Samsung Galaxy SIII First Impressions

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Samsung Galaxy SIII First Impressions

Post by maximus » Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:12 pm

Finally got my hands on the new Samsung Galaxy SIII on Thursday. Not sure if your aware but the launch was a bit of a fiasco. When Samsung announced the phone on May 3rd in a very glitzy show at Earls Court in London they made a very big deal of the fact that the phone would go on worldwide sale at the end of that month, May 30th for the UK and Europe. Of course I instantly pre-ordered because I had been waiting for a new phone and this one in particular for quite some time. Luckily I was also one of the first 1000 to order at Carphone Warehouse so I also got a totally free Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 8)

So we get to the end of the month and Carphone Warehouse are sending out conflicting information to customers. Some get texts saying they can collect on the 29th, one day before general release, others get texts saying to collect on the 30th. I received both! The first said I could collect on the 29th and the second, a few hours later said there had been a technical error and I could now pick up my phone on the 30th. Ok so no problem there, one day is nothing in the scheme of things. Now it all went pair shaped. It seemed Samsung had made a monumental cock up with the Pebble Blue version of the phone, which I and many thousands of others had ordered and this would now NOT be available for weeks if not months! They gave a ridiculous story about there being a problem with the colouring of the phone and because they are perfectionists they wanted to get it right and so held back the release until things had been sorted out.

Now maybe I am a bit of an old cynic but, surely they would have known about this ages ago? What happened to the the beautiful pebble blue ones they showed off to the the worlds media on the 3rd May? If there were any problems I am pretty sure someone would have mentioned it?

What I think really happened is they had looked at Apple's situation with their white iPhone 4 where it was not available on release day and it took Apple almost 12 months to get them out the door. The white iPhone became very sought after and loads of people had pre-ordered them. The Galaxy SIII is in direct competition with Apple's iPhone 4 and 4s so obviously some marketing bod thought it would be great if they could swamp the market with white Galaxy SIII's as, obviously, loads of people would want them. WRONG! big miscalculation. Most people had ordered the blue version of the phone and this left Samsung with a massive supply problem. So what to do? Easy. Given the majority of customers were desperate to get their mits on the SIII they would probably be very happy just to get a white one and be done with it. After all, most people stick it in a case anyway so the colour is never seen.....and so we have the situation where anyone who ordered a blue SIII were offered the choice of swapping for a white one or waiting a undetermined time for a blue one. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out which one of those options most people went for and so, I now have what I must say is actually a very nice WHITE Galaxy SIII :)

Sorry for that preamble but thought I should mention it as it was quite a big issue surrounding the launch of the Galaxy SIII. So yes, it's white and first impressions are very good indeed. It's not a massive revolution in terms of size or design, more of an evolution of what Samsung already had. The Galaxy range has been a massive hit for Samsung and I still have the original Galaxy S which was and still is a fantastic phone. Looking at the two side by side you can see the evolutionary nature of the product. The original Galaxy S is obviously smaller and thicker and weighs a bit more than the SIII. The thing that immediately struck me about the new phone is that it "feels" like a product from the future, like something you would see in a science fiction movie. It's very slim and quite light but also feels quite strong despite it's polycarbonate construction. Apple fans will make a big noise about how the SIII has a plastic body but I would say, take a look at my original Galaxy S which I have had two years. It also had a plastic body but looks as good now as the day I bought it! Plastics can be incredibly strong and light and I would have thought anyone who claims to know anything would know that.

So it has a strong but very light plastic body. The screen is obviously the major attraction on this phone and it certainly does not disappoint. It's bright, sharp and vivid even in strong daylight and the Android ICS interface with Samsung's 'Touch Whiz' enhancements is a delight to use. Very smooth and incredibly fast. No lag here folks and so there shouldn't be with it's 1.4ghz 4 core processor humming away under the hood.

