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Samsung Galaxy S III Review

By Simon Thomas on 01st June 2012


3G Total Score Get phone arrow

Pros :
Amazingly bright and colourful display; fully featured snapper, quad-core chip; loads of features



Cons :
S-Voice doesn’t impress

 

Verdict:

This is a perfect production from Samsung. There are some new features that work better than others, but using this beautiful device is a blissful experience.

Full Review and Specification for the Samsung Galaxy S III

Well, we’ve all been waiting for it and now here it is – the predecessor to the fabulous Galaxy S II – the Samsung Galaxy S III. But with some great smartphones already released this year – including the Xperia S and the One X, the Galaxy S III has some hard acts to follow. And let us tell you now – and you may well have realised from the score it received – that it managed to do itself proud.

 

 

One of the things we didn’t like about the Galaxy II was its plasticky body – it seemed just a bit too fragile to us. Happily, the Galaxy S3 has a far more solid chassis, which its makers inform us is ‘inspired by nature’. It comes in ‘Pebble Blue’ or white, and whatever colour you choose, there is no flex when you push and pull it. Personally, we prefer the white version, which proved itself resistant to scuffs, and the metallic ring around the phone’s edge offers extra protection against any knocks. The handset also feels good to hold, with its smooth finish.

 

The handset has a huge 4.8in display and you might expect the Galaxy S III to be massive to accommodate it. But Samsung has managed to keep a slim edge around the screen, which means the device is no larger than the likes of the HTC Titan and other handsets with 4.7in screens. And of course it’s still smaller than the massive Galaxy Note.

 

 

User friendly

 

In use, the Galaxy S III proves incredibly flexible – any tasks you want to complete, whether zooming into a website, or muting the handset, can be undertaken in a number of ways – choose from shaking or tilting the handset or using finger flicks and prods. Even if you want to switch between desktops you can either pinch to see an overview of them all, skim through them with the desktop bar, that sits under the shortcuts, or flick them across the display with your finger. 

 

The devices runs on Android Ice Cream Sandwich, which has had Samsung’s own touches added to really get the most out of it. There are lots of neat additions, such as static and live wallpapers – they all have a nature theme, so think fields of waving grass or bouncing bubbles.

 

Super screen


That 4.8in display is pretty impressive – we couldn’t help ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over it when we watched HD video on it. It’s beautifully crisp, with fantastic, bold and bright colours. The viewing angles are fantastic and we saw no motion blur even when watching action movies and sport clips.

 

If you want to use the phone outside, and even watch movies, that display is so bright it will give you no problems, even in direct sunlight, It’s amazingly non-reflective, and we had no problem inputting emails and texts, even on the incredibly sunny days we’ve been enjoying of late.

 

The Galaxy S III will let you know what’s going on – there’s a notification light sitting in the top left corner that flashes should you get a new text or email – it even vibrates should you miss a call or there is a message waiting. The Galaxy S II has the smartest notification tab we’ve encountered – it even boasts a scrollable bar of shortcuts or GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and so on. Plug in some earphones and a tab will show a menu of apps you may like to use. If you’re playing some tunes, a bar showing some basic controls appears. It would be too much info for a smaller screen but the huge display here fits it all in.

 

Media on the move


It is possible to stream video from YouTube using the app, but you can also download a free plugin for Adobe Flash so you can watch films and TV programmes on the likes of 4OD and iPlayer. With a reasonable Wi-Fi connection, video streaming is completely smooth – and listening to music is a fabulous experience. With a pair of good earphones your chosen songs will be clear and crisp – and the included music player has enough features for most users. There are volume keys on the side of the handset, if your earphones don’t have their own.

 

You can even head online to check your emails and texts without having to quit out of a film you’re viewing. The video can be shrunk down so that it appears in a tiny window, which can be moved around by dragging and dropping. A great feature.

 

With the AllShare Play app from Samsung, it is possible to share media between the handset and other devices – a TV for instance. It is necessary to create a Samsung account to use this facility – and you’ll need a good Wi-Fi connection for smooth streaming. 

 

Say it again?

 

Samsung has offered its own version of Apple’s Siri with S-Voice, but it’s not as successful.

 

This voice recognition facility is capable of opening apps, sending messages, setting alarms and so on, as well as answering random questions. To wake up S-Voice, just hit the Home key twice – or you can say ‘Hi Galaxy’ at the lock screen. This is supposed to offer a hands-free way to get into the voice recognition app if you’re driving for instance, but you still need to hit a key to bring up the lock screen in the first place, so it’s not ideal. 

