181 of 188 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2012
I've had the new Galaxy 3 for a few days and it has really grown on me. I upgraded from the Galaxy S (Captivate) which I loved as my first smartphone but I got it as a free refurbished model so it had a few issues (nonfunctioning GPS and random hiccups and restarts here and there). I was a bit wary of sticking to Samsung after having a bit of trouble with the previous Galaxy model. Despite the hiccups of my personal copy of the Galaxy S, I decided to give the III a try.
After opening up the beautiful box that the Galaxy III arrives in, I was a bit dismayed that the phone seemed a bit flimsy. To insert the battery and SIM card, you basically have to pry off the cheap plastic back cover with your fingernails. It seemed a bit strange, especially since the Galaxy S had a sliding metal cover and was built like a hockey puck. This is my one main complaint about the III. The Galaxy S is going on strong after two years of drops and falls without any protective casing but I don't feel that the III can sustain such heavy abuse. I'm sure it will survive a few accidents but I don't think I'm comfortable subjecting it to my previous carelessness with its predecessor. After sticking the battery in, the casing feels a bit more solid and the back cover locks in tightly.
Also, memory expansion and replaceable battery gave the III an edge over other new smartphone models. The III also comes with a nice set of headphones/mic and of course a charger.
In terms of size, it is pretty obvious that the III has a much more screen space and is much larger than the Galaxy S and many other smartphones. I have small hands/fingers but I was able to manipulate the Galaxy S with one hand. Not so with the III but that's hardly something worth complaining about. The screen is big and beautiful. Colors are crisp and the contrast is very good. I think the screen isn't as bright at the Galaxy S screen but it is still an improvement as the colors aren't as jarring.
The phone runs rather nicely. It's very smooth and I feel intuitive. Coming from Android Gingerbread, ICS isn't too much of a change. Switching tasks is a breeze and it is noticeably faster than the Galaxy S. It also outperforms my boyfriend's Motorola Atrix 4G which also has dual-core (though, it is now two years old). We ran the same tasks and app on the both the phones and they have parallel performance. Additionally, a Quadrant Test ran at 4758 (if that means anything to you). The Atrix tested at 2091.
Another reviewer complained that the phone ran hot. I didn't really see this as an issue with my copy. It does warm up a bit but no more than the original Galaxy S and not to any concerning level.
The S Voice is a nice addition and works surprisingly well. I've never tried an iPhone or Siri so I can't compare. S Voice is a nice touch but I felt a bit slower than expected. It is far more accurate and intelligent than whatever voice function the Galaxy S had. It is very sensitive to a fault so it will attempt to decipher any kind of utterance (so no thinking out loud!) There are a few things that are pretty gimmicky like the Smart Stay which is supposed to keep the screen active while your face is watching it. We felt that this feature was unnecessary and may be a potential battery drain since it will recognize your face even if you aren't actually looking at the phone. It may be a useful feature for movie viewing. Fortunately, this feature can be easily disabled.
The two cameras are really good. I am a DSLR user and I'm big into photography. I thought the Galaxy S camera was OK but the III's cameras are a big step up. The rear camera focuses very, very quickly and with a touch of the screen you can easily change the focus of the photo before you take the picture. Obviously, it cannot compete with DSLR photographs but it takes pretty decent photographs for a phone. It doesn't exactly rival compact point & shoot cameras but it is close.
The III also comes with some useful apps like Kies Air which allows you to change your phone around (edit contacts, add music, etc) through your computer without having to plug the phone into USB. This a great feature especially when you are getting started with the phone for the first time and are importing data. There's a fair amount of crapware from AT&T but they can be easily removed or hidden. You can easily hide apps by going to Application Manager, hitting Force Stop and then Disable. This can quickly remove unwanted or rarely used apps without having to root them.
