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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S3 - the hands on detail review (Auckland, New Zealand)

The techboys managed to get some hands-on time with its new Galaxy S3 smartphone packing Android Ice Cream Sandwich and we're pleased to say the quad-core handset is a worthy opponent to Apple's iPhone 4S.


Size and Design
The Samsung Galaxy S3 follows the trend set by the company's previous Note and Nexus smartphones, packing a hefty 4.8in 1280x720 HD Super Amoled display.

During our time with the device we were suitably impressed, with the screen's display remaining crisp and legible even after we turned down the brightness in low light conditions.

Additionally, despite boasting such a large screen, we found that the device was surprisingly comfortable in hand. This is in part thanks to the fact that the device is incredibly thin measuring in at 137x71x8.6mm.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Another nice touch we noticed is that Samsung has chosen to use a physical home button - something we're happy about considering how unresponsive some Samsung devices capacitive buttons can be.

One thing we were less impressed with, though, was the fact that, like the Galaxy Nexus and S2, the S3 is made of plastic as opposed to metal.

While this means the device is super light, weighing in at just 133g, it doesn't feel all that expensive or robust.

The Galaxy S3 packs a powerful 1.4GHz quad-core processor backed up by 1GB RAM. While we didn't get a chance to fully put the device through its paces the S3 felt quick and responsive, dealing with multi-touch commands and managing to open multiple web pages with ease.

In general, even on a public Wi-Fi network overloaded with users trying to get their laptops, smartphones and tablets connected, the S3 managed to load webpages in a matter of seconds and easily stream HD videos.

Operating system

The Galaxy S3 runs using Google's latest Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. However, unlike its former flagship, the Galaxy Nexus, the S3 also adds Samsung's own TouchWiz user interface.

TouchWiz adds a host of Samsung's own features and changes the composition of the operating systems interface. While some people are fond of Samsung's changes, we're a little disappointed that Samsung didn't tone it down a bit, with the UI feeling a little cluttered.

Camera and battery

The S3's battery and cameras aim to improve on the S2 and Nexus' legacy, with Samsung significantly upgrading the device's components.

On the back the S3 boasts an 8-megapixel camera that Samsung claims will shoot with no lag. Even more impressive is the unit's upgraded 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera, which can even record HD video.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Blue Pebble Casing

 Though we only got a brief chance to try out the device's cameras, not being able to upload them onto a larger screen to really check the quality, in our tests the photos looked clear even in the low light, blue-tinted conditions we were shooting in.

The S3's battery also promises to be fairly impressive, with the device packing 2,100mAh battery that Samsung claims will last around two days off one charge. We'll put this to the test in a full review in due course.

New features
Samsung has added several new services to the S3, most of which are designed to make the most of its Near Field Communication (NFC) and voice and face detection features.

Samsung Galaxy S3 lock screen

The S3 is reportedly "smart enough" to detect and recognise when you're using the phone to read or browse the internet, keeping the screen active as long as you look at it.

Additionally the device's "S Voice" promises to add a host of new voice control commands to Ice Cream Sandwich's core offering.

One feature we particularly like the look of is the S3's "Direct Call" service. The service means that if you're in the middle of texting a contact but decide it would be quicker and easier to call them, all you have to do is move the phone to your ear and it will automatically call the contact you were messaging.

In terms of sharing, one item we really are interested in is the S3's "S Beam" service. S Beam builds on the basic Android Beam technology, letting users share everything from contacts, to movies and audio files using NFC.

Though we didn't get a chance to fully try it, Samsung claims the S3 can send 1GB movies in three minutes and 10MB music files in two seconds using S Beam.

Set for release on 30 May and currently set to be sold sim-free for around £500, we're looking forward to getting a more thorough look at Samsung's latest flagship.

This post sponsored by:
Dr Mobiles Limited
1 Huron Street, Takapuna, North Shore 0622
Tel: (09) 551-5344 and Mob: (021) 264-0000
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