Samsung’s highly anticipated flagship Android smartphone, the Galaxy S III, debuts in 28 European countries this week. As such, reviews began pouring in across the Internet from those lucky enough to get their hands on the top Android smartphone. Meanwhile, technophiles and Fandroids in the United States only hope the saying “Good things come to those who wait” applies.
To refresh your memory, the Samsung Galaxy S III runs a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor, 8-megapixel camera, 2100 mAh battery, and a Near-Field Communications (NFC) chip for mobile payments. Running Android 4.0.4 “Ice Cream Sandwich,” the Galaxy S III has a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display and records 1080p video.
Market Reaction and Thoughts
Reviewers note the Galaxy S III is balanced, at least more so than the awkwardly large 5.3-inch Galaxy Note. While the 4.8-inch screen isn’t petite, the overall consensus is it doesn’t feel small, but isn’t outlandishly hefty.
Overall, reviewers claim the S III is an improvement over other Superphones, but rather cumbersome to hold in one hand. The screen is definitively “supersized” if you’re coming from an iPhone, which maintains the “tiny” 3.5-inch Retina display.
Interestingly, Vlad Savov of The Verge notes the Galaxy S III has one of the best cameras he has ever used on an Android device. Interesting, because iFixIt recently revealed the Galaxy S III uses the same rear-camera sensor as the iPhone 4S.
In terms of the user interface, for better or worse, Samsung adds their TouchWiz UI on top of Android. Sharif Sakr of Engadget notes the competitive HTC One X has “a much better user interface that sticks more closely to the guiding ethos of Android 4.0.”
Sakr wasn’t the only one to criticize Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. Chris Hall of Pocket-Lint notes certain facets of the interface feel “cartoony.” That is, if you can see the display. Hall noted the screen could have been brighter, which was due to Samsung’s battery-saving feature. Overall, though, Hall praises the smartphone for its incredible power and expandability via the removable battery and microSD card slot.
Unfortunately, reviewers overwhelmingly dislike the plastic shell on the Samsung Galaxy S III. Unlike the HTC One X, which has a metallic finish, the S III doesn’t posses the same design standards. Critics went as far as to jokingly claim, Samsung’s lawyers designed the phone.
U.S. Differences and Availability
There are several key differences in the final U.S. Galaxy S III, which is expected to release later this summer. Mainly, the phone will run a dual-core processor with an integrated LTE chip. Luckily, most analysts say a quad-core chip in a cell phone is borderline overkill, so most users won’t notice the difference. Especially given Android isn’t engineered to leverage multiple cores.
The Galaxy S III is expected to cost $199 with a new two-year contract, but carrier information or pricing hasn’t been released. Like it’s predecessor, the Galaxy S II, it will be released on the major carriers, including Verizon and AT&T.