Battery life on smartphones is terrible in general. With moderate use, I can get through the day with some battery left to spare so it is good enough. It lasted 12 hours of regular use of GPS, apps, phone calls with 10% to spare.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the phone. Other than investing in a good protective case and learning to be more careful, I can't really find much to complain about. I'll update my review as I go along but so far, I recommend it highly.
UPDATE: A month in and I still love this phone. It is incredibly fast and reliable. I haven't had it crashed once so far. The processing speed is great. I used to shy away from using my previous smartphone to do quick internet research because it was slow and unreliable. The SIII really makes you feel that you have the world at your fingertips. Very quick.
I am an AT&T customer and I ordered this phone through Amazon. There were a few problems when my account was transferred to this phone but AT&T quickly cleared it up. As for the network, I know AT&T is well-known for having a crappy network. Having been an AT&T customer for a long time, I don't know any better but unless I'm in a known dead-zone like a basement or a dense apartment building, I have had no issues with connecting onto the network or making calls. No dropped calls so far, also (which is amazing because my Galaxy S would drop calls ALL the time). Still in love with this gizmo.
142 of 154 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2012
First, this is a review of the US version of the phone. I tried to put a review up on the US version, but Amazon wouldn't let me. So hopefully this helps out people deciding to get the US version of the phone. In case people are wondering this is for the Sprint network.
The US version of the phone differs as it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Processor with 1.5 GHz Dual-Core CPUs, while the the rest of the hardware specs are the same as the international version.
I switched from an HTC EVO 4G to get this phone and so far it's been great! Here are the things I like about the phone:
* The phone is a nice size, it's lighter than my HTC EVO 4G.
* The processor is one of the fastest US released Android phone, and it comes with 2 GB of RAM.
* I played around with the camera and video camera and the quality is great in my opinion. (I'll post some pics or a video later.)
* The ICS 4.0 is really snappy and it opens up applications quickly.
* It comes with Google Wallet. I signed up and got a free $10 to use. (I'm going to McDonald's to test it out!)
* I've only use the S Voice application a few times, but it seems to be just like Siri on my wife's iPhone 4S.
* It comes with a micro SD slot in case more space is needed to save pictures, videos, etc.
* You can change out the battery if needed.
* Battery life last twice as long compared to my HTC EVO 4G.
Now for some cons:
* This is carrier related and not the phone itself, but there is no 4G LTE on the Sprint Network. Other networks such at AT&T and Verizon should be better, but I'm stuck with 3G speeds for now.
* The phone is so nice, that I baby it all the time!
I was on the fence about getting this phone or the HTC EVO 4G LTE aka HTC One X. The main things that I like over the the Samsung Galaxy 3 over the HTC EVO 4G LTE is that it comes with the Micro SD slot and also the battery can be changed if it ever goes bad.
I love this phone! :)
110 of 120 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2012
After years of sticking with my plain, but solid, flip phone, I decided to jump off the cliff and onto the smartphone bandwagon. I had held off on joining the masses because it seemed like every time I turned around there was a new and improved smartphone. Why waste the money when my phone will be obsolete by the time I get it out of the store? Then I heard about the up and coming Samsung Galaxy S3 (S3). After reading hours upon hours of reviews on the S3, all of a sudden I couldn't get my check card out of my wallet fast enough. If you are thinking about purchasing a smartphone, or are just looking to upgrade, I hope this review will help you reach the same opinion I did; The Galaxy S3 is the best phone in the... universe.
I'll begin by saying MASSIVE is the first adjective that came to mind when I opened my Samsung Galaxy S3 box. The display on the phone is an incredible 4.8" which, for me, coming from a standard flip phone, felt like what I would imagine upgrading from a standard 13" television to a 50" HD plasma T.V. would feel like. After the initial shock of the size wore off, the next thing I noticed was the gorgeous color. The S3 comes in two color choices; marble white and pebble blue. I had picked the latter, and let me tell you; I made the right choice. I also noticed that the phone weighed less than I had expected with a phone this large. In comparison to my old flip phone, the S3 has all the same basic buttons from volume control, an on/off switch and a main menu button. Some could say that the size of the phone makes it awkward or bulky, and I found it took me a few days to adjust to the size myself. However, after having played around with my new S3 for about a week now, I believe the benefits far outweigh any downsides to having a phone this large and, to further give credence to this opinion, I'll talk about the display, camera, and lastly, the video camera, which greatly benefit from the size of the Samsung Galaxy S3.
