Samsung released the super successful Galaxy S III in the middle of last year with a model number I9300. Last month, an update was released to the S III in the UAE with a model number of I9305. There really are only two key difference between these models- first Samsung upgraded the RAM from 1GB to 2B for snappier performance when you have multiple applications running and second, the radio has been upgraded making the Galaxy S III the first official handset in the UAE operating under the 4G/LTE.
We asked Samsung to send a unit across so we could test the network speed of this updated model and that’s what we are reporting on today. We’ve already reviewed the device earlier so we’re not going to go into details but it’s worth mentioning that the unit feels snappier with the upgraded RAM and the upgrade to the latest Android version Jelly Bean. You also get the Premium Suite of apps which includes a slicker looking gallery and the ability to use multiple applications at one time- ala Galaxy Note II. Also worth mentioning is the new gray colour with a brushed look- it surely makes the S III look sexier.
Keep in mind that out of the two carriers in the UAE, Etisalat is the only one that has launched their 4G network. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy S III is the first handset that Etisalat is selling with 4G connectivity. You can buy one from them for AED 2499 and subscribe to a bundle created specifically for the S III LTE- 4GB data, 200 messages and 800 minutes of calling for AED 249 per month. So exactly how fast is the data speed on the Galaxy S III with LTE? Here are three screenshot of speedtest from our office located on Sheikh Zayed Road near Safa Park.
No points for guessing that the Samsung Galaxy S III LTE is in the left with 32Mb download speeds and 12Mb uploads. In the centre, we have the 3G/HSPA version of Galaxy S III on du with 5Mb downloads and 2.7Mb uploads while the far right shows the iPhone 5 at HSPA+ on the Etisalat Network with 7Mb downloads and 1.19Mb uploads. Besides testing from speediest, we also compared loading pages on the two Galaxy S III devices and the 4G version always completed loading the page about 30-40% faster than the 3G version of the Galaxy S III.
Do keep one thing in mind though- with the 4G network being new, you won’t necessarily find excellent coverage everywhere. However, the Galaxy S III easily falls back to HSPA+ so it’s not a matter of not having a signal- but just making sure that the 4G signal is strong enough which will only come with time as telcos add more towers that support 4G.
I also wanted to see how big of a battery impact 4G has over 3G and while I did not conduct any scientific tests, the Galaxy S III 4G lasted me about the same time as the non-4G version did so don’t expect as massive of a hit in battery life as we did when we moved from 2.5G to 3G networks a few years back.
It’s quite clear that 4G will become a standard on mobile phones and not a feature and this will happen much sooner than in took 3G to become mainstream. The speed differences between 3G and 4G are quite obvious- web pages load faster, music downloads faster and you spend a lot less time waiting for your YouTube video to start or buffer. There’s just no going back once you get used to 4G speeds and simply put, the Samsung Galaxy S III 4G is the best handset to get at the moment if you want to enjoy a super speedy mobile connection in the Middle East.