BCA Month Beauty Most Anticipated Fall Children's Books Hallo nav_sap_hiltonhonors_launch New Album by Russell Dickerson Electronics Gift Guide $69.99 Handmade Gift Shop hgg17 Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon curbpremiere curbpremiere curbpremiere  Three new members of the Echo family All-New Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, starting at $129.99 All-New Kindle Oasis GNO Shop Now HTL17_gno



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.

Performance

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 Screen

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.

Software Implementation

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.

Battery Life

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). [Edited 7/26/12: I ordered two 2300mah batteries with a wall charge from QCell for $24.00 from Amazon last week. These batteries performed as good or better than OEM and had NFC capabilities. This eliminated the need for a huge internal battery from my perspective, although there are plenty of 3500 and 4000mah extended batteries available for the GS3. If you're coming from anything other than a flip phone or Razr Maxx, you will have no complaints about the battery life--This phone absolutely smokes my old iPhone 4 in terms of battery life).

Camera

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.

Conclusion

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!
1313 comments| 700 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I've owned this phone almost a year now and just now getting to reviewing it.

It has to be one of my favorite phones yet and I've owned quite a few phones. The S3 is a great phone to own for beginners. It's a very easy to navigate phone. Straight out of the box it's easily accessible.

You need a google account to set up your phone when you first turn it on. Google account will hold all in the information about all the apps you download, your number, and much more.

If you set up Facebook to your phone it will give you the option to sync your friends list with your contact list. So all your friends information is straight at your fingertips.

I like the phone's swype feature while texting when I can't use both hands for whatever reason or I don't want to turn down the volume but want to quietly text.

The phone's ringer is loud. My only complaint is when I turn my phone on silent or vibrate it does NOT silent the alarms set. I've been at a funeral thinking my phone was on silent when my 3pm alarm went off and was louder than ever. How embarrassing.

The call quality is very nice. I have very few times where I've dropped a call but that very well could be because of the area I was in and not the actual phone itself. You can hear your callers clearly and loudly. There is an option to have 'noise reduction' turned on/off and there is also an option for extra volume turned on/off while on a call.

Another complaint I have is when I am on the phone and need to do something like text message I will hit the 'home' key located in the middle of phone on the bottom. It will put the 'call screen' down and I can go to my home screen and do what I need to do. Unfortunately when I go to slide down the notification window so I can get back to my call my phone locks up and turns off. Every time my finger gets to the top bar it turns off, when i lift my finger away from the phone it turns back on. It's VERY frustrating because normally I cannot go back and do anything with the call until they hang up and end the call. Sometimes I can get around this by continuously doing it and eventually getting the notification window to slide down but most of the time I cannot.

The 8MP camera is fairly good quality. I have some instances where my pictures turn out blurry or grainy but that's more than likely due to the light source and or shaky hands and not necessarily the phones fault. There are a lot of different options you can do with the phone automatically out of the box. Changing the photo from a negative, sepia, black and white, cartoonified, washed out, show just yellow, just red, just blue, and just green, solarize, posterize, and warm and soft vintage. If you want to crop or edit your photos you will need to download a different app though because nothing comes with the phone to do this.

The battery life is decent. I can usually spend a total of 8 hours total with non-stop internet use (Facebook, Twitter, browser, etc) and get down to about a 30% battery. It usually takes all day for my battery to go down. I don't know how battery life is with non-stop streaming videos on say Youtube or Netflix because I don't use those often but when my children have it took a bit to run the battery down. It takes roughly 2-3 full hours to charge the battery from 5% to full charge. I have absolutely no complaints about the battery life of this phone. It has been excellent for me.

Overall, this is a great phone. The complaints I have are minor and more than likely users fault not the phones.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 2, 2012
The Galaxy S3 is a 4.0.3 Android ICS 4.8" AMOLEDHD 720P 2GB of RAM, fantastic device.

The features that this phone has are top-tier and the gesture control (while gimmicky) is amazing to show off. I still keep a few on cuz they come in handy.

The device is also incredible fast and smooth, and the screen looks perfect. People will complain that this has a PENTILE display, which has faced very harsh reviews on other phones. However, due to the high-resolution display there are so many pixels that the PENTILE isn't noticable at all. The saturation really adds to the screen and all of the colors pop.

The quickness is partially due to Verizon, but mostly due to the S4 processor inside which easily matches the Tegra 3 quad-cores in tablets and the overseas version of this.

In short, for $200 you won't find a better new phone. The speaker on the back is loud, the sound is amazing, the earbuds this comes with are actually pretty good, the processing power is phenominal.

The camera is also the best of any phone...its essentially the iPhone 4S's camera...that Samsung made for them...but tweaked to use more cool features.

The front camera works wonders with Tango and Google+...both are Android/Google's "Facetime" and work with anyone who has a front camera, unlike Facetime, which requires iOS.

The people that give this bad reviews are doing so because of Verizon, not the phone itself. Verizon decided to opt out of a lot of things that people want this phone for:

1) NFC...payments made from the phone using a wireless connection and Google Wallet were switched off by Verizon, all other carriers get it.

