Samsung Galaxy S III Review
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 from 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. If you don't like a particular built-in app, you can always find a (free) substitute in the store.
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 good design of the on-screen 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 possible. 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 with 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) phones 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. 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. All of this great real-life performance is replicated with the outstanding results of the synthetic benchmarks as well.
|Quadrant Standard||AnTuTu||NenaMark 2|
|Samsung Galaxy S III||5335||12016||58,6|
|HTC One X||4848||11024||47,4|
|Samsung Galaxy Nexus||2000||5503||24|
|Sony Xperia S||3206||6595||37,5|
The Galaxy S III comes with 1 GB of RAM – obviously more than enough for the kind of software that you may install on the device. The built-in storage is 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB, 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.
1. android_hitman (Posts: 570; Member since: 07 Jul 2010)
WOW!!! that's a really good score .. I can't believe my eyes PA ...
nice review btw :D
4. Birds (Posts: 848; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
It is. I don't like the GSIII though. I mean it is a great phone and a worthy buy but IDK why I don't like it. lol I guess I would have to play with it for a while then my opinions will change.
106. Saamic (Posts: 96; Member since: 20 Feb 2012)
lol sometimes I don't get why people thumbs down a comment... I mean what did you say there that was irrational, offensive, or biased?
In my opinion I think this phone is amazing because it's the full package with a unique beneficial software, it's very fast, highly customizable, innovative and clean. My only problem with it is the plastic and the fingerprints it's prone to.
I'll be waiting at in line for it on its U.S. release =)
117. BravoTeam127 (unregistered)
Well the design on those have a good chance at changing depending on carriers. Take the t-mobile one for example, that one changed a whole lot with the galaxy s ii
139. Dadler22 (Posts: 138; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)
AT&T generally doesn't alter the design so much on at least the flagship launch device, HTC One X for example. However, Firmware wise the unlocked version will always be far superior than the ones the carriers rape.
146. jdot104 (Posts: 29; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)
AT&T's version of the past two Galaxy devices was different from the flagship. The GS2 even had a smaller display.
6. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
The 9+ score prediction came true!
PA should have this feature where you can display all the phones according to their score.
If I had the money, I'd get the blue one NOW.
still waiting on the PA knows best lol, PA never answered my e-mail.
Smackdowns are coming, HTC One X vs S III, and the iPhone 4S I'm sure.
97. tluv00 (Posts: 134; Member since: 18 Oct 2007)
They do have that sort of. It's by carrier or by OEM.
143. jmoita2 (Posts: 929; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)
The iphone 4s??? Why even bother? It will be completely outclassed, kinda like comparing a destroyer to an aircraft carrier.
78. stillaPOS (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 May 2012)
the sgs3 is still a POS compared to the SGS2:
-the design is the same
-same old screen found on the gnex
-same soc found on so many F+ing phones (for the ones here in the US)
-for international version the gpu is the same one on the GS2 just overclocked!!!
everything about this phone is a recycled, rehashed, and reused just being sold again for full price. Nothing my overclocked and rooted GS2 can't do better
94. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
you have zero understanding of the phone or what's inside it.
100. sgtdisturbed47 (Posts: 94; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)
Good review, but the phone itself looks pretty cheapie. It doesn't look like they spent a lot of time on ergonomics and design. Looks like it's just about "shove the biggest screen in there as we can, without it being another Note".
It might perform well, but ergonomics are more important.
160. zhypher_23 (Posts: 194; Member since: 04 Jun 2012)
Cheapy? Polycarbonate is not cheap man, it's one of the most durable things to put on a smartphone, try to kill a gs2 landing on it's back, it's gonna take you a long time man...
116. medalaster01 (Posts: 40; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
WOW! It may be the highest score till date,of all the phones on P.A.
124. smacsteve (Posts: 15; Member since: 16 May 2012)
Nope, the Galaxy Nexus on VZN was higher at 9.5 Which raise's an interesting question... A phone reviewed a year ago by then standard gets a great score and a phone that is reviewed today with raised standards due to much better technology is being judged by a different set of standards. What is one to do? Clearly a HTC One X is a better phone than the GNexus, but according to the score it would appear otherwise.
131. Shocky (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 May 2012)
No consistency in the reviewing process, so the scores are meaningless
Might as well just be some guy’s random blog.
2. Birds (Posts: 848; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
I have to say this. I like PhoneArena and all but it's reviews are inconsistent. It doesn't seem to have a standard for what makes a great phone a great phone, what makes a good phone an good phone, and what makes a bad phone an bad phone. I only could hope that it is because each reviewer has a different opinion, but I've come to realize that certain reviewers on this site run back over their previous opinions as well. I'm not trolling I just want to know if the reason they were so inconsistent with their opinions on phones between reviewers was because of them waiting for the next phone-to-beat (GSIII)? I just wish that all the reviews had a scale or something so I can know each particular flaw to category. That will keep it really consistent....But still a good review...
44. Commentator (Posts: 1869; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
There was a time when reviews were authored by "the PhoneArena Team." What happened to those days? If nothing else, at least all high-end devices should be compared by the same person/team, for consistency's sake (my vote is for John V, as I'm sure most people would agree with.)