For starters, the resolution on the S3 is amazing. With a 720 x 1280 pixel display, the clarity of anything you do from the main menu on the phone is mind boggling. After I noticed the display, I decided to check out the picture quality. The Galaxy S3 has two different cameras; an 8 megapixel (MP) rear-facing camera, and a 1.9MP front-facing camera, both of which I find quite useful. For example, for every day pictures from facial shots , action shots to still portrait, I find the rear-facing camera to be the best fit. However, if I want to make sure I'm not smiling like a complete idiot, or have something stuck in my teeth, the front-facing camera comes in handy. Having a 4.8" screen is incredibly useful for knowing exactly what's going to turn up in your picture. Furthermore, the cameras on the Galaxy S3 come with many different features, one being the 'burst shot', which will rapidly take five pictures in a row, which really helps when you are trying to catch the split second your kid will smile while you are holding a camera. From what I have heard from friends, the camera perks on the S3 resemble other smartphone's camera options, so for potential migrating smartphone users, there shouldn't be much lost in translation if you decide to make the move to Samsung's Galaxy S3. On the other hand, if you're coming from a flip phone like I did, it will take a while to get adjusted to all the different camera options, but once you do, in my opinion, it's worth it in the long run. As far as video goes...
Let me start by saying I tried to find something bad, broken or annoying about the video options on Samsung's Galaxy S3. I searched but to no avail; the video on the S3 is simply perfect. First, with a 1080p at 30fps video camera, the quality is just as great as you will find on the best high definition T.V.'s on the market. For instance, I tried using the Skype application on my S3, so I could video chat with my daughter, who lives in California. The video quality was comparable, if not better, than what it is on my computer, which allows me to see my daughter even when I'm not at home in front of my computer. However, if I was forced at gun point to come up with something negative about the video aspect of the S3, I would say, that at 30fps, you may experience some slight lag if the objects/people you are recording move too quickly. I only experienced this lag once, when recording moving cars while running, and it was hardly noticeable. Overall, Samsung's Galaxy S3's video camera is a strong selling point to take into consideration when looking for a new phone.
In summary, I'm very happy with the fact that I purchased a Galaxy S3. The huge size of the screen, along with the resolution, is incredibly useful when texting, emailing or playing games. The cameras on the S3 come in handy in pretty much any situation I can think of, so it's nice to be prepared for anything and everything. The video camera is easily the best thing about the S3 in my opinion, and it was the final thing that helped me to decide to purchase a Galaxy S3.
I hope this review helps those of you out there who are looking at possibly purchasing a Galaxy S3. I realize there are other specifications and options that could be covered in a review, but I chose to focus on the main things that are important to me, and I assume to some others, when looking for a new phone. Buying a smartphone is not an easy decision, especially with today's economy, so remember to take into account the additional data costs that you will have when purchasing any smartphone. Last night, I made the decision to write this review, because it's rare when I have few, if any, complaints about a gadget I decide to buy and, with the Galaxy S3, that's exactly what I bought.
45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2012
The GS3's sexy specs and glossy good looks (particularly in pebble blue) won me over. On launch day, I swapped my beloved Droid Razr Maxx, for the Samsung Galaxy S3. Prior to the Maxx, I briefly owned the Verizon version of the GNexus (which I can't recommend at all). Before I get into the nitty gritty details, with pro's, con's and comparisons, at the time of this review, this is the phone you have been waiting for--the phone that will make you use that upgrade or cause you to sign a ridiculous contract with Verizon. After spending ten minutes with the phone, it's an obvious step up from the Razr Maxx and Galaxy Nexus--the former top tier Android phones on Big Red's network.
