Is the Galaxy S III future proof?

Posted May 05, 2012 at 10:15 pm in Threads > Opinions

After the big announcement the week by samsung I am left with one question. WIll this phone stand the test of time i.e. a two year contract?

The GSII is still one of the best phones, over a year after it was released. My only concern with the SIII it that it will quickly be outclassed, and outdated by the end of the year. Not just with a beter A15 duel core processor, but a better screen, battery,and even camera (I was really hoping for 12mp).

Im basically saying the SIII is not future proof imo and that it will be eclipsed by the next nexus by the end of the year. What do you guys think? Is this phone worth buying, or is the next nexus worth waiting for?

  • bin artyte

    It will depend on what kind of user you are. If you’re a heavy ram user like me, love the use of homescreen and notification widgets, play flash videos, play heavy ram games, use feature rich launchers, the galaxy s 3 wouldn’t last you to the next 2 generations but will at least last you to the next generation.

    Here’s some computer science explanation with some monitoring explanations of phone usage. -With 1gb of ram, you get around 800+mb (depending on kernel of firmware) of usable ram, because the 100+mb is reserved used for internal systems (like the ability to take 720p videos) and bootstrap programs. But when you boot, around 300+mb of ram out of the 800+mb would be used for applications that have to or will be loaded onto the ram. Now you might be left with close to 500mb or less than 500mb of available ram. This will be the usual case for 720p devices on official firmwares that aren’t meddled with by root users.
    -The problem with s3 is, it introduced a variety of system applications, more than the average, that are force loaded onto the ram during the booting process and have a low priority on the kill list when low memory killer kicks in. What this means is that these system apps are very hard to kill. Such system applications include the s voice technology. The addition of system apps introduced for s3 would pose 2 consequences, the first being more ram used than the average 720p devices, and secondly a more persistent heavy ram consumption, which means that when you use a task manager to free ram you won’t get as much ram back as average 720p devices. By now, the gauge for available ram on booting should be around mid 400mb.
    -In addition to the introduction of variety of system apps, Samsung also introduced more services into the s3, like s health, so expect more loading of apps into the ram during boot.
    -Now that all the points about higher ram consumption on s3 than the norm is noted, let’s go through the ram consumption of heavy ram usage. Firstly, flash. Flash ram usage would vary depending on which browser you’re using and which flash video player you’re using (I say flash video player, not any flash plugins on the web, because let’s face it, THAT’S THE most useful thing if you don’t have a mouse and physical keyboard). Usually, a 20 minutes + flash video would consume more than 300mb of ram. On more heavy ram consuming flash video players, such as facebook video player (whatever you want to call it), it consumes way more than that. Secondly, heavy ram games. This usually occurs on 3d titles using opengl 2 and above and unreal engine 3 or some advanced 3d engine, or great viewing distances, or physics. At most modern games on mobile devices would consume is less than 300mb. Lastly, widgets on homescreens and notifications and the launcher itself. A widget (be it homescreen or notification) usually loads onto the ram what is called a service in android terms. That’s why in general, when you kill the application you don’t kill the service. But this means that it is harder to kill and will require you to close the widget yourself. Launcher ram usage varies with the variety of content available. If you like feature rich and love to place lot’s of things on your homescreen, prepare for 30+mb of ram usage for the launcher itself.
    -Now that I’ve identified the significant forms of heavy ram consumption, let’s go through what will happen during everyday usage. Around 400 to 500+mb of ram (I’m being generous here about the 500+mb) will be available on boot. A heavy ram game or a flash video would lower it down to around 100mb of ram. During this stage, inactive user applications (not system applications) will be killed to free more ram. In this process, clock speed from cpu is used up to kill these apps. If we go for an even more ram heavy flash video or if you’re lunatic enough to open 2 flash videos of the same ram consumption as before, you’ll expect the available ram to dip at 50+mb. This is where the android’s low memory killer kicks in. It starts to kill important applications like the launcher, and notification widgets and system applications that won’t kill the phone yet. In this process, it would use up more clock speed for killing these stuff. Even worse is when your cpu is too fast in processing data and your ram needs more time to load and unload the processed data that you will find your applications freezing or your touch responsiveness decreasing. Now the scary part, what if you need to use more ram than before on a single application (most probably the browser)? Then be prepared to experience many weird situations. You might find your phone rebooting all of a sudden, or your touch screen not working because your touch drivers were killed, or some other weird stuff (too many to count). Although the scary part doesn’t happen often, it will if you love flash videos too much. I swear.

