My Samsung Galaxy S3 Journey

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.

Marble White Galaxy S3

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!

S2 - S3 - Note size comparison

 

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Samsung Unpacked press conference at the IFA, Berlin.

IFA, Berlin

IFA, Berlin

The Press Conference

The Press Conference

As a Samsung mob!ler I have been very fortunate to have been invited to attend the Samsung Electronics Unpacked event press conference. This is where they announced their upcoming products, including a range of impressive smart televisions, camera’s, laptops, and of course their new collection of mobile devices – the new Galaxy Tab 7.7″; the newest addition to their own OS Bada 2.0 with the Samsung Wave 3, and of course the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Note.

Mr. Boo-Keun Yoon took us through Samsung’s vision of a smarter life, a smarter world, how Samsung were first to have a mobile phone operate from SPACE! And explained Samsung’s role in helping disadvantaged children, and of course the upcoming 2012 Olympics:

Boo-Keun Yoon - Smarter Life, Smarter World

Boo-Keun Yoon - Smarter Life, Smarter World

We were then introduced to Michael Zöller, who took us through Samsung’s smart tv range, and Malcolm Andre who showed off Samsung’s Multiview MV800 – a camera with a 3″ “Flip out” display allowing you to take photo’s from any angle; and the NX200.

Then came the moment that I was waiting for – the announcement from Mr. DJ Lee, executive Vice President, and Head of Global Sales and Marketing for Samsung Mobile, of the 3 new devices Samsung were launching at IFA!

Mr. DJ Lee - launching the Wave 3, Galaxy Tab 7.7, and the Galaxy Note

Mr. DJ Lee - launching the Wave 3, Galaxy Tab 7.7, and the Galaxy Note

The Wave 3, The Galaxy Tab 7.7 and the Galaxy Note

The Wave 3, The Galaxy Tab 7.7 and the Galaxy Note

Wave 3
Running Samsung’s own OS – Bada 2.0, the Wave 3 is bringing a 1.4GHz processor and a 4″ Super AMOLED (480×800) screen, encased in a full metal uni-body.

Galaxy Tab 7.7″
– First tablet with a Super AMOLED Plus screen
– Running Android 3.2
– Comes with an IR port, to allow you to control your home entertainment systems at home.
– Brushed metallic rear
– 3MP on the back, and a VGA camera on the front.
– 1.4GHz Dual core processor
– Supports 4G/LTE/HSPA+

Galaxy Note
Bridging the gap between the Smartphone and the Tablet is the Galaxy Note, an all-in-one device, combining video recorder, smart phone, notebook / pad, tablet, camera… in one 5.3″, 9.65mm thin, 178g package.

– Boasting a beautiful High Definition (HD) Super AMOLED screen (1280×800) with 285PPI;
– a 1.4GHz Dual-core processor;
– 8MP Autofocus rear camera with LED flash, and a 2MP front-facing camera;
– a full touch capacitive screen;
– Introducing the “S-pen” stylus with key apps such as S Memo and S Planner.
– Android Gingerbread 2.3.5, which will then be upgradeable to the next version: Ice Cream Sandwich.
– 16GB/32GB versions, with the ability to add more with upto 32GB in microSD format
– a micro USB connector, Wifi, Bluetooth 3.0

This device is something special!

For more pictures from the event, showing the Samsung Galaxy Note, Tab 7.7″ and the Wave 3 – visit HERE

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Samsung Game and Reader Hubs – Mob!ler mission 2 (2011)

The brief for this Mob!ler mission was to offer an insight into the following hubs found on Samsung phones.

For this mission I have used the Samsung Galaxy S II.
Samsung Readers Hub – this is where you will find the phones native ebook / magazine and newspaper readers in one convenient location.

In the video below we have a little demonstration showing the key functions and abilities of this hub.

As you can see, it is incredibly easy to use, the readers hub has a nice range of books, as well as free classics – handy for those long commutes and saves the need to carry around hefty books, large papers, or even magazines.

The only downside is you don’t get any accompanying freebies that are attached to the publications!!

With the Samsung Galaxy S2 running android, you are also not limited to using just the Readers hub, there are a number of apps in the Android store for such a purpose – such as the Amazon Kindle app, which offer similar functionality, and is handy if you have most of your ebooks purchased there!

Gaming

The Samsung Galaxy S2 comes with the Games Hub. Here you’ll find a range of social games – similar to the types of games you’d find on Facebook – such as farm, city and country war/build games ala Sim City. There are also a collection of premium games from Gameloft. I can heartily recommend N.O.V.A which is a first person style shooter, and Dungeon Hunter if you like hack and slash RPG games. You can download the premium games on a try before you buy deal. Of course if none of these take your fancy, you do also have access to the Android Marketplace, where there are a number of games available. This includes free games as well as paid for games from a range of different categories. My favourites from there include 3 different Angry birds (for free) – Ordinary, Seasons and Rio. I am also a fan of Sudoku, and Reversi.

