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Samsung Galaxy S3 – Have Android Smartphones Become Boring?

Andrew Williams


Samsung Galaxy S3

The Samsung Galaxy S3 just launched. It's powerful, with a quad-core processor, and has a massive 4.8in AMOLED screen. But is that enough to hold our interest? With arguably nothing entirely new on show in the phone, some people are likely to be disppointed with the phone. Is it a sign Androids are becoming dull or are we just spoilt?

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Here are the reasons why we should, and shouldn't, get excited about the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Is the Samsung Galaxy S3 a sign that Androids have become boring?

Yes, because –

The diminishing returns of screen improvements

We were introduced to the current screen standard for top-end phones when the iPhone 4 was launched in June 2010. That was almost two years ago, and while some tweaks have been made, no phone screen has made such a serious impression since.

Why? It’s all about the diminishing returns of progress at this point. The Retina display screen technology Apple coined is all about having pixels so small you can’t see them unless you crack out a magnifying glass. We can carry on upping the resolution, but it’ll stop making a great deal of difference. Can we really get much better than the 720p Super IPS screens of the HTC One X or the Super AMOLED screen of Samsung Galaxy S3 in a traditional display? And if we can, will most of the people buying really notice?

Samsung Galaxy S3

Quad-core’s a bore

Android obsessives often pore over benchmarks, seeking out the highest value in a scale that’s effectively abstract. Mobile benchmarks are useful – especially for reviewers like us – but we shouldn’t kid ourselves that they’re really as important as their PC alternatives.

Why? There’s so little software to make use of such power, and the idea that a quad-core processor is needed to make Android run smoothly is a little mad. The first 1GHz Android phones, back in 2010, seemed almost lag-free at launch, and now they’re seen as positively ancient.

You can argue that it’ll just take a little time for developers to start really getting to grips with this generation’s new processors, but there are several reasons why it probably won’t be all that rosy. Firstly, the wide diversity of chipset types out there, and different GPUs, means developers have to compromise. With games in particular having to work with a dozen different engines, the snazzy top-end is naturally going to get watered-down a bit.

Samsung Galaxy S3

This effect is compounded by the limited revenues of the Android apps Market. The situation seems to be getting a little better – with more positive moves made in the way the Google Play store works, but it’s far from perfect. Or healthy in a pure commercial sense.

Another big plastic slab?

The Samsung Galaxy S3 follows in the footsteps of its top-end series predecessors. It’s big, it’s thin and it feels pretty plasticky. A gripe we’ve always had with this style of design is that using a paper-thin battery cover doesn’t feel or look all that good.

It’s largely the same story with the HTC One X – although the effect is even worse with the Galaxy S3. The Nokia Lumia 800 proved that plastic doesn’t have to look or feel cheap, but the big names in Android have so far failed to take this on-board at the top-end.

Oddly enough, it’s phones lower down the range that often look and feel a bit better – such as the metal-bodied HTC One V. We’re gagging to see some kind of innovation in the construction of Android phones. But now it looks like we’ll have to wait another year, at the least.


May 4, 2012, 4:51 pm

You have a point. But can't the same be said of all Smart phones? They have done the usual technology thing of break-neck innovation without pausing for breath until the great ideas dry up and they have to evolve, refine and perfect the product.

I think the same is true of the iPhone4S, that was very much an evolution rather than a revolution. The same is true of the new iPad really, as good as that screen is it is an evolution of the original retina display rather than something trully new.

I have a HTC Sensation, which was last years flagship and can't really see how you can improve on the experience any more. Its a great point we have reached in that way.

What do other people think?


May 4, 2012, 5:39 pm

Strange article. I need to go back and see what this website had to say about iPhone 4S launch, if it did mention it was dull and boring too because it brought even fewer features.


May 4, 2012, 5:42 pm

I think many people had a similar reaction at the iPhone 4S launch - not sure if we did an exact feature on it, but that vibe seemed to be there.


May 4, 2012, 5:44 pm

That was meant to be the over-arching point of the article really - it just doesn't feel quite as exciting as when, say, the HTC Desire launched back in the day. We'd be very interested to hear other people's views, though.

Kashif Bhatti

May 4, 2012, 8:03 pm

I think the article is going in the right direction - I would argue it is the operating systems that are boring. After 4 years of icon-based phones, I am very bored of apps, icons, scrolling etc. I miss my old Nokias... There is too little competition, too similar OSs, and no real software innovation/revolution.


May 4, 2012, 11:33 pm

that was the most fair opinion I've ever heard about S III, everything you said is true not just a bunch of fan friendly words. you rock man!


May 6, 2012, 3:37 pm

Am I right in thinking that the build quality is the main gripe with the new Samsung Galaxy S 3 and that is mainly to do with the back cover feeling (and being) like cheap and thin plastic?

Also, the back cover is replaceable right?

A high quality 3rd party back cover should do the trick then!

Dutch Paterson

April 3, 2013, 2:59 am

i fully agree!!!!

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