Ok, so I got my new ‘Marble White’, 16GB, Gorilla Glass 2 (uses PenTile matrix technology) fronted, Samsung Galaxy S3 2 weeks ago (wasn’t able to get new Pebble Blue due to the paint issue Samsung is experiencing). So for the last fortnight I’ve been playing and experimenting with all these great new and exciting features. I had an HTC Desire previously (non HD) which was my first taste of Android and so initially I felt pretty spoilt with all the new features Samsung has boasted about during the pre-hype launch. I also know a few people who have the S2 and they’re more than happy with that handset so I was even more interested knowing that and to get to grips with things generally. Having that feeling of a shiny new handset is also great. Incidentally the white handset is very smart so in retrospect really, I’m not that bothered by the fact I couldn’t have it in ‘new blue’ as intended. I’m also guessing the paint issue is now resolved and the availability has improved. As great as it is to have an attractive, shiny new piece of tech, functionality is really what is key when all said and done. I’ll highlight in the post a summary of the things I love and the things I think don’t quite lived up to my expectations. I’ve read alot of reviews about it this phone in depth on spec, so this will just be the good bits mostly.
Dimension and style
You’ll notice straightaway, it has slim and stylish design that manages to be slimmer and lighter than the iPhone 4S, despite being much taller and wider but not too much so making it oversized. It did remind me of a revamped Apple iPhone 3Gs (sadly owned one) initially in its general plastic backed design but when i got to grips I realised it was so much more.
Processor & battery
Quad Core and 1.4GHZ with a removeable 2100mAh battery. Awesome power generally, very responsive and so far I have suffered no lag whatsoever, no matter what I’ve been doing. Multitasking is handled very well. I get a day with the battery with heavy use I’ve found so all things considered this seems fair.
The microSD card slot for expanding the 16GB onboard storage is great and I personally have utilised this adding a further card and boosting storage to 32GB, although it’s reported only 10% of users will need more than the initial 16GB.
The display and size is the first thing you’ll notice as it’s a large handset. It’s more than ample and has a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1280×720 which you’ll very soon get used to and wonder how you managed on smaller phone sizes without a squint. Full HD video (1080p) included. The display amongst most things can be set to display colour at differing affects, from Dynamic, making colours appear very vibrant to a more subtle of looks. Options include, standard, dynamic, natural and movie. It’s very generally responsive with no obvious lag as I’ve mentioned, unlike what I saw in the HTC One and Samsung Note review videos, this is aided with the addition undoubtedly of Ice Cream Sandwich and a better processor.
The sound is loud – ringing I actually turned down but the speakers are great, good with or without earphones (all the better to use that free trial of Spotify included). The best sound I’ve had yet or heard from any phone as standard.
The cameras – there’s 2 – the back is a 8MP, so not much differing there from present competitors and a forward facing with a resolution of 1.9MP for video calling etc. Pictures are very sharp and full HD video is complimented on that ample screen. The camera has several options I particularly liked including..
- Smile capture – just as it says, takes a photo at the detection of a smile.
- 6 Shooting Modes: I liked both Panoramic and the Burst mode, which takes a series of photos from the button press until depress.
S-Voice & Smart Call
This is a great idea but sadly not quite perfected as of yet as I feel. I can’t believe the rival competitor the iPhone has this licked either, although both phones voice function was developed by the same company (Vlingo). Like Siri, it’s not invariably accurate (probably be improved with iOS6) and it is server-driven, so won’t work without a decent data connection. So don’t voice command ‘WIFI off’ or it’ll stay off until you manually switch it on again unless, of course you’re switching to mobile data. Ambient nose, voice level and accent variants/dialects invariably play a part in how functional this is. It’s more a gimmick I have found than anything and still need some perfecting. Smart Call is a great feature too, open contacts and search a contact, see their details and simply put the phone to your ear and it’ll do the rest automagically!. There’s a number of other features it can execute in the right conditions too, including posting update/Tweets and statuses, making calls, reminders, tasks, web searches and setting the on and off functions of various features including the alarm, WIFI and Bluetooth to name just a few. How great, effortless and with no hands!. Well most of the time.
Prior to Ice Cream Sandwich this function was only possible on previous versions of Android through an app downloaded through Google Play but it’s here finally natively and works just fine. You have two options with screen capture. You can either press the power + elongated Home button simultaneously hoping not to catch and include volume control in your shot, or with some practice you can simply use the back of your hand and swipe the screen left to right, or simply right to left. Either way, this accomplishes the same end.
This was the function I had the most fun with!. It is what it says, a driving mode requiring no driver intervention. Voice calls and text messages can be announced verbally firstly with who the sender is, and then finally the body of the message read out, vertbatum. It’s highly useful when you’re driving and not needing added distractions so you’ll know whether it’s important to pull over and answer a call immediately or whether to simply just wait and respond later. I did try and show this to a friend in the pub but in true demo fashion, it didn’t work on several attempts. I later found through experimenting, this resolved by rebooting the phone first. This seemed to correct the issue each time – typically and probably a bug glitch (WIFI detection and connection I’m sure has one too). I hope Android sort these through updates!. When it does work, be careful for personal messages being announced publicly at the most inappropriate moment as that can be embarrassing!. It’s a safe alternative to using your phone whilst driving clearly.
Charging & docking
There’s also a dock for this model too. It was announced yesterday also, the company included a desk top dock with wireless charging incorporated naturally, allowing Galaxy S3 owners to charge the handset by just placing the device on top. I’m curious about this feature as I have seen posts on the probability this feature will appear in the not so distance future for certain handsets.
It’s great and I’m very impressed overall. If you’re interested in picking one up on Pay As You Go it’ll set you back £499 or so, or alternatively, you can opt for the same deal as me on the Three network (UK), with £34 per month. This is the best package I’ve seen including ‘all you can eat data’ which is exactly that. Truly unlimited!.
If anyone has anything further to add or any thoughts, please comment below.