• Just got our Samsung Galaxy S III


    I just got a Samsung Galaxy S III with LTE support. I'm using it on TELUS. This is a work in progress so I won't be done for a few more days. I'll also be comparing it with the quad core varient soon so after you read this check back in a couple of days - there will be more.



    In just 3 short years we've gone from Samsung Galaxy to Galaxy S III. What a ride.
    Under the hood:

    My S III supports LTE and has 32GB of storage with a 1.5Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8960 dual core processor. It's the same processor you find in the LTE HTC One X.



    Out of the 32GB of storage 26.26GB is available. There is 2GB of RAM, double what you get from last year's Android flagships.

    The Body:

    The body has a metallic look to it. It's actually plastic with a deep looking clear coat which gives it some depth.

    Even though it's a plastic phone it feels solid even though it's very light.



    There are 3 buttons along the bottom: menu, home and back. It's different than most other Android 4.0 devices which have a back, home and task switcher button. On the S III you can press and hold the home button to bring up the task switcher. I much prefer this setup.



    In front is the status LED, earpiece and 1.9MP camera.



    On top is the 3.5mm headphone jack



    Power button



    Volume buttons



    I like how the microUSB is on the bottom. That configuration makes the most sense to me (unless you use your phone in landscape mode a lot).



    The 8MP camera is on the back along with the flash and speaker.



    Behind the battery cover is the 2100mAh battery, micro SIM slot and microSDHC card slot (accepts up to 64GB cards).

    Compared to the HTC One X:



    Size-wise the S III is more or less the same as the One X.



    The HTC One X has a 4.7" 1280x720 display while the Galaxy S III's measures 4.8" with the same resolution.

    Both have roughly the same viewing angles. The HTC One X's display is slightly sharper because it's not arranged in a pentile matrix like the S III's though to be honest, the difference isn't dramatic like it is on lower resolution pentile displays. When it comes to such high resolution displays the difference just isn't as noticeable. Still, it would have been nice if the S III's subpixels had the same layout as the S II's 480x800 display.


    The S III's display is on top while the One X is on the bottom.

    The HTC One X's colour feels a little more washed out though some find it's more accurate than the S III's which has a lot of pop. Personally, I go for the pop since I don't always look at my phone under optimal viewing conditions.

    The S III has much deeper blacks. It's the main reason why the S III's screen has so much pop. Both are similar in direct sunlight.

    Both the One X and S III have fantastic cutting-edge displays.

    The HTC One X's matte finish feels, well it feels much more matte. My HTC One X is an absolute scratch and scuff magnet so I'm guessing the S III's finish will be more durable. Speaking of finish the S III feels very similar to my Galaxy S, it's got that lacquered plastic feel to it.

    You get a one piece unibody with the One X but the S III doesn't feel shabby either because its battery cover connects at numerous spots.

    Both have the same processor though the S III has double the RAM (2GB vs 1GB). I'll be honest, I'm not sure users will notice the difference between 2GB an 1GB.

    The One X here in North America ships with 16GB of which a paltry 9.9GB is available. I wouldn't mind that except that the One X doesn't have a microSDHC slot so you can't expand the storage. The S III is available in 16GB and 32GB sizes. You still have 26.6GB available with the 32GB. Using that math the 16GB probably has around 11GB available. Regardless, both S III's have a microSDHC card slot which can take up to 64GB cards. In my opinion the microSDHC card slot is one of the most important differences between the 2 devices.

    Another difference is the battery. The HTC One X has 1800mAh battery while the S III has a 2100mAh.

    Menus:



    One feature I've always liked about Samsung Touchwiz are the feature toggles when you pull the notification area down.



    Something new is when you adjust the volume, you can press the button next to the volume display to change other the other volume settings (phone, media and alerts).

    So far it's pretty cool. The screen looks great. Its very sharp. I don't really notice that it's a pentile display with the default color scheme.

    The deep blacks really give the colors a kick.