2)Dropbox--a cloud based storage system. This phone comes with 50GB of dropbox storage...25GB on some carriers...Verizon's gets 0GB

3) The bootloader, or way to easily root the device and get inside to tweak everything about the device (what Android is best for since everything is open-source) is locked and encrypted...Verizon is the only one refusing to open it.

4) Onboard apps--Verizon's tools like backup wifi detection always turn on and interupt what I'm doing. In fact, when opening ANY app that uses data, Verizon has a big pop up that asks you to switch to an open wifi so you dont use their data...you have to physically hit the "no" every single time...even when checking facebook you have to. It's sooooo anoying.

So, in summary, this is the best phone in the world..no exaggeration, literally every website, including Mac World, rave about this thing...Verizon's version is severly limited due to them being greedy, arrogant, idiotic...well you get the idea.

If you want easy access to rooting, hacking(which is encouraged with android devices...google even awards people who hack into their devices to improve them...the Nexus Q being the best example...during the reveal of the device at their conference they stopped to tell people how hackable it is)...get the Galaxy Nexus or wait until this Christmas when the next "Nexus" device is out. I for one, was just tired of waiting and this device was the last one to allow me my unlimited data.

If you have questions, ask.
2020 comments| 351 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 21, 2013
Until the Galaxy S4, and now the new Google Nexus 7 by Asus, the Galaxy S3 was the best smartphone on the market. It's still pretty awesome. If you're trying to decide between this and an iPhone, don't think twice about it, get this phone. I've had mine for about a year, and it has really never given me any problems. You can expand its memory capacity-- mine came with the standard 16GB and then I added 8GB more, my brother's also came with 16GB but he added an extra 16GB.
Unlike the iPhone, the Galaxy S3 can be used anywhere. The cable to charge it is a standard micro USB cable and if you want to access music, pictures or videos, you can do so by connecting it to ANY computer you want, no need to "pair it/sync it" with your iTunes account.
The camera is great for both video as well as regular photographs.
After one year of use, it is still very fast.
I strongly recommend this phone.
11 comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 22, 2015
I went with the Amazon Warehouse option for a used S3 because the condition was "Good" while all others were "Acceptable". Also because of the ease in returning things. I give 5 stars because the product I eventually got was near perfect and I got free 2 day shipping. Here's the story:

1) I bought one, same listing, and it came with the SIM carder reader broken (would not read my SIM). Returning it and ordering a new one was easy, but annoying I had to wait a few more days.
2) Both orders I got free two day shipping. Not sure if this was because it was around Xmas or what, but either way, the 2 day shipping helped me give the 5 stars overall even though the first product was unusable.
3) Got the second one, one tiny little superficial scratch on the bottom of the phone, can't even see it. I threw it back into it's old Otter Box case so it might as well be new.
4) Been over a month now, phone working perfectly and looks fantastic.

My advice is do not go through Amazon Warehouse and expect perfection the first time. Or any time; consider everything used and/or referb. If that's OK for you, then I highly recommend it I needed this phone because my wife's original S3 got broken and I didn't want to pay 600+ for a brand new updated model. So a used phone was going to be fine. But it just so happened that the physical condition of both phones were near perfect. Would buy from Amazon Warehouse again for used stuff.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 5, 2016
Very happy with this phone. It's not the latest and greatest but is light years ahead of my (really) old phone. I resisted updating to a touch screen for years but my wife finally talked me into one and I'm glad now that she did. All that was necessary after receiving the phone was a quick trip to my local Verizon store to have a SIM card installed and the phone activated and my contact info transferred, all for $10.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Bought for my son as a gift; he opines, as do the clerks in the Verizon store, that the older model Galaxy smart phones are superior to the newer ones. I don't know why; I can't operate a smart phone. (I'm the dinosaur in the room with a 2003 model Razr flip phone.) Still, this is the smart phone of choice for 3 of my adult kids, so I guess that says something.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 23, 2016
This phone has so many hiccups.... back button has to be PRESSED harder than my previous S3 or I have to press it for a longer period of time. older version so Google CHROME is not available, unable to GPS for G Map.... too many little issues to list... When I was frustrated enough to return it, it was 33 days after purchase - unable to return. This is the first phone out of 7 or so phones bought off Amazon that Ive had problems with...., it will most likely be my last. Ive never had so many issues with a used or refurbished phone from Amazon.
11 comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 19, 2015
My son ran over my phone with the car and I was freaking out, because my phone is my life support. We ordered this phone for a good price and it was delivered quickly. I wasn't without a phone for long. No scratches or flaws to complain about. I'm not sure if it's the phone or Verizon but I can't get notifications for the voicemail. So I've had to download a voicemail app. The other problem is the GPS sucks for this model. However, this is a much older model phone so just keep that on mind. I had the mini and sg4 and there's a huge difference. Overall, I'm very happy with my phone and the supplier. You were truly my life saver. I was job searching at the time and there was no way I could have been without it. Thank you for being so prompt and efficient!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 9, 2015
My first smartphone. Does everything I want it to do and some stuff that I didn't know I wanted it to do until I got it. The pics are so much clearer on this phone than on my previous one (Standard cellphone-Pantech Pursuit). Screen is clear, and even used it runs on the web faster than my tablet..craziness. There's a great SD slot in the phone which is perfect for carrying around your music or some videos which keeps my data usage down. (video quality is VERY nice)
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse