back to article Samsung Galaxy S III: A Swiss army knife of wireless tech

Samsung's new flagship smartphone is being admired for its big screen and voice control, which make for easy headlines and pretty photographs, but more interesting are the wireless capabilities of the S III, even if they take a little longer to appreciate. As well as sporting an enormous 4.8" screen which looks so shiny, and …


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  1. Jeffrey Jefferson
    Thumb Up

    Sounds good but..

    This will surely cost an arm and a leg.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "surely cost an arm and a leg"

      Is there a joke in there I missed? If not - to quote a previous AC :

      "Free from £36 PCM at carphone warehouse on a 24 month contact. Sim free £499."

      Same price as a 16GB iPhone 4s.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "surely cost an arm and a leg"

        I agree: £864 definitely qualifies as an arm and a leg. Possibly a leg and a half.

        My dad's house cost less. Yes, that was 50 years ago, but the point remains, it's a heck of a lot of wonga for dog.

        1. illiad

          Re: "surely cost an arm and a leg"

          soooo, how much do you earn in 24 months???? a LOT more that that, surely... :)

          If you added up your elec bill, or your drinking bill for 24 months I am sure that would be MUCH more!! :/

          1. SuccessCase

            Re: "surely cost an arm and a leg"

            @Illiad. At the risk of sounding like dad, you're comment goes a long way to explain what is wrong with our economy. It's not solely the responsibility of bankers and oversold mortgages you know.

            "shiny... tech... must... buy..."

            Yes the move to smartphones involved a big stepchange with some serious new user / service inteaction flow dynamics opening up. But really, objectively, as compared with the the value of what the S ii already brings, what extra does this do for you? And don't start quoting the minor updated features and specs listed in this article or you're entirely missing the big-picture point I'm making. Mind you I am saying this as one of the greatest tech device owners I know - but at least I recognise my addiction (and hobby).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "surely cost an arm and a leg"

              It's great to have some fairy-tale 4G connection, isn't it?

              Or is that a bit too sarcastic?

            2. illiad

              SuccessCase - Re: "surely cost an arm and a leg"

              my dad is long gone - I'm 55 with 40 years experience in elec/TV computers and OS...

              I was poking fun at those idiots who make stupid additions... crazy to think in years, when you are paid monthly..

              - If you can afford £36 a month(orange), and do not want to use credit, it makes sense to do it..

              I wonder if people have worked out how much it would cost to just use the phone??

              - *any* network for 900 minutes, 1000 Mb data usage, unlimited texts, plus extras like free cinema tickets, unlimited calls to a special number, etc..

              Me, I'm still happy with my G SII, that I got soon after that came out, - FREE phone from CPW, so no branding, and pay Orange only £20 a month, and have no worries about any phone bills, and unlike some here, I dont have to worry about how I can save money by changing provider again, due to impatiently spending a lot of money on a phone that will be on sale for HALF the price in about 6 months!!!! :D :D

              1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                Re: SuccessCase - "surely cost an arm and a leg"

                Personally I see people who spend £36 a month on beer as being extravagant- horses for courses its your money spend it on what you like. I have an S2 that I bought outright and use a sim of my choice (3 - phoned to cancel got good giff gaff beating deal for retention etc). I wont be getting the s3 as its probably too big for me. I do like the specs though.

                £900 a year isnt a lot for a "toy". My classic CB500 costs me far more than that.

          2. Robert E A Harvey


            But buying the phone won't mean you don't need a house any more, surely? It's not an alternative, it's an extra.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "surely cost an arm and a leg"

            Hell, I'm not gonna stop drinking because there's a new smartphone out there.

            Booz is me way of life ;-) I'll guess I'll settle for some sheep Nokia or ZTE for now.

            Although 4,8" makes a hell of coaster. I wonder if it's beer-absorbent ;-)

    2. LarsG

      mines bigger than yours

      Will I need a laptop bag to carry it in?

  2. Andrew James

    Would be nice if at least all mid to high end Androids started getting the NFC Wifi direct sharing capability, if not Apple & Windows Phone too.

    The number of times me & mrs sit down looking at each others photos and emailing them back and forth between us, its a fiddly process and would be much easier with this system. But ideally we wouldnt always want to have to keep the same model of phone for this to be possible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      bluetooth them! takes seconds.