As much as I loved my Razr Maxx (and its marathon 2-3 solid days of battery life), after spending a few minutes with the GS3, the performance leap is very noticeable. The GS3 is silky smooth, with no lagginess at all. Apps (particulary heavy duty games like GTA III) launch quickly and are game play is flawless. I know many of you aren't going to play anything requiring more than the occasional fling of a few angry birds, but the GS3's ability to handle hardcore mobile games with ease is a sure fire indicator that it will be able to run 99.9% of the apps out there in two years. In other words, this phone has the chops to allow you to make it through your contract without starting a countdown for your next upgrade.
How about some real world examples of the GS3's muscle? The Qualcomm S4 chipset with an industry leading 2gb of Ram can cut through 1080p video files like butter. Surprisingly, it was able to play back a 23.5 mbps AVCHD file using hardware decoding decoding!!! I was even able to take play back the file with the video in screen, while I did a couple of google searches. The average $400 laptop would have a tough time handling that!
The GS3 doesn't disappoint on the audio side either. While HTC touts its Beats Audio Technology, that's nothing more than a brand name equilizer setting with limited value-- unless you're spend $100 or more on a beats headphones (which I personally don't care for). Sammy, on the other hand, dropped in two Wolfson digital to analog converters, which allows the GS3 to pump out lossless high bit rate music with ease. Using a pair of Etyotic HF3 IEM earphones, sound quality was crisp and clean for music playback. Even lossy tracks streaming from Amazon Cloud sounded surprisingly full. Much more so than on some other phones that I own. In terms of music playback, the GS3 is every bit the equal of the iPhone and possibly a little better.
The's GS3's 4.8", 720p HD screen is a stunner! The Super AMOLED panel provides rich color saturation and outstanding contrast. The panel used to make the screen is beautifully fabricated. the slight curve in the design makes it a pleasure to touch. Text is crisp and I see no issue with this most recent implementation of pentile technology. The fuzziness from Galaxy S, GNexus and Fascinate is a thing of the past. Watching videos on the GS3 is a treat.
All is, however, not perfect with the GSIII's screen. While the contrast and color saturation are strong points for the phone, if you like natural color tones, the pumped up saturation levels may bother you. Personally, I would dial back the saturation level if I could. The GS2 had a settings menu that allowed users to tweak brightness, contrast, tint and saturation. For reasons I don't understand, that great feature was some how left behind on this next gen phone, which is a real pity.
While saturation is a matter of taste, the real issue with the screen though is brightness. Even cranked to 100%, the screen still seems to be a few nits behind the curve. I would love to be able to dial up to 120%. The maximum brightness is noticeably less bright than the screen on the Maxx (which Motorola sourced from Sammy). So, what gives? I am not sure, but my best guess is that in the interest of improving battery life and to compensate for the size of the screen (and the power that size screen will suck), Sammy choose to put a software restriction that limits the ability of users to pump of the brightness. Hopefully, this can be cured by a future firmware update.
While the brightness could use a boost, this deficiency is further amplified by awful auto-brightness implementation. When auto-brightness is turned on, the phone makes sudden and drastic adjustments in brightness even in a consistently well lit setting. It seems as if the software has only 3 settings for brightness when it is set to auto--low, medium and high (which isn't that high to begin with). The phone will drop from high to low suddenly, leaving the screen unreadably dark. Until Sammy sends out a software update to fix the problem, I have disabled the auto-brightness feature.
The user interface for this latest version of touchwiz is really very nice. This phone provides IOS levels of comfort and ease of use to a smartphone beginner, but allows the flexibility for the nerds among us to customize the phone to suit our needs and tastes. CNET and Phonedog have done excellent video reviews on the GS3's user interface and software features and highly recommend that you check them out (Amazon won't allow links to outside sites--so you'll have to google them).
