Upgrading Your Samsung Galaxy S3 to the Latest Firmware

galaxy s3 and jelly bean

Samsung Galaxy S3 is the latest addition to a famous line of smartphones. They run on Google Android mobile operating system, the latest version being v.4.1, Jelly Bean. However, S3 comes with the previous version, Ice Cream Sandwich. You may be anxious to update the operating system to the latest version.

Jelly Bean official update for Galaxy S3 should be available in the near future.

You can either get the official updates from Samsung directly or you can go for an available custom firmware. Here are the things you need to know.

Before any sort of software update, you have to back up all the important data on your phone. Otherwise, an erroneous update will render your phone useless. Samsung software, Kies could help in backing up all your data. This is the in-house solution. Also, you can go for third party backup tools such as Backup Master, Titanium Backup, etc. Also, you need to have enough battery power to complete the flashing process. At least 80 per cent of battery power is required.

After backing up the device data, connect it to the computer using the provided USB connector.

samsung kies

At this point of time, you should be running the Samsung Kies software that is used to download and update the phone with the Samsung official firmware. Kies is available for Windows (XP and later) and Mac (10.5 or later). Make sure you have faster than 2 GHz Intel processor and at least 512 MB RAM. Kies can be downloaded from here.

Kies not only helps in firmware update, but also for syncing contacts, wireless connection to the mobile phone, and transferring multimedia content.

Installing the Official Firmware


As the newer versions of Android get released, Samsung may develop device-specific firmware that will update your device. The demo video below shows how to update to ICS using Kies software:

After connecting the Galaxy phone to your computer, start Samsung Kies. Once your phone has been connected to the software, Kies will show you the available software update. All you need to do is device backup and download the firmware through Kies. Make sure you don’t disconnect the device during the update. You only have to follow the on screen instructions.

Custom Firmware for Galaxy S3


You can get the latest custom firmware for Galaxy S3 from Androidfirmwares.net. Of course downloading custom firmware and updating your new device should be done with extreme caution. It will obviously void the warranty of your phone and may cause little or no improvement from the factory setting. However, people continue to update to custom firmware and customize their devices for optimum performance.

As a first step, find out the firmware version you are using on your Galaxy S3. On the keypad of the phone, type ‘*#1234#’ (this code will work with other phones too). It will give the phone’s firmware in this format: ‘I9300AABB5’ (AA indicates the region of the firmware and BB indicates the release date; the number indicates the version).

Here’s the list of region codes:

BD: Cyprus, Greece
BH: Central Europe
CE: Belgium, the Netherlands
CP: Finland
DB: Vietnam
DC: Thailand
DD:  India
DT: Australia
DX: Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam
DZ: Malaysia and Singapore
JA: South Africa
JC: Algeria, Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa, Tunisia
JP: South Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Morocco
MT: Switzerland
PO: France
XA: Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK
XE: Denmark, Sweden, Norway
XC: Portugal and Spain
XD: Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia
XE: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine
XF: Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania
XG: Germany
XX: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, the UK
XP: Several European countries
XW: Australia, UK, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands
ZC: China
ZH: Hong Kong
ZT: Taiwan

In order to download and update the Galaxy S3 using custom firmware, you need a tool known as Odin. After installing Odin, download the required custom firmware and extract the contents to a folder (it will give you a file with ‘.tar’ extension).

galaxy s3 odin


Here are the steps to install custom firmware, as detailed at RootGalaxy S3iii.com (This is completely unofficial information and Samsung or publishers of either of these websites will not take any responsibility for errors):

1. Enable USB Debugging option on your phone (Go to Settings->Developers)

2. Turn off the phone and turn it back on with Volume Down key, Power button, and the Home button pressed simultaneously. Keep them pressed until you get to the Downloading Mode.

cellphone connected to pc

3. Now connect the phone to the computer through USB cord and open Odin. Wait till it detects the phone (indicated by a COM port number on the top left-hand side).

4. Now, point the PDA part of Odin to the firmware file downloaded earlier (.tar file).

5. Click on Start on Odin, and it will install the firmware to your phone.

Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy family in general are great smartphones available today. Google Android is a developer’s operating system with loads of features. Advanced users would love to take advantage of the features offered by this operating system through custom firmware. It is also important that you download stable firmware with good reviews.