    As far as text entry goes it doesn't look all that different from the S II's keyboard. You get the Samsung keyboard plus SWYPE which is now called 'Continuous input'. I'm not sure if it is actually SWYPE or if Samsung renamed it but it looks just like SWYPE.

    Menu transitions are extremely smooth. I can see a difference when I have it next to my Tegra 3 one x.

    I couldn't help but notice that one of my favourite Android 4.0 features: the ability to create folders on the home screen by dragging one program over another is missing from the S III. You can still create folders but you have to choose edit to do it.

    Motion features:

    One new set of features are the S III's motion features. For example if you're viewing an SMS conversation you can dial the person by moving the S III to your ear. If you have the phone face down you can view missed calls and messages by picking it up.

    You can tap the top of the S III twice to jump to the top of an email or contact list. The S III will zoom on an image if you press 2 fingers to the screen and move it in or out.

    I like how you can take screen shots by swiping the screen left to right using your palm. You can also pause media playback by covering the screen - now no one will catch you looking at racy videos!

    There's a shake to update feature. You can turn it over to mute features.

    Less useful motions are the ability to move an icon from one home screen to another by tapping and holding it and moving the phone left or right. You can also pan around an image in a similar manner (who would want that feature?)

    Smart Stay:

    For those worried about the Smart Stay feature (the one that watches your eyes to keep the screen on) it's disabled by default. I've been playing around with it with mixed results. I'll play with it some more and let you know how it goes.

    Video Features:


    The picture in picture feature is really cool. You start a video and then hit the picture in picture button. It shows the video in a window which you can tap and hold to move around while you use the rest of the phone. You can tap the video to go back to the video player. It's seamless and doesn't appear to slow the menus down at all. Having used it I wish you could do the same with the YouTube player.

    Another cool video feature is that there's a video preview when you're looking at the gallery. It's kind of cool/distracting because ALL videos preview at once.

    AllShare which is Samsung's DLNA program is now named 'AllShare Play" and it has 2 new features. There's SugarSync integration but more interesting you can now play content from one AllShare Play device to another even if they're not on the same access point.

    Here's how it works: You create a login when tracks which devices you have. That's how it knows which devices it can play to. It works over WiFi or 3G/4G. This should make AllShare much easier to use plus it's now useful outside the house. Note that it doesn't upload your content to SugarSync first in order to share it (unless you want it to).

    I was informed that on the Business side there are additional features built into the Galaxy S III that aren't available on other ICS devices. An example is the Cisco VPN client. I'm told that three is a Samsung specific client in the Play Store which has additional features over the generic one. I also noticed that there are a lot more security options when I added an exchange server.

    I just started using the device so I'll update this post with more thoughts and benchmarks throughout the day. I'll also be trying out the motion features more.

    Camera:

    Still testing, will update in a day or 2.

    S Voice:

    S Voice is Samsung's voice assistant. I'll admit, while I use my iPhone 4s an awful lot I don't use Siri much. I'll occasionally text using Siri while I'm driving and got it to read me my messages once or twice but that's it.

    To launch S Voice you just double tap the home button.

    The first thing I tried to do with S Voice is to ask it something stupid. In this case I asked it: 'What is better? The Galaxy S III or Apple iPhone 4s'. It didn't understand what I was asking it.

    Next I tried to send a text message which worked. Note that I'm in my office right now which is pretty quiet so I'll try again some place noisy.

    Benchmarks:

    Sunspider (lower is better):

    HTC One X (LTE): 1550.9
    Samsung Galaxy S III (LTE): 1788.6ms

    Since the LTE versions of the One X and S III both use the same processor the S III's SunSpider scores are quite interesting. Is the lower score the result of less mature firmware or do Samsung's customization require more processing power? Note that I disabled Smart Stay and haven't added a Google account to the S III yet so there was less background processing going on.

    Vellamo (higher is better):

    HTC One X (LTE): 2455.52
    Samsung Galaxy S III (LTE): 2302.51

    The One X outperforms the S III by about 7%


    GL Benchmark Egypt Standard (higher is better):

    HTC One X (LTE): 5571
    Samsung Galaxy S III (LTE): 5423

    Again the HTC One X outscores the Galaxy S III though this time by a much slimmer margin.