I do have a few software gripes, one of which could effect some peoples' buying decision.
One of the purported advantages of the GS3 over its top competitors from the HTC One line of phones is the fact that the GS3's has a micro SD card slot and accepts up to 64gb cards. Android allows must apps to be saved and launched from the micro SD cards. This feature allows low and mid-range phones to be made with limited internal storage because users can add their own cards.
Sammy, however, wants power users to buy the bigger capacity 32gig phones for an extra $50. To force us to buy the step up model, Samsung disable the ability to move apps from internal storage to the micro SD card. I am not sure of the size of the app partition in the phone, but I hope Sammy didn't put too big of a restriction on internal storage or that could be a problem for some people down the road. I understand why Sammy made the decision to disable the feature, but it seems like a low rent Apple type move to me and, in fairness, the HTC One series doesn't accept SD cards at all (nor does the iPhone nor any of the current Windows 7 phones).
Another small grip I have is with Sammy's decision not to incorporate ICS's native ability to generate folders for apps simply by stacking one app icon on top of another . Motorola incorporated this feature on its ICS update to the Razr and its native to ICS, so why force us to have to press the menu screen, select create folder and than drag and drop files? Sammy, that's very Gingerbread of you. A good UI should use the strengths of the underlying Software and improve on the weakness--not just make changes for change sake. This is one of the few areas that the Sammy's "Nature" UI seems to fall short.
Gripes are over for now. :) The batter life on the GS3 seems pretty decent. I have had it off the charge since 8:30 this morning (its 4:47 in the afternoon), and have been using the phone heavily. Screen on time is about 2:53 minutes. I have done some light web surfing--shopped on ebay and amazon for a new case for the sammy. Send about 7 or 8 emails, 10-12 tests, and made about 80 minutes worth of phone calls. Brightness is set to around 90% (auto-brightness is disabled). I even played about 15 to 20 minutes of GTA III, and watch about 20 minutes of an episode of Lost on Netflix. It's now 6:33 in the evening and the battery says it has 62% remaining. I would still be in the mid-80's with the Razr Maxx and the GNexus would have been dead or on the charger a few hours ago.
I would say the battery is good--but it's not close to being in the same league as the Maxx. The fact that it is removable, however, does give it a major step up on phones like the HTC One (X-S), Razr (original), Sony ION, iPhone 4S and Atrix HD. In short, if you are on Verizon and don't need the Maxx's 2 full days worth of battery life, I would take the GS3 over the Razr Maxx (which is exactly what I did).
The camera on the GS3 gets top marks. It uses an updated version of the same 8MP Sony sensor used in the iPhone 4S. Unlike the iPhone 4S, there are options galore for tweaking your photos. I am really impressed with the sharpness of the phones, even in low light. Depending on the shot, the camera on the GS3 (and photo quality in general) is very comparable to photo quality on the Nokia 808 and iPhone 4S.
Video quality is on par with the photo quality. It shoots very smooth 1080p video. Color is good and the video quality is genuine HD quality for most shots. If you shooting a sporting events or other fast paced action, or are pan quickly, there is a lag in time while the camera gets in focus. In fairness, I see the same issue with the iPhone 4S and I have yet to see a smart phone camera do better. Audio quality on the camera is also quite good.
Call Quality and Reception
I have had no problems with reception at all. Unlike its GNexus stable mate, the qualcomm radio and baseband in the GS3 are top notch. I have excellent signal strength on Verizon's network. Call quality is excellent. The people I called say that I sound like I am on a landline--and they sound just as clear to me. Data on Verizon's 4G LTE Network is also strong. I located in the metro NY area. I am consistently pulling 18-24mbps download and 9-16mbps upload speeds on the 4G Network. I get strong reception for Wifi and great broadcasting for Bluetooth as well.
