Samsung Galaxy S III Preview
You didn't expect anything less than Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich, did you? Thankfully, the Samsung Galaxy S III doesn't disappoint, as it comes with the latest version of Google's mobile OS. This is very important, especially when you have in mind that Samsung isn't particularly quick when it comes to its software updates. Ice Cream Sandwich is a major update to Android, bringing lots of UI refinements and some great features like the comfortable multitasking functionality that's accessible with just a single touch of a button.
Most of the good stuff associated with ICS has been kept in the Galaxy S III, although Samsung has added the usual amount of differentiation in the form of the latest TouchWiz interface. This time around, though, it's willing to market it as TouchWiz Nature UX, because of its inspiration by Mother Nature. That's OK with us, since we're fans of Nature as well. The cool thing here is that the whole Nature theme doesn't end with the water lockscreen, but actually translates to some nifty features of the handset, but we'll tell you more about those in a while.
The new TouchWiz is very similar to the old one in terms of visuals. You can definitely tell that it's a Samsung handset right away. Key elements like the multi-page homescreen and horizontally-scrolling main menu have been retained, with only minimal, mostly cosmetic changes made to them. With other areas of the UI like the Contacts app, for example, you won't even be able to spot a difference. Some other apps, however, have been entirely replaced with other, proprietary ones. For example, the stock Calendar has given way to S Planner. We would have preferred it if the stock option was kept available, but this isn't such a pain, considering the numerous third-party offerings in Google Play.
All in all, TouchWiz Nature UX is an evolutionary step in the right direction for TouchWiz. It refines some elements of the UI, making it appear more mature and polished overall. This is the first version of TouchWiz that we wouldn't replace with something more stock-looking.
There are some special new features that Samsung is introducing along with the Galaxy S III. Most of them are designed to ease your life and make the Galaxy S III appear more people-friendly, but we'll let you judge how useful they will be in your case:
S Voice: This is Samsung's version of Siri, so to speak. It's your intelligent personal assistant. You can ask it all kinds of stuff, and in case it manages to “understand” what you've said correctly, there's a good chance that you'll get what you're looking for. We organized a quick head-to-head match vs Siri, and are happy to report that S Voice performed just as well. Here are a few examples of what you can use S Voice for:
- going directly to an app like the camera by saying things like “I want to take a picture,”
- put an alarm to “Snooze” after it rings,
- play music, skip and pause tracks,
- set a timer,
- look up the weather,
- control settings. For example, you can turn Wi-Fi on or off with your voice.
SmartStay: This is actually a rather cool feature, which prevents the display from timing out, while you're looking at it. It works by using the front camera to track your eyes and determine if you're still looking at the phone. Naturally, when you finally doze off, the phone will get a good nap as well (read: the display will turn off).
S Beam: This one uses Wi-Fi direct to let you easily transfer an image or video file to another compatible Galaxy phone. In order to do it, you just have to touch the backs of both phones together, and your file transfer will commence.
AllShare: Samsung is using Wi-Fi Direct connectivity in AllShare now for a complete set of categories like AllShare Cast for video streaming, AllShare Play for file sharing, and Group Cast for sharing screens with multiple other devices on the same Wi-Fi network, pretty cool. The camera department is not forgotten either - the Buddy Photo Share sends photos directly to the people whose faces it's recognized after you take the shot, for example, and you can set it to be automatic. There will be an SDK for application developers to take advantage of the new AllShare possibilities.
Typing text using the on-screen QWERTY keyboard of the Galaxy S III is a joy. Thanks to the large 4.8” screen and the strong design of the stock ICS QWERTY keyboard, you won't find it difficult to type out even longer messages using the landscape or portrait modes. Of course, for those who happen to not like that particular keyboard design, there's always the possibility to download a different one from Google Play. But since we're kind of lazy in this respect, we really appreciate it when we can get away with the stock software.
Since this is an Android 4 device, support for all kinds of email services are available, and if you are a Gmail user, you probably won't find a better option (except for the top-end phones from other manufacturers).
