Samsung Galaxy S3 review
We've all been speculating about it for months and at last the Samsung Galaxy S3 is a reality, announced at the Brand's huge Mobile Unboxed event at Earl's Court in London.
Samsung Galaxy S3: Build
With a 4.8-inch screen on board, the S3 isn't exactly small. Measuring 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm, the S3 is slightly longer, wider and fatter than the S2 (125.3 x 66.1 x 8.49mm), which may prove to bit a little on the large side for some although the extra thickness may actually make the S3 slightly easier to hold and less likely to slip from your hand, particuarly when taking a photo.
Samsung Galaxy S3: Features
There are plenty of new features on board, not least the Smart Stay function which uses eye detection to ensure that the screen
doesn't dim as long as you're looking at it, which could well be useful, albeit a potential drain on on your precious battery life.
Samsung Galaxy S3: Screen
The gigantic 4.8-inch screen is probably the phone's most striking feature, and while it's an inch bigger than that of the HTC One X, it's not as square so it doesn't look quite as massive. It's still quite a leap from the S2's 4.3-inch screen, while the pixel density has been upped from 218ppi to 306ppi, with a resolution of 720x1280 pixels. Once again the screen uses Super AMOLED technology, to keep the viewing angle as wide as possible.
Samsung Galaxy S3: Camera
While many were expecting a 12MP camera to land with the new S3, Samsung has stuck a relatively average, but thoroughly decent, 8MP snapper and it will also shoot and play 1080p. Not much has changed since the previous model in terms of specs, but there are a couple of new features.
Face Slideshow will zoom in all the faces within a picture if you're viewing your pictures in a slideshow. Does anyone view their phone-based photos in a slideshow? We're not so sure.
Samsung Galaxy S3: Performance
The quad-core processor certainly seemed to do the trick in the limited time that we had with the phone. There was barely any lag when switching between home screens and firing up apps.
Samsung Galaxy S3: Battery
The S3 packs a 2100mah battery, compared to the S2's 1650mah cell. Obviously we haven't had our hands on the phone long enough determine exactly how much difference this will actually make, the presence of a more powerful processor (not to mention all the extra features) will certainly require more juice.
Samsung Galaxy S3: Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy S3 certainly looks impressive, especially thanks to the zippy operation that results from that quad-core chip.
Hands-on review by Libby Plummer
Check out our Samsung Galaxy S3 hands-on review video:
Samsung Galaxy S3 review
Samsung Galaxy S3 reviewT3
Samsung Galaxy S3 review
- Great screen
- Decent battery life
- Chock-full of features
title: Samsung Galaxy S3: Features / url: features-android-ice-cream-sandwich
- It’s just so big
- Gloss plastic looks low-end
- Some extras seem gimmicky
Samsung Galaxy S3: Ice Cream Sandwich
The Galaxy S III uses the very latest version of Android, 4.0.3, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich. This is far and away the best version of Google’s operating system, with a cleaner look than before.
Ice Cream Sandwich lets you put these buttons as virtual icons onscreen, like on the Galaxy Nexus. Here there’s a physical home button, an elongated strip in the centre of the phone’s face at the bottom.
Either side are two virtual capacitive buttons. Samsung has rejected the Recent Apps button in favour of Back and Menu options.
Much better. And if you need it, a long press on the home button brings up the Recent Apps screen.
The latest OS doesn’t just offer yet another tempting-sounding treat to get our mouths watering.
It’s a whole new interface which is redesigned throughout in contrast to previous iterations which have felt like layer after layer glued on top of the previous code.
It includes nifty features like face unlock which matches you to a previously taken photo to launch the phone from idle.
ICS brought Recent Apps front and centre – though the S3 has de-emphasised it again. Samsung adds its own refinements, like the capability to take a screen shot by wiping your hand across the screen.
Samsung Galaxy S3: Features
It's the new features on the Galaxy S3 which really stand out. There’s S Voice, which is a voice recognition service after Siri’s heart, designed by Vlingo (a company which is now being bought by Nuance, who contributed to Apple products and, presumably, Siri).
Although it’s competent, it lacks Siri’s wit and whimsy, so you’re best sticking to straightforward commands.