Comparison with Competitors
I have no regrets about trading up from the GNexus to the Razr Maxx and even less regret about trading from the Maxx to the GS3. Despite its plastic build, I think the phone does have a premium feel. It's not as solid as the Maxx, but no one is going to look at the pebble blue version of the GS3 and thinks--that thing looks cheap. It's comfortable to hold. The HTC One X has a sharper, brighter screen and a camera that is on par with the GSC's. The lack of a user removable battery is a big knock against the HTC One series however. The iPhone is, well, an iPhone. As nice as the iPhone 4S may be (and it's great phone), the lack of LTE capability and low data rates on Verizon's CDMA network make it a no go for me. On ATT, however, it can take advantage of higher HSPA+ speeds, but ATT's network has been having some issues lately. For that reason alone, if I am married to ATT or am on Sprint or Verizon for that matter, I am taking the GS3 over the iPhone 4S.
This is a solid phone and a no brainer if you are on the market for a phone right now and have $200.00 in your pocket!
39 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2012
I've had this phone for a week now and played around with virtually all the options. My main concerns were call quality, app speed and battery life. The Galaxy S III excels at all three. As far as features, the phone has more than you need. I personally like the face recognition and NFC functionality. The screen is also outstanding. Clear as day in any lighting situation. The only function that has room for improvement is probably the S Voice which is a Siri-like voice command center. It's a novelty feature that I didn't use much on the iPhone 4 and will get the same usage on my GS3.
The backing does feel a little "plastic" but I plan to get the OEM flip cover which will remedy the issue. Other than that, great phone and highly recommended.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I had upgraded from a Palm Centro, which I was using after my Palm Pre had an "accident", so the Galaxy SIII was a HUGE improvement. My mom has an Infuse and I liked that, but I'm much more tech savvy and knew I wanted the S3 the first time I saw a commercial. (Incidentally, the S3 is about the same size as the Samsung Infuse.)
As a college student, this phone has been so much more useful then I would have guessed. I have saved PDF files to it so I can read them if I'm waiting somewhere, I have apps to keep track of my assignments and schedule, I even can view MS office documents on the go (was completely impressed when I discovered I could also view PowerPoint slides). Occasionally I will check and post to Facebook, but I use my S3 more for useful things than social networking.
Battery life is better than I expected. I don't talk on the phone a lot, but I do use it quite a bit. I usually spend 30-45 minutes between my first two classes playing a game or using my e-reader app on my S3 to pass the time. When at college I leave my phone on, I just silence it so I can check it between classes, and by the end of the day on Mondays, my longest day (8 hours), I still have 50%-65% battery life left. I leave my Wi-Fi, GPS, and Sync on all the time, and usually have Mobile Data turned on so I can use data outside a Wi-Fi area (which I love that option, just in case I'm getting close to my data limit). Rarely have I needed to charge it before I'm ready for bed (I think there were only two nights in a row I had to charge it early when an app went funny and drained the battery). If you are going to be a heavy user, I'd suggest picking up an extra battery or carrying a charger around everywhere - it is a smartphone after all, and we all know by now smartphone battery life is not the greatest, even if this one does have a better battery life than others.
While the phone is wonderful, I have to say it isn't quite perfect. The back is very slick, so without a case it can be hard to grip, and even would slide its way out of my pocket a little bit when I sat down. I bought a Ballistic SG case, which also isn't perfect, but it has a wonderful grip and solves my pocket-sliding problem. The S3 is rather large - something wonderful for the display, but not so wonderful if you carry your phone in your pocket. It does fit in mine, but sometimes just feels bulky. I have had the S3 freeze to the point where I had to restart it at least twice in the two months I've had it, but nowhere near the number of times my mom has had her Infuse freeze. S Voice is a nice feature, but is far from perfect. The recognition is inaccurate and hardly saves time. She did tell me she was sorry I felt she sucked, which was at least worth a laugh.
