Phone Review: Samsung Galaxy S III

*Yes, I am aware that this video is REALLY long, but damnit, I had a lot to say… Feel free to use the fast forward feature…

Samsung’s latest flagship phone has landed. And, kudos to them, they managed to secure deals with all four of the major wireless carriers here in the States to sell their device (this has always been key for Samsung Galaxy device’s in the past) so no matter what carrier you have here, it’s an option for you. The Samsung Galaxy S III is, of course, the Android-powered sequel to the Samsung Galaxy S II, a big seller for old Sammy. The question is, though, is it that much better than the Galaxy S II, and, more relevant, is it that much better than the Samsung Galaxy Nexus? Let’s find out in our review of the Samsung Galaxy S III.

Key Specs

  • 1.5Ghz dual-core processor
  • 2Gbs of RAM
  • 720×1280 (720P) 4.8″ Super AMOLED Display
  • MicroSD Card Slot / 16GB of Internal Storage
  • LTE (for AT&T and Verizon only, all others are HSPA+)
  • 8MP Rear Camera / 1.9MP Front Camera
  • Bluetooth 4.0 / WiFi / DLNA
  • Android 4.0.4 (Update to Android 4.1 in Q4 of 2012). For a full review of Android 4.0 and it’s features, head to our Android 4.0 Overview.

Hardware / Styling

  • Sleek design, but a bit plastic-y feeling
  • Huge screen but because of small bevel and specific aspect ratio, it doesn’t make the phone terribly large.
  • Simple
  • Still uses hardware buttons when all other Android 4.0 and up devices won’t.

Performance

  • Quick thanks to dual core processor and 2GBs of RAM, but can’t help but think how much faster it would be without Samsung’s UI on top (aka like the Galaxy Nexus)

Added Software

  • S-Voice – Siri competitor, it allows you to have a more “secretarial response” compared to Android’s normal voice command feature. Allows you to set appointments, call/text/email contacts, launch apps, etc.
  • S-Memo – A great memo app that originally launched on the Galaxy Note. Does what you’d expect it to; write and send notes, add images, draw on them, etc.
  • Video Pop-Out – This feature allows you to be watching a video and click the pop out button to make the video continue to play in a “window” floating on the device’s screen. As you change screens, it continues to follow you. Not sure how practical this is but it looks cool.
  • Smart Stay – Allows the device to use the camera after the screen times out to check if you are still facing the phone, if you are, it resets the screen timeout to keep the screen active.
  • Buddy Photo Share – Allows you to share photos with anyone else that has the All Share Play app on their device by connecting to the same WiFi network and launching the app (not in Market when I checked so only for Galaxy S II devices?)
  • WiFi Direct Sharing – Share videos or photos to any WiFi Direct enabled device (i.e. TV, Laptop, Tablet, other WiFi Phones, etc.).
  • S-Beam – Allows you to send large files like Videos and Photos over NFC/Bluetooth 4.0 instead of the normally included Android Beam that only lets you send YouTube videos, browser pages, contacts, etc.
  • Camera App – Burst shot has been added to the camera so you can take multiple pictures in a row to capture live action shots better. Also Best Shot has been added to allow you to take a burst shot and then it decides which picture is best and allows you to automatically delete the others after confirming.

Rooting / Customization

  • Device already has been rooted so you can remove the custom UI plus add other enhancements. Check here for our tutorial.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Large screen without making the device too large
  • Neat added software from Samsung (i.e. Video Pop Out,
  • Speakers are pretty loud
  • Camera is decent
  • 4G LTE (for AT&T) is fast

Cons

  • Samsung skin on device adds features, but slows the device down slightly and causes the device to have to wait a long time for upgrades to Android
  • Hardware buttons are unnecessary now that it’s running Android 4.0

Thoughts, interjections, comments on the Galaxy S III? Would you get one knowing all this?

 

  • Dax Krishna

    the add-on apps look great! can’t wait till the devs port them on to a GNex soon!

  • Dalton Maze

    Good review. i cant think of a reason for the video pop out either, but im pretty excited about it. I agree with the unattractive plastic look, however I also have to say if the plastic is anything like the one on my nexus s, I’m all for it. Of all the phones I have ever carried; my nexus s does not break. I’ve dropped it while running on the treadmill only to have it launch right into an exercise bike, countless drops in the parking lot, and multiple falls onto concrete floors. The phone only has unnoticeable scratches.

  • ff

    Its Quad core processor and 1 gig ram…. N00B

    • rst

      it’s dual core in USA, at least T-Mobile..

  • hackingislife

    dual core 1.5 ghz for the states, and 1.4 ghz quad core for international!

  • dsstrainer

    Sprint is LTE too and afaik the only one in the US to have the 2GB ram.

  • JHobs

    i have a Verizon Galaxy S3, SCH-I535 that I would love to be able to use on Consumer Cellular; I am beating a dead horse and NO one seems to be able to do this. Should I just give up and sell the device and be happy with what I have with Consumer?
    So frustrated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!