Like Siri, it’s not invariably accurate and it is server-driven so won’t work at all without a decent data connection. Even so, it’s good fun and there’s something slightly magical about it.
Video: S Voice demo
And Smart Stay, which uses the front-facing camera to periodically check if it can recognise a pair of eyes looking at it and if not, it turns the screen off to save power.
There’s also Smart Call, which dials a contact’s number for you by raising the phone to your ear from the contact details screen. True, these seem like nothing more than gimmicks, but they are quite cool ones.
Perhaps the most gimmicky of all, Social Tag uses facial recognition to match faces in photographs with the profile photos in your contacts.
Now, assuming the profile photo isn’t of a dog or a witty poster, the phone shows that contact’s latest status update and makes it easy to call or message them. We can’t see it catching on.
Samsung has tried to create the phone that has everything and it's not far short of the mark.
So there’s NFC, the contactless technology that has yet to find widespread use, though it’s good for Android Beam to transfer contacts between compatible Android handsets.
Samsung takes this one big step further with the inclusion of S Beam which adds WiFi Direct to the wireless transfer connection so you can beam video files quickly between S3s.
You can throw content from the phone to a suitably equipped TV if you find the 4.8in display doesn’t do your movies justice while a feature called Smart Alert makes sure you know about missed calls or messages by gently vibrating or whistling a merry tune.
Samsung Galaxy S3: Hubs
With so many apps to choose from, how do you know what’s good and what’s not? Samsung's Game Hub has a (small) selection of recommended titles. Some are free, and then there are premium apps to pay for. Helpfully some games can be tried before you cough up money.
The Music Hub is now up to version 3.0 (HD) and promises to be “the complete music solution for your Samsung device”. It costs £9.99 a month and promises unlimited streaming.
You can also upload tracks from your personal music collection so you can listen to them everywhere. It has a neat interface and a huge catalogue – 17 million tracks.
The Video Hub is is where to go for movies – though there’s also Google Play, of course, which is arguably more attractively laid out. Like the Game Hub, there are helpful recommendations from best-selling to staff picks.
The highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S3 has finally arrived and it comes toting a quad-core processor, massive 4.8 Super AMOLED screen and raft of new features
Samsung Galaxy S3: 10 things to do first
Samsung Galaxy S3: 10 things to do first01:52
S Voice VS Siri test
We ask 10 quick-fire questionsn to find out the champion of this digital battle.02:45
Samsung Galaxy S3 Size: How big is it?
Samsung Galaxy S3 size: How big is it?01:43
Samsung Galaxy S3 free apps news
Samsung Galaxy S3 free apps news02:32
Samsung Galaxy S3 S Voice demo test
We do a quick test with Samsung's answer to Siri01:37
Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Sony Xperia S test
Another Android phone joins the powerhouse party, but which one is best?01:17
Samsung Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 4S
The Samsung Galaxy S2 came close but is the Galaxy S3 the one to topple the iPhone?01:00
Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X
The best Android phone around takes on the new competitor, the Galaxy S300:58
Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Samsung Galaxy S2
Camera, OS, speed and design comparisons of the pair of Android smartphones01:11
Samsung Galaxy S3 hands-on review
First impressions of the Android-running quadcore superphone.02:00
Samsung Galaxy S3 Exclusive First Images
T3's Samsung Galaxy S3 Exclusive First Images.00:50
Best Android Phones 2012
A roundup of the top 5 Android phones to get in your basket01:58
Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini preview
The shrunken S3 comes with a 4-inch screen and less processing power00:58
Best Smartphones: Reviews
HTC One M8 review
The new HTC One (M8) is the brand's new flagship Android KitKat smartphone
Samsung Galaxy S5 review
Can the new Samsung Galaxy S5 flagship smartphone blow away the competition?
iPhone 5s review
Google Nexus 5 review
Can the Google Nexus 5 trump the excellent Nexus 4?
LG G2 review
Is the G2 the best Android smartphone around?
HTC One Mini review
The HTC One Mini is a scaled down version of the popular HTC One Android phone
LG G Flex review
The LG G Flex is the maker's very first curved Android smartphone
Motorola Moto E review: Hands-on
Is the Motorola Moto E the best budget smartphone around?