Coming from the world’s largest manufacturer is the successor to one of the most successful smartphone lines of all time — the Galaxy S III. It is a artwork on its own, with an extremely sleek design, complemented by the now subtle yet useful touches of Touchwiz on the Android 4.0 platform. This particular unit belongs to Sprint, who’s upcoming 4G LTE network it sill support, but in the meantime uses a simpler, but usable 3G connection. Complete with the latest processor technology, screen, design, networks, and a rise of amazing apps, the Galaxy S III has what it takes.
But, now it’s time to see if the Galaxy S III has a place in Android’s great journey. Read the LaptopMemo review below.
Price as Reviewed: $199.99 on a new 2-year agreement with Sprint
The Galaxy S III is not slouch in the hardware department. Samsung has given the United States version the following specs:
- 4.8-inch AMOLED 1280 x 720 HD display with PenTile
- A 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor
- An unheard of 2GB of RAM
- 16GB of internal storage
- 8 megapixel Samsung camera with an imagechip, 1080p HD video recording
- Android 4.0.4 with Touchwiz
- 4G LTE on Sprint (not online yet), 3G only (for now), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/GLONASS, and NFC
- Weight of 4.7 ounces
- Measures just 8.6mm thin, 136.6mm × 70.6mm
- One more thing: a massive 2,100 mAh battery
It would be slightly hard for me to say that this is the most beautiful Android phone there is. What Samsung’s engineers and designers have turned into an actual product does not achieve iPhone 4S or One X looks, however the Galaxy S III is designed intelligently: it is perfect for the software it runs, is easy to hold in the hand, and incredibly, unbelievably thin. Samsung’s execs and ads like to consistently say the Galaxy S III is “designed by nature”. If that means it uses recycled materials (or fake brushed aluminum) then that’s cool with me, but from the aesthetics of the SGS III, it is a completely fresh and polished product. That being said, there is a “pebble blue” color available, as well as red exclusively for AT&T, but the most attractive Galaxy S III color strikes us as white. Also, for a phone of this size, the Galaxy S III has the best ergonomics.
And in case it crossed people’s minds: the Galaxy S III uses PenTile display technology, which is completely — wait for it — impressive. For once, PenTile display technology looks impressive, at least when Samsung uses it.
The Galaxy S III on Sprint — and all of its American counterparts — is making laps around the competition. In everyday usage (read: anecdotal testing), the Galaxy S III is the fastest Android phone I’ve ever used, and when compared to a Galaxy Nexus running on Verizon, the Galaxy S III leaves the Nexus gasping for RAM, as the American SGS III has 2GB of RAM.
However, being a math and science geek, it’s time for some benchmarking programs to put this performance in numbers:
Benchmark scores for Galaxy S III (Sprint):
- Quadrant (hardware): 4,973
- Vellamo (web performance): 2,256
This makes the Galaxy S III a force to reckon with. Kudos to Samsung: the Galaxy S III flies.
With a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and 2GB of RAM, lying quietly in the SGS III’s plastic casing, Android 4.0.4 with the latest version of Touchwiz is the fastest experience on an Android phone — which stays consistent. From Google Wallet, to unlocking the phone with motion, the S Beam NFC sharing feature, Smart Stay (which ingeniously detects usage and stays bright during web browsing sessions), and finally Pop-Up Play, which allows for simultaneous video watching and texting (among other things) is what makes using the Galaxy S III fantastic.
Carrier bloatware is extremely minimal — literally unnoticed — and can actually be useful, like mobile hotspot. The benefits of Android 4.0 far outshines the new Touchwiz, where using Chrome for Android makes you feel like a complete mobile powerhouse. Did we mention Samsung and Google have an option for battery percentage in the notification bar? Yes, that’s awesome. So is taking a screenshot by literally wiping your hand over the screen.
Now, I’ve neglected to speak of S Voice (a Siri competitor) for a few paragraphs. The reason being is that it doesn’t entirely impress me. It works for the most basic of tasks: opening apps, scheduling appointments, asking for directions, browsing the web, and so on. But it does not have the intelligence that Siri does — let me rephrase that — S Voice does not display how intelligent and useful it could or should be, and when used under that impression, is not all that cool to use. Thankfully, that’s what you have software updates for right, Samsung? Right.
Otherwise, the software is great enough to make note of; it alone could make you buy this phone. But, it isn’t actually.
For Samsung, image quality varies in its many lines of Android phones, and especially for the legacy Galaxy S and Galaxy S II. But, Samsung went to lengths (that is, making smart decisions in imaging), and bestowed upon the Galaxy S III an 8 megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording, HDR photography, and the ability to simultaneously record and photograph. In the camera app, a user can change ISO, exposure, white balance, scene modes, and more. On the front, there’s a 1.9 megapixel camera with the capability to take great self-portraits and Skype video chats.
Samsung Galaxy S III Camera Test Shots
But this is the only lackluster part of the Galaxy S III. The camera could have been better, but considering what the competition does, this still is one of the best cameras to make use of, on the fly. For example, no matter howl little the scene changes, autofocus kicks in too frequently during recording in HD. Otherwise, it’s very acceptable and sharp (given the right light conditions). A sample video can be seen below.
Now, while everything described about the Galaxy S III on this review stands true for practically all of the American carrier versions, this particular section will always remain unique. The Sprint network is too slow to innovate to the phones that manufacturers bring it. The Galaxy S III is built upon the fact that it uses LTE in the States (sans the T-Mobile HSPA+ version), but the current Sprint network does not allow for LTE — because it simply does not yet exist in New York City, or anywhere for that matter. So if you buy a Sprint Galaxy S III, expect to use it for a couple of months without 4G LTE, and instead 3G. Of course, 3G compared to HSPA+ is still greatly inferior, with download speeds ranging from 0.15MBps to 0.53MBps, and upload speeds from 0.30MBps to 0.51MBps — AKA, these are really shoddy numbers.
However, since data speeds have nothing to do with voice calls, then it’s safe to say that the voice reception on the Galaxy S III is clear and fantastic.
In a single charge, the Galaxy S III lasted 8 hours in the intense LaptopMemo battery test. That consists of Spotify running in the background while browsing the web, responding to tweets, and managing email periodically. However, if left under light strain, then the Galaxy S III could last a day until it desperately would be in need of a visit to the wall outlet.
The Galaxy S III receives a “Stef’s Top Pick” award. It’s that simple: the Galaxy S III the Android phone you should buy right now. It’s awesome, it’s amazing to use, and is the first nearly unmatched competitor to all smartphones. It is Samsung’s masterpiece.
- A fantastic display
- Best form for its screen size
- Fast software and processor combo
- Camera is very reliable
- Decent battery life
- Sprint’s network is too old for the SGS III — for now
Using 3G is way too old-fashioned at this day in age, even if LTE is coming