Out of This World
Not too long ago when it was all about the iPhone. As long as you owned one, you were on top of the world where BlackBerry owners, Windows Mobile owners, and the then emerging Android owners couldn’t touch you. In fact, I recall a pundit call it the “Jesus-phone” at one point.
Oh, how we forget too easily; especially when it comes to technology and gadgets. Just a month ago, Samsung unveiled its new smartphone front liner, the Galaxy S III. Features-wise, it has got it all, Samsung’s own quad-core Exynos processor, 720p resolution display, WiFi-N, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, GPS, Corning Gorilla Glass 2, and a slew of other specs on the checklist.
Externally, the Samsung Galaxy S III is thin and light. The polycarbonate material does however give the device a plastic-y feel, not that it’s flimsy, it still is solidly built. It may look bland or too simplistic to most people, but simplicity gives the Galaxy S III an air of graceful elegance.
Samsung’s own Exynos quad-core processor makes the Galaxy S III a smooth performer. To give it a more objective view, we used Quadrant Standard, NenaMark2, and AnTuTu Benchmark.
The unit tested has 16GB of internal storage, with storage space easily expandable by up to 64GB more through the microSD slot. And if that still isn’t enough, Samsung has made a deal with Dropbox which will give you 50GB of cloud storage free for two years (48GB will be added to the standard 2GB).
Video consumption is a joy with the Galaxy S III. I was able to load the phone with 720p and 1080p mp4 videos which ran flawlessly without any stutter or pauses. The new Pop Up Play feature also allows for picture-in-picture video playback on the phone.
While it has all the features one can cram into a smartphone, I think that the gestures are what really make the Galaxy S III stand out. Samsung has added more motion gestures to the standard Turn Over to Mute the audio or Pause a video, Pinch to Zoom In or Zoom Out photos. Samsung has added Direct Call where you just motion the Galaxy S III to your ear and it will automatically call the contact displayed on the screen. Another gesture is where you literally double tap the top of the smartphone and the list displayed on the phone automatically scrolls back to the top. These gestures make the Galaxy S III more designed for humans than other smartphones.
The Galaxy has Smart Stay which will use the front-facing camera to detect if someone is looking at the display which will then refrain from shutting off the display. This is one of the features that I was looking forward to as I tend to do read websites and ebooks on my smartphone a lot. However the feature still has its issues, for Smart Stay to work properly, certain conditions have to be met, you have to be in a bright area and there’s a minimum distance from the face to the phone so that the Galaxy S III can detect the face.
S Voice is basically Samsung’s answer to Siri. It uses Vlingo to translate voice to text. It actually works well from saying the name of the person to call or launch apps. Although, S Voice still has its share of bugs, it’s certainly a cool feature to have on Android as well.
The 8MP rear-facing camera takes amazing shots for a camera phone. In good lighting situations, there is hardly any grain on the images.
Battery life is quite good with the 2100mAh battery. I have gotten roughly 10 hours before the Galaxy S II alerts me that it’s at 20% with moderate use with WiFi, Bluetooth, and 3G on. This means that my phone can last all day before the battery drains.
I love the Samsung Galaxy S III; I’m putting it out there. However, there are a few nitpicks that I must point out. As with most Samsung phones, the speaker is at the back of the phone. The speaker placement tends to muffle the sound coming out of the smartphone especially when the phone is placed on soft materials such as a bed or pillow. Also, while I love the 4.8” display, it admittedly is a bit big to be used with one hand.
Then we have TouchWiz. TouchWiz is Samsung’s UI overlay for Android. For the Galaxy S III, TouchWiz has been tweaked slightly to work smoothly over Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). While I still prefer the vanilla Android UI or HTC’s Sense UI, the new TouchWiz is a more pleasant experience than the previous versions.
At PhP32,990 you’re paying a lot for a smartphone. Then again, not only are most high-end smartphones costs around that price point, you are also getting a lot as well. For someone wanting the latest and greatest, the Samsung Galaxy S III is an easy recommendation.
Plus: Long battery life; Vibrant 4.8” display; Camera; Smart Gestures; Thin form factor
Minus: Plastic-y feel; S Voice and Smart Stay needs improvement
Bottomline: The Samsung Galaxy S III has the latest and greatest features that give you excellent performance matched intuitive Smart Gestures which is a no-brainer recommendation