Samsung Galaxy SIII : Live up to the hype (Part 1)

9/10/2012 7:21:29 PM

Cart the sequel to the best-selling Android phone ever really live up to the hype?

With the Galaxy S Ill Samsung is looking to cement its position as the leading maker of Android phones. With a bigger screen, faster processor and lots of new software it represents a significant upgrade over last year’s model, the SII, which has to date sold in excess of 28 million units. But can it really match the levels of expectation that surround it?

Description: With the Galaxy S Ill Samsung is looking to cement its position as the leading maker of Android phones.

With the Galaxy S Ill Samsung is looking to cement its position as the leading maker of Android phones.

Upon its launch the design of the S III was met with some consternation in some quarters. It’s true that the look and feel of the phone does not match that of the HTC One X (or the more mid-range One S, for that matter), with the back plate especially feeling lightweight and plastic KY. But it’s also fair to say the phone looks better in the flesh than it does in the pictures - it’s thin and light but feels solid, and the rounded corners help it to sit in the hand very comfortably. It’s not unreasonable to have hoped for a more premium finish like those we see from the likes of HTC, Nokia and Apple, but the S III doesn’t feel cheap in spite of the early impressions.

The styling is stripped right back. There’s a single Home button below the screen, with capacitive buttons either side. One of these is a Menu button, something that Google is encouraging developers to phase out in their apps. Around the sides there is the power button halfway up the right edge, perfectly positioned to be under either your thumb or forefinger depending on which hand you hold the phone in, and volume controls on the left edge. The top houses the headphone jack, and at the bottom the micro USB port, which also doubles up as a HDMI-out port with the right connector (which is sadly not included). Meanwhile, the back plate snaps off to reveal the micro SIM slot and a slot for memory expansion via micro SD card.

The device is dominated by the 4.8-inch display. It isn’t the best we’ve seen - HTC’s One X holds that title - but it is pretty stunning all the same. The 720p resolution and pixel density of more than 300ppi makes it incredibly crisp, and possible to read text on webpages without even needing to zoom in. Initially we found the auto-brightness levels to be a little on the dim side, and it gets brighter and darker in distinct steps rather than steadily, but with extended use our eyes got used to it. Given the performance of the battery, as we’ll see later, you could probably afford to increase the brightness manually if you needed to, without any adverse effect on performance.


Description: The device is dominated by the 4.8-inch display... it is pretty stunning
The device is dominated by the 4.8-inch display... it is pretty stunning

Bright LED

The LED is above the screen flashes when you have notifications or to let you know whether the phone is charging. It is rather bright, but not excessively so


The phone supports NFC, using Android Beam and S Beam, so you can share files wirelessly and also explore new apps that make use of the contactless technology


The S III uses a single Home button, surrounded by a variety of capacitive buttons - including a Menu button, which Google is trying to phase out at the moment

Front-facing camera

The 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera shoots 720p video at 30 frames per second. That means it will be good for recording clips of you as well as for video conferencing

Power button

The on/off button is handily located on the right edge of the phone where it is within easy reach no matter which hand you’re holding the smartphone in. Many other tasks on the phone will need two hands to complete tasks

Stunning display

As we have come to expect from Samsung, the 4.8-inch screen is a stand out feature

Smart stay

The front-facing camera is also used for the Smart Stay feature. This tracks your eyes so that it knows whether or not you’re looking at the screen. If you are, the screen won’t turn off and you won’t need to touch it to keep it awake. It works reasonably well, although only if the light is good enough

Description: Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III

Pop-up play

With Pop-up play you can continue watching a video even while using another app on the phone. It works pretty well as a demo of the power of the S III, but we can’t say we’d expect to use it all that often

TV out

You can connect your phone to a TV using a HDMI cable, which connects to the bottom of the phone. There are also wireless options for streaming your multimedia content to a host of device

  •  Samsung Galaxy S III - Samsung's Most Successful Phone
  •  Idisk - The Most Versatile Component Of Mobileme (Part 2)
  •  Idisk - The Most Versatile Component Of Mobileme (Part 1)
  •  Programming the iPhone : Progressive Enhancement - Location Awareness
  •  Programming the iPhone : Network Connectivity
  •  Optimus 4X HD Battery Life Appears Unconvincing
  •  Let's Try The New Features Of Android 4.1
  •  10 Things You Need To Know About...Mobile Banking
  •  Can You Improve Your Drawing Skills With Your Android Device?
  •  Droid Report: Behemoth 22-inch "tablet"
  •  JCB Toughphone Pro-Smart
  •  Kingston 64GB Wi-Drive
  •  LG Optimus 4X HD
  •  LG Optimus L3
  •  Orange San Diego - The First Intel Phone
  •  Samsung Galaxy Xcover Extreme
  •  Sony Xperia Active : For outdoor sports
  •  Kingcom Joypad C72 Tablet Review
  •  Panasonic ToughBook CF-H2 Field and Health Tablet
  •  Top 5 Amazing Tablets : Google Nexus 7, Microsoft Surface, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, Asus Tablet 810, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
    Top 10
    Nikon 1 J2 With Stylish Design And Dependable Image And Video Quality
    Canon Powershot D20 - Super-Durable Waterproof Camera
    Fujifilm Finepix F800EXR – Another Excellent EXR
    Sony NEX-6 – The Best Compact Camera
    Teufel Cubycon 2 – An Excellent All-In-One For Films
    Dell S2740L - A Beautifully Crafted 27-inch IPS Monitor
    Philips 55PFL6007T With Fantastic Picture Quality
    Philips Gioco 278G4 – An Excellent 27-inch Screen
    Sony VPL-HW50ES – Sony’s Best Home Cinema Projector
    Windows Vista : Installing and Running Applications - Launching Applications
    Most View
    Making Movies On Your Camera (Part 1)
    The Ultimate Guide To Macro (Part 2) - Using off-camera flash for macro, 10 expert shooting tricks
    Silverstone Heligon HE01 - Asymetrical Cooling
    Google Chrome 21 - Fast, Free Web Browser
    Windows Vista : Scheduling with Windows Calendar (part 2) - Working with Multiple Calendars, Importing Calendar Files, Sharing Calendars
    Sharepoint 2010 : BCS Architecture - Presentation & Core Components
    A New Leaf (Part 1)
    Technology For Business (Part 1)
    SQL Server 2008 : Performance Tuning - Using Dynamic Management Views
    The Future Of Apple: Chip Off The Block (Part 1)
    Silverlight Tools: Vector Graphics Editors
    Rig Builder – May 2012 (Part 2)
    IIS 7.0 : Managing Configuration - Delegating Configuration (part 1)
    Ipad Lion (Part 2) - What to expect from the upcoming mountain lion
    Windows Phone 7 Development : Debugging Application Exceptions (part 1) - Debugging Page Load Exceptions
    Programming the iPhone : Progressive Enhancement - Audio Support
    5 Tips For Faster Editing
    SharePoint 2010 : Understanding Windows PowerShell Concepts (part 2)
    Programming .NET Components : Building a Distributed Application (part 6) - Remote Callbacks
    Building LOB Applications : Printing in a Silverlight LOB Application