• 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. Drillbit's Avatar
      Drillbit -
      Quote Originally Posted by TC_Mits View Post
      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.

      . ...which would be better than continuing the discussion here, of course.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
      Understand a computing fundamental. It is the nature of the OS, Windows, Mac, whatsover, that all the things that needs to be on the screen during bootup has to be on the bootup partition.

      2. ICS moots it because all internal memory --- when it used to be divided into Phone Memory and External SD partitions --- is now a single booting partition simply termed as Total Memory. Instead of getting 1GB of Phone Memory and 7GB of External SD memory, you now get a single contiguous 8GB of total memory.

      Why do you want an entire app on the SD for? Accessing UI elements from a separate and often slow accessing memory card is going to greatly contribute to LAG in the UI, both in boot up and in refreshing. Since the SD card is considered an external element, this is also a great way to install viruses into the system by modifying the element in the SD card. The files in the booting partition are locked and would require root access to change, unlike the things outside of it. There is a reason why iOS doesn't even have an SD card and the same thing on Windows Phone 7. Heck not even Windows Phone 8 will let you install apps on the SD card.
    1. TC_Mits's Avatar
      TC_Mits -
      You don't have the Google explanation you alluded to. It belongs on the Issue 8555 page.

      Most of the rest of it makes good sense.

      I'd still like backup copies of *all* my apps on the SD -- maybe in an encrypted file. I don't like cloud storage"."


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
    1. TC_Mits's Avatar
      TC_Mits -
      Quote Originally Posted by Blue90 View Post
      Does the international support straight-talk. I am thinking of buying the international but scared I wont be able to use straight-talk..
      Idk ST.

      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
    1. Drillbit's Avatar
      Drillbit -
      IT managers don't like storing apps in the SD card. For that matter, developers don't like it either. Its bad for security reasons and for piracy reasons. One reason why developers don't like developing for Symbian is that Symbian lets you put the entire app on the SD card which makes it prone to piracy and external modification.

      For that matter, Blackberry, which prides itself on security --- never lets you store apps on the SD card even before there was an Android. When you figure this out --- this is a complete industry vote across different platforms from Blackberry to Windows Phone --- that they all do not like apps being installed on the SD card, period.
    1. TC_Mits's Avatar
      TC_Mits -
      Quote Originally Posted by Drillbit View Post
      ... One reason why developers don't like developing for Symbian is that Symbian lets you put the entire app on the SD card...
      As I recall, Nokia was always very chintzy with IM so SD was the backstop for apps, I guess.

      OK, let me be clear -- I've accepted your point regarding apps *installed* on SD. I'm now referring to backup storage. If the choice is between cloud storage -- over which I have no control whatsoever -- and an encrypted SD card file or partition, I like the security odds locally a lot better. You can trust your big brother, Google, if you wish.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
    1. Blue90's Avatar
      Blue90 -
      Quote Originally Posted by TC_Mits View Post
      As I recall, Nokia was always very chintzy with IM so SD was the backstop for apps, I guess.

      OK, let me be clear -- I've accepted your point regarding apps *installed* on SD. I'm now referring to backup storage. If the choice is between cloud storage -- over which I have no control whatsoever -- and an encrypted SD card file or partition, I like the security odds locally a lot better. You can trust your big brother, Google, if you wish.


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

      Anyone know if the international version of sgs3 will work with Straight-talk?
    1. Drillbit's Avatar
      Drillbit -
      Quote Originally Posted by TC_Mits View Post
      As I recall, Nokia was always very chintzy with IM so SD was the backstop for apps, I guess.

      OK, let me be clear -- I've accepted your point regarding apps *installed* on SD. I'm now referring to backup storage. If the choice is between cloud storage -- over which I have no control whatsoever -- and an encrypted SD card file or partition, I like the security odds locally a lot better. You can trust your big brother, Google, if you wish.


      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
      I don't see the point of having an off device app backup for "Big Brother" reasons. It doesn't make sense especially since the apps are downloaded from Big Brother Store.

      Here is another point of view. Developers don't like their apps being stored outside of the device the apps were intended. That just opens up to piracy.

      Please note that when apps are stored on the SD card, they are compressed and encrypted. To run them, they have to be uncompressed and decoded. That takes processing power and time, and it means user experience lag and increased battery storage.
    1. TC_Mits's Avatar
      TC_Mits -
      Quote Originally Posted by Drillbit View Post
      I don't see the point of having an off device app backup for "Big Brother" reasons...
      Yes, I already knew that. I do see a point.
      Isn't the diversity of the human family a wonderful thing!


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