    Basemark:

    HTC One X (LTE): 31.95
    Samsung Galaxy S III (LTE): 29.80

    Another narrow victory by the HTC One X.

    Battery Life:

    check back later.

    RF Performance:

    check back later.

    Accessories:

    I also got a chance to check out some of the S 3's accessories:


    You can get a cover/flap that's built into a back cover like on the Galaxy Note. I have one of these for my note and like how sleek it is but found that the cover just trapped dust and debris and rubbed it into my screen.

    There's a fancy metal Samsung pen which works with capacitive screens - so while it can work with the Note it's not an s-pen which is also a magnetic stylus. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture - imagine a metal pen that says Samsung on it.



    There is a docking station and a stand. The stand allows you to remove the battery and charge it in the back. The physical part that holds the phone up doesn't have any charging contacts - just the area in the back. There's a charger connector in the back. Honestly, I don't see any point to this accessory unless you own 2 batteries and don't mind swapping them all the time.

    The docking station has a micro USB connector on the bottom. The back has a charger connector and a line out.

    I'll be updating this post throughout the day so stay tuned.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Just got my Samsung Galaxy S III started by howard View original post
    Comments 108 Comments
    1. Usernameisvalid's Avatar
      Usernameisvalid -
      If I were a betting man, and this was Vegas - I'd bet the farm on there being an FM radio on that model. Does not make sense NOT to include it. BTW - the FM radio app requires that you be using headphones, since they become an important extension of the antenna. I tried using the app with higher quality Bose over the ear headphones and the app works fine - so it's nothing specific to the cheap little ear buds they give you.
    1. Canoe Head's Avatar
      Canoe Head -
      If I were a betting man, I'd raise you a virtual beer than the FM radio is not present on NA models.

      I suspect that the FM radio is very closely linked with the exynos quad-core chipset.
      This loosely based on samsung exynos summary implying FM radio support is linked with SOC UART1
      http://www.samsung.com/us/business/o...Exynos_v11.pdf
    1. Usernameisvalid's Avatar
      Usernameisvalid -
      Well Canoe Head, you may be on to something there. I had not considered the dual/quad difference. Mine is definitely a quad - and dear god I paid for it buying it unlocked from Newegg (excellent service from them btw - free 3 day 'overnight' shipping) How kind of them to include free shipping with a $700 phone. If you are considering this phone I can only speak to my experience with this international phone. Are there any drawbacks that I did not consider by buying this model over the domestic model? I still have time to return it if there is something very bad about this model I have not considered.

      I can say that I really do enjoy having the FM app, it is a very slick, refined program that (don't smack me) almost seems like an iApp with it's level of polish. Without it, I suppose there are always streaming alternatives for music (pandora, etc) and many radio stations broadcast a delayed feed over a web browser. Just a few plan B's...

      While the Android market doesn't hold a candle to iTunes (or better still, Installous) - can anyone perhaps make a list of their favorite top 10 apps? I've gone a bit app crazy grabbing just about anything and everything marked 'free' that might seem even remotely useful.

      One last question regarding microSD cards - has anyone been able to find a Class 10 64GB card? The best I was able to find in a walk in retailer was a 16GB Class10. Then that leads to one more question - does it really matter which card I store stuff on? Obviously I've been dumping all my photos and music on the 2nd card, but it's the apps that are taking up most of the room on my main card. Not sure if apps will run properly from the secondary card or not?

      Sorry for asking 234 questions in one post. You folks are an extremely helpful bunch!

      Cheers!
    1. TC_Mits's Avatar
      TC_Mits -
      Quote Originally Posted by Usernameisvalid View Post
      Well Canoe Head, you may be on to something there. I had not considered the dual/quad difference. Mine is definitely a quad - and dear god I paid for it buying it unlocked from Newegg (excellent service from them btw - free 3 day 'overnight' shipping) How kind of them to include free shipping with a $700 phone. If you are considering this phone I can only speak to my experience with this international phone. Are there any drawbacks that I did not consider by buying this model over the domestic model? I still have time to return it if there is something very bad about this model I have not considered.

