Samsung Galaxy S III — Loaded with Features
The screen was clearly designed to impress on first look..it is a Super Amoled 1280 x 720 pixels..306ppi pixel density….certainly sharp enough that I can’t see any individual pixels when I hold the GS3 touching my nose..The screen while not the brightest of the big screen bunch it is sort of readable in bright sunlight. bright and sharp even in bright sunlight. The text is sharp enough that it is comfortable to read an eBook.
The design is typical Samsung..loaded with plastic..especially the flimsy feeling removable back..still it doesn’t feel quite as cheap as did the GS2. Interestingly while at 130 grams 3 grams heavier than the HTC One X it feels lighter..I guess it’s the curves and the texture of the glossy back that fools the hand.
The Front of the 5.39 x 2.80 x 0.34 inches (137 x 71 x 8.6mm) GS3 is a solid slab of Gorilla glass that goes right to the edge with a very thin bezel on the side. The top features a row of pinpricks on a silver bar for the speaker over the Samsung logo also in silver..and on either side the proximity and ambient light sensors, the indicator LED, and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera. At the bottom is a hardware home button flankes by soft buttons for settings and return. The hardware center button is multipurpose..double click to bring up s-voice..Samsung’s attempt to match Apple’s Siri and long press to see recent apps. The back of the phone is pretty simple with the camera lens at then top flanked by the flash and speaker.
Samsung has re-jigged the TouchWiz interface for the GS3. You don’t get a visual clue when you’re unlocking (which may be a response to the legal action filed by Apple on the subject) but touch the screen and you’ll see a little water ripple under your finger. There is also a nod to HTC..by allowing you to open up specific applications from the lock screen. Simply swipe the application upwards and you’ll be taken directly to it without having to navigate within the phone itself.
Continuing with the UI the new TouchWiz home screen seems less cluttered and the dock at the bottom has been expanded to hold 5 icons..nice for those who want to have all their favourite apps right at hand.
Under the hood is a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, same as the HTC One X. Combined with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, It drives the GS3 nicely..scrolling is smooth and apps open quickly and perform well. It is powered by a 2,100mAh battery which is a good size..but this is a big feature filled phone so expect to have to charge this phone every day as with most smartphones.
The GS3 is also a good phone..excellent voice quality in both directions and data performance on the Telus LTE network was excellent where its available and average to above average on 4G outside the LTE area.
Then there is a whole bunch of software features: Starting with my favourite Smart Stay. The phone’s front-facing camera looks for your eyes. When you look away, the screen dims to save power; it brightens back up when you return your gaze. Every mobile device with a screen should have this feature. And almost as cool is the picture in picture feature that allows you to watch a video while doing other tasks.
Some other features I liked were:
- Direct Call. If a texting conversation is getting too complicated, just lift the phone to your ear. It calls your texting partner, automatically.
- Instant muting. Mute audio and video playback by covering the screen with your hand, like telling the phone to hush. Palm swipe capture.
- Save an image of the screen by wiping the edge of your hand across it, away simpler than gymnastics with the power and home buttons.
- SBeam. Built on top of Android Beam for Ice Cream Sandwich, the Samsung-only S Beam combines NFC and Wi-Fi Direct to “beam” larger-file photos, videos, and documents
- Sharing. Multimedia sharing is big on the Galaxy S3 with four main ways to share your stuff through different means, like DLNA and Wi-Fi Direct protocols. Unfortunately they are hard to find and set up and generally require everyone to have a GS3.
And Finally there is S Voice..what a disappointment after all the hype..it doesn’t work as well as Apple’s Siri..which also needs improvement..and it is slow as molasses..not to mention it is easily confused. I was even more disappointed in S Voice after seeing the promise of Google One on Android Jelly Bean. Combine all three and maybe?..How often do you talk to your phone anyway.
The cameras are another story..the 1.9MP 720p front facing camera works well for video calls and the rear facing 8MP 3264 x 2448 pixels is as good as they come. Loaded with features..Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization..the camera takes great stills under most lighting conditions..you can feel comfortable leaving your point and shoot at home.
The camcorder shoots 1080p video at 30fps..again with excellent quality under most lighting conditions.
While this is not my favourite phone..Samsung clearly has a winner here. A fitting flagship phone the GS3 is loaded with features..many exclusive to Samsung..There are also things such as a removable battery and an SD card slot not available from the competition. There are bound to be several features that you must have. You can buy it just about anywhere starting at $99.99.