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.

Special features:

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.



1. Mehdia

Posts: 23; Member since: Apr 22, 2012

good Phone 8.8 of 10

18. frmrVZguy

Posts: 42; Member since: Mar 10, 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 that to BB user experience over the last 5 years....

49. frmrVZguy

Posts: 42; Member since: Mar 10, 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: 259; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

Not watching movies, but browsing webpages with desktop UA, not a minor thing. There's still someone watching sites in mobile version =)?

3. abdane

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

Awesome phone , 9.5/10 !

27. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

I second that! Should be 9+ beside the Nexus, the iPhone 4, Tprime and the Gnex.

4. Mehdia

Posts: 23; Member since: Apr 22, 2012

wow camera the best

5. mas11

Posts: 1034; Member since: Mar 30, 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: 75; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

according to battery test on some sites it lasts more than a day with normal usage

16. galanoth

Posts: 428; Member since: Nov 26, 2011

gsmarena just put up their battery test for the galaxy s iii if you want to take a look.

22. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

28. mas11

Posts: 1034; Member since: Mar 30, 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: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Exactly. Altough I know extended batteries will be developed as well.

6. cGmC11

Posts: 152; Member since: Apr 02, 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: 660; Member since: Nov 03, 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: 156; Member since: Mar 20, 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.

13. Hafiz

Posts: 78; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

Lucky i have two hands :D

39. Raymond_htc

Posts: 430; Member since: Apr 06, 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: 875; 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: 2052; 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

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.

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....

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

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.

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.


Posts: 73; Member since: May 08, 2012

WE LIKE™ the Review "RAY.S" EYE™ all so like the Galaxy S3....
Galaxy S III
  • Display 4.8" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.9 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, Quad-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2100 mAh(11.60h 3G talk time)

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.