      I can say that I really do enjoy having the FM app, it is a very slick, refined program that (don't smack me) almost seems like an iApp with it's level of polish. Without it, I suppose there are always streaming alternatives for music (pandora, etc) and many radio stations broadcast a delayed feed over a web browser. Just a few plan B's...

      While the Android market doesn't hold a candle to iTunes (or better still, Installous) - can anyone perhaps make a list of their favorite top 10 apps? I've gone a bit app crazy grabbing just about anything and everything marked 'free' that might seem even remotely useful.

      One last question regarding microSD cards - has anyone been able to find a Class 10 64GB card? The best I was able to find in a walk in retailer was a 16GB Class10. Then that leads to one more question - does it really matter which card I store stuff on? Obviously I've been dumping all my photos and music on the 2nd card, but it's the apps that are taking up most of the room on my main card. Not sure if apps will run properly from the secondary card or not?

      Sorry for asking 234 questions in one post. You folks are an extremely helpful bunch!

      Cheers!
      '2'- The only serious drawback to the i9300 international version is the absence of LTE support. If not for that, I think I might prefer it.

      '3'- I believe that there is only one external removable SD card. ICS, I think, changed some filenames and they may be misleading to some. I believe, the other 'sd card' is actually internal memory. None of that is first hand, so it could be less than perfect info.

      '4'- Some apps will run from the external memory (SD) and some won't. There is also a long-standing issue with Widgets from the SD card that Google obstinately refuses to consider important enough to correct.

      http://developer.android.com/guide/a...-location.html

      Android issues: issue 8555
      http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=8555
      This is over two years and 500 developer complaints. So many complaints, it appears, that the default maximum has been exceeded and the older complaints are now being erased to make room for new ones! Still Google turns a deaf ear.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
    1. Canoe Head's Avatar
      Canoe Head -
      I have already jumped in with both feet on the decision to buy a SGS3 variant -- which one is still TBD.
      I already have the case (C77), screen protectors, micro sim all from ebay, with 64gb class10 also ebay in transit.

      The international variant has multiple advantages in that it does NOT have any carrier firmware mods and should be first in line for updates (following Nexus). Product lifespan TBD but expect it to be supported a resonable period and longer then carrier specific variants. There is also significant benifit for some US carriers, but unfortunately not us canadians :-(.
      The international variant does NOT allow use on T-mobile, WIND, Mobilicity networks whereas the T999 carrier specific variant can run on any non-CDMA network in US/Canada. The 2GB RAM (vs 1GB international) should in theory allow running multiple tasks without hiccup. Niether T999 or international support LTE that i747 model does.

      Newegg has the best CND price that I have seen for international variant.
      Will hopefully resolve this $0.50 FM radio radio question on NA variants this Friday!
      Assuming NA models have FM radio hardware, my only question would be whether I would be able to obtain unlock of T999 model for use on my present carrier which is promoting the LTE i747 model.
    1. Drillbit's Avatar
      Drillbit -
      The international variant should allow use on T-Mobile and Wind/Moblicity on 2G and EDGE, but that's quite a big amount of money to waste on something that doesn't run 3G on your network.
    1. Drillbit's Avatar
      Drillbit -
      Quote Originally Posted by TC_Mits View Post
      '2'- The only serious drawback to the i9300 international version is the absence of LTE support. If not for that, I think I might prefer it.

      '3'- I believe that there is only one external removable SD card. ICS, I think, changed some filenames and they may be misleading to some. I believe, the other 'sd card' is actually internal memory. None of that is first hand, so it could be less than perfect info.

