These last few days we had the opportunity of playing around with the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone, enough to make a pretty good picture about what this smartphone is all about. A lot of changed since the first Galaxy S smartphone was released so in this review we are going to talk about these changes and how important they are.
Firstly, we have to say that Samsung Galaxy S3 I9300 is the most powerful smartphone from Samsung on the market right now, in direct competition with HTC One X, Sony Xperia or iPhone 4S.
Right from the start you will notice the fact that Samsung Galaxy S3 is a big phone. The good news is that it has a very thin profile, of only 8,6 mm and a weight of approximately 130 grams.
The 4.8 inch screen is what makes the phone so big, and it is hard to operate it with just one hand.
We also have to mention another important design aspect: the shiny plastic on the back makes the phone very slippery. You need to be careful if you’re using it without a special case because it can slide out of your hand very easily.
Design and Construction Review
Samsung Galaxy S III comes in two colors: blue and white ( official names are Pebble Blue and Marble White ). The case is made out of shinny plastic which doesn’t add anything to make us think that this is a premium phone.
On the exterior you will notice a very thin edge on the frontal side of the giant screen protected by Gorilla Glass. Above you can see the speaker, frontal 720p camera, luminosity and proximity sensor as well as a LED for notifications.
At the bottom you will see the Home button, which we found a little bit more comfortable than the Home button of the iPhone and iPad. On the left and the right of the button we can see the two touch buttons for the menu and Back.
On the back there is the 8 MP photo camera helped by a Flash LED, and the second grid of the main speaker.
On the sides we can find the microphone port and the 3.5 mm audio jack; on the right there is the lock / unlock button, easily accessible with the big thumb of the right hand; at the bottom we can find a micro-USB Port, used to charge the phone and connecting it to the PC, and another microphone port; the left side only includes the volume buttons.
Although kind of flexible, we don’t think it will break only in extreme cases so you don’t have to be too alarmed.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S3 I9300 has a great grip, even if it’s a bit too big for some people.
Adding the very slippery plastic on the back we get a phone with very low adherence, which requires extra care, at least until you get used to it.
The screen has a size of 4.8 inch, as we already mentioned and it displays a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels on the Super AMOLED panel. Everything looks great on the screen, from photos to websites to text.
The screen of the Galaxy S3 is Pentile, but considering the resolution, you’ll not going to see any clarity difference compared to the displays of the HTC One X or iPhone 4S, phones which use a normal RGB matrix. Actually, Samsung used Pentile screens on Galaxy Nexus and Note and nobody complained about them.
Using the Galaxy S3
Probably one of the best things about the Galaxy S3 is how fluid it is when using it on a day to day basis. Everything on this phone moves super fast: browsing through virtual screens, apps navigation, interface, everything.
The hardware platform integrated in the Samsung Galaxy S3 is to “blame” for this, precisely the Exynos processors with four cores helped by 1 GB of RAM memory.
Some S3 versions will come with Snapdragon S3 dual core with 2 GB of RAM.
The software is also great. The Android 4.0.4 OS with TouchWiz interface does a pretty good job. Although i don’t like proprietary interfaces much, I have to admit that Samsung did a very good job with the TouchWiz UI.
We also get a few interesting widgets, a different dialer, a notifications panel with a few switches for important features like GPS, Wi-Fi, sound, etc.
The lock screen was also modified a bit and you can now unlock your screen by using a simple swipe. Also from the Lockscreen you get access to a few important apps.
Samsung also integrated S-Voice, a Siri alternative which works alright in English. However it is a bit slow. S Planner is Samsung’s alternative to Calendar, and it looks completely different than the default Android application but you can get used to it very fast.
S Memo is the application you can use to take notes, draw sketches, etc. You also get access to the Samsung App Store where you can get some Samsung apps.
Speaking about apps, although Google Play has it’s own problems, most apps are there. All you have to do is search very well, unlike the Apple App Store where most apps are cheaper or even free.
Samsung Galaxy S3 copes very well with multimedia content and games. A good headset comes in the package and the music player is very competitive. You can also add your own songs very easily, and this is a plus.
Movies run great with the standard Multimedia Player application, which also supports 1080p.
Just as well you can also run HD videos from YouTube.
An interesting Galaxy S3 feature is the fact that you can view a video in a tiny part of the screen while you are using other apps. This is only possible with the Samsung multimedia player.
You will find many games in Google Play but there aren’t so many games created for Galaxy S3′s resolution yet.
Photo Cameras Review
The digital camera is pretty good. We can’t tell if it’s better or worse than the camera of the iPhone 4S or HTC One X, but to me all three of them provide similar photo quality.
The photos taken at 8 MP resolution look good, but if you want a wide aspect ratio you will have to do with 6 MP.
The interface is pretty standard but there are many settings and filters to play around with. You can also take panoramic photos. The videos recorded at 1080p and 30 frames per second look great.
We’re pretty sure that the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone can easily replace compact cameras you usually take with you on vacation.
The autonomy of the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone is pretty impressive and, if you use it for basic operations, you will find that the battery provides you with two days without having to charge the phone, which is not bad at all considering that we’re talking about a top smartphone.
At the end of this review we have to say that Galaxy S3 is truly Samsung’s new flagship phone. The massive screen and case are not going to be liked by everybody, but if you get can past these “problems” and you like the new Android OS then everything will be just fine.
What we liked very much was the phone’s thin body, excellent performance and battery autonomy.