    2. illiad

      If you both have android, and a PC with WiFi, then have a look at this..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      mr and mrs James

      Perhaps you'd both should have gotten a Nokia c7-00 then. Cheap and with NFC already build in. And it works great. Tried with C7-00 and 701 a few times.

      The big question about NFC is: Is NFC platform independant? Can an SGS3 NFC-send pictures to... say... a Nokia 700? I know that El Reg neglect the Hell out of Nokia's but since these are the most widespread phones with NFC already shipping I must ask.

      Because if it isn't then this is all bullshit. Might as well send stuff over via the old-skool bluetooth-pair-and-send method. Which isn't THAT bad really, is it?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well said El Reg!

    "when much of today's "innovation" involves a coloured case or pretty icon, it's nice to see really new things even if it's far from obvious what they're good for"

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Taking bets now: After how many months will Samsung stop the OS support?

    (a) after 3 months

    (b) after 4 months

    (c) after 5 months

    (d) after 6 months

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Samsung are pretty good at updating software in my experience, my SGS is on 2.3 (ICS would be a bit slow on it, i've seen it)

      My Wifes SGS II just gut upgraded to ICS, and its pretty nice!

      So considering the SGSII is a year old and mine is 2 years old, I expect at miniumum 2 years of support for OS upgrades, as the only reason SGS doesn't have ICS is speed... I doubt the SGS III will have that issue...

    2. Manu T

      RE: Taking bets now:

      And the winner... gets an... LG Optimus 7 >:->

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RE: Taking bets now:


  5. phuzz Silver badge


    It's got GLONASS as well as GPS. I don't know why I find that impressive, but I do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: and

      Most modern GPS chipsets do - great if you want to go to Russia - oh normal GPS works there just fine = no value.

      1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        Re: and

        GPS gives you a basic accuracy of 30M. If you are driving a car, then your satnav guesses which road you must be on, and then tracks along the road, assuming that is where you are driving. If (and that's a BIG IF in cities), If you can see a few extra sats, the accuracy increases, but since each system only has a few more sats than it needs, the chances are you can't see extra ones, unless you are in the sort of area where it doesn't matter.

        Now consider that your phone can see all the GPS and all the GLONAS sats; that's twice as many, possibly giving you higher accuracy, so that if you are walking, your phone may be able to work out actually where you are.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      <Insert soviet russia joke here>

      Most modern smartphones (e.g. iPhone 4S) have GLONASS.

      The reason is simply, Russia is planning to - if it doesn't already - apply a 25% import tax to phones

      that don't support it.

  6. cs94njw

    My wife went into a mobile shop recently. She had a firm idea of what kind of phone she wanted. Had to have a keyboard, run Android, small screen.

    A salesman asked how he could help, she offered the above specifications, and then asked, "What's the processor speed of the HTC ChaCha? What's the battery time? Do you have a device I can test?"

    The salesman looked at her stunned and blank faced.

    Behind her, she heard a couple of girls asking an assistant - "What phones come in pink?"

    1. Paul 135

      Xperia Pro

      I'd argue the screen on HTC cha cha is a bit too small. Keyboard, Android, not too large screen = Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro £200 SIM-free = smooth UI, great camera, reasonable battery, great high density 3.7" screen. Gingerbread, with ICS coming.

      Unfortunately, all major UK retailers have been idiotic and completely ignored devices like this. It seems if it doesn't look exactly like an iPhone clone then they aren't interested in stocking it. A guy in Phones4U also gave me the look of death for suggesting that they should actually let users try phones in shop instead of using only dummies.

      1. Furbian
        Thumb Up

        Re: Xperia Pro

        Ignored by most, probably, but I didn't. I bought a few week old Xperia S for £280, no contract, I rarely use £10 a month in pay as you go credit, so far so good.

        Isn't the S3 a just a bit big for your typical hand? Mine are relatively 'big' ,I found the S2 to be a handful and opted for the Motorola Atrix after tiring of the iPhone 4's small screen. Then again the Xperia S isn't exactly small either...

      2. cs94njw
        Thumb Up

        Re: Xperia Pro

        I don't disagree, you're right the screen is too small. I almost had to disown my wife for picking something so small ;) But actually the big screens mess with her migraines, so hey-ho.

