Samsung Galaxy SIII – Hands-On and initial reaction [gallery]

Today has been a long one. At least it has been over here in the UK. Samsung just dropped the Galaxy SIII bomb in flamboyant style. They hired Suzi Perry to MC, and the London Philharmonic orchestra to play music in the background. There’s no doubt, the event was wired to make us get all excited and giddy. The final reveal was either the icing on the cake, or it takes the biscuit. I haven’t decided which. Either way, it involves a sweet desert. Samsung PIN stores a small, glass, pointy mini-stores.

Samsung wowed us with talk about how the next device harnesses elements from nature, and instead of just being another smartphone, it was an extension of yourself. To me, it was marketing tomfoolery, and what we’re really left with is a highly specced device with some really cool features (if they work how they’re supposed to).

The phone was clearly made for the masses, and will no doubt sell in shedloads. The Galaxy brand pretty much guarantees that. The display is undoubtedly the biggest talking point of the lot. It’s 4.8″ of HD Super AMOLED awesomeness. Not only are colors bright, and vivid, but text is sharp too, thanks to the 720 x 1280 resolution panel. That beautiful display is – of course – protected by a slim piece of Corning Gorilla Glass, and powered by the Exynos quad-core processor to ensure that you’re experience is fluid, and fast. To ensure this beast makes it through the day, it’s equipped with a 2100mAh battery.

The camera is pretty impressive too. 8MP backside illuminated sensor on the rear, and a 1.8MP lens on the front. Both are capable of recording HD footage. The rear camera can shoot video and snap still images at the same time. Similar to the One X. Being Samsung it’s loaded with the love it or hate TouchWiz UX, making it all appear more public-friendly than other versions Google’s popular OS.

Sammy was proud to unveil a host of accessories alongside the phone, including a wireless media hub to enable streaming to a TV or projector and a wireless charger. There were some neat little features involving NFC. In a rather Apple-like move, all the cool features began with a single letter. S-beam, S-voice, S-this, S-that. It’s simple, and it works for the Cupertino company with its sea of lower case “i”‘s, so why not?

It was billed as an intelligent phone. It supposedly knows what you want to do. Pick it up, and it answers a call. If you’re inactive but still looking at it, it won’t go to screensaver, because it’s always watching you. It’s always listening to. Say “Hi Galaxy” and it activates, awaiting your voice direction. Tell it to open the camera, find out the weather, send a message, plus a whole host of other things a nifty personal assistant should do.

In hand, it feels comfortable. Although I’m not a big fan of the curved corners, it does feel pretty good in hand. It’s hard to get a proper feel when there’s a security cable stuck on the back. But, it feels very smooth, but a little plasticcy. Despite hosting a large display, the slim bezel ensures that the handset is as small as possible. Seriously, Samsung’s done a great job of making what could have potentially been a behemoth something quite small and reserved.

In terms of features, a lot of the hyped ones didn’t work correctly in the demo, so it would be unfair to comment. S-Voice wasn’t recognising me speaking at all, thanks to the crazily noisy hustle and bustle in Samsung’s booths. The display-in-display multitasking was certainly interesting, but, I struggle to see how it would be utilized in daily life. But, the phone – in general – works really well, and is very snappy.


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