On the 3rd of May 2012, I was fortunate to attend the Samsung Unpacked event at Earls Court in London, to witness the unveiling of Samsung’s next Galaxy Device – The Galaxy S3. The successor to the immensely popular Galaxy S2, which just happened to be my favourite phone of 2011. Even after getting my hands on a Galaxy Note to keep, the S2 was still my stalwart companion. So to say the S3 had a lot to live up to, is an understatement.
The day contained a hands-on play with the new device prior to it’s official announcement later that evening, and even then I could tell this device was going to be something special. Then there was sitting on the sidelines and watching as the press conference unfolded, with the GS3’s tagline of “Designed for Humans – Inspired by Nature”, and the key address of all the new major features the latest Galaxy device had to offer. The remainder of the event I spent on one of the booths, showing off the pebble blue and marble white Galaxy S3 devices. Quite a privilege!
Fast forward to Sat 2nd June 2012, and here I was like a kid at Christmas, with my very own Galaxy S3. Would it live up to all the hype? Would it make me put my Galaxy S2 finally into retirement? Well it definitely had a hard act to follow.
In my possession stood the Marble White version of the Galaxy S3, and my first ever white mobile phone! Is white the new black? Does it make it sexier, more elegant? I’m not sure.
It definitely has a different textured feel to the Pebble Blue version of the S3 that I primarily played with at London Unpacked. The white version does not boast the hyper-glazed textured skin of the blue, it’s got a slicker and more glossy texture to it, and yet still feels right in your hand.
The S3 runs the latest version of Android – 4.0.4 or Ice Cream Sandwich as it’s more commonly known. It features a whopping 4.8″ HD Super AMOLED screen (compared with the 4.3″ Super AMOLED Plus screen of the S2), which you would expect would make the phone much much larger than it actually is. Overall compared with the S2, the S3 is only 11.3mm taller in height and 4.5mm wider, so it still feels more than comfortable in your hand, and can easily be operated one handed!
Under the hood, the S3 is powered by a 1.4GHz Quad Core processor, compared with the 1.2GHz Dual Core processor of the S2. Meaning the phone barely bats an eyelid at gaming, multi-tasking, video watching, surfing the internet and everything else you use your smart phone for.
Now, you’re probably worried that the bigger screen and the more powerful core means the S3 is going to be a bit of a power guzzler, well Samsung have included a 2100mAh battery to give you that extra bit of juice, and since having the device from Saturday it’s performed as well, if not better than the S3 for normal day to day stuff like texting, surfing the internet, checking into foursquare, keeping upto date on twitter and seeing what my friends are up to on Facebook.
The front and rear camera’s on the S3 are pretty comparable to those on the S2 – with a rear 8MP with LED flash and a 1.9MP forward facing camera. The major differences you’ll notice between the two is the launch of the camera is under a second on the S3, and there is also the lack of shutter lag – you press the camera button and the image taking process is almost instantaneous. Helps when you want to capture that spur of the moment event! The camera button is once again via the screen – ( I personally would have liked a dedicated camera button on the case, but I can deal with that minor oversight)
The camera itself features the full range of settings you have come to expect from Samsung, including a few new tricks, such as a HDR mode, Burst mode, Share shot (enables you to share photo’s with other users via Wi-Fi direct) and Buddy photo share (allows you to take and share photos with friends via face detection and social media).
One of my favourite features of the S3 is called Smart Stay. The phone with the assistance of the front facing camera, monitors your eye focus, and as long as you’re looking at the screen, it will not allow the screen to turn off. Long gone is having to continually tap the screen to keep the phone awake. Handy for if you’re reading a long web article, an e-book or just simply playing a game. Of course this isn’t going to make me any better at Angry birds, but it’s a start! It also means I can set my screen timeout to 15 seconds and let Smart Stay do the rest! Ingenious!
Pop-Up-Play is also another really cool new feature of the S3. Ever found that you need to send an urgent text message or email to someone while you’re trying to watch a video on your phone? This feature allows you to shrink the video player down into a smaller window, position it anywhere you like on the screen, and continue to watch your video while you multi-task with something else – making good use of that quad core processor!
The final addition that I like on the S3 is the notification light and smart alert. The notification light will flash to alert you to missed calls, text messages, facebook posts and twitter notifications. Combine this with smart alert, which if set, will vibrate on pick up to let you know that you’re popular and someone has tried to call or text you while you’ve been busy and you’ll never miss an important event again!
All this packed into the 133g body of the S3, well you can understand why I’m a little bit smitten, right? Good news for me, not so much for the S2, which is now relegated to the side lines!