Samsung Galaxy S III Preview

Samsung Galaxy S III Preview

Samsung kick-started its whole Galaxy line of Android phones back in 2009 with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy I7500 – the first Android smartphone of the manufacturer. Initially, there wasn't such great interest in the product; it was an OK device with moderate specs and no special feature to spawn interest. This was the beginning of Samsung's Android business – no fanfares or great expectations. The company was still trying to figure out if there's potential in the open-source platform.

A few months later, at the end of 2009, Motorola somehow managed to nail it with its new Android phone, the DROID, exclusively available through Verizon. And this turned out to be the moment Google (and the entire Android community, as small as it may have been at that time) was waiting for. In just a few months, everyone knew about Android, and it was mainly Motorola that gained from this. Never wanting to be left out of the limelight, Samsung went back to the lab, firmly decided on crafting the ultimate Android phone, or the ultimate Galaxy phone, to be more specific. In mid-2010, the South Korean company was ready with its new product and unveiled it to the world. Named Samsung Galaxy S, it was a phone that didn't catch the eye, but managed to get every geek excited with its hardware characteristics. With Android becoming more and more popular as an alternative to iOS, and with the Galaxy S basically being the best Android had to offer at the moment, the phone just couldn't fail. And it didn't – the Galaxy S went on to become one of the most popular Android phones ever. Now, the obvious question is how do you follow such a successful product. How do you follow the Galaxy S? Well, with the Galaxy S II, of course! Introduced in 2011, the Galaxy S II actually become something like the people's champ in Android Land. Even when newer models with significantly refined user experiences began to show up later, users preferred to hold on to the Galaxy S II, claiming that it's still unbeatable in many areas. In a way, that meant that all these people were waiting for the Galaxy S III.

Well, it is now 2012, and the time has finally come for the Galaxy S III to show up on stage. The difference between this launch and those of the Galaxy S's before it is that the expectations of the audience are much higher now. People were waiting to see the next BIG thing in the world of wireless. They weren't hoping for a top-notch specs sheet – that was pretty much taken for granted. They were hoping for a ceramic body, a new, premium design that would not only get the job done, but would also spark a few envious glances along the way. That's why many were kind of disappointed after the official announcement of the handset, because it isn't really what you'd call a looker.

Our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S III were quite positive. Yeah, the handset may not be so eye-catching, but it does run incredibly smooth and has learned some very cool new tricks, in an attempt at enhancing our user experience. However, the time has now come for us to take a good, in-depth look at the device and see just how much of a Galaxy S this new Galaxy S III happens to be.


The Galaxy S II was actually a good-looking handset. It wasn't spectacular, but it had its own style that managed to make the phone appealing to a good number of people, not only hardcore geeks. With the Galaxy S III's design, however, Samsung has made a few controversial decisions. First, it has made the whole device somewhat more rounded. Gone is the simplistic rectangular silhouette of the S II, making place for a new, pebble-inspired shape. So far so good, that could only make the device seem friendlier and more approachable by the regular consumer. Meanwhile, however, the company has also significantly increased the screen size, which is a move that would mainly appeal to the regular geek. This would hardly mean that the Galaxy S III would appeal to both regular consumers and geeks, but would rather mean that there will be a smaller, more specific audience for this particular model. While the GS II was well-received by consumers, due to its relatively compact and sleek form factor, a much bigger device like the Galaxy Nexus, for example, could never become popular in the mass market. There aren't too many reasons to believe that the Galaxy S III will magically become a hit with the average Joe. The device is definitely on the bulkier side. Samsung has tried to decrease the size of the bezel so that the bigger screen doesn't impact the overall device dimensions dramatically, but even with those efforts, the S III is as big as the Nexus, if not bigger.

You ca compare the Samsung Galaxy S III with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

With that out of the way, the device by no means looks bad. Its inspired by nature design is actually quite relaxing and feels good in the hand. Due to the phone's thinness (8.6mm) and light weight, the Galaxy S III doesn't feel too much like the bulky phone that it is.

As we said in our introduction, many fans hoped to see a new fancy ceramic coating used for the S III, which would have given the handset a new, premium appearance. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and we were treated to the good-old plastic solution. Technically it should be polycarbonate, but it feels much more cheapo than the polycarbonate that's used in some other handsets like the One X or Lumia 900. This has practically guaranteed a relatively light (good), but also uninspiring/flimsy (bad) construction. Samsung has come up with the name “Hyperglaze” for the specific finish of the utilized plastic, but we couldn't find anything that special in it. It's just a glossy plastic with an OK texture on it.

There are just three physical buttons on the Galaxy S III (actually four, if you count the volume rocker as two buttons). The home key, situated under the display, is surrounded by old-school capacitive menu and back keys. Apparently, Samsung isn't willing to make the switch to on-screen navigational keys for its flagship line just yet. We aren't big fans of the exact position chosen for the home button and even the capacitive keys surrounding it. They don't take the center of the plastic area below the screen (considering the vertical axis); instead, they are placed a bit lower. While this may sound as nitpicking to you, it does have a significant (negative) effect on the appearance and comfort of using the phone. It has a negative effect on the appearance, because the home key look very good in this position, while the comfort is compromised because the capacitive keys sit too close to the edge, meaning they are easy to press accidentally (yep, we had many of those frustrating situations).  