      '4'- Some apps will run from the external memory (SD) and some won't. There is also a long-standing issue with Widgets from the SD card that Google obstinately refuses to consider important enough to correct.

      http://developer.android.com/guide/a...-location.html

      Android issues: issue 8555
      http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=8555
      This is over two years and 500 developer complaints. So many complaints, it appears, that the default maximum has been exceeded and the older complaints are now being erased to make room for new ones! Still Google turns a deaf ear.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
      That issue is actually not correctable and lies with the nature of Linux itself. You see, Phone Memory is the equivalent of the PC system C:> drive. Don't think of it as memory, think of it as a drive partition. This happens to be the drive where the system boots from. All apps that must install on boot up, as well as parts of apps, has to be on the C drive (I will stop calling it Phone Memory for now). Even an app that resides on the SD memory (D drive), may need some parts of it in the C Drive. Widgets need to be on the C Drive since they are installed with the home screen as it boots up. This is also the reason why the Contacts database has to be on the boot drive.

      But do remember that ICS, unlike its predecessors, doesn't partition internal memory into Phone Memory and SD or External Memory. Instead, all of the installed memory is just one big bootable partition now. When you install an SD card, that becomes your external memory. You don't get something like 2GB for Phone Memory or Internal Storage and the rest is called SD memory or SD card. In ICS, its just Total Memory, and the SD card you install will be called SD Card.
    1. TC_Mits's Avatar
      TC_Mits -
      Interesting that 500+ Android developers don't know that it's not correctable and Google makes no effort to explain it to them. Hmmm.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
    1. Stephen Morris's Avatar
      Stephen Morris -
      Quote Originally Posted by Drillbit View Post
      The international variant should allow use on T-Mobile and Wind/Moblicity on 2G and EDGE, but that's quite a big amount of money to waste on something that doesn't run 3G on your network.
      Neither Wind nor Mobilicity have a 2G network, just 3G. Rogers owns all of that spectrum. So considering that you would be roaming all the time at a per minute rate, you are right that definitely would be a lot of money to waste.

      Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using HowardForums
    1. Drillbit's Avatar
      Drillbit -
      Quote Originally Posted by TC_Mits View Post
      Interesting that 500+ Android developers don't know that it's not correctable and Google makes no effort to explain it to them. Hmmm.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
      I think that's been explained. Otherwise, how would I know.
    1. Steveanderson13's Avatar
      Steveanderson13 -
      Though irrelevant now, everyone will want to save up their coins to also buy the quad-core LTE:

      http://mobile.theverge.com/2012/6/24...-quad-core-lte
    1. TC_Mits's Avatar
      TC_Mits -
      Quote Originally Posted by Drillbit View Post
      I think that's been explained. Otherwise, how would I know.
      The proper place for an explanation would be in the issue 8555 link I provided. If you know where Google explained that issue elsewhere please tell us where and give us the link.

      I remain unconvinced.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
    1. TC_Mits's Avatar
      TC_Mits -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steveanderson13 View Post
      Though irrelevant now, everyone will want to save up their coins to also buy the quad-core LTE...
      Separate modem is not the answer, any more. That was a major factor in the ICS battery draw problems. Integrated LTE is now the only way to go. Besides, Jasaero has convinced me that the Krait is the best thing going atm.

      Sure would like to have that FM radio, though.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
    1. Drillbit's Avatar
      Drillbit -
      Quote Originally Posted by TC_Mits View Post
      The proper place for an explanation would be in the issue 8555 link I provided. If you know where Google explained that issue elsewhere please tell us where and give us the link.

      I remain unconvinced.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]

      It doesn't change but that's still exactly how a booting file system works.

      What makes you think that the link provided is the proper place for an explanation? The complainers seems to be all users. Google itself has a lot of avenues which to communicate with developers.

      Its natural and its not just Android, but even on desktop OSes like Windows, that all the stuff that needs to come up during bootup has to be on the bootup partition. The widgets are part of the UI, which needs to come up during bootup, and the UI has to be located on the system boot drive.

      You can of course, cheat the system by installing the app on two different places. The mobile Google+ app seems to do this. You can move the app to the SD card and still have a homescreen widget. But that's only because you are only moving *part* of the app to the SD card, but parts of it remain on the boot partition. This is also why if you uninstall such apps that reside on the SD card, you will also notice your internal phone memory also increases. Hence, its not a pure SD card install or transfer.