      3. MrXavia

        Re: Xperia Pro

        I won't step foot in that shop.. It always feels like their used car salesmen...

        I prefer CarPhone Warehouse when getting a new phone.... They usually have the real phones available to play with, and i've often asked to try a new phone, and they open a new box for me to try as they've just got them in...

    2. Craigo

      How about the HTC Desire Z

      Have a look on amazon for the Desire Z. Getting on a bit now but can be had cheap and does the job. 3.7 inch screen, large pop out qwerty keyboard and quick enough with Gingerbread. Unofficial ICS is highly likely.

      Had HTC bothered to market it over the Desire HD and other models, they may have been more popular but hey, up until the One series, marketing wasn't on HTC's mind at all..

      1. illiad

        Re: How about the HTC Desire Z

        hey if you prefer an old mini, instead of a luxury car.....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I do n't understand

      Wby should anyone care what operating system it uses?

      Surely you need to know what it does, how long the battery lasts, quality of hold and support, cost.

      If you are aware of the o/s it's failed. Sounds like a fashion follower like the girls seeking pink mobiles. When using a television do you question the system running its functions or just look for functionality?

      Size is a good question. If you get something needing extra big pockets or a handbag, go the whole hog and get a tablet or notebook.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I do n't understand

        "If you are aware of the o/s it's failed."not if you use apps. I don't know of any apps that give you free port to a different os.

  7. jungle_jim

    I reckon the reg review will give it 85%.

    1. Steve Renouf


      You're forgetting the extra 15% for not being *ppl*! - 100%!!

  8. Daniel Bower

    'Your correspondent created something similar around a decade ago...'

    Patent war?! Don't tell me you forgot to...

  9. OnlyMe

    but does it support AdHoc wifi?

    From personal recent experience it send that Android and AdHoc connection are fair from a match made in heaven. The good people at XDA saw me through but I had to faff and root my device......just saying it's not always simple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: but does it support AdHoc wifi?

      I haven't had problems with AdHoc wifi on android for ages (granted, I haven't used the stock ROM for ages). On the lumia 800, otoh...

    2. thesykes

      Re: but does it support AdHoc wifi?

      Stock ROM on my Xperia running 2.3.4 posting this using ad-hoc, connected in no time, working fine.

  10. Will Wykeham

    Not the first

    Article says that it's the first phone to support both NFC and Bluetooth LE, but I thought that the HTC One X did as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Not the first

      You thought correctly, in fact I have one right here.

      Seems El Reg's hack drank too much of the PR kool-aid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not the first

        They're probably supported by Samsung.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "set up a peer-to-peer connection with a bonk where there's no Wi-Fi network to work with"

    Am I missing something?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Reg -> English dictionary

      Bonk = NFC

      1. PJI

        Re: Reg -> English dictionary

        When first I lived in England, "bonk" meant, to hit someone, usually playfully on the head. After some years away it had changed to mean the act of sexual intercourse, possibly still playfully. Now the yanks have appropriated it to mean, I think, touching one mobile against another.

        Curious. Is this telephone sex?

        1. Arctic fox

          Re: "Reg -> English dictionary" As far as "bonk" is concerned it can certainly.......

 described as "peer to peer communication".

  12. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Bluetooth LE

    An example of where this may be found is the various sensors on a bike; wheel rotation, crank rotation, even a heart-rate monitor belt. You don't really want to have to change the battery in those every time you ride your bike. The norm is a year or 2 before the sensors give up the ghost and you need to change them.

    A relatively expensive bike computer is crap compared to even the free apps on a phone (which will log the route, etc and allow you to upload it to a computer), add speed/cadence/heart-rate into the mix and it makes for a nice experience, and a "bugger off" to Polar.

    1. quartzie

      Re: Bluetooth LE

      If only those sensor companies hadn't gone for ANT+...

    2. jungle_jim

      Re: Bluetooth LE

      Would be a pretty cool way to log all kinds of data....

      Something i think would be quite useful would be a load of extra clip on sensors (or magnetic) that one could use on an engine. Is there a limit to how many things you can connect with LE at once?

