I've been using my Galaxy S III in blue for around a week now. I'm using it on Telus. Note that I have the North American LTE version with a dual core processor. This one is actually a prototype running non-final software - as such think of this as more of an extended hands-on rather than a full on review.
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 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 plastic, 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
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. Look at the image and move back. Notice how the S III's looks a little fuzzier.
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. Colour accuracy is a personal thing - I suspect more people will go for the S III display.
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.
While some may prefer the One X's over the S III's and vice-versa one thing everyone can agree with, is that both 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 (the original one with a physical button in the middle), 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). While I don't think much users will notice the extra RAM I suspect it will come in handy in the future.
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.
Dual Core vs Quad Core S III:
left to right: HTC One X (dual core), HTC One X (Quad core), Galaxy S III (quad core), Galaxy S III (dual core, LTE).
Check out the picture above and look at the difference between the 4 phones. All are at maximum brightness. The One X's appear brighter because generally speaking, LCD's and brighter than AMOLED's. However, people usually FIND AMOLED is brighter because of it's incredible contrast which is a result of AMOLED's deeper blacks.
The reason I took the picture is to highlight the variation in white levels between all 4 phones. The One X's are different from each other and the S III's are different. Just because you buy a One X or S III does NOT mean the screen will look exactly the same as a different One X or S III.
That said, notice how blue my S III's screen is. Over the past day I've noticed that my S III is a prototype - there are some software and hardware issues that make it pretty obvious that it's not a production unit (and no, it doesn't say prototype property of Samsung on it). So it remains to be seen whether shipping units will also be this blue. Still, when I don't have all these phones side by side I don't find the S III to be too cold. If anything I find my One X to be a little on the warm side so I wouldn't worry too much about the screens colour temperature.
left to right: Galaxy S III (dual core, LTE), Galaxy S III (quad core).
Look at this picture, it's a little exaggerated by notice how the dual core is colder. *edit* the difference looked more obvious on my camera's screen - I'm looking at the picture on my desktop now and they look more or less the same. Just take my word that the dually is colder.
Both have very nice finishes. Depending on the lighting I find the pebble blue is kind of purple sometimes. I find the blue looks more interesting. As far as durability goes my blue has a little scratch on the back near the glare on the back. I'm not sure if the white will scratch the same.
Unlike the HTC One X's both the dual and quad core appear to be exactly the same on the outside.
Hardware wise here are the differences. The LTE dual core version has 2GB of RAM, is available in 16 or 32GB and of course has LTE support. The Quad core version has 1GB of RAM and is available in 16, 32 or 64GB.
Now as far as the HTC One X goes I found that the dual core scores much higher than the quad core... 2 < 4. Is it the same story with the dual and quad core S III?
Sunspider (lower is better):
Galaxy S III (dual core): 1788.6 ms
Galaxy S III (quad core): 1448.4 ms
Vellamo (higher is better):
Galaxy S III (dual core): 2302
Galaxy S III (quad core): 1971
GL Benchmark Egypt Standard (higher is better):
Galaxy S III (dual core): 5423
Galaxy S III (quad core): 6596
GL Benchmark Egypt Offscreen (higher is better):
Galaxy S III (dual core): 6115
Galaxy S III (quad core): 11109
Galaxy S III (dual core): 29.80
Galaxy S III (quad core): 37.01
AnTuTu battery tester:
Galaxy S III (dual core): 756
Galaxy S III (quad core): 594
As far as the performance tests the quad core scores noticeably higher in 4 of the 5 tests. Check out the GL Benchmark Egypt Offscreen score! The only device that scores higher is the iPad 3! It really shows the potential of the quad core's GPU!
On the battery front the dual core outscores the quad score by quite a margin. On the other hand, the quad still scores much higher than the competition - the HTC One X LTE manages 387 in the same test.
Anyways, unless you need maximum battery life or you really need LTE I'd say the quad core version of the S III is the one to get. I don't think most users will find much difference between 1GB and 2GB of RAM.
Here's a very unscientific video showing the relative speed of the quad vs the dual. The quad is the white one.
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.
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?)
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.
It works if I'm holding the S III in my hand and am staring at when there's adequate light. It doesn't always work when it's night time. More importantly it doesn't work when I place the S III on the table while I'm eating and am not always staring directly at it. It would be nice if there was a way to toggle Smart Stay on/off from the window shade.
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.
WiFi direct allows you to send a file from one device to another compatible device using WiFi. While WiFi direct isn't a new feature it's one that I've never really used. One reason is that no one really knows if their phone has this feature/no one knows how to use it.
S-beam aims to address these 2 problems by a) giving WiFi direct a cool name and b) making it easier to use.
S-beam works by using NFC to initiating the file transfer and then transferring the actual file using WiFi direct. You turn S-Beam on on both phones in their settings, then you go to the gallery and then place the phones back-to-back. Then you'll be prompted whether you want to transfer the file. At this point, you no longer need to keep the phones back-to-back. Here's a video demonstrating S-Beam.
Of course the caveat is that you need two devices that support S-Beam.
I'm not done testing the camera but here are my initial impressions. Out of the box the camera is in what I call 'Galaxy S II' mode where it takes it's sweet time focusing and where it uses slightly slower shutter speeds. On the Galaxy S II this mode often results in critical focus which yields sharp, high quality images. On the downside this mode is completely useless at freezing action.
Anyways I didn't take a lot of pictures in this mode. The only one worth posting is this macro shot with flash of a snail. It's pretty impressive picture. I'm very impressed at how the flash was able to throttle down. Please note that I cropped the photo a little. When I got in closer parts of the snail would blur which wasn't the effect I was looking for.
