Pocket Burner: Samsung Galaxy S4 or Refurbished Galaxy S3 at Affordable Price?

The recent launch of Galaxy S4 by Samsung has unknowingly raised a war with its predecessor Galaxy S3. Given that the GalaxyS3 is in the market for almost more than a year and thus available at a heavy discount from many carriers, it’s even more lucrative, especially for customers on a budget. This model had its successful run last year and it is also renowned for dethroning iPhone from the prime position in the third quarter of 2012.

Is the Galaxy S3 still a better player in the market where Galaxy S4 exists?

If we consider price not the only factor, then there are aspects of the design, battery life, software, hardware and features that make one phone of the either win this prestigious race. Going a step further I am jotting down the major differences between the Galaxy S4 and the Refurbished Galaxy S3 (recently bought from Gobol.in) to help you make the smarter choice for that ultimate Smartphone.

Both phones have a similar external build, same dimensions and almost the same weight with few aesthetic differences to distinguish them. A key point of differentiation is that the Galaxy S4’s bezel has narrowed considerably, lending a sleeker appearance and thus sometimes causes an issue with the S4?s Home button with thumb tapping the screen not the bezel. Also going by looks alone, the displays aren’t significantly different. The benefits of full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution on such a small screen of Galaxy S4 are only felt in specific instances, such as watching movies and playing some games.

The Galaxy S4 Indian version features a Exynos 5 Octa core processor making it the quicker and more efficient but the Galaxy S3 still packs enough power to multi-task efficiently and to run the most complex applications. The Galaxy S4 launched with the latest version of Android Jelly Bean, 4.2 has pushed Samsung to update the G3 to Jelly Bean 4.1. If you value Smartphone that offers as much functionality as possible, then S4 is meant for you. If your needs are more basic, then you won’t miss out on much by going with the Galaxy S3.

The most talked about Galaxy S4’s camera gets a huge upgrade, jumping to 13-megapixels. Dual Shot is another attractive addition which allows users to use the front and back camera simultaneously. In nut shell if your priority is getting the best click from your Smartphone, then S4 is the better choice. However if you are happy with a good camera with decent images & it’s not in your priority list you won’t be disappointed in the S3.

The ‘Air view’ and ‘Air Gestur’ features of Galaxy S4 give the ability to preview and browse emails, messages and photos without even touching the screen. In my experience I observed that at times you have to try a little longer for the gestures to work. This might be because the phone’s sensors take time to initialize. Features like Smart Scroll are a hit and miss and don’t work if you’re wearing spectacles. These gestures control are nothing more than marketing gimmicks and you’ll probably not even remember them after a week or two of showing them off to your family & friends.

The biggest drawback to the Galaxy S4, is large, high-resolution display, multiple sensors, and quad-core processor is that all-day battery life is only possible if you employ every juice saving trick you know. The Galaxy S3 doesn’t struggle as much on this front and can more easily last all day And the most important factor for deciding upon a Smartphone for a budget constraint Indian like me is the price. And hence I will surely go for the Refurbished Samsung Galaxy S3 packed with all the features of the new one at just Rs.22000 rather than spend Rs.41500 (almost double) on a phone which has nothing new to offer except few updates than its predecessor.

Galaxy S4

Refurbished Galaxy S3


Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Pixels

Screen Resolution: 1280 x 720 Pixels

Screen Size: 5

Screen Size: 4.8″

Touchscreen – Super AMOLED Capacitive Touch Screen

Touchscreen – Super AMOLED Capacitive Touch Screen


Resolution: 13

Resolution: 8

Digital Zoom: Digital Zoom with Auto-focus and LED Flash

Digital Zoom: Digital Zoom with Auto-focus and LED Flash

Video Camera: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8

Video Camera: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8

Music & Video

Music Player: Yes

Music Player: Yes

Video Player: Yes

Video Player: Yes

FM Radio: – No

FM Radio: Stereo FM Radio with RDS

Audio Formats : MP3, AMR-NB & WB, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AC-3

Audio Formats : MP3, AMR-NB & WB, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AC-3

Video: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8

Video: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8




Internal: 16 GB (or) 32 GB (or) 64 GB

Internal: 16 GB (or) 32 GB

Expandable : MicroSD upto 64 GB

Expandable : MicroSD upto 64 GB

Physical Attributes

Form Factor: Bar

Form Factor: Bar

Width: 136.6

Width: 136.6

Height: 69.8

Height: 70.6

Thickness: 7.9 mm

Thickness: 8.6 mm

Weight : 130 g

Weight : 133 g


Connectivity & Data Speed: HSDPA upto 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA upto 5.76 Mbps

