Samsung Galaxy S III review
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At a glance
+ Magnificent screen
+ A powerhouse
+ Superb battery life
- Design might not appeal to everyone
08 June 2012 – With the Samsung Galaxy S II winning the undisputed title of best smartphone in 2011, its successor now carries the burden of having to live up to that accolade. We will put your worries at ease right now to say that the Samsung Galaxy S III does in fact meet expectations, but the real question is, by how much?
Exterior, Controls and Screen
Samsung went with the whole ‘nature’ theme with this device, and it does become somewhat apparent when you hold it in your hands for the first time – the brushed polycarbonate material used to house the S III has a sleek, curved finishing that reminds us of the first Nexus.
The editorial team was divided on this new design, but personally this writer appreciates its looks for the most part. You certainly cannot fault it for ripping off designs at least!
It is fairly large device, with dimensions of 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm, although this is so that it can house a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD screen, easily one of the best we have seen on any smartphone to date.
Software, Application and Games
The Samsung Galaxy S III is part of the handful of native Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones available on the market right now, which is fully taken advantage of by the quad-core processor that powers the device. Even Samsung’s TouchWiz UI has been given a face-lift, to simulate the tranquil flow of water, appropriately so too, as everything runs oh so smoothly.
New to the S III are the ‘smart’ features that Samsung has implemented into smartphone. One of it is the Smart Voice function, which unfortunately, is not as fleshed out as Siri seen on the iPhones. Ironic that, despite being marketed to be one with nature, the S Voice is in fact, rather inorganic with regards to the responses that it provides. Voice recognition left a lot to be desired too, but we suppose that by virtue of having an Asian accent, there was nothing we could do about it.
One other neat feature is the Smart Stay, which, in theory, is able to track your eyeballs to ensure that the screen stays lit. In other words, you can keep the S III from timing out if you keep looking at it. That is, if it works. Having tested it for roughly a week, we would say that the feature works about 60% of the times, even in well-lit areas.
Hopefully, Samsung will address these two new features and iron out these faults as soon as possible, as the potential is right there for it to take off.
Camera, Video and Audio
Unlike the efforts of some of its competitors, Samsung saw little need to upgrade the camera on their latest flagship model, so what we have at hand is essentially the same 8-megapixel shooter seen on the S II. There are tweaks here and there done to the software, with Android 4.0 introducing a speed boost for photo snapping. With a slew of options thrown in, the camera on the S III works, and it works great.
But the best addition has to be the Burst mode; Taking 20 photos in a row at around 10 shots per second definitely comes in handy if you are planning on capturing an event happening in real time. Best Shot then kicks in, where the Galaxy SIII helps you decide which of those shots it thinks were the best
Video recording and playback is in full 1080p HD, and even the front-facing camera takes 720p video.
Pretty much every connectivity feature is present here, including WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and 3G, and even NFC, a technology which Samsung is confident will take off real soon.
With so much power under the hood, the primary concern was whether or not the battery would suffice. Thankfully, we had little issues with it, as the 2100 mAh provided more than enough juice to last us throughout the day, with moderately heavy usage.
Well, there you have it. Samsung did it again, and delivered a winner in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S III. Everything about this device crosses our checklist for what a great smartphone should be like, from its blazing speeds, crisp displays and extensive battery life. The Smart features could have performed slightly better, but it should be improved over time. Then there is the design, which may or may not sit well with you. Also, you will have to pay a premium for the S III, but then again, you are getting premium in return. If money is not much of a concern, go for it.