Gadget Reviews Samsung Galaxy SIII
We take a look at the much anticipated Android phone
Gadget Reviews: Samsung Galaxy SIII
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The phone that all android fans have been waiting for is finally here - the follow up to the Samsung Galaxy S2 has arrived with all the fanfare of a big and glitzy launch event, a huge advertising campaign that should convince everyone that this phone is in fact a really big deal. If that doesn’t convince you, the fact that Samsung received 10 million preorders should. It is unimaginatively called the Galaxy S3 but that is where the lack of innovation ends. Sporting a huge 4.8 inch screen that displays full 720p resolution, a quad core processor it is impossibly light and thin. The S3 comes in 16, 32 or 64GB storage options but it also has a microSD card slot for you further expand its storage capability if you so desire. And yes you can also take the back off to poke around with the battery.
You can’t argue that this isn’t a big phone, though it is surprisingly on the thin side which does make it quite manageable. It doesn’t feel too bulky even in your trouser pocket. It is smooth and glossy to the touch but it does suffer from the same plasticky feel of its predecessor, though that aspect didn’t really harm the sales of that phone.
If you were looking for just another upgrade in the same vein as the IPhone 4S was to the IPhone 4 then look elsewhere, this is not only a step up from the S2 it is streets ahead in terms of features, though some would argue that it is a step backwards in the design. Samsung have opted for rounded corners that contributes to a retro feel to the overall aesthetic of the S3. Perhaps a step backward that certainly gave this reviewer some mixed feelings on the phones first impression.
It does feel mind bogglingly thin, though it is in fact one tenth of a millimetre thicker than the S2, yet it is still thinner than its rivals from HTC, Motorola and of course Apple. It is 70.6mm wide, 136.6mm long, weighing in at just 133g. The S3 comes in either blue or white for now. The white version is glossy, while the blue option sports a brushed-metal effect.
The big selling point of this phone has to be the screen. The 4.8in Super AMOLED screen with its vivid colours and its high contrast blacks makes it a lot easier to watch video playback and TV on a mobile than ever before. In terms of brightness and rich colours this phone again wins hands down over any of its current rivals. The 1,280x720-pixel resolution will do justice to any high-definition footage, as well as leaving icons and text looking impressively sharp. AMOLED screens can be a little garish compared to the iPhone 4S but this is offset by the sheer size of it. One area in which the screen does fail is in direct sunlight, it is extremely hard to see in direct glare, though in the UK that is rarely a problem.
Last year’s Galaxy S2’s 8MP camera gained much praise so it’s no surprise that Samsung have stuck with it for the S3, though it would have been nice to have seen the much rumoured 12 megapixel version. Still, it’s a very good camera which delivers strong images and let’s not forget you can also capture full HD 1080p video. The front camera sports a 1.9MP sensor and can capture 720p video at the same time as taking a still picture.
All of this means you are expected to charge the phone every night—or sooner if you’re using it a lot. It’s also worth noting the S3 is quite slow to charge over USB. If you need a lot of power quickly, it is best to use the mains charger.
The other main features of this phone are:
Smart Stay: It waits till you’re asleep: the screen maintains a bright display as long as you’re looking at it. The phone can actually detect if there are a pair of eyes looking at the screen and will not annoyingly auto dim while you are in the middle of reading a page of your favourite book.
Direct Call: It knows when you want to talk: if you’re sending a message but decide that you want to call the person instead, simply lift the phone to your ear and it will dial your friend’s number automatically.
Smart Alert It knows when you’ve been away from your phone: a vibrating nudge lets you know that you have missed calls or messages. Again a retro feature if you remember phones of old, though something that has been forgotten by more modern smartphones.
Social Tag It keeps track of your loved ones: a glance at your friends’ photos will show you their current SNS status. Not exactly sure how much of a setup or buy in from your friends this requires but in this ever increasing world of social interaction a useful feature.
S Voice: Samsung’s version of Siri, it responds to you: you can tell the phone to wake up,
answer an incoming call, or even take a photo. Though a direct response to the Apple version it also shares its idiosyncrasies and will no doubt garner its own share of praise or rather criticism in future months.
All Share Cast: It lets you play together: beam your photos, videos and even the game you’re playing onto the big screen while your phone doubles as a controller.
Buddy Photo Share: It shares with everyone instantly: as the phone recognizes your friends’ faces, it can share photos with them instantly
All Share Play: It lets you share with everyone: access documents and multimedia even when you’re away from your computer.
The Galaxy S3 runs on Android, Google’s mobile operating system. Specifically the latest version, Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, Android is a powerful, flexible operating system that allows users to customise and modify the way their phone works. This can be overwhelming to new users, which makes having the right interface important.
Samsung has integrated its own interface into Android. Somewhat disturbingly called TouchWiz, this is the same colourful interface you’ll see on the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Note.
There are a few new software features including a ‘Pop up Play’ feature that lets you watch videos while doing something else like sending a text, you can both watch and tweet, proper multitasking, take note Apple. There is also a transfer tool called S Beam, which allows the sending of large files over a Wi-Fi connection flawlessly though only between other S3s frustratingly. Other Samsung additions are designed to part you with your disposable income such as S Suggest, Samsung Apps and the Games Hub.
For Android heads, it’s hard to fault the Samsung Galaxy S3, basically it’s a decider between this and the HTC One X. The S3 wins out for features and innovations, though its sheer size can either be a plus or a minus for some. The S3 is a big phone that’s powerful, feature-packed and utterly desirable. Samsung has tried to create the phone that has everything and it’s not far short of the mark.
Posted on Wednesday 20th June 2012
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