Of course, there's the usual 3.5mm jack at the top, as well as microUSB at the bottom. The glossy back houses an 8MP camera with LED flash and the speaker grill right beside it. Interestingly, gone is the characteristic bump that's present on the lower-back sides of the Galaxy S and S II. Not that we'll be missing it much. Removing the flimsy back cover will grant you access to the Micro-SIM and microSD card slots.

Overall, we aren't blown away by the looks of the Galaxy S III. The phone is OK to look at, but could have been much better. To tell you the truth, it should have been much better, having in mind that it's a top-of-the-line Android smartphone we're talking about, not just some run-of-the-mill budget offering.


Samsung has been an innovator when it comes to screen technology in phones. Its AMOLED-based screens have been customer favorites for a long time now, and obviously the company intends on sticking with that tech in the long term. In the Galaxy S III, what we have is an enormous 4.8” HD Super AMOLED display, with resolution of 720x1280 pixels. As with every AMOLED screen, this one has extremely saturated colors. In some situations, like when browsing the web, for example, this doesn't look great, as we aren't really used to such “colorful web” experience. It doesn't seem natural, so to speak. However, in many other situations, like viewing photos, watching video or playing games, having such vibrant colors really pays off. There's in an option in the settings, however, which allows you to set a different color saturation level. For the purists, there's a "Natural" presets, which makes colors look much more... natural and not as vivid. When you combine that with the great contrast (black color that is completely black, not just very dark gray, as in LCD displays), multimedia consumption does get much more enjoyable.

Many were actually disappointed when it was announced that the S III will use a PenTile matrix for its screen, instead of a regular RGB one as in its predecessor. Just recently, Samsung USA's Philip Berne shed some more light on why Samsung decided to stick with PenTile. Obviously the reason is in the longevity – according to Samsung, a PenTile-based AMOLED screen will keep its initial quality for a longer time, compared to an RGB AMOLED one, which will suffer from deteriorating blue subpixels over longer periods of time. Well, since we don't really find the traditional drawbacks of the PenTile screen to be that visible in the GS III, that seems like a good decision by Samsung. If you look very closely at the screen of the Galaxy S III, you will notice some pixelization going on here and there, but when you look at the screen from a normal distance, those nasty dots aren't really visible, due to the high resolution.

Samsung Galaxy S III 360-degrees View:



46. KaamaDharman

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 20, 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

47. KaamaDharman

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

this comment has been deleted

48. adi4u4882

Posts: 137; Member since: Jan 10, 2012

Dai loosu kudhi, why are you posting your number as if someone is going to call you.

44. animeware

Posts: 32; Member since: May 14, 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: 137; Member since: Jan 10, 2012

Its Super Amoled HD Display. Which means its using Pentile pixel Arrangement Sysyem.

42. animeware

Posts: 32; Member since: May 14, 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

41. WILDCAT1935

Posts: 31; Member since: Mar 23, 2011

Perhaps the people who sell the larger battery will have a better back panel.

35. gearboxboi

Posts: 4; Member since: May 13, 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: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 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: 281; Member since: Jan 31, 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

33. Mube1

Posts: 153; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

I think htc one x vs samsung s3 vs apple iphone5

32. louay_joumaa

Posts: 18; Member since: Dec 09, 2011

we need a samsung gs3 vs htc one x really soon ;)

31. aoikemono27

Posts: 177; Member since: Feb 27, 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.


Posts: 187; Member since: Feb 10, 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 .


Posts: 187; Member since: Feb 10, 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!

24. Mube1

Posts: 153; Member since: Sep 22, 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

23. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 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.

21. gtrxman

Posts: 137; Member since: Sep 10, 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?


Posts: 73; Member since: May 08, 2012

WE LIKE™ the Review "RAY.S" EYE™ all so like the Galaxy S3....

30. adi4u4882

Posts: 137; Member since: Jan 10, 2012

First Time your getting Thumbs Up in an Android Thread :)

19. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 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: 32; Member since: May 14, 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.

17. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 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.

25. u-suck-more

Posts: 529; Member since: Aug 26, 2011

maybe yours was faulty

26. Lboogey6

Posts: 281; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

Hey idk if you got to read but an article before this showed the screen being newer than the nexus.

15. x7black7x

Posts: 118; Member since: Feb 19, 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

14. x7black7x

Posts: 118; Member since: Feb 19, 2012

great review sir @ray.s 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....

12. clevername

Posts: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 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.

11. ryq24

Posts: 876; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

htc will always have a hard time competing with samsung which is a huge company with large cache of cash.

38. ph00ny

Posts: 2083; Member since: May 26, 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
Galaxy S III
  • Display 4.8 inches
    1280 x 720 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    1.9 MP front
  • Hardware Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, 1GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2100 mAh
  • OS Android 4.3
    Samsung TouchWiz UI

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