Of course, Samsung's own ChatON social service is pre-loaded on the Galaxy S III for those users who could use a new method of cross-platform text communication.
When we get our hands on a new super-high-end smartphone, we expect to get the best web browsing experience. And while some other such phones which came out this year didn't really deliver, we're happy that the Samsung Galaxy S III is presenting us to a brilliant web browser. It just flies – it loads pages in an instant, scrolling and panning are super-fluid, there are no irritating slow-downs, text reflow, delays or anything. It's just you and the content – there's nothing to distract you from enjoying your stuff. Overall, this is one of the very best, if not the best phone for surfing the internet we've seen.
What makes things even better is the seamless support for the latest Adobe Flash Player. Thanks to the extremely capable quad-core processor, there really isn't a very noticeable difference in performance between navigating a Flash-heavy webpage with the plug-in turned on and off – in both cases, scrolling and zooming remain smooth.
We disliked the fact that in Samsung's pre-ICS phones, you couldn't pan the page while doing multi-touch zooming. Some other manufacturers out there had this feature turned on, like Sony Ericsson, for example, but not Samsung. Thankfully, with Ice Cream Sandwich, Google made this form of navigation standard, and it's now present in the Galaxy S III.
The global version of the handset comes with quad-band GSM connectivity, as well as quad-band 3G support (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz). The Galaxy S III classifies as a 4G HSPA+ device, as it allows for a maximum theoretical download speed of 21.1 Mbit/s, and maximum theoretical upload speed of 5.76 Mbit/s. As far as Wi-Fi standards go, the S III supports 802.11 b, g, n, a. The supported Bluetooth version is 4.0.
Processor and Memory:
The global version of the Samsung Galaxy S III arrives with the new quad-core Exynos 4412 processor, clocked at 1.4 GHz. The onboard GPU is the ARM Mali-400/MP4. We're absolutely pleased with the performance that we're seeing from our preview unit, even though they told us that it may not be running the version of the software that will be on the retail units. The Android OS runs extremely fluidly with no skipped frames, while applications load in an instant. There are no significant delays with this phone – it simply lets you do whatever you want to do, without slowing you down or annoying you with unexpected freezes.
The Galaxy S III comes with 1 GB of RAM – obviously more than enough for the software that you may install on the device. The built-in storage is 32GB, which is a generous amount of space, but if it happens to not be enough for you, then you can easily install a microSD card for up to 64GB more, since the S III supports the microSDXC standard.
18. frmrVZguy (Posts: 27; Member since: 10 Mar 2012)
Just Good? :-) I predict that in 6 months we will have a new expression in the business world: 'Heins-sight". I'm speculating that with this 'last-minute' reversal to include 3 'Blackberry-style' buttons that this is going to be the launch phone for the re-birth of Blackberry as a service and appliction add-on. For a short while Samsung will have the only hardware ready to support the BBOS - through the typical exclusivity deal. As a manufacturer that knows how hard it is to capture new customers, the idea of suddenly having the FIRST NEW phone available for the millions of Blackberry users world-wide, mustt be an opportunity too good to let a little button adjustment get in the way. They are about to scoop up a huge percentage of the market 'overnight' .....IF my speculation is correct. And everyone knows how well Samsung builds their phones....compare that to BB user experience over the last 5 years....
49. frmrVZguy (Posts: 27; Member since: 10 Mar 2012)
OK, it took 12 months.... I was still correct .... BBOS is dead, long live BBM. Today at Blackberry World Heins has effectively given up on the BB hardware platform..... porting BBM to iOS and Android.
2. Evil_SaNz (Posts: 253; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
Not watching movies, but browsing webpages with desktop UA, not a minor thing. There's still someone watching sites in mobile version =)?
27. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
I second that! Should be 9+ beside the Nexus, the iPhone 4, Tprime and the Gnex.
5. mas11 (Posts: 1003; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
I really wanna know how long that 2100 mAh battery will last. If it can get me through a full day with moderate usage I would buy this phone.
