The Galaxy S III is the most anticipated spec-beast smartphone. Samsung's Galaxy S II was already the king of Android in 2011, and was virtually available on every carrier. It had a fast, dual core processor, a big beautiful screen and was spec-tastic.
The Galaxy S III is looking to improve all of that in every way, with a new processor, 2 gigs of RAM, HD screen, LTE, NFC and more features and functions than any phone we've seen so far going so far as to stuff a goodie bag of new “human” features (a catchphrase of Samsung’s campaign) into the phone that are so far only available on this device.
For starters, Samsung corrected some of the biggest mistakes on the Galaxy Nexus. The camera is absolutely terrific. Photos were incredibly
sharp and detailed, and colors looked good.
There are a number of things the Galaxy S III does that no other phone can do — yet. First, there's the front facing camera, that will track your eyes and keep the screen from timing out if you're still looking at it. You can also wake the phone up using just your voice.
Then, there's the groupcasting feature for sharing pics and presentations with other phones, provided those other phones are also Samsung Galaxy S IIIs.
Those are just a few of the features exclusive to this phone, and it’s mainly because of the hardware, which packs many cutting-edge features into a surprisingly lightweight design.
The S III has a subtle curve to everything, making it smooth and nice. Handling is also surprisingly friendly, despite the phone having a big screen. It's short of being too big for one's hand.
The Samsung Galaxy S III’s HD Super AMOLED screen has 1,280 x 720 pixels
and uses a tech called PenTile, which actually has fewer sub-pixels
than regular LCDs. The screen measures at 4.8 inches, not it's biggest (compared with the Galaxy Note at 5.3 inches), but one thing to really note here is that Samsung really broke the convention here with the buttons.
Most new phones are going without navigation buttons, or with the standard Android four buttons. Instead, Samsung went ahead with a capacitive back button, a capacitive menu button and a physical home button. The home button will take you to your home screen, and holding it opens the task switcher and double clicking it opens the voice commands.
Navigation around desktops and websites is fast and fluid, and apps load
quickly too. Radio connectivity was also good, and it locked onto a signal
nice and quickly. Not surprising, since it's motivated by Samsung's new quad core Exynos processor.
Software and features
Samsung went overboard on the software side, slapping on many tricks and tweaks on top of of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0).
The front-facing camera at 1.9MP is way better than most of the other front-facers out there. You can also enable a “best shot” mode, which automatically picks the best of the burst, deleting the rest.
And then, there's the auto-tagging of photos. After you snap a pic of someone, a yellow box will appear around any face, prompting you to tag away. Then the next time you shoot any of those people, the face-recognition software goes to work, suggesting tags for faces it recognizes.
Sharing content is also being made easier. With NFC, you can click two Galaxy S IIIs together to share content
(photo, video, contacts, maps, etc) via S Beam, which is quite handy.
Saving photos to the cloud is pretty simple these days and the S III points you toward three very capable options: Dropbox, Google+, and Samsung’s own AllShare service, which uses the SugarSync app for storage.
If you have a text message open and you lift the phone up to your ear,
it will sense that and automatically call that contact. If you get a
call you don't want to take, just turn the phone face down to mute the
ringer and reject the call.
There’s also S Voice, Samsung’s Siri clone. Like Siri, you can ask it
basic questions like the weather or nearby restaurants but as fun
as Siri is on the iPhone 4S, you still need to push a button to get her
to speak to you. With the Samsung Galaxy S III, users will be able to
start interacting with their phones without ever touching them.
One cool feature of that is its voice wake up function, which lets you bring the phone out of the lock screen just by speaking to it. You can control its settings by saying "Hi Galaxy", or a custom phrase programmed in.