That said, I would definitely recommend the Galaxy SIII. No phone will ever perfect (regardless of what Apple fans might think), but the S3 is close enough. Sometimes I get the "oooo" gasp when I pull my phone out at school, but by now most people have seen it. Even my math professor was impressed just because of the screen size when I was using the calculator on my S3, and he's an Apple guy. My neighbor was jealous, but now her husband has one. My one brother asked to use my phone when he visited because he wanted to watch a video on YouTube. I asked him what was wrong with his iPhone (4), to which he replied "your screen is bigger." He might be slowly seeing the light after realizing how free the Android OS is compared to Apple's restrictiveness, and he was impressed with my S3. If S Voice was more accurate, he maybe could have been swayed from the dark side and joined the rest of the family (we all have Samsung phones: my S3, mom's Infuse, and my other brother's Solstice 2). I've already told my mom her next smartphone should be a red Galaxy SIII, but she has a long wait until she's eligible for an upgrade.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I loved my Galaxy S I, but it went nuts in the course of the last year--it would do the most bizarre random things, like freeze, change the ringtone or the contact pictures for people...so needless to say I was gunshy about staying in the Samsung Galaxy. 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: 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, it is far snappier than the Galaxy II I played with, and the Android 4.0 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; out of the box, the Galaxy S III takes up a little over 4, 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!
INTERFACE AND SETTINGS
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'm still going to grab a Steinheil screen protector. SWYPEing is easier, too: 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.
APPS AND WIDGETS
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.
NETWORKING AND DATA
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.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2012
Best phone I've owned. Great combination of size and weight, plus delivers on usability and functionality for things I actually use! Very easy to work in and change settings, find files, transfer music, video, etc. Really happy with this phone and would highly recommend to everyone.
I've had Blackberry devices, iPhone 3G and 4, 4S, and this Galaxy S3 beats them all. I was new to Android, but it has been fine and the learning curve is more one of familiarity than anything else. Within a day of using this device, it felt like I had been using it for years. The widgets are awesome...that's something I didn't really think about or thought I would use/need, until I used them...great, handy things to have. The entire home screen(s) is customizable so you can have what you want where you want it. I don't like a lot of screens to move through, so I cut it down to two main screens, but every app is just a couple of clicks away if/when I need it.
The display on this phone is the best. Some say it is a little dim, and that is true on darker scenes, but overall I don't like an overly bright display and usually turn mine down to help conserve battery anyway. The colors are rich and it's very sharp. The HD is amazing.
I downloaded the gingerbread keyboard and youmail for voicemail, and both are fantastic. I had issues with the AT&T messaging app not showing me new text messages, so went back to the standard messaging and grabbed youmail, and am very happy with both.
The size of the device was shockingly large when I opened it, especially because I was coming from the iPhone 4S...that went away in about a minute. Now I can't imagine using the smaller phones. It fits in my pocket, and it's so light, it doesn't feel as large as it is. My wife just switched from her iPhone to the Galaxy Note...now that's a big phone! Compared to that one, this S3 looks tiny! The Note is really large, but even that was much more usable and functional than I expected (but that's for my wife to review in more detail!).
I have had no issues with the phone, I tweaked the settings after the first few days to help maximize battery life, and it now lasts more than a day. I watch videos on it every day and play music on my commutes, in addition to moderate texting and a call or two each day. The LTE is very fast and you can now use firefox on it so syncing across desktop and mobile use is really nice.
Camera and video are amazing. Best I've used on a smartphone, hands down. Expandable memory is a huge plus...16GB on the device and 32GB on a card is great. The NFC is still more a gadget but it's cool...using with the tectiles is nice, but still fairly limited for now.
So many features I haven't played with them all yet. One nice thing I stumbled across was changing the font size of messages in SMS by using the volume rocker...ingenious idea and great for my old eyes!