Also factor in the fact that Ray clearly has some sort of vendetta against HTC. The last sentence of this review takes a completely unnecessary shot at them (and he just recycled it from his preview of the device, mind you.) Sure, the Global One X wasn't perfect, and the Galaxy S III is almost certainly a better phone, but it damn-well deserved a better score than a 7.8 considering that when it was launched it was unanimously hailed as the greatest Android device ever made.
71. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
I agree on this one and every PA reviewer out there has their own standard, and I did notice that Vendetta part for quite awhile now.
Oh, and also, WHERE"S THE VIDEO? lol, i have been waiting for it to download so that I can watch it on my nerd time alone.
74. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
oh and Sir Ray, if you ever happen to conduct the smackdown between the One X and the S III, please don't be too harsh on the One X. We would also want to know the advantages and disadvantages of each.
well, since I'm not the only one who feels like you're angry with HTC. *just a feeling though lol*
and for constructive criticism, please take this positively, you say too much "uhmm." :)
82. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 634; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)
Agreed on all points here. The reviewer especially has his own opinionated reviews in my opinion. Was this such a great review or was it more like we anted so very much to hear only great things that we had presupposed high marks for this phone.
I am not taking away from any thing said; However the reviewers many reviews have left my opinion of his reviews jaded, and distrusting. I feel to validate reviews on this site I need to read else where to make an informed opinion in the last few months.
83. Jonathan41 (Posts: 524; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)
I just said that yesterday! I would give you another thumbs up if I could.
93. Jonathan41 (Posts: 524; Member since: 22 Mar 2012)
dk but phonearena's reviews lack a certain consistancy that I would expect from such a otherwise carefully though out sight. Reviews seem inconsistent between reviewer and devices. Something that are cons for one device aren't for others. Sometimes more powerful international unlocked phones get lesser scores then their supsidized versions (this is especially peculiar when the only differance between the two is more powerful chipset of the international version). Sometimes the reviewer puts something into cons that's more opinon then actual fact. It's like PA reviews and comparisons are generally mostly based more on opinon then fact. During review they never actually test devices with benckmarks or test to compare statistics. You usually just hear the reviewer say 'this device feels/looks like it does xxxx better'. Meaning that however trained that reviews eye is we are still subject to their perspective on thing much less then actual device performance. PA attempt to tell the reader which device is better for day to day use. That's impossible to do without generalizing your audience in someway and if each reviewer has a slightly different idea of what the readers want it's very hard to keep consistency between all the reviewer when scoring phones. I used to live buy pa review but I have grown weary. I love PA but, at times I see thing that seem like contradictions.
3. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)
My only problem is that plastic is collects a lot of fingerprints but I think the white version makes up for that. Nevertheless, this is definitely my next phone. Also, what's the point of an extremely detailed preview followed by a 26 minute video preview if the review was a few days away?
7. Jericho (Posts: 300; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
WOW! Incredable score from phonearena to THE galaxy s3. Between lg optimus 4x, htc one x and samsung galaxy SIII I was going to buy the phone which had the highest score on phonearena but i think LG can't beat SAMSUNG here.
8. Birds (Posts: 848; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)
I'm actually rooting for LG this time. LG has the power they are just naive about the UI design.
10. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
if it comes with Tegra 3 and an LG UI, well expect it to be like the One X.
I'm saying this without any fanboysim, but Samsung just raised the bar again with Super AMOLED, Exynos, the Camera and the software - without anything better or equal to those 4, i don't think it will be a success.
21. Filly (Posts: 8; Member since: 02 Mar 2012)
Raised the bar with s**tty short-living pentile amoled? LGs AH-IPS Screen is much better then samsungs hd amoled screen. Its comparable with the display in the htc one x
61. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
well played. :) maybe except that part I went wrong.
62. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
maybe u cant read but samsung just put out a statement proving that pentile arangements last a lot longer than RGB. My sgs1 is 2 years old and still beautiful without any dead pixels or anything.. so i can atleast attest to that.
Samsung's LCD2 and Amoled/+ screens are all superior to IPS.
But then again, its user choice at the end of the day.
73. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
Yeah. Everyone also praised the display on the One X so much - dubbed it as the best display ever... HTC sucked at making displays until that 'one' day. (pun)
but again, here's the Samsung Galaxy S III's display. Is there a difference between the attributes of the Gnex's and S3's screen? (no idea on that, answers?)
- cause if they are different, then we should have a display comparison.
75. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
HTC didnt make that display, Samsung did. Its samsung's LCD2 display that is riding the OneX.
85. rpostel (Posts: 2; Member since: 29 Feb 2012)
Samsung did not make the displays for HTC. HTC has 3 manufacterers for their screen for the One line: Sony, Acer, and Sharp.
29. henrickrw (Posts: 402; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
I´m glad you understand. The S3 is the beast.
57. Jericho (Posts: 300; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
Hey i am a BIG LG! fan but if the 4x couldn't even come close to S3 then i will buy this phone. And i really want LG to win They still haven't revealed 6 unique features.
