I will admit I was a little skeptical when the Samsung Galaxy S III came out as I wasn’t convinced it was worth all of the hype. So we shall see if after a couple of days using it will influence me otherwise. A big thank you to Vodafone for providing the review handset.
In The Box:
- Samsung Galaxy S III handset
- USB lead
- Headset with changeable ear phones
- Getting Started Guide
Vodafone are offering this device for free on a £41 a month contract which includes 900 minutes, unlimited texts, 2GB of mobile data and 2Gb of BT Open zone access. You can also get it on pay as you go for £549.95 on a carrier and you have to buy a £10 top up or Sim free for £499.95 from Car Phone Warehouse.
- Size – 136.6mm X 70.6mm X 8.6 mm
- Weight – 133g
- Display – 4.8″ Super AMOLED (1280 X 720 pi) Pentile Corning Gorilla Glass 2
- UI – TouchWiz UI v. 4.0
- Android 4.0 – Ice Cream Sandwich
- Sound – Vibration, MP3, WAV, Loudspeaker and 3.5mm Jack
- Memory – Micro SD up to 64 GB, 16/32 GB internal memory. 1GB RAM
- Battery – Li-ion 2100 mAh. Standby 2G 590h, 3G 790h. Talk time 2G 21h40m, 3G 11h 40m
- Camera – 8MP 3264 X2448 pi, LED flash.
- Video – 1080 p @ 30 fps.
- Chipset – Exynos 4212 Quad
- CPU – Quad core 1.4 GHz cortex A9
- Messaging – SMS (threaded), MMS, E-mail, Push Mail, IM, RSS
- Colours – Pebble Blue, Marble White
- Micro Sim Support only – if you don’t have one most Three stores can cut down your existing sim.
- S – Voice Natural languages commands and dictation
- Smart Eye Tracking
- 50 Gb of Dropbox storage.
- Active Noise cancellation with dedicated mic.
- TV out via MHL A/V line.
- SNS integration
- MP4/DiVX/ XVid/WMV/H.266/H.263 Player
- MP3/WAV/eaac+/AC3/HAC player
- Document editor
- Image/video editor
- Google search, Map and GMail
- Youtube, Calendar, GTalk, Picasa integration
- Voice memo/ dial commands
- Predictive Text input (SWYPE)
I ran a few quick benchmarks on the device to see where it ranked, and it doesn’t take a genius to guess it was very close to the top every time if it wasn’t the top result!
Front of device – Screen, Home Key, Led lights, Front facing Camera
Left Hand Side – Power Key
Top of device – 3.5mm Jack
Right hand side – Volume key
Bottom of device – Microphone, Micro USB slot
Back of device – Battery cover, 8MP camera, Speaker, LED Flash
Look and feel:
Vodafone very kindly sent us a Marble White 16GB S3 to test. The marble white has a vey nice finish to it – I would say it almost looks iridescent. The device physically feels very smooth and almost a little bit slippery – especially compared to the matt finish of my HTC One X. As with my Samsung Galaxy S2 I’m not a big fan of the battery cover on the S3. Although this one feels a bit sturdier it is again a very flimsy piece of plastic which I feel wouldn’t take much to break. The interface of the device is very nice – I actually think Samsung have hit the nail on the head with Android 4.0 working with TouchWiz which is good as when my S2 update to ICS it was all too apparent especially in certain apps and the any version of screen lock that TouchWiz wasn’t going to play nicely. The handset was very quick to boot up and generally runs very smoothly and quick. The graphics run very smoothly even compared to my HTC One X which does struggle a little bit with certain games – mainly the Sonic 4 series, this is only a mild lag but it isn’t there full stop on the S3.
The screen featured on this device is a 4.8′ Super AMOLED display featuring Corning Gorilla Glass 2. The touch side of things is very sensitive so you don’t have to press or swipe the screen too hard. As for the Gorilla Glass? I can scratch it – I managed too on my S2 and my One X already (oops!) mainly because I just check keys and such in my bag without looking but I have yet to scratch the S3, now I am usually a bit more careful with review handsets (even though I dropped it as soon as I took it of the box - don’t tell Vodafone :D) but regardless of that the glass actually seems quite strong and I think even I’d struggle to scratch it and that is saying something.
With a promised stand by time of 590h 2G/ 790h 3G and talk time of 21h 40m 2G/ 11h 40m 3G the 2100 mAh Li-ion battery provided with this handset definitely provides the punch Samsung promised and I have to say I’m impressed. With Wi-Fi turned on all of the time I got about 3/4 days of basic use and heavy use such as constant gaming I got just under 24 hours. Normal day to day usage resulted in about two days which is very nice not to have to charge a device EVERY evening.
A little disappointing is the amount of battery drained overnight whilst the phone is on stand-by. After an 9 hour kip, I made sure the phone was fully charged before hand – the battery had gone from 100% to 81%, this seems an awful lot for cell standby but hey I guess other handsets are worse for this.
Not a lot too say on messaging for this device as it is the typical Samsung messaging experience with threaded SMS and MMS texts. This wasn’t an issue so no improvements needed. The call quality was very clear and I found I usually had a very good reception – unless in an area when I get no signal full stop. In an article I wrote the other day I mentioned that the guys at ‘Don’t hold it wrong’ had picked up on a way that holding the S3 handset can reduce signal strength – read more here - I tried holding the handset in the exact way mentioned to see what happened and I found it not too be a problem, no matter how the device is held the signal strength didn’t seem to differ by too much.
I touched on this earlier but the gaming experience on this handset is very impressive. Even on higher memory games such as Sonic 4 Episode 1 which experience a very slight lag on my One X run absolutely fine and too speed with very good graphic quality. The only bug I have is that especially with the game mentioned, they do take a very long time to load.
The camera on this device is about the same calibre as most mobile camera’s at the the moment, your basic 8MP rear and front facing camera with LED Flash. The image quality is clear as you would expect from 8MP.
Left: Portrait. Right: Flowers.
I was a little disappointed as the spec clearly states that the handset has a built in image editor, which turns out not to be the case. In the camera app or gallery if you choose the edit image option it then takes you to Samsung Apps to then download an image editor which isn’t a huge problem but if it says it comes with it then it should already be on the device?
The camera otherwise has all the basic menu’s needed to capture high quality images and very basic editing techniques such as cropping.
Here is a quick video just to show the quality. You can also capture images whilst recording like you can on the HTC One X.
I’m not going to delve too deeply into the music player for this device as it is a typical Samsung music player with limited widgets and average sound quality. The speaker quality is clear there just aren’t as many volume levels as I’m used to with HTC. Also the speaker on the back is in what seems a normal place but actually if you are gaming and holding the phone landscape (on it’s side) your hand pretty much covers the speaker which obviously results in poor sound. This is more than likely just me being a muppet but I still found it annoying.
What can I say? The SIII has proved to be a very good high end handset. The screen and battery life are what really make it for me as it’s nice not having to charge every day and the screen quality is so clear and everything just looks well…. nice! (must stop using that word!) Do I like it better than my HTC One X? Now that’s a good question… I have to say the answer is no however.
The SIII is seriously an amazing handset, heck I’d even say some of the features are better if I’m perfectly honest. This is just down to pure user preference and the music requirements I want from a smartphone just aren’t met by Samsung unfortunately. I also believe these two great handsets came out far too close together so there’s always going to be the divide between which one people think is better, and again it’s all down to personal preference. If the One X had a better battery life then I’d have a definite winner in my eyes but they are just too closely matched otherwise, and I got used to using my HTC One X first and fell completely in love with it :D.