For Samsung, the Galaxy S2 represented their greatest success in the high end smartphone market up against HTC and Apple. The phone did so well that it captured some 46% of the Indian market as well as being extremely popular in Europe. When the company announced the Galaxy S3 in May of this year they were expecting even better results. If 10 million pre-orders are any indication, the S3 may blow past its predecessor in no time.
The question is, is there enough in the Galaxy S3 to justify buying it before your current smartphone is truly obsolete? Samsung seems to think so and they’re banking on some very “Apple-like” marketing hype to get the job done. According to promotional literature the Galaxy S3 is “inspired by nature — it sees, listens, responds, and allows you to share the greatest moments.”
Android just tipped the 50% mark in terms of total market share around the world. If version 4.0 lives up to all of its hype, that number could go up significantly in the next 12 months or so. As for the Galaxy S3 it falls short of Android 4.0 because it fails to fully take advantage of the opportunity for multitasking. In other words, a good Android phone or tablet will have a recent apps button in order to help you switch between tasks as easy as possible. Without one the S3 forces you to do way too much navigating during multitasking.
That aside, Android is very quickly maturing to become what Apple hating consumers have long been waiting for. Samsung’s UI even adds to the Android experience unlike HTC’s which really does Android a big disservice. Where the UI can’t compete with Apple is Samsung’s voice control options. Apple’s Siri clearly wins here.
In terms of apps there are now hundreds of thousands of them covering just about everything you could dream of. What’s more, you have access to all of them through the Google Play Store; either directly on your phone or through your laptop.
In order to have a really top-notch smartphone worth such a high price tag you have to beef up the great hardware. Samsung does not disappoint with the Galaxy S3. Open up the case and you’ll find:
- CPU – 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 (USA); 1.4 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 (International)
- GPU – ARM Mali-400 MP (USA); ARM Mali-400 MP (International)
- SoC – Qualcomm MSM8960 (USA); Samsung Exynos 4 Quad (International)
- Memory – 2 GB RAM (USA); 1 GB RAM (international)
- Storage – 16/32/64 GB flash; up to 64 GB microSD
- Battery – 2100 mAh
- Conductivity – 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
I was surprised to see such a small battery in a phone ostensibly as powerful as the Galaxy S3 purports to be. I know that “slim is in” but it seems as though Samsung could’ve used a beefier battery along the same lines of what you’ll find in the Motorola RAZR MAXX. That aside, there’s enough power under the hood to make all of your daily tasks lightning fast and stutter free. You’ll seamlessly move from one screen to the next and into and out of your applications.
One of the first things I noticed about the display on the S3 is how warm and colorful it is. The 4.8″ AMOLED PenTile display features 1280×720 resolution, Gorrilla Glass, and a very responsive touch capacitive screen. I was surprised because I’ve seen other displays with nearly identical specs still look drab, cold, and uninviting. Whatever Samsung did to achieve the display on the S3, they did it right. Even video looks pretty good in most cases; noticeably better than the HTC One X.
While the 8MP camera on the S2 was impressive in its own right we were hoping the rumors about a 12MP camera for the S3 would come to fruition. They didn’t. Nonetheless, the combination of Samsung’s quality camera system, combined with some excellent photo manipulation software, mean you can get some pretty impressive pictures with this phone. I think Apple still dominates in terms of picture phone quality, but the Galaxy S3 isn’t far behind.
When it comes to video this baby is capable of 1080p full HD recording from the rear. The front 1.9MP cam can produce pretty decent 720p video while also supporting simultaneous picture taken. I’m still not sure how that would come into play, but it’s available nonetheless.
Samsung Galaxy S3 Sample Photos
Samsung Galaxy S3 Sample Video
Look and Feel
There isn’t much for me to not like about the Galaxy S3 but its look and feel fall in that category. Despite the fact that the case is polycarbonate rather than plastic, it still has that plastic feeling which may give some the impression of cheapness. Its strange profile is another aspect that we can’t quite understand.
Samsung intends for the Galaxy S3 to dominate the market with a look that seems very uninspiring. To me, it almost looks like an over-sized music player. That may be okay for the Apple crowd, but I think being that American consumers are so driven by appearance this may be the one fatal flaw of the S3. One wonders if they’ll lose market share to HTC based on the cosmetics.
In terms of the feel, the S3 is comfortable, lies in the hand nicely, and is easy to work with. For the one-handed navigators among us there shouldn’t be any problems with awkward hand motions or cramping. The phone is large enough to give you a lot to work with yet still small enough to use without much trouble.
It does appear that Samsung is on its way to reaching the goals set for the Galaxy S3. This phone is definitely one you want to consider if you’re a power user who hasn’t upgraded in a couple of years. If you’re not comfortable with the price tag (it’s estimated to land somewhere between $400 and $700 US) the HTC One X or the iPhone 5 might be a better choice.35mm equivalent for galaxy s3, galaxy s3 equivalent focal length
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