By Ermal Hajrizi
On the heels of HTC’s shockwave-inducing announcement of the HTC One Series, Samsung has announced its very own flagship device: the Galaxy S III – heir apparent to last year’s hit, the Galaxy S II. With a huge focus on nature and the human-element, the South Korean company looks to stay on top of a growing crowd in the Android clan. So, is this years iteration of Samsung’s smartphone darling a crowd-pleaser, or does it disappoint. Read on to find out.
Following the trend of recent Android smartphones, the main attraction of the Galaxy S III – its screen – measures in at a full 4.8 inches. The huge screen dwarfs most others, including the relatively minuscule 3.5 inch screen of the iPhone. To the delight of resolution-pundits, Samsung has made advancements in its screen technology in another area: pixels. The new Galaxy S III combines the superb color saturation of Super AMOLED screens with a stunning 1,280 x 720 display. The result is a seriously pixel-dense screen with superb color reproduction.
Before the announcement of the Galaxy S III, Samsung revealed its newest homemade processor: the 1.4 GHz Exynos 4 Quad . The aptly-named chip features 4 fully-fledged cores, and is based off of an A9 architecture. According to Samsung, the chip is as efficient as ever, claiming that it drains 20% less battery compared to its earlier Exynos brethren, but still tops it performance wise. So, how much performance does the processor pack? Well, to give consumers a taste, Samsung demonstrated a feature called Pop Up Play, a program reminiscent of Picture-in-Picture on the big screen. Pop Up Play allows you to perform a task on your smartphone while simultaneously watching a video in the corner of your device. Absolutely mind blowing…you know…for a phone.
Storage & Memory
The Galaxy S III will come in an array of storage sizes. Consumers can pick from 16, 32, and 64 GBs. In addition, Samsung’s new flagship, unlike most of HTC’s recent offerings, will feature a MicroSD slot, allowing users to expand the memory on the phone. Furthermore, if you’re more into cloud storage, Samsung’s got your back on that, too, offering 50GB of Dropbox storage to GS III customers.
In terms of memory, Samsung has stuffed one whole GB of RAM into the device, meaning that, along with the powerful processor, it should be able to handle anything you throw at it without many hiccups.
We all know that Samsung has faced accusations of imitating, and in some cases blatantly copying, the work of other manufacturers. And by “other manufacturers”, I mean Apple. Well, this time, Samsung has shamelessly taken to mimicking HTC’s ImageSense software on the HTC One Series. Samsung’s version, called Best Photo, takes 10 pictures and then allows the user to decide which one is the best, making sure to save that one.
In terms of hardware, the phone boasts an 8-megapixel camera, along with an LED flash. Video can be shot at up to 1080p resolution. On the front, there is a 1.9 MP camera, capable of 720p video for all of your video chat desires.
Although the hardware end of the Galaxy S III seems like an incremental upgrade, the software side is a different story. To start things off, as expected, the phone runs the latest version of Android: 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich). On top of Android, Samsung has sprinkled its signature skin – TouchWiz – with the version being dubbed Nature UX. The overlay seems less cluttered than before, but still most would prefer the look of stock Android, just as Google intended.
Other software enhancements include things like S Voice. Hmm…sound familiar? If the first thing that came to your mind is Siri, then you’d be absolutely correct. Its just that: a voice command system.
Additionally, Samsung has added some neat, but perhaps gimmicky features, such as Smart Stay, which keeps the front facing camera fixated on your eyes and monitors them in order to maintain a ”bright display for continued viewing pleasure”.
The Galaxy S III comes fully connected with most of the standard wireless connectivity options around the world, including WiFi, 3G, etc. Samsung has also announced that U.S. versions will come with either HSPA+ or LTE, depending on the carrier, which means customers will have the option to take advantage of networks with blistering speeds.
All of these new features are great, but in order to actually use them, you’ve got to have some juice, and boy does this phone pack a lot of it. Moving itself away from its competitors sub-2000mAh, Samsung has decided to use a 2100mAh pack. This should, in theory, provide superb battery life, although with the plethora of battery-killing features such as the HD screen, it remains to be seen how it will perform in daily use.
Samsung’s new Galaxy lineup is a formidable foe to the rest of the Android group. It is feature packed, and is backed up by a brand-name that Samsung has been riding all the way to the bank. Nevertheless, early reception has been lukewarm, with many not satisfied with the phone. Only time will tell how it fares in the market. The Samsung Galaxy S III is slated for a June release in the U.S.