9. decent4u (Posts: 51; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)
according to battery test on some sites it lasts more than a day with normal usage
16. galanoth (Posts: 91; Member since: 26 Nov 2011)
gsmarena just put up their battery test for the galaxy s iii if you want to take a look.
22. henrickrw (Posts: 402; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
28. mas11 (Posts: 1003; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
Thanks for the links. The test results are pretty impressive, considering that the phone has a large screen 4G Lte and a powerful processor and it's all powered by a 2100 mAh battery.
36. henrickrw (Posts: 402; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
Exactly. Altough I know extended batteries will be developed as well.
6. cGmC11 (Posts: 103; Member since: 02 Apr 2012)
The Pantech Vega Racer 2 debuted one day ahead of GSIII looking much better & it have the glory of ceramic coating material!
7. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Awesome article. I agree 100%.
So whether I'm getting the SGS2 or the SGS3 - I'll sure as hell will be one happy man :)
8. SlimSoulja86 (Posts: 639; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)
One of the first articles i enjoyed reading from Ray S. Lol, luv the last two sentances "HTC better sell as many of those One Xs while it still can, because the king of the Android jungle will soon be back from its pebble collection trip. And it seems to be very pissed off."
10. strikercho (Posts: 94; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)
Well, excluding the downside that they both run on Handroid, I still prefer the HTC because of its superior monoblock body and display. As for the screen size - its's ridiculously large and it is hardly a phone, more sort of an iPad. Between 3 and 4'' is the largest screen size for a smartphone in order to operate it normally with one hand.
39. Raymond_htc (Posts: 430; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)
i agree with you strikercho. as my name says, i am a pure HTC Fan and i will support this great brand till its last day. i agree that a phone with 3'' to 4'' is good for me as i dun wanna operate a phone with 2 hands. one hand operating FTW
11. ryq24 (Posts: 421; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
htc will always have a hard time competing with samsung which is a huge company with large cache of cash.
38. ph00ny (Posts: 529; Member since: 26 May 2011)
It's not all about being large either. It's the fact that they don't really rely on others for components. They can also hand pick components and change whatever is needed on the fly
Look at the Galaxy Tab 10.1. They announced a thick version and the ipad2 came out. They went back to the drawing board and the newer slicker version was out in matter of weeks. No one in the industry can do this
12. clevername (Posts: 1378; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)
Sounds great but if the att variant uses dual core for lte I wouldn't see a reason to get this over the galaxy nexus. I just prefer stock Android.
14. x7black7x (Posts: 116; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)
great review sir
and its a great phone in its own ways htc cant even compare to it
it has a better processor, better battery, better camera, and although htc sense 4.0 contains more eye candy but touchwiz nature ux is better cause it has more features
smart stay, pop up play, sbeam, all share, svoice and much more....
15. x7black7x (Posts: 116; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)
and yes it has a removable battery also.... so now tell me htc one x vs galaxy s III
once again samsung is on the top of the android food chain with this beast
17. medicci37 (Posts: 530; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)
The screen is gonna suck. I have the Galaxy Nexus. & Was very disappointed with the screen. Colors don't look natural. amoled screens are supposed to be great at reproducing black. But black looks awful on this screen. I always use black as wallpaper. & could see alot of discoloration. Same problem when i am watching a movie. Can't understand why I haven't heard more complaints about the screen.
26. Lboogey6 (Posts: 221; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)
Hey idk if you got to read but an article before this showed the screen being newer than the nexus.
19. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
I disagree that 4.8 inch screen is an overkill for a device that thin and light.
Most of "average Joes" are wowed by galaxy Note's handling/using experience despite of it's size and weight.
Even some small handed women are more than happy with Galaxy Note.
A larger screen doesn't just mean a plus for movie watching. EVERYTHING looks better - movies, photos, web pages, e-books, and games.
It's a major advantage.
43. animeware (Posts: 22; Member since: 14 May 2012)
Do you prefer a device that is iPhone where it's 3.4 inch screen. NTY I prefer the phone if I can test it and if it feels good in my hands I might consider on getting it.