    Now i’ve finished my explanation on ram, I’ll just like to point out how this phone will not be future proof for 2 generations ahead if you’re looking for performance on heavy ram usage.
    -this phone has lower available ram on boot than the average 720p devices on boot
    -that means ram depletes faster than the average 720p devices
    -leads to higher chance of encountering the lag from the lack of ram when low memory killer kicks in
    -With each generation, ram usage becomes increasingly higher due to more features, denser textures, and more complex codes.

    There you have it, a long explanation on performance based future proof. S3 is an absolute no if you want performance for the long run, or rather just 2 years.

  • Taylor Wimberly

    I don’t think any mobile phone is future proof for 2 years, but the GS3 has a lot of room to grow. It has the quad-core cpu, and most apps don’t take advantage of quad-core yet, so you should see performance improve as devs keep updating their apps.

    But we are also on the verge of a lot of new tech this year. A15 cpus, 2 GB RAM, Jelly Bean. I think the A15 cpu would have a better chance of outlasting the quad-core A9 in the GS3.

  • Patrick

    No phone can stand a two-year contract anymore. The hardware technology is increasing at such a fast rate these days, no one can put out a phone that will last two years. I will be very surprised if the Galaxy Nexus even makes it to the two-year mark, I think carriers are going to have to change the standard soon, but currently, they have no incentive to do so. They’re making more money this way, and the chilling effect these huge jumps in technology have on consumers like us do not carry over to the average consumer ignorant of other options and future releases (hence why iPhone is so popular). So while it sucks for people like us who are constantly wanting the next biggest thing, the market for providers and manufacturers is huge, and we make up a very small demographic in their overall market. I think this will ultimately lead to most of our small demographic moving to the Nexus line to keep up with the software innovations, as it is way too costly to keep up with the hardware innovations in the current state of things.

  • redraider133

    I think all phones that come out now are future proof but the OEM’s just stop support for them and Google seems to make android use more resources so to make it two years is not going to happen on any android.

  • someguy

    To those that say that no phone is future proof for two years, I would like to point out that I still own the HTC Desire and I could probably use it for another year. Except for crazy 3D games such as GTA or PSX games, I have had no problems getting through my day with it doing every kind of useless thing. (Only problem would be the f… ram and the batteries life! But those were problems from the get go.) It even runs ICS from a custom rom. But I highly doubt the S3 will stand tall for two years. Except the Ram, the specs should be fine. However there is nothing new in the innovation department. So I would agree that its not going to be futureproof for more than a year, depending how much and for what you use your phone for of course.
    PS…for anyone who wonders so much to find out whether the S3 is future proof and research that on the internet, for those people I guarantee it won’t be future proof for more than a year.

  • Joel

    Its difficult to consider any Android device ‘future proof’. Theres so many released at such a fast rate..its a game of ‘keep up’. LG already has a phone with 2g of RAM…so yea.

    To be perfectly honest, and I hate to say it – if any device has the potential to be future proof its the iPhone 5. The iphone 4 released in June 2010 and its still being compared to newly released android devices in many aspects- Display, Processor, etc.

    NOT saying the iPhone is superior, but just the fact that its still in the league attests to the whole idea of being ‘future proof’. Imagine the 5…

  • kzlife

    A little off-topic, but just saw xda releasing a video showing some of the gestures etc. on sgs3. Does seem to have great potential.

    • bin artyte

      It will in the short run. But these technology are still not as accurate as expected from the industry. Besides, those gesture technology were mostly ported from the note and tweaked.

      • kzlife

        Yeah that’s true.. haven’t used the galaxy note so much, so this is the first time I’ve seen these gestures on any samsung devices.

        Some might be useful but most of them seem a bit gimmicky (S Voice.. I’m talking about you..)

  • awal

    I have s3 for a year and a few months. Its still going strong. Fast and played all the 3d games easily. I can happily be using this for a few more years. And just downgrade my contract when the 2 years are up. To me the days of using my phone for everything has been out of its phase. Reverting back to my xbox and laptop… so the on line y thing I use this is as my pda lol.