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Stick with the Samsung Galaxy S3, or Advance to the S4?

You don’t always need the latest and greatest in phone technology, even though seeing everyone else’s shiny cutting-edge devices could make purchasing one yourself tempting. Sometimes the improvements are incremental, and your old phone is worth keeping around. In other cases, the changes are so significant you would be hard-pressed to find a reason you shouldn’t snatch up the upgrade.

One decision you might be contemplating right now is whether to switch to the new Samsung Galaxy S4, instead of staying with the Samsung Galaxy S3 at T-Mobile, Verizon or another wireless carrier. Take a look at the S4 specifications and features to see if it’s truly worth upgrading to.

Samsung Galaxy S3 image by khedara via Flickr.

Price

The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 has significantly decreased the price of the S3, with new models $100 cheaper than they initially wer. That’s a pretty big drop for a full-featured phone like the Galaxy S3 and if you’re sticking to a specific budget, you’ll want to stay with the S3 because of the stellar price alone. The S4 is currently $649 at full price, which is certainly not an insignificant amount of money, though most carriers offer it for $199 with contact plans.

Hardware

The display on the S4 is a 5-inch Super AMOLED screen, it has an upgraded processor with the quad core 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600, and it’s sporting 2GB of RAM, 4G LTE technology and a 13 megapixel back-facing camera. It also has support for the newest Android operating system, 4.2.2, although Samsung does include their OS customization, called TouchWiz. The S4 has plenty of sensors that the S3 does not, although some people may not find sensors such as the barometric pressure sensor, thermometer and humidity sensor useful.

You won’t have a problem getting the Samsung S4 at any wireless carrier. The S3 cannot compare with the improvements of the S4, so if you truly want the latest and greatest, the S4 wins out big time. However, if you aren’t running central processing unit-intensive applications or pushing the hardware for gaming, the S4 hardware might be a bit of overkill for your day-to-day cell phone needs.

Software

The S4 has unique features that are certainly enticing. One feature Samsung has been advertising heavily is the fact the phone actually stops video playback if you aren’t looking at the screen. This allows you to automatically pause a video by looking away if something else draws your attention. The S3 still gets Android updates and software updates, but the company’s focus is on the S4. If you want to make sure you are at the front of the line for software, you’re going to want to go with the S4.

The differences between the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 are significant, but it really comes down to your personal preference and how you use your cell phone. Are you eager to trade in your S3 for an S4? Share your opinions in the comments.

Blake writes about smartphone technology and other burgeoning trends from his loft in Boston.

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