20. APPLE_R0YALLY (banned) (Posts: 73; Member since: 08 May 2012)
WE LIKE™ the Review "RAY.S"
EYE™ all so like the Galaxy S3....
30. adi4u4882 (Posts: 135; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)
First Time your getting Thumbs Up in an Android Thread :)
21. gtrxman (Posts: 101; Member since: 10 Sep 2011)
Seems like a nice phone. Great specs, I don't see a problem with the PenTile arrangement. Touch Wiz is finally not a liability. I see two downsides so far. First is the battery. The Jury is out until I see a few real world user reviews. A 4.8" screen and 2100 mAh rating does not seem to add up to a long life. Second are Sammy's choice of materials. Why can't they deliver on a PREMIUM phone. How about some METAL and some soft touch coatings on the back? Is it that hard to understand that people want quality throughout, not just specs?
23. henrickrw (Posts: 402; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
meet the beast
As mentioned by Mobile & Phone Expert and Geek Murray Winaiate from AndroidNZ:
While some have criticised the launch of the SIII saying it was as disappointing as the iPhone 4S launch, I beg to differ. The iPhone 4S has an almost identical physical design to the iPhone 4 while most people were expecting a departure from this including a larger screen. The SIII provides not only a larger and higher resolution screen, but a progressive new design which has curves inspired by nature.
When it comes to design often it's something you like, or something you don't, the rest of the criticisms are arguably minor. Build quality is much less subjective, but often confused with build materials used. The original Galaxy S I9000 and Galaxy SII I9100 both used very similar materials, both of them also had high build quality and durability. As NZtechfreak has stressed so many times, using premium build materials does not ensure high build quality. In fact, while HTC often uses more premium feeling materials, their build quality is often appalling and most of their recent devices have been affected by one issue or another.
While you might have been shocked that Samsung used a Pentile Matrix Super AMOLED HD 720p display on the SIII, you really shouldn't be - the full RGB stripe technology just isn't ready yet. In fact, you shouldn't even be disappointed, as at over 300 PPI its very unlikely that you will be able to notice any tell-tale cross-hatching or any issues with luminance inconsistency, the latter of which affected the Galaxy Nexus. Sure, it might not best the amazing SLCD-2 display on the HTC One X, but it comes close, and it's a huge step up from the resolution limitations of the Galaxy SII.
While the software enhancements were a major focus; and some feel a major let down, there were actually a few ideas I found to be quite appealing. Keeping my screen on while I'm looking at it might seem fairly minor, but its small usability tweaks like this that become things that annoy you when they are no longer present. Another feature I'm looking forward to is the pop up play functionality, which would allow me to continue watching a video while texting the Fiancée on the train to/from work.
24. Mube1 (Posts: 153; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)
Well I m not against design but the design of s2 is much much better than s3,and overall it will be new hw/sw king sure
29. REYNER (Posts: 187; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
nice preview fairly justified, and it makes me much more excited about this phone i have to agree that the only gripes in here is the size (and the plastic back cover?) but over all performance and innovation samsung seems to really nailed this one in. this will definitely be the next android pack leader.. im also excited about the additional accessories that you can buy the moment that SG III will be release the C-pen(much like the s-pen in note),waterproof house cover ow yeah!
31. aoikemono27 (Posts: 177; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)
Ha, the way you were passive-aggressively talking about how middling the phone's build and design was while tossing it around in your hand and a few nerve signals away from squeezing it to a pulp and slamming it against a wall. :-p I know the feeling. Frustration from getting something that's near perfect, but then finding this gaping gigantic flaw about it that you cannot ignore. Samsung really lost it with the design here.
Samsung can always be counted on for great performance, great camera, great battery, and overall quality. But it can also be counted on for very cheap feeling phones and an undying dedication to their boy the SuperAMOLED, which I like less and less of as I own more devices with it. I think it's easier for Samsung to change than for HTC, since in Samsung's case it's more stubbornness and ignorance, while in HTC's case, they seem to completely lack the skills, talent, and tech to make their cameras competitive with Samsung and Apple. Ditto to smooth phone performance, optimization, and battery life.