Apples Retina Display Vs. Super AMOLED From Samsung

RainbowIf you own an Apple product such as the latest iPad, iPhone 4S, or MacBook Pro (the latest version), then you have seen one of the boldest advancements in display technologiesRetina Display.

[Update: There are other phones with better than Retina Display now]

This is the Apple standard of displaying content with pixelation that human eye cannot detect. That means if you view your Apple screen from a natural viewing distance, you will not be able to distinguish any pixels. This makes Retina Display a ravishing new development as far as display technologies go.

On the other hand, Samsung has pioneered in developing new display technologies for handheld devices, and they have come up with Active-Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) technology (an improvement over the OLED system). ‘Super AMOLED’ and ‘Super AMOLED Plus’ are variants of this. You will find a comparison of Retina and AMOLED here.

Architecture of Mobile Displays

AMOLED as the name suggests is a display based on organic compounds, which luminesce on contact with electricity. The display has an organic layer above a thin film transistor (TFT) substrate that injects electricity into the organic layer, making it generate the necessary colors. Look at the image here.

amoled technology

The individual pixels on AMOLED are capable of creating their own light, and hence they don’t require a backlight unlike other liquid crystal displays. This is one of the reasons why AMOLED gives the best possible black levels.

Retina display by Apple employs the traditional LCD TFT with IPS (In-Plane Switching, made to widen the display angle, pioneered by Hitachi) technology, but they have made the pixels too tiny to notice (78 micrometers as claimed by Apple). Thus iPhone 4S is capable of displaying more pixels per square inch. iPhone 4S has a ppi ratio of 326, one of the highest among smartphones today. To get some advanced information about Retina display, go to Jonesblog.

Power Consumption

LCD displays require a dedicated backlight to generate colors. This is also the reason why LCD doesn’t give you perfect black levels (even to display black it needs backlight!). This obviously increases the power consumption level of LCD.

Winner: AMOLED

Clarity & Color Reproduction


clarity and color reproduction on samsung vs iphone

Viewing the image on an LCD screen and an AMOLED screen and then judging the consistency of clarity would easily suggest the superiority of LCD over AMOLED.

The latter has a problem with sunlight. It doesn’t display well under it. In fact you wouldn’t be able to recognize if the phone is turned on or not under sunlight. This is the reason why Samsung innovated and developed a variant known as Super AMOLED that displays better under sunlight.

AMOLED has another issue. It gives an oversaturated image and doesn’t come up with the naturalness in colors. However, LCD screen generates the most natural of colors. Considering the pixel density and brightness of Retina display, Apple has scored here.

Winner: Retina Display


You will not notice any pixelation on iPhone or the latest iPad. High ppi ratio and small size of pixels make the display lifelike. On the other hand, you can notice a slight amount of pixelation on AMOLED phones like Samsung Galaxy S3. Although this is not exactly a display technology issue, we still rate it here.

Winner: Retina Display

Display Thickness

As you saw earlier, OLED displays lack one layer, the backlight. This makes the display much thinner than the Retina display.

Winner: AMOLED

Viewing Angle


viewing angle

OLED displays have no bar on their viewing angles. Retina display on the other hand employs IPS technology to improve their viewing angles.

Without this innovation, LCD screens have just the same viewing angle as old laptops. The clarity goes down as you move to a side.

With LCD IPS, Apple has achieved excellent viewing angle on iPhone. However, AMOLED display is like a printed paper when viewed from the sideit’s clear and blemish-free.

Winner: AMOLED

Brightness and Contrast

Apple iPhone 4S is brighter than Samsung Galaxy S3 at the first look. The Retina Display regulates brightness of the screen efficiently so that you get the best battery life and the best brightness. However, if you go higher on brightness or try to achieve the same amount of brightness on both the devices, you will find AMOLED screen on S3 to be slightly brighter. Check this image out from Engadget…

samsung galaxy s3 vs iphone 4s

Winner: AMOLED (due to savings on battery life).


Looking at the display technologies available today, you can expect to see several developments in the coming years. Also, there are a lot of other technologies out thereOLET, SED, QD-LED, FLD, etc. Difference between AMOLED and Retina is that the former is one of the best new technologies and the other uses the best possible improvement on an existing technology.