      1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        Re: Bluetooth LE

        I don't think that BT itself defines a limit, but there is a finite bandwidth (although LE things normally only transmit small packets occasionally), it's more down to the controller about how many things it can link with. For example, my laptop is connected to a couple of keyboards, mouse, Wacom tablet and a couple of phones with no problems at all, however the stupid Parrot thing in the car can only manage 1 connection.

  13. illiad

    dear cs94njw...

    ask your wife to find a **large** carphone warehouse, and ask for the tech guy.. then he will be able to talk about all those things.. :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      A carphone warehouse techguy?

      Isn't that one who knows the difference between a 3GS and an iphone4?

      1. illiad

        Re: @illiad

        No, that's your stupid attempt at a joke... or their attempt at making fun of an apple fanboi... LOL

  14. 8Ace

    Not strictly Samsung's fault but ...

    Why can't they implement Bluetooth MAP (Message Access Protocol) yet in Android. All those new cars with the facility to read out incoming texts via speech synthesis and no phones to support it. Not since my old Sony Ericsson ELM anyway!

    1. illiad

      Re: Not strictly Samsung's fault but ...

      already does that... try looking next time!!! :D

  15. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Wireless Charging Kit

    My Galaxy SII powers off from a dead battery in 25 hours when it's lying on a table or 4-8 hours when it's moving in any way. Perhaps the SIII wireless charging feature is absorbing all the power radiated from nearby SII phones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wireless Charging Kit

      It'll charge twice as fast if you live near Chernobyl ;-)

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Wireless Charging Kit

      Cyanogen usually gets better battery life out of a Samsung phone but unfortunately it'll be yonks before it'll have the drivers for the new hardware in the SIII.

      Shirley Samsung should know how to get better battery life out of their phone than people hacking away at Android in their free time???

  16. illiad

    well try switching off all the fancy things you have going!!

    do you know that if you goto 'settings, about phone, battery usage' you can see a graph showing what is using up the batt?

    click on the graph, you get even more detail... :)

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge IQ of 6000. The same IQ as 6000 PE teachers.

      95% of the power goes to 'Android OS' even after a factory wipe. Samsung's SII firmware is buggy as hell - GPS rarely works, 3G doesn't work near other 3G phones, can't maintain 4G, phone spontaneously gets hot in weak reception areas, buggy sound drivers, and rapid battery drain. Samsung's fix for this mess is to release a new phone. People will buy the new phone thinking it will free them from the problems with their old phone. I have my doubts.

      1. KjetilS

        Re: IQ of 6000. The same IQ as 6000 PE teachers.


        ... I would get that phone replaced. I have an S2 and it has none of the problems you describe.

        GPS works flawlessly, 3G works flawlessly, only time it gets hot is when I use it for 3D games over a prolonged period. Sound drivers work quite well. Battery lasts for 24-30 hours with "normal" usage.

        According to the battery monitor:

        Screen: 68%

        Android System: 10%

        Cell standby: 8%

        Phone inactive: 5%

        Twitter: 4%

        Android OS: 3%

  17. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Carfone Whorehaus

    Only if you want to pay significantly over the odds for whatever you want, be bundled with their overpriced insurance scam and likely be misled about what you're buying.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Bob J.

    An unintended consequence: less support for Apple's computers?

    I'm concerned that Samsung throwing down the gauntlet like this will incite Apple to pour even more resources into the iPhone -- and devote even fewer resources to evolving its computer base. A whole passel of Mac users already are getting the message, rightly or wrongly, that Apple now cares more about its "device" customers (meaning iPhones and iPads) than it does its computer customers. The critical flow of technical innovation from Apple's computer platforms to its mobiles has been reversed with a flow of stinky interface design and "apps" from the mobiles to the computer platforms, with clearly negative consequences for Apple's new OSs' performance and general ease of use. For the first time in decades, some Apple computer users are talking about bailing.

    Samsung's new phone may or may not be the cat's meow for mobile users, but an unintended consequence of this new phone ("unintended" unless Samsung is smarter than I think and figured it all along) may be to enact that scenario, thereby further alienating Apple's computer-user base, further reducing sales of Macs and similar technology, and further shrinking the flow of technical advances and innovations from Apple's computers to its mobiles. Such a situation could enable Samsung to open up greater distance between its mobiles and Apple's, forcing Apple into an underdog role in both fields, mobile and computers. Even with all its cash and stores.

    I'm not saying this is inevitable or even probable, but it is possible. Wait and see.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wonders if....

