Buy smart: The Galaxy S3 is still cutting edge (and about to be cheap!)

Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3Stop it! Really, just stop everything you’re thinking about the Galaxy S4. Stop counting down the days before it’s released; stop idly scribbling its name next to a heart; and stop pulling out your credit card every day hoping that pre-orders will start. That’s right, we’re telling you not to buy the latest Samsung smartphone. Why? We’re not going to tell you it’s anything less than great, nor are we rabid Apple fanboys about to convince you the iPhone 5 is the phone for you; it’s because it’s not worth it and you should get a Galaxy S3 instead.

“Haha,” you’ll say, then add, “it’s old” in a tone which is usually reserved for discussing used bed clothes or the interior of a condemned house. But wait a minute. It’s not old at all. Samsung has announced the Galaxy S4 a little less than 10 months into the S3’s life, and even in the crazy world of smartphones, that makes the Galaxy S3 little more than a teenager.

Dissenters may now cry, “Pfft, but it’s out of date technology!” Here’s where you’re really wrong. The Galaxy S3 has a 1.4GHz quad-core processor (or the 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4, depending on where you live), a maximum of 64GB of memory (plus a microSD card), 4G LTE and a 720p, 4.8-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen. It ain’t out of date. The only thing it’s really missing is a 1080p screen, and you won’t miss it much.

OK, so this is a similar story to many other top-of-the-range smartphones, but thanks to Samsung selling more than 50 million Galaxy S3 devices, it’s has a long list of hardened supporters to keep happy in the future. The good news is, unlike some of its competitors, Samsung has already promised to deliver. You see, the Galaxy S3 is rumored to be getting the next major version of Android OS – 5.0 “Key Lime Pie” or whatever it’s called – plus the vast majority of features which don’t depend on the Galaxy S4’s hardware added to it as part of a Premium Suite-style package. So it won’t have the universal remote capability or some of the health features; but honestly, will you miss them? No, we’re betting you won’t.

Bargain prices will continue to fall


We’ve saved the best, and the most convincing reason for buying the Galaxy S3 over the Galaxy S4, for last: The price. In the UK, the Galaxy S4 will cost about £530 ($800) SIM-free, but if you shop around the Galaxy S3 is available for as little as £329 ($490) through Amazon, or £337 ($560) after discount with Asda Direct right now. And that’s before the Galaxy S4 has even been released, so we can expect those prices to drop even further at the end of April.

In the U.S., a Verizon or Sprint Galaxy S3 on contract through Amazon Wireless is $0.01 at the moment, and as with the unlocked prices, the deals will improve as the month goes on. Samsung has yet to announce the Galaxy S4’s price and availability in the U.S., but it will likely be at least $200 with a new contract.

So, the Galaxy S3 is only 10 months old, has a cracking spec list, will get many of the Galaxy S4’s software features (and is easily augmented with others to emulate the S4’s capabilities), spanks many of the most recently released high-end phones in the performance stakes, and can already be had for a bargain price. Samsung may have made a song and dance about the Galaxy S4, but the Galaxy S3 is still much too capable to pass off as yesterday’s technology.

While it’s never going to hurt the Galaxy S4’s sales figures, shrewd smartphone buyers have the chance to pick up what was, until last week, the most desirable Android phone on the market, whilst saving quite a chunk of cash. If that’s you, get practicing your best smug look, as you’re going to need it.

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