Phones Review

Sony Xperia Ion vs Samsung Galaxy S3: Budget dependent

Under: Phone Debates, Samsung, Sony
By:Debbie Turner | July 2nd, 2012

The Samsung Galaxy S3 (S III) is finally seeing the light of day in the U.S. after being previously released in other regions such as the UK and Europe several weeks ago. The Sony Xperia ion is a beautifully stylish handset that has just been released and has a lot to offer for far less money and today we thought we’d give you a comparison, the Sony Xperia ion vs. the Galaxy S3. Your ultimate choice between these handsets may well depend on your budget.

The Galaxy S3 is either being carried already or about to be released on all 4 major US carriers whereas the Xperia ion is now available on AT&T so your pick could be decided by carrier availability alone. If not though, read on to find out more about these two phones. First off we’ll look at the design and build of these phones and this is where the Xperia ion will win hands down. We’ve often praised the design of the Sony Xperia ion, which looks like a top-quality high-end handset although the specs may not quite measure up to the Galaxy S3. However one of the only criticisms of the Galaxy S3 has been its plasticky body and feel, which doesn’t live up to the top-notch internals. If you care more about phone design rather than specs and features then the Xperia ion wins already.

On to the internal elements though and the Xperia ion features a 1.5GHz MSM8260 Snapdragon dual-core processor while the Galaxy S3 has a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor in the US or Exynos quad-core in other regions. The U.S. versions of these smartphones both have 4G LTE connectivity (except T-Mobile US) and NFC so there’s little between them here. Moving on to displays the Xperia ion has a 4.55-inch HD LCD display with resolution of 1280 x 720 while the Galaxy S3 has a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display with resolution of 1280 x 720. The ion has a better pixel density but the Super AMOLED of the Galaxy S3 is vastly better than the ion’s LCD display. If you prefer a larger screen then the Galaxy S3 will be your choice so wins this category.

The camera set up of the Xperia ion includes a 12-megapixel rear camera with 1080p video capture that also features an Exmor R sensor, autofocus and flash. There’s also a 1.3-megapixel front-facing shooter. The Galaxy S3 has an 8-megapixel rear camera with 1080p video recording as well as zero shutter lag, autofocus and flash and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera. Looking at storage the Xperia ion has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage expandable via microSD. The Galaxy S3 takes this round though as the US version has 2GB of RAM (1GB elsewhere) and 16 and 32GB internal storage models, expandable with microSD.

The Galaxy S3 also comes out on top as far as battery is concerned with a 2100mAh battery compared to the ion’s 19000mAh battery. Finally onto the operating systems and both are Android handsets. Unfortunately the Xperia ion launched running Android 2.3 Gingerbread whereas the Galaxy S3 runs on Android 4.0 ICS. An update to Ice Cream Sandwich will come to the Xperia ion but it’s a shame it didn’t release with it.

The final factor in our comparison is the price of these two handsets and this is where your budget will definitely come into play. We think the Xperia ion is not too far behind on specs of the Galaxy S3 and yet the price difference is pretty significant. The Xperia ion launched on AT&T with a $99.99 price tag on the usual two-year contract, which we thought was extremely reasonable. However we recently told how presently both Best Buy and Sony are offering the Xperia ion at the bargain price of $49.99, making this exceptional value. We have no way of knowing how long that price deal will last though so you may want to hurry.

Meanwhile the Galaxy S3 pricing we’ve heard so far is $199 for the 16GB model or $249 for the 32GB version, that’s a huge difference from the price of the ion and only you can know if the extra specs and features of the Galaxy S3 makes it worth that extra cost. Ultimately we’d say if you’re on a budget the Sony Xperia ion is hard to beat. It still has very impressive specs and that stylish design is a real winner. However if the internals are everything to you and your budget is not so tight then you may decide that the Galaxy S3 is a more sensible option for you.

We’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Are you currently in the market for a new smartphone and if so do either of these handsets appeal to you? As the Xperia ion is currently on sale for a quarter of the price of the Galaxy S3, is the extra cost of the S3 justifiable? Let us know with your comments.