Connectivity & Data Speed: HSPA upto 21 Mbps

Quadband: Quad-band GSM 850 /900 /1800 /1900 MHz

Quadband: Quad-band GSM 850/ 900/ 1800/ 1900 MHz

Wi-Fi: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA

Bluetooth: Bluetooth v4.0

Bluetooth: Bluetooth v4.0

Data Networks: GPRS, EDGE

Data Networks: GPRS, EDGE

Networks: GSM

Networks: GSM


Push Email: No

Push Email: No

Text Messages (SMS): Yes

Text Messages (SMS): Yes

Picture Messages (MMS): Yes

Picture Messages (MMS): Yes

E-Mail: Yes

E-Mail: Yes


GPS: A-GPS, Google Maps, GLONASS

GPS: A-GPS, Google Maps

MP3 Ringtones: Yes

MP3 Ringtones: MP3, WAV Ringtones

Operating System: Android OS, v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)

Operating System: Android OS v4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

Processor Type : Quad-Core 1.9 GHz (or) Octa-Core 1.6 GHz

Processor Type : Quad-core 1.4 GHz




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  • Sahil Shah May 31, 2013 7:51 pm

    Can anyone help me out.. Should I go for Galaxy S3 or Grand Duos as both have 1GB ram and just a bit of difference in processor. but Grand cost around 16k where as s3 cost around 22k. So is it worth paying almost 6k more?

    • Tarun May 31, 2013 8:10 pm

      Hi Sahil,
      Its worth paying 6K more and to go with S3 .. :)

    • Rohan June 1, 2013 6:55 pm

      S3 anytime….. it’s actually a smartphone :)

  • S.Sudhakar May 29, 2013 1:40 pm

    Disadvantages of all android phones :
    > No FM transmitter.

    > Softwares cannot be installed in memory card without installing the third party software.

    > No folder view (Inbox, sent, drafts, outbox, my folders, delivery reports etc) in the message area.

    > Difficult to see the delivery report of each SMS later.

    • spiderman May 29, 2013 2:27 pm

      1) I do use Nokia N8 & used FM Transmitter only once in last 2 years
      2) If the phone is running fast & no hang while in multi tasking, I do not have any issues apps getting installed into phone memory
      3) I do use Thread view as default in Nokia N8, than conventional folder view as you mentioned
      4) Delivery reports option s there na? Very rarely used feature, but still it presents, so no problem

      Any other major drawback ? Planning to switch to Android with S3, N4 or Xperia ZL
      Symbian seems to be dead, All apps for Android or Ios only

  • Pratibha Gupta May 29, 2013 10:28 am

    I know this site gobol.in. Recently purchased a Panasonic LED at a discount of more than 50%. The concept of selling refurbished factory seconds items sounds good if you’re being provided with brand warranty. For a budget conscious consumers like us, it is a nice platform. And i agree with RDB that S4 is not worth the price it is pitched.

  • Sayenn May 29, 2013 9:45 am

    Why Refurbished S3 for 22k ??
    Wen Brand new is available at shops for 23k for 8Gb version.
    And 27k for 16Gb version.

  • Tharun George May 29, 2013 8:16 am

    Samsung Galaxy S4 gets official price cut in India. The phone, which launched in India on the day of its global launch at a price tag of Rs 41,500, is now selling at Rs 40,300 on Samsung India e-store. This translates to a discount of Rs 1,200.

    Still not worth Rs 40k.

    • spiderman May 29, 2013 11:21 am

      After one year S4 price become 25k sure !

      • Tharun George May 29, 2013 12:26 pm

        Yes for sure. It won’t take 1 year like the galaxy S3, it will be facing tough competition when iPhone 5S hits the market and more powerful androids running on Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.3Ghz Quad Core processor .

        Sony is already working on S4 killer, with Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz Quad Core, 20MP CyberShot camera and S-Master Surround Sound.

  • Jagannath:W.B May 29, 2013 7:50 am

    According to smart features now a days Sony is the best. Samsung said that they r smart but to features there is +1 to sony. Samsung’s smart features r for showing ur friends and families nothing more that. But sony’s features actually need to everyday life.

    • Tharun George May 29, 2013 10:31 am

      I like sony very much. They have unique design for there phones unlike Samsung and HTC cureved edge. They use premium material instead of plastic. They try to keep customization clean, unlike samsung and HTC full customized UI. Sony focus more on Hardware changes than software Gimmicks.

      • Jagannath:W.B May 29, 2013 12:52 pm

        That’s really true. Because the waterproof metal finished sony with HD quality screen resolution touch, every smartphone lover’s heart in a second.

