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.