Samsung’s Galaxy S III – The Beast

Samsung’s Galaxy S III has really stood out this year as an enormous heavyweight in this new sport of the smart phone battle. AT&T’s new LTE network, 2GB of memory, 2100mAh battery, and WiFi channel bonding help to make Samsung’s flagship a beast in the ring. I’ve had AT&T’s Galaxy S III over a week now and not only am I impressed, but I keep finding more features to extend that wow factor. I’ll start with the official stats and follow up with more detailed remarks in areas that stood out to me more.

Specs:
  • 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display (1280 x 720)
  • Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Dimensions: 5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 inches
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5 GHz dual core CPU
  • Weight: 4.73 ounces
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB Internal storage
  • Up to 64GB expandable memory (microSD)
  • 2100mAh battery
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • MicroUSB
  • 4G LTE / HSPA+
  • 8MP Camera w/ LED Flash (4x zoom)
  • 1.9MP Front-facing camera
  • NFC S Beam capable
  • Front Notification LED

LTE speeds have been pretty good, overall around 30+ Mbps down and 6+Mbps up. I’ve noticed slower speeds in some areas versus others. This is to be expected due to network saturation and incomplete LTE network coverage.  I’m wondering if this will begin to slow once the AT&T LTE market is more saturated in general in the Saint Louis area.

Physical appearance is very slick, I think the smooth lines and slight curves on the length of the phone and a sweet sophisticated look. The weight and balance of the phone keep it from feeling to overwhelming and makes it very comfortable in my hand. I am very big on keeping the slenderness of today’s phones by not adding some ridiculous bulky case to the  phone. I want to enjoy that thin light form that Samsung designed. I’ve noticed in 4 short days I had the phone without a case, the back held out from being scratched at all. I think this is largely due to the use of polycarbonate for the case rather than just plain plastic. Plastic cases scratch pretty quickly even from the most subtle of abrasive surfaces. I have since grabbed Rearth’s “Ringke Slim Lite” case which has added that extra protection from scratching and short drops without all the bulk.

Battery life has done very well overall. The 2100mAh battery has kept up with my constant use throughout the day with only placing back on charge before bed. My typical daily use consists of listening to Google Music on the way to work about 20 – 30 minutes, listening to 1 or 2 podcasts at work over Bluetooth headphones, checking Facebook, Twitter, sending texts, phone call or 2, checking voice mail, watching a YouTube video or 2,  downloading and or updating apps, listening to more streaming music over Bluetooth headphones and even more music on the way home. This would put me around the 30% (I know thanks to Samsung including the battery percentage optional display in TouchWiz) mark by the time I get home. Granted this is not everyday, but you can get a good idea of how well the battery holds up. Oh by the way, I work an average 10-12 hour day.

The camera takes great pictures at 8MP it’s nearly the same as most at this level with crisp pictures. The video is no slouch capable of the nearly standard 1080P. What I really want to point out is the speed in which you can snap off pictures. I compared against the original Galaxy S and was able to snap off 5 pictures before 1 was completed on the Galaxy S. Shooting mode “burst shot” will capture up to 20 shots in only a short moment. Turn on “best shot” within the burst mode to capture the best shot of a few on every photo you take. You can also take stills while shooting video footage. Keep in mind that both of these are done without any 3rd party apps.

The software or OS side of things prove to be very slick and more fluid than the previous generations (I’ve had AT&T GS1 and GS2). The dual-core CPU and 2GB of memory have come together and made a great user experience. Swiping through home screens, opening apps, and menus are like they should be; fluid. Samsung has added a quite a few nifty features to really ease the use and make the Galaxy S III stand out.

  • WiFi Channel bonding – When connected to a WiFi connection the Galaxy S III can bond 2 channels together doubling the connection path/speeds.
  • Side Palm Screenshot – You can swipe the side of your palm across the screen at anytime and take an instant screenshot. No root required.
  • Pop-up Play video – While watching a video you can press a button and have the video play in a separate window on top of anything else you doing. This means you can watch a video and continue writing a text, surfing Facebook, or whatever else you want to do. Now that’s multitaksing.

    Yellow Highlights the Video
  • Live Video Thumbnails – When looking at the thumbnails of the videos you have on your phone each video actually plays live at the same time. Yeah pretty cool.

    These are actually Playing (on the phone)

I’ve really only scratched the surface of the Galaxy S III, but I’ve tried to point out the things that have really stood out to me over the past versions. Samsung’s flagship is not to be taken lightly and at present I know of quite a few Blackberry and iPhone users either making the switch or contemplating it. I think for anyone ready for a new phone regardless of what platform (or even what carrier, as it’s out on the big 4 plus US Cellular) your on, the Galaxy S III is no doubt a very easy decision. I want to also mention that everything I have talked about has been used or tested on completely stock Galaxy S III, no root, and no 3rd party apps were used (except to run the speed tests). I think I’ll finish up this review for now with a “well played Samsung, well played.” -Greg