With its dimensions of 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.55 millimeters Samsungs Galaxy
S3 is everything but small. Compared to its predecessor which measured 124 x 66
x 9 millimeters the Koreans added quite something to the size. Nevertheless
there is a good reason for this things shere size: Samsung decided to equip the
S3 with a 4.8 inch Super AMOLED touchscreen that features 1280 x 720 HD Ready
resolution. When the S3 was designed the developers have tried to find ways to
keep the S3 as small as possible. Therefore they had to reduce the size of the
frame around the display. Like this they managed to squeeze a 22 percent bigger
display in a 16 percent bigger smartphone. HD Ready resolution with a 4.8 inch
display means a pixel density above 300 ppi and therefore
you get excellent readability even if there are very small letters. Although
Samsung isn't the first company to introduce a display with high pixel density,
there are for example HTC and Apple who can reach the same numbers, at least
they managed to reach the same level as the competition. It seems that in
another league, that's where Samsungs new SoC plays. The new Exynos 4412 is a
quad core part that clocks at 1.4 Gigahertz. Samsung also improved their Mali
400 graphics unit which clocks at 400 Megahertz meanwhile. These days it looks
like smartphones don't need more than 1 Gigabyte memory.
Like with the S2 Samsungs crafted a case for the S3 which seem cheap at a first glance. At least it looks like the company had to save money somewhere. Using thin plastic and a chassis which is not that stiff also brings adavantages. For example: if you take an iPhone and drop it from 50 centimeters height on one of its edges then the glass will definitely break. With the Samsung you might be luckier in such a situation, but we would also prefer to have a device which comes with an exceptional build quality. Something else that is remarkable is the fact that Samsung chose to eliminate black from their color palette. The S3 is available in a very dark blue as well as in white. A closer look at preorder numbers shows that this seems to have been a good descision from Samsung because there are lots of people ordering the phone in dark blue.
Reading the list of connectivity features is quite impressive. There is USB, DLNA, WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, WiFi-Direct and HSPA. But one feature is missing: LTE (Long Term Evolution). It's hard to understand why the Koreans didn't equip this device with LTE. These days this technology is being pushed in a lot of countries and therefore such a feature would have made Samsungs new device even more future proof. Probalby they will introduce a version of the S3 with LTE.
One of the highlights of this devices definitely is it's display. Brilliant colors and very sharp fonts, that's what you get from the 720 x 1280 HDReady SuperAMOLED display. It really is 4.8 inch of eye candy. Samsung was also able to reduce power consumption of the display. Therefore it was possible to keep the load on the battery, caused by the display, on about the same level as with the Galaxy S2.
Samsung also overworked the camera which ships
with the S3. The first thing we noticed is that it starts really quickly.
According to the manufacturer it only takes 990 milliseconds until the camera is
ready to take a picture. Furthermore also focussing is fast. So, Samsung finally
has a put a camera into one of there samrphone that allows you to take proper
snapshots. Furhtermore there is a continous shooting option which automatically
take eight pictures and suggest the best one. The other seven pictures are
automatically deleted. This feautres is very hand if you have kids and you want
to picture nice moments. Also the quality of the pictures is good. There are
crips colors and the LED flash helps taking decent pictures when there is not
much ambient light.
It isn't a surprise that Samsungs chose to put Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich on the S3. To be exact they it is Android Version 4.0.4 that actually installed on their devices these days. And of course Samsung adopted its TouchWiz interface for Android 4. On the software side there aren't a lot of new apps but there are quite a few neat improvements. One itneresting thing is for example "Smart Stay". This feature uses facial recognition to track a users eyes and dimm the brightness of the display when a user isn't looking at it. Furthermore the S3 should be able to recognize faces when you take a group foto. It does this on the basis of the contacts stored on the device. Another improvement that concerns the camera is the new burst mode. If allows you to take a lot of pictures in very short time and after that the smartphone suggestes which one is the best to be stored. Someting that needs to be on the S3 is a voice recognition software. In this case it is called S-Voice. A big plus point with this version of S-Voice is for example that it does work with other languages than english too.
Compared to the S2, the S3 is a step
towards the right direction. The fact that there is no LTE support is a pity but at least there is hope that the Koreans will implement this in a future revision of the device. At the moment it seems like the Exynos 4412 SoC really is one of the fastest around. It seems a good idea to power it with a 2100 mAh battery pack. Another
great thing is that
Samsung seems to work together with Dropbox to offer customers 50 Gigabyte of free cloud storage.
Another thing we want to underline at this point is the dispaly. The brilliant colors as well as the high level of brightness are two very convincing factors. Combined with a reduced power consumption per square inch, the display does only draw little more power then the one the Koreans put into the S2. Furthermore there is their practical Smart Stay features which uses a facial recognition software to track ones eyes. Like this the device is able to shut down the display automatically when you close your eyes. This also comes very handy when you're reading long e-mails. Other smartphones tend to dimm or turn off their displays after a certain period of time. The S3 turns off the display when when your eyes are closed or simply when you put it into your pocket.
Samsung has three different models in their portfolio where the only difference is the storage capacity. There is a model with 16 Gigabyte, a model with 32 Gigabyte and a flagship with 64 Gigabyte. A closer look at the local price comparison portal Toppreise showed that only the 16 Gigabyte and the 32 Gigabyte model are listed. These days they cost CHF 635.- and CHF 749.- for the 32 Gigabyte model.