Won't be going back to Apple as long as this phone and its successors continue to deliver the way this one has.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2013
... And I do, mostly. The device itself is nice. Unfortunately, the device is only half of the story. The issues I have are primarily with the programming of the device.
I had high hopes for S-Voice. I commute 2 hours each way to work, and was really looking forward to having a voice program that I could really use to make calls, send messages, and set reminders. I don't care about finding every random fact, but I wanted the functionality of S-Voice. Overall, S-Voice does all of that... the BIG problem with S-Voice that prevents me from using it is the fact that I cannot stand to use it with bluetooth- I have tried both an ear piece that I have used and loved for months (Blue Ant) and a speakerphone (Motorola Roadster 2) that I purchased for the sole purpose of making S-Voice more tolerable... Neither work. The tones they have in S-Voice are not adjustable. You cannot change the sound or volume. If I turn down the volume on the bluetooth or handset- it just turns down the other sounds. The beeps when S-Voice is beginning to listen and finished listening- HURT MY EARS! I have contacted both AT&T and Samsung to try to change/adjust the volume/sound. It is not possible. This is so frustrating because I wanted S-Voice to work... but it hasn't 'learned' my voice yet, and it frequently takes multiple tries to place a call or message correctly- and each try has both beeps... it was unbearable. I have since switched to mymotospeak. This effeciently sends/receives calls and messages on the first try. I do not have the ability to set appointments or reminders, and need to access navigation separately, but it is much more effective with the bulk of what I need. It seems odd to make such a big deal about the beep... but it is bad. When it is on speakerphone, my daughter complains about it from the backseat...
My only other complaint is that when I am in the text screen, typing a message- if I receive a text while typing- the keyboard disappears. When this happens, there is no telling what you will be pressing or sending until the screen finishes processing any pending 'touches' and/or the keyboard comes back up (about 1-2 seconds). Some people I text send multiple messages, and my responses get odd if they send too soon possibly with a word or letter I never intended to press...
I realize that these two concerns are for programming, and REALLY hope they issue updates that address both of these issues QUICKLY! I would LOVE to use S-Voice and be able to tolerate it. All of the other sounds on the phone are nice, soft sounds. If they updated S-Voice and allowed users to set their own tones- it would be great! I am confident that with use, it would recognize my commands more efficiently (I do like that Mymotospeak recognizes my commands with high level of accuracy). And hopefully, when they resolve the keyboard issue- I will stop sending my sister bizarre nonsensical text messages (thank goodness it is only my sister).
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2012
Best phone I ever had! Install Swiftkey and let your fingers fly on the keyboard. My entire iphone fits into the screen of this beauty. The 5 will have to have some major improvements to even come close to the Samsung Galaxy SIII.
I purchased this phone a few days ago and can't keep my hands off it. The battery life is the best I have ever seen on any Android phone. I used it all day yesterday, surfing, texting, youtubing, emailing, etc., and still had 30% at 9:00 last night. I've noticed that my thumbs don't hurt nearly as much either after using this phone for just a few days.
The screen and text is large enough that you don't have to squint and the speed is incredible. I have to wait for several seconds for my email and messaging apps to load on my iphone 4 but not this phone.
Google Wallet is not compatible with the AT&T version of this phone so don't count on that.
If they upgrade the OS to JB soon you might want to wait. I upgraded to JB on my Asus TF300 and lost Flash compatibility. This will be no big deal once more adopt HTML5 but for now you will lose Flash if you do upgrade to JB. JB sped up my tablet considerably but losing Flash is a minor inconvenience for such an increase in speed.
All in all, this is the best phone on the market. Today it is $99 on Amazon and $148 at Walmart. I plan on buying my wife's today.
If you've ever been curious about Android now is the time to upgrade your experience to the Samsung Galaxy S III.
Still loving this phone! Battery Life is awesome! Unfortunately, the $99 is only good for new accounts. Boooo! Loyalty means nothing to any carriers these days.