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Customer Review

96 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swift & Sweet, July 27, 2012
This review is from: Samsung Galaxy S3, Marble White 16GB (AT&T) (Wireless Phone)
Earlier this year I slipped off to Evo-land and had a great experience with the HTC Evo One X, but at the end of the day, AT&T's version of the One X was too limited: smaller space (16GB instead of 32), no added storage, sealed battery, too much pre-loaded junk, too much data-gobbling. I wasn't ready to live that much in the cloud.

Thus far, the Galaxy S III has been the answer to all of my problems. It has none of the senility of my Galaxy I (which got really weird there at the end), it is far snappier than the Galaxy II I played with, and the Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" OS has me giddy with its response time and smooth transition from one program to another. Yes, the Galaxy S III really can multi-task, and is happy to do so. Best of all, I slipped in my 32GB SD Card and we were ready to go. The HTC One X consumed just over 6GB of its built-in 16GB. This means an AT&T Evo One X has only 9 GB of room. Out of the box, the Galaxy S III takes up a little over 4GB of the native 16, but will allow you to slot in an SD card of up to 64GB in size for even more room. If the battery stops holding a charge one day, I'll just open the case, pop it out, and put in a new one--how handy!

I've seen some people have battery problems, but so far I've managed to go up to two days without having to charge. It all depends on what I'm doing, but even with what I consider to be heavy activity (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, several calls, lots of surfing), I don't have to charge the phone more than once a day.

With the Galaxy S III's interface, there are a LOT of options that let you customize your phone to be just as you want it: it's as if the makers of both the Galaxy III and the Droid OS decided to bend over backwards and hand you the keys to pretty much every feature you can think of. For example, if you hate eating data when someone e-mails you an attachment, you can set the phone to only pull down attachments when on Wi-Fi, or not at all. Check for new messages anywhere from 'continuous' to 'daily' to 'never' (which means 'manually'). Hotmail works much better now that Exchange is supported--my Galaxy I would take forever, drop out, freeze, or give me nagging, 'Too many requests' messages.

Getting around is smooth swiping with the Gorilla Glass on the Galaxy S III's face, but I still went with a so-so Steinheil screen protector. Either way, SWYPEing is easier: not only is the onscreen keyboard huge, with the keys generously spaced wherever possible, but the SWYPE interface draws your swipe line cleanly and it is easy to see what word you are SWYPEing. Word suggest is still annoying--tap out the word "text" and get "Texas" inserted--but once I turned this off, everything else worked well. If there's one disadvantage to the Galaxy S III, it's that both the phone and the screen are a real fingerprint magnet: the Evo X picks up stains and smudges, but was just a bit better about not getting as much smeariness on the glass. Still, with either device the problem is solved by a quick swipe across your shirt.

Android phones now use the Google Play Store instead of the Droid Market and it works fairly well: enter your Google account info and you're ready to go. AT&T customers still get CRapplications they can't remove, but your own third-party apps can also be side-loaded after changing one setting in the options. You can't root the phone (yet, anyway), but I'm not seeing the horrible performance drag of all that AT&T stuff like I used to. I'm especially fond of the side-loaded Amazon App Store, which nimbly pushed all my apps down with no complaints, security warnings, or performance drops (take that, ol' Galaxy I!)

Applications now come in two form factors: Apps and Widgets. When you tap the 'Applications' button from the home screen, the resulting screens are tabbed between a list of Applications and a list of Widgets. Think of an 'App' as meaning "An icon I tap to launch a program" and a 'Widget' as "A thing I may launch, or may just interact with at the screen and never need to open separately" (like the Weather, the media player, or the flashlight). When you swipe from one home screen to another, adding Widgets now gets a Windows Phone like twist: some widgets are double-wide like a Windows Phone 7 tile, and some (like the media player or the clock/weather on the main home screen) take up half the screen--the variety of sizes also resembles the coming Windows 8 Metro interface. Instead of feeling crowded, it reminds me of how much fun it was to play with my first desktop gadgets in Windows Vista.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are very responsive: connecting to various networks or pairing is quick. If you connect to the type of network that requires you to open a browser and agree to something/provide a user ID before you can connect, the Galaxy S III will prompt you accordingly and automatically open the page you need. There is also a button right on the pull-down menu to turn off packet data so you can conserve your data plan--I like that feature VERY much.

Multimedia playback is excellent: while my Galaxy I would take quite a while to open and respond to me, the Media Player Widget makes my music quickly accessible. True to form, I get album art, artist/title/album searches, and a very good quality of playback over the included earbuds.

The Galaxy S III has two cameras: one in the front and a much better one in the back. Both are for taking photos and shooting video. The camera on the back is for the serious picture-taking and has a very high-output flash for such a tiny LED. Picture-taking is so fast I find myself accidentally snapping multiple shots! The gallery of my Galaxy S I might take a while to show me newly-snapped photos, but with the S III they are not only instantly available, I can go straight into the Gallery from the Camera and not have to step out to the home screen. Flash can be adjusted on and off, switching cameras is as easy as tapping one icon, and there are a variety of easy-to-access options, from three focus modes (Auto, Macro, Face detection) to generic 'shooting mode' settings: Single shot, burst, HDR, "Smile Shot", Beauty, Panorama, Share Shot, and Buddy photo share. Settings includes the ability to adjust the exposure value, and what's more there are scene modes for sports, night, party/indoor, etc.

The feel of the Contacts and Phone Dialing interface haven't changed much, but the look certainly has: icons, contact pictures, and menus are larger on the Galaxy III's generous screen. I found myself making fewer mistakes trying to nudge and poke my way through the touchscreen when I needed to look up a contact or merge their information. Call quality is excellent, and answering the phone is easy. As with all new phones, there are many ringtones, alarms, and message sounds to choose from: I was very pleased with the variety of options this time around--the many sounds you can choose from for your calls range from soothing and tranquil to jarring and noisy.

If you're looking for a new Android Smartphone, the Galaxy S III is a fantastic choice. Its screen is bright, colorful and generous, the OS runs smooth and fast and the screen is very responsive to touch. The number of features at times seems endless, but more importantly, Samsung have executed those features well: this is indeed a great phone.
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