    ... Samsung will finally get around to fixing the Dual View app for their Smart TVs with the S3

  21. illiad

    @Kevin McMurtrie

    and what version of the GSII do you have ?? there are about 7 variants, according to gsmarena...

    Mine is the original i9100, from CPW.. there is no proper 4G /LTE yet in UK.

    I regularly get 2 days before recharge, good GPS, great sound and vision, and no software problems.. Perhaps you should blame the ROM you bolted on, the bad coverage of your provider, your constant facebook/ email/ whatever updating???

    How much do you pay your provider? sure unlimited texts and data may be wonderful for very cheap, but the service is only as reliable as the revenue it generates...

    people seem to forget that the main wants of the user have been answered, in a bigger battery, more efficient system to ensure that lasts even longer, and far better camera ability...

  22. Spanners Silver badge


    1. Have they got rid of the awful KIES that I have with my GS2?

    2. Is it no longer stuffed full of "hubs" that are at best a waste of my time and ended up with me giving the GS2 a factory reset and never setting up again?

    If they have sorted out those two questions (especially 1) then they will be better than the next iPhone, Those are the only 2 flaws in the GS2. They are both pretty minor and can be lived with - but why should I have to?

  23. Kris Akabusi

    Not aimed at Samsung

    The main problem with Android phones at the moment is lack of audio through USB, the iPhone has been doing this since it came out so why has it taken Google this long not to adopt this feature? The other halfs One X has the usb port on the side for heavens sake, whats the point in that? We had a look at one of the Phillips android docks which can accommodate any phone by moving the connector about but you have to pair the phone to the dock using bluetooth!

    The sooner Google get this sorted then the sooner android will have a lot more quality devices.

  24. illiad

    @Spanners & Kris..

    1. You dont HAVE to use kies... Its like you are moaning that xp only has a basic filemanger, and very simple 'paint' program... Go and get 'airdroid' - far better..

    2. I have NEVER used hubs - those are for facenuts, whatever... (hey my mate is one!! whenever he moans about his battery I remind him about his frequent face updates, mall collection, then he shuts up... :/ ) create a folder in 'applications' , and put them all there, out of sight.. :)

    'audio through USB' ???? I guess you dont mean just a PC hook up? a quick search finds you need the **samsung** car dock, that will route the sound for you.. more info..

    I am not an audio nut, but what is wrong with the audio out jack? or Mobilefun has plenty of kit to output HDMI , and also an adapter for an Iphone dock..

    1. Kris Akabusi

      Re: @Spanners & Kris..

      My other half with her shiny new one x wants a phone dock like the iphones have - you drop the phone onto a port and it plays music through the docks speakers. AFAIK there is no device for android that can do this.

      From your link it looks like samsung have a way of outputting sound out through micro-usb, excellent news but somewhat strange how no other company has gone this route.

      1. Andrew James

        Re: @Spanners & Kris..

        Kris, I would also like to see this. Perhaps an adaptor to an Apple dock connector. A lot of cars these days come with an Apple dock built in. Great ... if you've got an iPod or iPhone.

  25. Big E
    Thumb Up

    Fry my brain out even faster

    with all these wireless stuff running around my head.

  26. illiad

    Andrew James: how about this?? :)

  27. John 62

    hd video sharing without infringing copyright

    so you've just recorded some video of your mate faceplanting off his skateboard and you want to share it with your other mates. Oh noes! the video is 100MB! That will take months to share wirelessly! But hurrah and huzzah! You and your friend each have a Samsung Galaxy S III with high-speed ad-hoc networking. A bonk together and you can share the vid in seconds.

  28. illiad


    Ideal Bluetooth(BT) speeds for 100MBytes..

    BT 1 = 1 Mbit/sec (damnn, how OLD is your phone???? )

    BT 2 = 2 Mbit/sec (about 900 secs/ 15 mins, if distance = zero!! )

    BT 3HS = 24 Mbit/sec ( uses simple wifi for speed - just over a minute transfer )

    BT 3 was so bad, they just called HS = BT3 instead..

    BT 4 is about the same.. but it has extras like it can use the faster wifi (50Mb if lucky) if available - time to tweak your router to get more... :(

    and then there is batt saving mode, etc, etc...

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