2(two) logos. The design of the T-Mobile Galaxy S III is great!
Now, T-Mobile’s Galaxy S III has a unique difference from all of the other versions that are in the US. As many of you know T-Mobile has not launched their 4G LTE network or started deploying it yet. Therefore this device has a Quad-band 4G UMTS/HSPA+ 42 and Quad-band GSM, which makes it a world phone as well. And speeds on T-Mobile’s HSPA+42 Network as quite fast, but we will talk more about that in the “Network” section below. Now, let’s move onto the display of the Galaxy S III for T-Mobile. It has a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED screen, that is absolutely gorgeous. It’s resolution is 1280 X 720, which makes the Galaxy S III T-Mobile’s first HD smartphone! The colors are vibrant, everything has depth to it, which makes it look really breathtaking. And for the most part this stay’s constant on what ever level brightness you are on. Viewing angles are also good on the Galaxy S III, when you are looking at it from a very extreme viewing angle, the colors appear darker. But for the viewing angles that most of us use, the screen works great. The Galaxy S III already has the HTC One Series beat on the storage level, because it has a micro SD card slot. This slot holds either up to a 32GB micro SD card or a 64GB micro SD card class 6. And depending on which model you choose, you either get 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. Keep in mind here that storage is a very important factor to the user, and knowing that there is room for expansion is a good thing. You also get 50GB of storage in DropBox for free throughout the life of the 2-year contract. This is yet another location to store all of your files, and DropBox now has a feature that automatically uploads your camera roll to the cloud. As we know the overseas or unlocked version of the Galaxy S III has a quad-core processor inside, but because of issues with compatibility with the US version’s antennas we do not get a quad-core processor. However, this device is super fast with its 1.5 GHz, dual-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Processor with 2GB of RAM. You will not even realize that this device does not have a quad-core inside of it. I am supper happy that T-Mobile and most of the other US carriers(as of now), went with 2GB of RAM instead of just 1GB. It really speeds up the phone. There is almost no delay when going to your different home screens, scrolling through apps, or multitasking. As we said before the 2100mAh battery, does have a NFC(Near Field Communications) chip built-in. This means that you can use applications that involve NFC communication, Samsung has made some special applications like “SBeam”, but we will talk more about this is in the Software section. In terms of other connectivity you also get BlueTooth 4.0 and WiFi 802.11. Overall, Samsung has developed and put top-notch hardware in to the T-Mobile Galaxy S III.
Now, the T-Mobile Galaxy S III is not a 4G LTE version, as there is no 4G LTE antenna inside. This is one of the few differences between this version and the other US models. Instead it has a Quad-band 4G UMTS/HSPA+ 42 and Quad-band GSM antennas. You will be running on T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+42 Network and with my speed test on the Galaxy S III I have gotten some of the fastest speeds that I have seen on T-Mobile. NJTechReviews uses “SPEEDTEST.NET” to test the data speeds on smartphones. You can see our results below.
NJTechReviews T-Mobile Galaxy S III Speed Test
- Ping-124ms, Download-14.39Mbps, Upload-2.91Mbps
- Ping-92ms, Download-10.95Mbps, Upload-1.76Mbps
- Ping-1059ms, Download-13.47Mbps, Upload-2.83Mbps
- Ping-1079ms, Download-11.11Mbps, Upload-1.27Mbps
- Ping-102ms, Download-12.13Mbps, Upload-0.31Mbps
- Ping-97ms, Download-5.59Mbps, Upload-0.52Mbps
- Ping-82ms, Download-15.44Mbps, Upload-3.29Mbps
As you can see I did receive some really fast download and upload speeds on the Galaxy S III running on T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+42 Network. Throughout the testing I was anywhere from have 2 bars of network all the way up to 4 bars. I experience both some good service and some bad service. Our highest download speed was 15.44Mbps, while our slowest speed was 10.95Mbps. The T-Mobile Galaxy S III was getting some really nice download speeds. Our fastest upload speed was 3.29Mbps, while our slowest speed was 0.31Mbps. As many of you know most cellular networks will not give you a super fast upload speed, but I would have like to seen it hit 4Mbps for upload. These are some of the fastest speeds we have gotten on T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+42 Network and we are happy to see that they are constantly improving it and that Samsung put a good antenna in the Galaxy S III.
Like the other Galaxy S III’s the T-Mobile variant has 2(two) cameras on it. You have one camera on the front and one on the back. On the front we have a 1.9 megapixel camera, that records video in 720pHD. As far as front facing cameras go, this is a nice one. It is perfect for video chatting on the go, taking “selfies” and much more! Samsung has always been the one company you can count on for making good quality camera’s for your smartphone, and they have done it yet again with the Galaxy S III. On the back you have an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, and in the camera application you get the full works, everything you would normally see on a regular camera for the most part is found here. You can geo-tag photos, shoot in HDR, autofocus, shooting mode’s, scene mode, ISO, white balance, and much more. It has a large amount of options that you can use to make your photos better. Image quality is really nice, and you can see some shots in the gallery below. One feature that is being rolled out to many different smartphones is that you can take photos, while recording video. The feature is found on many digital cameras like the Sony Cybershot RX100 and other smartphones like the HTC One X. 1080pHD video recording is very good, the quality looks phenomenal on and off the device. One thing that we did notice is that throughout the recording the autofocus may start searching for different things to focus on during the recording. This doesn’t always happen, but it does occur sometimes. However, I don’t think this will affect most people who get the Galaxy S III. Check out our video camera test below.