Source: Fun47

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UPRCZEAMCJWKKM4IX7PDYLW3BY Andy

    It’s such a shame that Sony released this thing with Gingerbread. What a waste of good hardware, this tarnishes Sony’s reputation in my mind.  I find the Sony’s build quality to be superior to that of the Samsung.  I just feel a lot better about the aluminium casing. Sure, plastic is strong and light, but also fairly brittle.  I believe Samsung made a mistake here.  I’m going to upgrade my phone in a couple months and these two are on my watch list.  A reliable android 4.0 (or perhaps 4.1??) release date announcement would make the Sony a frontrunner in my mind.  I’m willing to go with another Gingerbread device for a few months if I can get a better camera and better build.

  • herp

     thats some nice source….

  • Robert

    I am just curious about the ineptitude of the reviewers that keep criticizing the S3 on build quality. I have never owned a Samsung phone before and the S3′s I just got last Wednesday on a Sprint pre-order is anything but poor quality build. It is a thin, sleek, light weight, and solid phone. However, once you take the back cover off for battery replacement or SD card swapping one can’t help but think (key word is ‘think’) that the cover is flimsy and poor quality however it is very durable. It is difficult to fathom something so thin as being durable but it is. I have had the back cover off numerous times on two phones and never an issue. Back cover snaps back on tightly and the S3 once again feels like one durable solid phone.

  • Tkmcguire

    I just ordered the ion from Best Buy for $49.99,for that price it can’t be beat,I love the design of it,and it has high quality materials with the aluminum back,and it will get ics any day so that is no biggie,I was looking at the HTC One X the Samsung Galaxy 3 and the ion,out of the 3 the ion has the best looks and build and with $150 less in price it was a No Brainer in my opinion.

  • ion guy

    The SONY ion is a bargin at $49.99 from Best Buy and if you have a smart phone trade it in while you’re there.  My ion cost me $4.09 with my Sammy Captivate (1st gen) trade in.  I had the Sammy Impression (which left a bad impression) and gave Sammy one more try with the Galaxy S Craptivate (nothing but problems)…

    On to the Sony and not looking back.  

  • 123

    review correction… Ion has 2gb ram… loved all SONY handsets, never had bugs or problem… except Ion with 1 issue, reception isnt as good.   All SAMSUNG handsets have had bugs and issues… and not sure of design.

  • Guest

    I would question a 12MP camera as being the better offering. Increasing megapixels without increasing sensor size … I would imagine the result would be noisy pictures in anything but ideal conditions. My 12MP Canon consistently outperforms other 16MP bridge cameras on the same principle. While my experience with Samsung phones has been a little buggy (Fascinate, Nexus was quirky), I’ve pre-ordered my S3 and have high expectations.

  • http://www.phoneandphones.com/ Lirex

    Nice review but anything with Sony Xperia as its name has got me hooked by the b..ls.

  • http://galaxy-s3-apps.blogspot.co.uk/ Galaxy S3 Apps

    Really annoying that gingerbread is on the sony, if it had some decent OS on it then it would be decent !!

  • Peltruquin

    Update I just bought it from AT&T for 99 bucks and it comes with 
    Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The Camera is as good as the one from the Xperia Arc S….. just more pixels this time…. Love the phone screw samsung!

  • brian

    Hey how can samsung beat sony on battery??????you wrote samsung has 2100 but sony has 19000 :) get your facts and edit your work!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001185765196 YO YO Harry Singh

    I M THINKING OF GETTING  A XPERIA ION THANKS GUYS FOR INFO

  • Rob

    my S3 was $ 149.99 in Canada. the sony one is $100.00 so the price is pretty close, i love my S3, the back may be plastic, but it’s lighter and seems to be a little more resilient. and since i have a protective Otter case on it, the cover is not important. I have not tried the Ion, it looks good, but i am VERY happy with my S3. and the new Jelly bean O/S should be out in a week or so for it.

  • dilip

    i love ion very much n buy now……………

  • phil

    Im using the xperia ion right now to write this and it kinda sucks the battery life will last like 10 hours most maybe 11 hrs, if your using it alot maybe 5 hours and other then that it gets really hot when im on facebook for abit, mostly playing games if you a game for like 15 mins it’ll start heating up then probably freeze your phone, but other then all that its good, its a good lookin phone but needs some fixes

  • angel. k. m

    I recently bought sony xperia ion…..nd it works really very good…i love ion…i ve also tried sammy s3 but I would say tht ion works much better thn sammy..

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