When Samsung launched its popular Galaxy S III Android smartphone in Australia back in May, the company said it was "confident" the lack of a 4G model wouldn't hinder sales of the 3G version. A little over three months later, a 4G version of the Galaxy S III is finally set to go on sale Down Under.
The creatively-titled Samsung Galaxy S III 4G is virtually identical to the regular, 3G version with the exception of LTE 1800MHz network capability. This crucial LTE network band allows the Galaxy S III 4G to work on both the Optus and Telstra 4G networks in Australia. The 4G model also has 2GB of RAM compared to the 1GB RAM in the regular, 3G model.
If you're looking for other differences between the two S III variants they're aren't too many. Unlike some other 4G variants of 3G smartphones, the Galaxy S III 4G is identical in size and weight to the 3G version. The handset is just 8.6mm thick and only weighs 133g. It has the same Samsung Exynos quad-core processor as the 3G model.
The only real aesthetic difference between the 3G and 4G models is the colours. Instead of the "pearl white" and "titanium blue" 3G models, the Galaxy S III 4G will be sold in "onyx black" and "titanium gray" variants. Optus will sell the titanium grey model only, while Telstra will stock both colours.
Curiously, the Samsung Galaxy S III 4G has the same sized 2100mAh battery as the 3G version. LTE is known to drain the battery much faster than 3G network connectivity so it will be interesting to see how battery life stands up if you're constantly using the device in a 4G coverage zone.
Samsung has also confirmed the Galaxy S III 4G will ship with the latest version of Google's Android operating system, 4.1 Jelly Bean. The Galaxy S III launched with the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich version, though that model is expected to receive an over-the-air software update to Jelly Bean in the coming weeks.
The Samsung Galaxy S III 4G will be the first smartphone to launch on the new Optus 4G network in mid-September. It will then be available through Telstra sometime in October.
Optus will sell the titanium grey model of the Samsung Galaxy S III 4G and promises customers who pre-order the device by Mon 17 September should receive the phone on Thursday 20 September. The Galaxy S III is available for $7 per month on the Optus $60 plan over 24 months, or $0 on the Optus $80 plan, also with a two year contract.
Telstra will carry both the grey and black variants of the Galaxy S III but has not yet announced pricing or specific availability details. The telco says the Galaxy S III 4G will go on sale sometime in October and has set up a pre-registration page on its Web site.
The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S III 4G comes as Australia's two largest telcos ramp up their 4G offerings. Optus has launched its 4G network in Sydney, Perth and Newcastle with 4G services in Melbourne starting from September 15.
Although still in its relative infancy in Australia, the Galaxy S III 4G will be the fifth 4G-capable smartphone sold by Telstra in Australia. This includes the HTC One XL, considered by many to be a direct rival to the Galaxy S III 4G.
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