Below is a little demonstration of what you can expect from the gaming platforms available on the Galaxy S2:

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Samsung Mob!ler 2011 – Mission 1 – Android vs Blackberry

Here we are back again for another Samsung mob!ler mission. This one kicks off the start of Samsung Mob!lers 2011.

The mission brief was to compare Google’s Android with RIM’s (Research in Motion) Blackberry.

I’m at a little bit of a disadvantage here as I’ve never actually owned a Blackberry device. So this comparison, at least on the RIM side is based on internet research, and a little play with them in Carphone Warehouse!

So what are they?

Basically they are both a different type of Operating system you can get on mobile phones / smart phones. They aren’t the only operating systems out there, but for the purpose of this comparison these are the only two we’re going to be focusing on.

What types of handset do they come with?

This is a good question.
Phones running Android come in all different shapes and sizes from QWERTY keyboard sporting, flip / clam shell style, to regular iphone-esque looking models. Most offer touchscreen capabilities. There’s a phone out there for whatever style you like.

Blackberry on the other hand seem to stick with the same QWERTY keyboard style phone. There have been a few deviations to this with attempts with the flip/clam shell style etc, but overall if you’re getting a Blackberry device, you’ll find there is a QWERTY keyboard in there somewhere. Which I have to say is one of the features I do like about Blackberry handsets – it makes the whole process of writing emails, editing documents and sending messages that much easier.

What about applications?

Both Android and Blackberry have their own app store. Android currently boasts 200,000 applications to choose from. Blackberry has about 36,000.
Both have the capability of allowing you to browse, buy and download apps straight to your phone from the marketplace.
However, you will find that the majority of the Android applications are generally free, or you can find a good free equivalent to a paid app. Most of the Blackberry applications are paid for apps.

In this regard, this makes me favour Android.

How customisable is the OS?

Android is very customisable. Aside from changing your wallpaper, themes and ringtones, you can add widgets (these are small programs that provide summarised up to date information) to up to 7 home screens. This can range from instant weather information, a news headline feed, or even an all-in-one social media feed – so you can keep up to date with your friends without having to launch a full application all the time.
You also have the ability to place icons / widgets pretty much wherever you like on your home screens. They aren’t restricted to being forced into the next available slot on the “grid”.

Blackberry on the other hand isn’t as customisable. Yes, you can change your wallpaper, ringtones and theme, but as this OS is more tailored to a business market model they’ve tried to keep everything else simple, and the OS seems to be a little more rigid in this regard.

If you like making your phone suit your personality, then Android would seem the way to go here.

What about Web Browsing?

Both operating systems give you a web browser for surfing the internet. However this is one area that Android surpasses Blackberry in as Android gives you the closest recreation possible of browsing the internet as you would from your desktop PC, right down to being able to view and run flash in the browser. Blackberry does not.

What about messaging and email?

This is where Blackberry excels – with BBM (or Blackberry Messenger) – that comes as standard across their devices. Swap your PIN with other Blackberry users and you can chat to them at no additional message cost over either your wi-fi or your data allowance. There are no message limitations associated with SMS – you’re not limited to a character limit. Conversations take place in real-time, just as they would with an IM program on your PC. It is this service that has allowed Blackberry handsets to flourish in both the business world, and with young teens keen to keep in touch with their friends without spiraling messaging costs.

However, the Android marketplace hasn’t been sitting idly by. They have a range of apps that do something very similar. Granted you have to download one of them from the marketplace. What’sApp is one such free application. Instead of swapping PIN numbers, it works on your contacts mobile number, as long as they have the app installed. You can then send messages just as you would with BBM – only this one is cross-platform – if your Blackberry, or iPhone using friends also have the app, you can chat with them too. You’re not limited to the confines of having to own a Blackberry.

Both OS’s offer email capabilities with push notification.

Conclusion

The good thing with a wide-ranging selection of mobile phone handsets and operating systems is that the user has a choice – you don’t have to conform, you can have something that suits your lifestyle, and you.

Both Android and Blackberry suit a different style of person, and neither is right or wrong, it’s all really down to personal preference.

What is clear however, is that where once Blackberry had the upper hand in the business market with a range of tools such as a QWERTY keyboard and BBM, the others are catching up and offering alternatives.

Personally, I like choice –  a wide range of free apps, and the ability to customise my handset the way I want to – so I am very pro Android. But I can also see the appeal for a no frills, business style handset.

Ultimately both OS have their pros and cons –  which one you go for is up to you!

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