      All becomes moot under Honeycomb and ICS when the entire internally installed memory is changed into one big boot and data partition.
    1. Steveanderson13's Avatar
      Steveanderson13 -
      Have you used the tectiles? (I won't have the phone) i was excited, now disappointed after googling and play store.
    1. Blue90's Avatar
      Blue90 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Morris View Post
      Neither Wind nor Mobilicity have a 2G network, just 3G. Rogers owns all of that spectrum. So considering that you would be roaming all the time at a per minute rate, you are right that definitely would be a lot of money to waste.

      Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using HowardForums
      So could I use straight-talk with this samsung galaxy s3? As in at&t cap phone... like would it use 3g then? ... could I use straight-talk with 3g connectivity?

      I live in fargo, nd (58102 zip code).. could you possible help me out? see if I can use 3g?
    1. TC_Mits's Avatar
      TC_Mits -
      Quote Originally Posted by Drillbit View Post
      It doesn't change but that's still exactly how a booting file system works.

      What makes you think that the link provided is the proper place for an explanation? The complainers seems to be all users. Google itself has a lot of avenues which to communicate with developers.

      Its natural and its not just Android, but even on desktop OSes like Windows, that all the stuff that needs to come up during bootup has to be on the bootup partition. The widgets are part of the UI, which needs to come up during bootup, and the UI has to be located on the system boot drive.

      You can of course, cheat the system by installing the app on two different places. The mobile Google+ app seems to do this. You can move the app to the SD card and still have a homescreen widget. But that's only because you are only moving *part* of the app to the SD card, but parts of it remain on the boot partition. This is also why if you uninstall such apps that reside on the SD card, you will also notice your internal phone memory also increases. Hence, its not a pure SD card install or transfer.

      All becomes moot under Honeycomb and ICS when the entire internally installed memory is changed into one big boot and data partition.
      You're starting to get through to me. But...

      The first 80-some "complaints" are overwritten because Google's system is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ignorable (Google says, 'users don't count') complaints. That is an AOSP developer webpage. Those early posts were most likely largely Android developers. Yes, that's where the explanation belongs. And it shouldn't take two years. TWO YEARS !!?

      There is a work-around, you explain. But, ICS moots it, anyway?
      **So, does that mean that ICS has fixed the 8555 issue and the SD mounted app Widgets stay put on the home screens, now, after reboots in ICS? ** ?

      I see no reason the entire app could not reside on the removable SD card and the boot dependent portion be redundantly stored both places. That way, I can safely back up and restore SD apps with no special backup app or extra effort just by copying my SD card to the PC HDD.

      .
      Quote Originally Posted by TC_Mits View Post
      ... If you know where Google explained that issue elsewhere please tell us where and give us the link...]
      ...which would be better than continuing the discussion here, of course.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
    1. Blue90's Avatar
      Blue90 -
      So there will be a quad core version that is sold from south-korea that will support lte for version, at&t and t-mobile I see... Is this true, and what exactly does anyone think it will be sold on e-bay?
    1. TC_Mits's Avatar
      TC_Mits -
      Quote Originally Posted by Blue90 View Post
      So there will be a quad core version that is sold from south-korea that will support lte for version, at&t and t-mobile I see... Is this true, and what exactly does anyone think it will be sold on e-bay?
      I didn't get the impression it would support US LTE. If that's true, it would be very interesting -- especially for those of us on vzw's exclusive new unlimited data BYOD plan.

      Keep in mind that separate LTE chips have been power hogs in the recent past.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
    1. Blue90's Avatar
      Blue90 -
      Quote Originally Posted by TC_Mits View Post
      I didn't get the impression it would support US LTE. If that's true, it would be very interesting -- especially for those of us on vzw's exclusive new unlimited data BYOD plan.

      Keep in mind that separate LTE chips have been power hogs in the recent past.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]

      Does the international support straight-talk. I am thinking of buying the international but scared I wont be able to use straight-talk..