79. stillaPOS (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 May 2012)
umm didn't the GS2 and the iphone beat this score when it came out???
88. Commentator (Posts: 1869; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Don't worry too much, PhoneArena's rating system goes by nothing more than the personal preferences of whoever is doing the review (not to fault anyone, it's human nature to be biased. I know I'd probably rate certain phones higher than others based on my ideas of what makes a good phone.) At any rate, it's probably better to take the number system with a grain of salt and go by the content of the review instead.
To address your specific question, yes the GS2 and iPhone both had higher scores than this, but that's because they were the best phones of their generation. If they compared generations of phones to each other, PhoneArena would have to rate the GS3 a 1 so it could rate the GS12 a 10 (or whatever). Obviously this doesn't make any sense, so you have to compartmentalize phone rankings by generation. Rankings are good for comparing, say, the GS3 to the One X, or the Xperia S, or any current generation phone. It doesn't work too well when comparing to anything before the Galaxy Nexus though (except maybe the iPhone 4s, since it IS the current generation iPhone...)
As an example, PA ranked the original Palm Pre a 9.9 (for some reason), which would make it the current most powerful phone, as no other phone has been ranked that high since. Clearly it isn't the most powerful phone.
9. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)
I used to hate the design of the Galaxy S3. It's growing on me, though. The one thing I HATE about LG and Samsung is the favorites bar. It really should be like stock ICS and have the apps drawer in the center. That drives me crazy.
52. Dark4o90 (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Feb 2011)
then buy a metal brick and make calls and watch video on it
63. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
so you would rather buy expensive plastic? you know its all the same plastic right? lol
this isnt cheap plastic, its the same polycarbonate made in the Nokia 900 and HTC OneX/S
And I'll take that over glass and tin any day of the week.
13. tharag (Posts: 26; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)
as expected it will sweep the reviews all over the net ...but let me tell you one thing when the hype around those imaginary will clear out then the true capability of s3 will wow us
15. APPLE_R0YALLY (banned) (Posts: 73; Member since: 08 May 2012)
WE SAY® REALLY NICE REVIEW "RAY. S" WE SAY® we are Amazed......!? EYE SAY® i shall be buying this very Soon......!? WE ARE® Liking This......!?
16. PackMan (Posts: 277; Member since: 09 Mar 2012)
This is just re-branded preview article with ratings.
17. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2952; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Time to begin speculations for the 4th version of the Galaxy series!!
18. Martine (Posts: 102; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
Pros: Fantastic Video Camera, Unlimited Storage cabalities, Great batteey performance, etc
19. Jericho (Posts: 300; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
When will you guys do a video review or preview of LG Optimus 4x HD. Really waitin 4 it.
20. JDCohen722 (Posts: 39; Member since: 18 May 2011)
Love the copy and paste from the Preview. These days I never trust PhoneArena Reviews, especially the ones by Ray S. The One X gets a rating as horridly low as 7.8 making it average whereas the SIII gets a rating of 9.3?!?! Look at User Opinions of the One X, they rated it 9.4. Not that PhoneArena should rate it 9.4, but ATLEAST +8.8. Whats more, other reviewers from major websites have rated the One X as arguably one of the best phones in the world, giving it ratings of 4.5 or 5 stars, or ratings of ±9/10, but PhoneArena is the only website to give such a low score to it. The Verge claiming it to be probably the Best Phone in the World (With their only drawback being they would rather have it closer to stock ICS) Im not trying to troll, but this isn't fair Ray S. Its pure biased.
23. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
the oneX also has video issues, crash issues, and gets like 1/2 the battery life.
31. ph00ny (Posts: 529; Member since: 26 May 2011)
Maybe their review unit of the HOX was a defective one (it looks like some owners are going through boatload of defective units and amazon UK pulled it off their sitehttp://www.amazon.co.uk/HTC-One-Sim-Free-Smartphone/dp/B0078LXM40/ref=s
As for inconsistency of the scores, there is really no way of getting around the fact that people have different opinions about a device.
Now I'm not entirely sure what happened with the One X review, it just sounded like he didn't like sense. I think he complained about the sense arrangements as much as he complained about plastic in this review
I'm however very surprised by the score of the S3 from the resident iphone fanboy/android hater Ray S
42. Ray.S (Posts: 235; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)
Unfortunately, the problem wasn't with our unit only. We tested several One X units, and all of them performed the same.
50. JDCohen722 (Posts: 39; Member since: 18 May 2011)
What do you mean by performance? Was it laggy or not buttery smooth or was Sense just glitchy? Because as far as I'm concerned anything promoted as "Quad Core" should not display the slightest hint of lag.
58. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
read the review. it details the issues with the camera FPS and other things.
The T3 chip impresses me quite a bit in many areas, but unless they can figure out the 1080p video issues its a non starter with me... at least on a phone. On a tablet I could care less since i wont be using it for much video.
66. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)
The One X is filled with bugs. The device hardware itself has no problems, it's all on the programming part. There was screen glitch, video recording frame drops, and battery bug. I think screeen glitches and battery bug are fixed with the new OTA...