• 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.


    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.


    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.


    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.

    Battery Life:

    check back later.

    RF Performance:

    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.

    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. dmaxfan's Avatar
      dmaxfan -
      Howard, I'm curious of the LTE battery life with the new S4 vs. the gen 1 chips like the omap 4430/4460. Please post info asap. Thanks.

      Sent from my Transformer TF101 using HowardForums
    1. sabesh's Avatar
      sabesh -
      Quote Originally Posted by Canoe Head View Post
      <snip> The benchmark differences between HTC ONE X and SIII are insignificant but equally interesting <snip>
      I would say that the Browser BM is significant (13%, Sunspider).
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by TC_Mits View Post
      Excellent, detailed and informative review. Thank you!

      Would it be possible to post a photo of the docking station keyboard?

      What is the exact model number of your SGSIII?

      Can you disable the TW gestures or "motion features" individually? Or is it all-or-none?

      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
      I didn't a photo of the docking station keyboard.

      It's the SGH i747.

      You can disable the gestures individually.
    1. TC_Mits's Avatar
      TC_Mits -
      Is this the docking station you saw:

      If so, it's Froyo era and I see no keyboard. Price $40.

      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
    1. Griffin747's Avatar
      Griffin747 -
      Wow... so jealous of this phone! It has been on my mind day and night. That clear screen just blows me away. Makes me want to open a secondary line just so I can pick one up at a discounted price and use in conjunction with my berry.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      I just want to post to say that I ran 2 battery tests. They've been added to the first post. Check it out.
    1. Goelz83's Avatar
      Goelz83 -
      I had a little trouble finding the battery benchmarks. Here's that section for the lazy:

      Quote Originally Posted by howard View Post
      AnTuTu Battery Tester:

      I ran AnTuTu battery tester last night:

      HTC One X (LTE): <NA>
      Samsung Galaxy S III (LTE): 756
      HTC One S: 602
      Sony Xperia Ray: 581
      Samsung Galaxy Note: 580
      Samsung Galaxy Nexus: 402
      LG Optimus LTE: 372
      Samsung Galaxy S II HD LTE: 332

      For some reason AnTuTu tester won't run on my One X (I own a Tegra 3 One X but it didn't run on my LTE One X either) so I don't have a comparison but 756 in AnTuTu is a stunning score. Instead I threw a bunch of other scores from recent phones.

      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.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      I got a friend with a LTE One X to run Antutu. The SIII beat it 756 to 387. Wow.
    1. NytroGirl's Avatar
      NytroGirl -
      That is just pure deliciousness indeed... Thanks for sharing the photos and details.
    1. Blue90's Avatar
      Blue90 -
      Quote Originally Posted by howard View Post
      I got a friend with a LTE One X to run Antutu. The SIII beat it 756 to 387. Wow.
      Would you recommend me buy a international quad core version or this lte?. I am going to be using straight-talk for my service, which I think is AT&T but not sure.
    1. YESH's Avatar
      YESH -
      Howard, when do you expect to complete the quad-core vs. dual core piece?

      Waiting for the blue quad-core. Will be interested to see the difference in performance.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Just posted a section comparing the dual and quad core S III's.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      added the battery score
    1. macuis's Avatar
      macuis -
      I've been wondering which version to go with, the quad or the dual. I've decided to get the quad, as the quad core will most likely be better prepared for future updates. Thanks for the update howard!
    1. Steveanderson13's Avatar
      Steveanderson13 -
      Don't know is this site is legit (it just started popping up near top of results) or useful but this discusses probs with blue if relevant to anyone.

    1. Drillbit's Avatar
      Drillbit -
      Quote Originally Posted by howard View Post
      I didn't a photo of the docking station keyboard.

      It's the SGH i747.

      You can disable the gestures individually.
      For the Americans out there, this is also the same model number for AT&T's version.
    1. Steveanderson13's Avatar
      Steveanderson13 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Drillbit View Post
      Cool. It's the Pebble Blue version.
      So, Howard, what do you think of appearance? Have you seen the white?
      I wouldn't buy a white phone but these gorgeous pics are calling me. Do these pics do the phone justice? Which looks better, pics or real phone? How do you like that tap/water drop/unlock? So cool.

      Attachment 81979

      Attachment 81980

      Apparently, your back doesn't match this one. Shame.

      Attachment 81981
    1. MIAJamesFan's Avatar
      MIAJamesFan -
      I would love to get the white but I am scared that after a few months of use and occasional dirty hands, that the phone might become yellowish/browning. I see Howard has it on Telus, that is going to be me real soon!
    1. TC_Mits's Avatar
      TC_Mits -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steveanderson13 View Post
      Don't know is this site is legit (it just started popping up near top of results) or useful but this discusses probs with blue if relevant to anyone.

      Another plus on the balance sheet. A more subdued, restrained finish suits me just fine.

      Is any SGSIII version known to allow me to load, assign, and play my own homemade mp3 ringtones?

      Perspective instantiates reality.
      [From DX by HoFo app.]
    1. atukou's Avatar
      atukou -
      so good......................