There's a burst mode which is more similar to the HTC One X's default camera mode. In this mode the camera uses faster shutter speed and higher ISOs to make it better at freezing action. Burst mode allows you to capture up to 20 photos at an absolutely blistering speed of around 6 frames per second! The downside is that image quality isn't as good in this mode. I've also found that the S III does a poorer job of freezing action even though it is able to shoot at a faster speed.
I love how the camera sort of has dual personalities. You have a mode optimized for quality and another optimized for performance.
You can shoot video and snap photos simultaneously. I prefer the One X when it comes to this because you can shoot video and still photos from the same mode. For whatever reason the S III has separate photo and video modes. The way you snap videos and pictures at the same time is to switch to video mode first, start a video capture and then hit the camera shutter button.
The S III crops part of the center of the sensor when it shoots video. Video quality is good as is the quality of captured audio.
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.
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.
HTC One X (LTE): 31.95
Samsung Galaxy S III (LTE): 29.80
Another narrow victory by the HTC One X.
AnTuTu Battery Tester:
I ran AnTuTu battery tester last night:
Samsung Galaxy S III (LTE): 756
HTC One S: 602
Sony Xperia Ray: 581
Samsung Galaxy Note: 580
Samsung Galaxy Nexus: 402
HTC One X (LTE): 387
LG Optimus LTE: 372
Samsung Galaxy S II HD LTE: 332
The LTE version of the S III outscores the One X LTE 756 to 387 - wow.
I also ran my own battery test where I charged the battery, maxed out the brightness, set the phone to air plane mode and played back a video file continuously until the device shuts off.
Samsung Galaxy S III (LTE): 368
Samsung Galaxy Note: 329
Samsung Galaxy Nexus: 324
HTC One X (LTE): 267
HTC One X (Tegra 3): 263
LG Optimus LTE: 242
Again the S III does really well scoring near 40% higher despite having a battery that is only 17% bigger. It's worth pointing out that the video I playback has a white background. I've observed that Super AMOLED displays consume more power when displaying white than black.
I'm blown away at how well the S III does in these 2 battery tests.
To test USB speeds I copied a 3.7GB movie file to the S III and then copied it back to my computer. I don't bother testing smaller file sizes because for me personally, the only time I care about USB speeds is when I'm copying large files.
Write speeds: 14.8MB/s
Read speeds: 13.6MB/s
check back later.
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.
There has has been a phenomenal amount of hype over the Galaxy S III. While I'm not ready to post a complete conclusion so far the Samsung Galaxy S III really lives up to the hype. Hardware wise it's not THAT different from the Galaxy S II HD LTE but the thing is on the S III it's about the complete package.
Should you get one if you already own a Galaxy S II (the original one)? I'd say yes so you can get the higher resolution display, better battery life, LTE and more flexible memory configurations. If you own an iPhone 4s and are happy with it I'd probably say stay but if you're wondering if the grass is greener on the other side you can't go wrong with the S III - just remember, while the grass is just as green on the S III's side it's a very different phone.
If you own a Galaxy S II LTE I'd still say the S III is a worth upgrade but if you're on the fence then I'd stay put.
As for the One X the difference is much smaller. The main reason to upgrade would be if you need more storage or a bigger battery.
One thing I'm beginning to realize about the S III is that for the first time I feel like there's an Android phone that feels future-proof. At least for the next year or so. Hardware wise we've reached a point of diminishing returns (at least for the
All in all the S III is a home run for Samsung. It's rare that phone lives up to its hype.
Last edited by howard; 06-15-2012 at 01:44 PM.
New Infinity Blade character
My iPhone 5 ringtone: Bah, Bah, Black Sheep.
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So how are you liking the blue? I read they had some kind of problem. I would like to know that the blue is permanent and does not show any undue signs of wear. Of course, cases and covers are an option. Please keep us posted on the blueness. I see now that you mention a clear coat.
Please report on battery performance on LTE. Thx.
Cell phone history:
Motorola DPC 550 -> Ericsson DF388 -> Sanyo SCP-4000 -> Samsung SCH-N150 -> Samsung SCH-T300 -> LG TM520 -> LG VX-4600 -> BlackBerry 6750 -> BlackBerry 7250 -> Samsung SGH-807 -> T-Mobile Dash -> Motorola RAZR -> BlackBerry Bold 9000 -> BlackBerry Torch 9800 -> Samsung Galaxy S Captivate -> Samsung Nexus S -> Samsung Galaxy S III LTE
Have you tried S Voice with a bluetooth headset or car kit?
So jealous! Lol
Excellent first look btw.
I'm waiting for my order on Telus. I thought blue S3s were delayed?
Congrats on your GSIII Howard!
Not sure im prepared to take the jump, still thoroughly enjoying my SII.
Anyway looking forward to reading your experience with the SIII.
By the way, does the LTE version you have also offer a MicroSD slot?
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Samsung GALAXY S IV Exynos Octa Black Mist
Memory: 32GB + 32GB MicroSDHC
Apple iPad 4 16GB White
Howard, please confirm if gestures work with a 3rd party launcher like Nova or Apex. Thx.
I just tried the 'Pan to move icon' feature. With it you can tap and hold an icon on the homescreen and then move it to another screen by tilting the phone. It didn't work with Nova.
My s2 already gets scores similar to the s3... No need to upgrade just to get LTE atm. I really was hoping for more with this next gen device.
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At&t SGS III, LTE