34. REYNER (Posts: 187; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
i have to agree with that samsung phones for me are almost there but its only about the quality of is materials the phone feel less expensive and premium but i still consider this as a great achievement for samsung .
32. louay_joumaa (Posts: 18; Member since: 09 Dec 2011)
we need a samsung gs3 vs htc one x really soon ;)
33. Mube1 (Posts: 153; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)
I think htc one x vs samsung s3 vs apple iphone5
35. gearboxboi (Posts: 4; Member since: 13 May 2012)
LOL Ray S. This article is one of the reasons you can never count on PA for sensible articles. You can smell the bias on this guy from a freaking mile. "Samsung has once again nailed it with the Galaxy S III". SERIOUSLY?!
Wanna read something more sensible? Here.
So what did we get? The Siri-imitating S Voice, a quad-core SoC that's already been announced for the Meizu MX, a suite of camera enhancements that rips off HTC's ImageSense wholesale, and a signature animated lock screen that emulates interaction with water, something that's been a live wallpaper option on Android phones since 2010. Oh, and industrial design and build quality that you'll find on any anonymous South Korean MP3 player — Samsung seems to have tried trickling its design language up, never a good idea.
37. henrickrw (Posts: 402; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
I don’t agree with the article or anything the verge has to say for that matter, but I think Samsung dropped the ball here.
First of all, the S voice copies no one. They used Voice software for the GS2. Second, if S voice works as it could, it will be 50 million times better than Siri. Now with that out of the way.
Samsung is a HARDWARE company first and foremost. If they couldnt put an AMOLED + in time, delay it like Apple did with the 4S. Or if you can’t come up with a new crazy design in time, just use the last one, like Apple. Or they could have spent all the money they spent on software and put it into the hardware, where they excel and clearly have more resources than everyone else. It’s depressing.
40. Lboogey6 (Posts: 221; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)
I'm not going to thumb down cause you're entitled your opinion but its understandable to dislike a phone I'm not an iPhone fan while millions are mostly cause they're friends have one but I won't deny it works well in this situation not everyone is a techy needing the thirty five cores and hologram screen or 82 MP camera does the phone is the job done? Does the phone have a good screen so that it performs well to the human eye is it fast does it bring about nice features? Material if someone cries about it one more time look guys if you have broken your "plastic" phones buy looking at them get a Casio I've worked with cell phones for yearshis whole plastic thing isn't that serious some people feel better in a 66 stang made of Steele and some people like the 2013 fiber glass Ferrari. Another credible source GSM arena gave it great marks and spoke about the negatives. You're not forced to buy this phone but if you want something different I suggest the Vega or something not as mainstream sense is the same touchwiz the same blur better but still the same calm down and get something from overseas
41. WILDCAT1935 (Posts: 31; Member since: 23 Mar 2011)
Perhaps the people who sell the larger battery will have a better back panel.
42. animeware (Posts: 22; Member since: 14 May 2012)
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is a wonderful device don't get me wrong. if you choosing a smartphone do research on it before you go out and buy the device just a tip
44. animeware (Posts: 22; Member since: 14 May 2012)
I'm so confused does the S3 have Super Amoled Plus or is it HD?
some people say it's HD and some people say it's Plus i'm confused if it's only Plus it's not as good as the HD is because the HD has a better pixels then the Plus Version.
45. adi4u4882 (Posts: 135; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)
Its Super Amoled HD Display. Which means its using Pentile pixel Arrangement Sysyem.
46. KaamaDharman (Posts: 2; Member since: 20 Sep 2012)
Thevidiya punda phone its just awesome i love it !!! if any doubts any thing about the technical specs call to my number India +91 8012342929
48. adi4u4882 (Posts: 135; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)
Dai loosu kudhi, why are you posting your number as if someone is going to call you.