The Samsung Z3 is only a few weeks old at this point, barely old enough to even be a blip on any mobile device radar, but, like its predecessor, the Z1, is poised for greatness. I was hit with this striking realization the moment I opened the Z3 box for the first time. While I was disappointed with getting the titanium silver instead of the expected gold color (I happen to love gold-colored phones, not to be confused with rose gold, btw), the titanium silver model gives a premium luxury look to the device.

After examining the device here and there for a weeks, I’ve come to see the Z3 as a device with lots of greatness and potential for more. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think the Tizen-powered Z3 is even better than the Android-powered Galaxy S3 was at its debut. The nostalgic Galaxy S3 surrenders to the new Z3 in a few areas that will be noticeable to anyone who fell in love with the Korean giant because of the Galaxy S3 and now holds a Z3 in his or her hands.

What are my reasons? Well, everyone has reasons behind such statements, and I’m no different in this regard. For me, there are three major reasons why the nostalgic Galaxy S3 surrenders and bows to the greatness of the Z3: 1) design, 2) battery life, and functionality. Let’s dive into these reasons below.

The Samsung Z3 manhandles the Galaxy S3 in hardware design

Samsung Z3 sideSamsung Z3 airplane view

Yes, I’ve said something forbidden: the Tizen-powered Z3 manhandles the Android-powered Galaxy S3 in hardware design. Even though the Z3 is something of a budget-friendly device for Samsung and the Galaxy S3 was a high-end popular device for Android users, the Z3’s titanium color makes me understand that I never really adopted the Galaxy S3 because of design. It had something of a faux aluminum frame around it with a glossy, white back cover (I had the white model), but it seemed particularly unappealing to me. I’m rather design-agnostic when it comes to hardware designs and tend to think some of my colleagues obsess over design far more than I’d dream of doing, but the Z3’s titanium silver matte plastic look has convinced me that this is what good design is capable of.

The Galaxy S3 was from a different time, three years ago to be exact (2012), but the Z3 even puts Samsung’s other budget-friendly offerings such as the Galaxy Mini series, Star, etc., to shame. If I had the option of buying the Z3 alongside of Samsung’s budget-friendly Android offerings in my local retail store and online, I’m going with the Z3. Some devices look good, some look better, and some look best. The Z3 looks good sitting on a table, but imagine how good it looks and feels in the hand!

The Samsung Z3 manhandles the Galaxy S3 in battery life

Samsung Z3 battery

You will probably tire of reading me go on and on and on about Samsung’s Tizen OS and battery life, but the Samsung Z3 manhandles the Galaxy S3 in battery life. When I say “manhandle,” I’m referring to the fact that the Z3 can go for at least 2 days without needing a recharge (as high as 4 days if you use it lightly). There are very few smartphones within Android that provide that kind of battery life outside of Samsung’s, and the ones that do that aren’t Samsung’s have placed monster batteries in them to achieve what Samsung’s done in optimization with smaller batteries. For a handset that only costs $200, Samsung has placed a battery in it that can roll with the best of ‘em.

The Z3’s performance is even more impressive when you consider that it has the same screen resolution that the Galaxy S3 had when it was released in 2012 (HD, 1280 x 720p). The Z3 is slightly wider in its display than the Galaxy S3 (5 inches as opposed to 4.8 inches for the S3), but the resolution is the same. Now, it’s also true that the Z3 has a slightly larger battery than the Galaxy S3 had (2,600mAh for the Z3 vs. 2,100mAh for the Galaxy S3), which helps to some extent – but it doesn’t account completely for the drastic change in battery life between these two smartphones. Something else (I’d put my money on optimization) is at work here, and it shows. Samsung has also built some additional battery enhancements in the Z3, and we’ll cover that in the next section.

The Z3 manhandles the Galaxy S3 in functionality

Samsung Z3 quick toggles

I’m sure you’ve seen smartphones like the Moto G, Moto E, and others that you’ve been told all offer you the most functionality on a budget, but you’ve never seen the most on a budget until you take a look at the Z3. Here are a few examples of the functionality you can expect in the Samsung Z3:

  • Power Saving Mode
  • Ultra Power Saving Mode
  • Ultra Data Saving Mode
  • Theme Store
  • A grayscale, display mode (not to be confused with the Power Saving Mode of the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4)

There is more to functionality in the Z3 than this list, but it shows the incredible feat Samsung has pulled off in its second-generation Tizen-powered smartphone. After all, there are numerous “Moto G”-like smartphones in the mobile sphere that promise the most for your money – but how many of them provide the type of functionality listed above? And these functions are in addition to the 2-to-4-day battery life you can achieve if you never use your Power or Ultra Power Saving Mode(s).

How many Moto G-like devices will let you customize your smartphone with themes that you want, or help you save 40% on data consumption and keep more data in your pocket to spend more time web browsing with? How many smartphones give you a toggle that, when pressed, immediately cuts off all the battery-draining features and extends the life of your phone? Throw the pro camera mode and some other features that you find in the high-end Galaxy S6 and Note 5 into the Z3, and you have a winning portfolio.

All of this functionality in a $200 device shows the true meaning of what budget-friendly is. The true measure of a phone isn’t found in its price tag but in its properties and features. There are a lot of sub-$200 phones out there that disappoint in functionality. Samsung packs the best into its $200 Z3 and delivers it in a stunning design. That combo is lethal for Samsung’s rivals and beneficial for the Korean giant.

Conclusion

Samsung Z3 Super AMOLED display

These are three ways in which the nostalgic Galaxy S3 surrenders to the new Samsung Z3. The Z3 isn’t perfect (no phone is), but I’d dare say that what it offers far outweighs what it doesn’t. There’s a reason why the Z1 was so popular, and the Z3 will be even more popular: because it offers a more enticing package than Google’s Android One program or even budget-friendly Motorola devices or LG low-end offerings will deliver to consumers. For so long, it’s been said that Samsung doesn’t know how to strike back at Chinese OEMs who are winning the low-price battle, but Samsung’s Z3 meets every strike with an even more potent one of its own.