  • Tharun George May 28, 2013 8:12 pm

    I don’t find much difference between Galaxy S3 and S4.
    1. Both look exactly same.
    2. The Exynos 5 Octa Processor, from Wikipedia “The CPU has eight cores, four of which can be active at one time emulating a quad-core”. So in fact its just a 1.6GHz Quad core processor with another power saving 1.2Ghz quad core processor in standby.
    3. I agree 13MP camera is an improvement, but nothing there to pay Rs 44k.
    4. Display at 5″ is 0.2″ larger than S3 and now 1080p.
    All rest are Software Gimmick. Why pay Rs 44k for small upgrade on display and camera?

    S3 is a very good handset and is now dirt cheap too. Why buy refurbished? On ebay for Rs 22k-24k you can get brand new S3, both US model with 2Gb ram and Indian version and even CDMA.

    • Daniel May 28, 2013 10:59 pm

      Boss I am not able to find any new Samsung Galaxy S3 for even 25 K.. even at ebay india it is priced for 27K. I agree fully agree with Rudradeep that S4 is not worth 41 or infact even 38K…

      • Tharun George May 29, 2013 8:36 am

        Here is the item number
        1. Samsung Galaxy S3 I9003 Brand New Sealed Pack Rs 22k : 161033332650
        2. Brand New W/O Box?Samsung Galaxy S3/SIII?2GB Ram?16GB?For Reliance CDMA Only Rs 23k: 151050188180
        3. New Samsung Galaxy S3 with 2GB RAM U.S Version unlocked for any GSM Worldwide Rs 23.5k : 281110780313
        4. Brand New Samsung Galaxy i9300 S3 Android,16GB, 4.8″, S Amoled (Imported) Rs 25k : 271214068896

        You can get an additional 6% discount if you have coupon.

        • Satish May 29, 2013 11:11 am

          Hey are they providing Samsung Warranty the way Gobol is providing ??.. Ebay mostly provides imported stuff and sometimes it is difficult to find service repair issue at India..

          • Tharun George May 29, 2013 11:34 am

            Yes most of them are import and comes with 1 year seller warranty. Gobol offer only 6 months manufacture warranty.

            For Rs 27k you can get brand new S3 with 1 year samsung India warranty on ebay, infibeam or flipkart.

  • sujith May 28, 2013 7:12 pm

    brand new S3 was available for Rs.22500 at homeshop18 2 days back.
    Then why buy refurbished!!!!!

    • BP Singh May 28, 2013 7:52 pm

      yes. Brand New S3 was available on deal on homeshop18 for Rs.22500.

      • aditya May 29, 2013 1:50 am

        yes true it was available for 22.5k
        also available at tradus.com but only red colour.
        gobol.in not updated price since a long time.
        refurbished S3 should cost approx 17k otherwise does not make sense.

    • Rajesh May 28, 2013 8:58 pm

      Hey it’s not possible.. they are selling at 28K.. homeshop18.com/samsung-galaxy-s3-i9300-iii-16gb-blue/mobiles/mobile-phones/product:30535377/cid:3027/?pos=1

  • spiderman May 28, 2013 7:03 pm

    Samsung Galaxy S4 over Samsung Galaxy S III
    5″ 1920 x 1080 Super AMOLED display with ~441 ppi density, Gorilla Glass 3 (over 4.8″ 720p ~306 ppi on the S III)
    Quad-core Snapdragon 600 or Exynos 5 Octa chipset
    2 GB of RAM on all models (only the US LTE-capable S III has 2 GB RAM)
    13 MP camera (8 MP on the S III)
    2 MP 1080p front-facer (1.9 MP 720p on the S III)
    Temperature and humidity sensors
    Wireless charging
    Air gestures, smart gestures (some may eventually come to the S III)
    Wi-Fi ac, faster HSDPA (42.2 Mbps over 21 Mbps on the S III)
    LTE on all models
    More compact, thinner and slightly lighter body (7.9 mm vs 8.6 mm, 130 g vs 133 g)
    Higher-capacity battery (2600 vs 2100 mAh)

  • spiderman May 28, 2013 6:03 pm

    1) S3 can’t be upgraded to jellybean??
    2) Wifi ac standard, anybody can give more info ?
    3) HSPA upto 21 Mbps & HSDPA upto 42.2 Mbps does makes much big difference?
    4) Indian version of S3, has 1 GB Ram only, Is that enough ? Nexus 22k s Quad core & having 2GB Ram

    • Riju May 28, 2013 10:49 pm

      wifi ac can provide speed up to 1 Gbps…wifi n can provide speed only up to 600 mbps..

  • spiderman May 28, 2013 5:59 pm

    Why go for Refurbished S3, Brand new S3 sealed pack available online with Samsung 1 year warranty for 22k itself !

    • ksavai May 28, 2013 10:43 pm

      Its better to compare Brand new S4 vs S3 vs N4. For me S4 above 32 is not worth it. Cant give more than 20% of money better to get N4 if you are worried about software upgrade.