 

In use, S-Voice just doesn’t live up to the performance of Siri – Siri will offer answers to random questions, whereas S-Voice asks first if you want to search the internet. We found it took a few goes to open apps and perform other tasks – you might as well just hit a desktop shortcut. And inputting anything other than very brief texts and emails is impossible, as S-Voice tires of listening to you after a few seconds.

 

Sharing snapper


Smartphone snappers have entered a new dimension on the One S, One X and One V from HTC, so the Galaxy III has much to live up to. These cameras produce images that are sharp and colourful and there are lots of great features, such as the ability to take still shots while shooting HD video

 

The Galaxy S III’s snapper does all this and more – the shutter shows no sign of lag, and there’s a Burst Mode that takes eight snaps one after the other. The camera can even choose the best of the images for you if you want. Great for grabbing random action shots of pets and children. Tap the display if you want to override auto-focus – and take control of exposure, ISO, white balance and so on.

 

Photo editing facilities include rotation and cropping – and it’s easy to share them quickly using text, email and social sites such as Picasa, Dropbox, Google+, Flipboard and S Memo. Friend tagging is simple – then choose to share with them direct or send via email using the Buddy Share facility from Samsung. There’s an amazing number of options, but it remains user-friendly.

 

 There’s a front-facing snapper for video calls with a 1.9 megapixel lens – it’s sharp and clear but your friends may get more detail than you’d like!

 

Battery life is decent, lasting a day before needing to be charged again, but if you’re watching video this drops to six and a half hours. Not bad considering the size of the display. 

 

Other features

There’s plenty more on offer from the Galaxy S III. Receive a text while on the move and can’t type back? Simply lift the handset to our ear and it will call the send of the message back – a really neat touch.

 

For apps, there’s access to the Google Play store, as well as S Suggest, Samsung’s own facility that offers a choice of games and apps it thinks you may like – you can also share your favourites with social network connections.

 

The Galaxy S III also has a clever feature called Face-tracker, which tracks eye movements so it can tell if you are looking at the display – it means it won’t go to sleep if you’re busy reading something. But you need to be looking directly at the phone, rather than at an angle for it to work properly.

 

Finally, there’s S-Beam, which lets you share files and media with other Galaxy S III devices, just by holding them back-to-back with each other. We managed to send a 10MB file in only 2 seconds and a 1Gb film took three minutes. It is even possible to share contacts and websites.

 

 

Our conclusion


The Samsung Galaxy S III is our favourite smartphone to date – even beating the HTC One X in our estimations. It has a fantastic colourful bright Super AMOLED display, a fully featured snapper with great sharing facilities and a solid, attractive design. It can’t fail to seduce you.

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Samsung Galaxy S III Review Scoring

  • Style and Handling
  • User Friendliness
  • Feature set
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Overall Score

Samsung Galaxy S III Phone Specification

GENERAL

Type of device

Smartphone

Operating System

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Dimensions

136.6x70.6x8.6mm

Weight

133g

Form factor

Touchscreen

Input

Touch Screen

Processor speed

1.4GHz quad-core

CPU

Exynos 4 Quad

Graphic chipset

N/A

Announced

05-03-2012

Status

Coming Soon

DISPLAY

Screen size

4.8 inches

Screen type

HD Super AMOLED

Resolution

1280 x 720

Display type

N/A

Memory

RAM

1GB

Internal storage

16/32/64GB

Memory card slot

 

Camera

Camera

8 megapixels

Secondary camera

1.9 megapixels

Special camera features

Auto-focus camera with flash and zero shutter lag, BIS

Sound

3.5mm Jack

 

Music player

MP3, AMR-NB, WB, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AC-3, apt-X

Audio recording

 

Radio

 

FM Radio description

N/A

Video

Video recording

 

Video player

MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8

Video calling

 

Video streaming

 

Additional Features

Browser

HTML

Games

Yes

Voice control

 

Voice dailing

 

Other

S Beam, Buddy Photo Share, Smart Stay, Social Tag, AllShare Play, AllShare Cast

Messaging

SMS

 

MMS

 

Email

 

IM

 

Connectivity

Band

Quad-band

Wi-Fi

 

Bluetooth

 

USB

 

NFC

 

GPS

GPS/GLONASS (works with 24 more satellites for positioning)

Network

EDGE

 

GPRS

 

HSDPA

 

4G/LTE

No (LTE version available for US)

Other

Colors (Standard)

Marble White, Pebble Blue

Handsfree speaker phone

 

Customisable ringtones

 

What's in the box

N/A

Website

www.samsungmobile.com

Battery

Standby

N/A

Talktime

N/A

Battery life multimedia

N/A


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