Samsung has decided that for the most part the software and operating system will stay the same across all of the different US variants of the Galaxy S III. Let’s dive into the software of the T-Mobile Galaxy S III. It is running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with the Samsung Touch Wiz Nature User Interface. Let’s begin with a feature called Smart Stay, it is a pretty cool feature that will help you to save battery life and to not hurt your eyes. It makes sure the screen stays bring with you are looking at the phone. This works via the front facing camera, it will look to see if your eyes are looking at the phone. Another really handy feature is that while you are texting someone, if you lift the phone up to your ear it will start calling the person you were texting. Like we said before the battery has a built-in NFC or Near Field Communications chip. This is the same technology that makes Google Wallet work. S Beam lets you share contacts, photos, maps, videos, app download link,s websites, and more with a simple touch of 2(two) S Beam or Android Beam enabled devices. All you have to do is go into settings and make sure that NFC and S Beam are turned on. Let’s say you want to share a photo just have the photo you want to share open on one device and tap the 2 devices together. The hit touch to beam and separate the devices, and the file is going to the other phone. While S Beam is currently only available on Galaxy S III’s, Android Beam is available on all Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich devices. You also get Voice Controls on the Galaxy S III via S Voice. Now, keep in mind that while it can’t do everything, it can do quite a lot. For instance asking S Voice “What is the weather for today?”, and it will come up with weather for today in your area. Try asking it “Who is the president of the United States” and it will tell you the President is Barrack Obama. You can use it set an alarm, start a timer, find a restaurant, turn something on or off in settings, make a social media update, navigation, and much more. If you turn voice commands on in settings you can do something that I found very useful. When the alarm goes off in the morning you can say “Stop” or “Snooze” and it will do what you say. This came in super handy in the morning. You can also use this feature to answer calls or to even snap a photo. Keep in mind that for S Voice to work it does require a Network Connection, and at times it does come up with a “Network Error”. You also have Pop Up Player which will allow you to continue to watch you video while looking at maps or responding to a text message. Basically the video becomes a smaller image that you can move around a watch while, you are multitasking in another application. You can take a screenshot on the Galaxy S III by holding Power/Sleep and Home button down at the same time. It automatically gets added into your gallery. You no longer just have face unlock, but you know have voice unlock. Basically you set a voice command, and whenever you say that the phone will unlock. When you pull down notification center you can access the so-called “Quick Settings Bar”, from here you can easily turn on or off WiFi, BlueTooth, GPS, Sound, Screen Rotation, Mobile Data, Power Saving, Airplane Mode, and Sync. Another new feature is that you can monitor your Data Usage in its full or by each application in Settings. Remember that you have an LED Indicator above the screen? In settings you can choose what actions that make it light up. So, that is just divining into some of the awesome capabilities that Samsung has added into the Software across all of the US variants of the Galaxy S III. T-Mobile has chosen to pre-loaded T-Mobile Mobile Hotspot, T-Mobile My Account, T-Mobile Name ID, T-Mobile TV, Visual Voicemail, and widgets for several of these applications. Besides for those applications this is one of the cleanest and purest version’s of Android on the market. And you won’t even tell that you have a 1.5 GHz, dual-core, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Processor with 2GB of RAM instead of a quad-core processor.
Samsung has made the design of all of the US Galaxy S III variants the same, which means that a huge amount of accessories will be hitting the market. And all of these will immediately work with all of the devices. We will be highlighting 2(two) accessories for the Galaxy S III, both here in the written portion and our video below. Samsung has come out with the “Samsung Galaxy S III Flip Cover”, now this comes in either Pebble Blue or Marble White. And to install this what you do is simple remove the back cover of your device and then snap this cover on. Now, there is no carrier markings on this case. The back simple says “Samsung” in silver and the front “flip” cover Samsung closer to the top and Galaxy S III is written towards the bottom. And there is an ear piece cut-out. And the difference between the Marble White and Pebble Blue cases, would be the color. The covers in either color retail for $39.99 . Next, we would like to highlight Samsung’s way of getting users to use and enjoy NFC(Near Field Communications). This where the battery with NFC comes in handy. Samsung has made these things called “TecTiles”, and they are Programmable NFC Tags. Basically Samsung has made these super easy to use. You download the “TecTile” application from the Google Play Store, and in case you can’t find it if you use the Samsung Hubs, they will suggest it too you. And then you open the application and you choose from either Settings/Apps, Phone/Text, Location/Web, and Social. From there you can have it go to a website, turn WiFi on or off, and much more. And the best part is that they are rewritable. Each pack contains 5 TecTiles and will cost you $14.99 . These are just a few of the accessories that are currently on the market, and they look great!
The T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S III is an awesome smartphone. I do have to say that Samsung really launched an awesome new flagship device! It has a really nice design, that makes it easy for everyone to use. You will not even notice that this guy doesn’t have a quad-core processor, and has a 1.5GHz Dual-Core processor with 2GB of RAM. We got some of our fastest speeds on T-Mobile’s Network with the Galaxy S III. On the back you get a fantastic 8 megapixel camera with LED flash and a good 1.9 megapixel front camera. And then you have all of the amazing software features that Samsung has designed, we are talking about S Beam, S Voice, Smart Stay, and much more! Samsung also made 2(two) really nice accessories, and yes I am talking about the TecTiles and the Flip Cover. Now, with a 2-year contract it will cost $279.99 for the 16GB and $329.99 for the 32GB. I highly suggest you look at this device if you are on T-Mobile. For More Info On The T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S III, Please Click Here. We would like to thank Samsung Mobile USA for providing us with a copy of the “T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung TecTiles, And Samsung Galaxy S III Flip Cover”.