I have not used all the features yet but two things stand out for me at the moment. First is the way the phone will stay awake whilst your looking at it. One of my pet hates is either having to keep touching the screen to keep a phone awake whilst reading or having to use the settings to make the screen stay on for a certain amount of time. Both very clunky ways of doing something that should be simple. Samsung got it spot on with the sensors that can detect when you are looking directly at the screen and so keep it on when you need it and letting it sleep when you don't. That's the sort of feature that is bang on the money for me :)

The second thing that surprised me was how incredibly fast the camera is! There is literally no perceptible delay between pressing the shutter button and the photo being taken. It really is as close to instant as you could possibly get and for me is a fantastic feature because it lets you fire off shots on the spur of the moment and with it's super fast focusing and myriad of other photographic features I really can leave the Lumix G at home :)

Oh one other important thing I should mention. The battery seems to live up to Samsung's claims in that it does indeed last the day even when using a lot of the phone's features. It certainly outlasts my original Galaxy S which was fine if you just used it as a phone but as soon as you fired up the camera it would drain very quickly indeed.

I will post more as I get into it but for now I would say the Samsung Galaxy SIII is the phone to beat and certainly makes the iPhone 4s look very dated indeed.

Just a quick mention of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Although I have an iPad 2 and it's a very nice bit of kit the one thing that has always bothered me about it is the way you cannot connect to your computer and just drag and drop files to it. You have to used that god awful monstrosity of a program that is iTunes and as you will all no doubt be aware by now iTunes and me are not on the best of terms ;)

So, had been thinking about going down the Android route for a tab for quite some time and had actually come very close to buying one not so long ago so you can imagine my surprise and joy when I discovered I was one of the lucky few to get a totally free Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tab with my new phone!

On first impressions it's a very nice tab. It's not that different in physical size to the iPad 2 although the screen is slightly larger. I will admit that the Android Honeycombe interface that it comes with is not as slick as Apples iOS and even upgrading it to ICS has not made a massive difference but as operating systems go it's not too bad.

The one big thing the Galaxy 10.1 tab has going for it as far as I am concerned is the fact that you can plut it into your computer via usb lead and it's seen as just another hard drive with all folders clearly visible. You can create folders and drop your files into it and it's also very easy to add programs. Just copy the .apk files into a folder and then browse to them on the tab and install from there, job done!

Now comes my biggest disappointment. I am a big user of pdf's for my magazine reading. The iPad handles these superbly in it's built in book reader. The files open quickly, render perfectly and scroll smoothly. On the Galaxy 10.1 tab it's a whole different experience. Yes it's easy to get the files on there but it's built in book reader is a complete disaster where pdf's are concerned. Not only is it slow but it renders the files in low resolution so they look blocky and pixelated and it also cuts off some of the page! Ok so I figure there must be something better on the Android Market or 'Play Store' as they now like to call it and...yes there was. Found a pdf viewer which renders the files perfectly however it's soooooo slow! No doubt and I hope, I will find something better but for now, top marks go to Apple and iOS for producing the best native book reading app out there. Watch this space for an update!


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Re: Samsung Galaxy SIII First Impressions

Post by jthspace » Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:01 pm

Sooooo a dyed in the wool Apple fan has an Android and is happy with the OS. Progress then. :)

I bought an Android 7 inch with ICS from Morgan Computers for £80 and have to say ICS seems to have really made a difference as the screen reaction, touch and usability is "almost" as good as the iPad. Apple still lead on pad usability though

I dumped iTunes for a while but went back, annoying as it is, it does work.

Nice review, by the way. My contract with3 comes up in September and I will be changing as they have just increased the rental by £3 per month and I dont use all of the phone and data plan up each month so will go cheaper and probably someone else.

Jeff

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Re: Samsung Galaxy SIII First Impressions

Post by maximus » Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:04 pm

Was always an android fan Jeff, Galaxy S is android after all :-)

I do like the mac of course but would never ditch the PC. I find iOS a great operating system if you are happy with it as it is but if you are the sort of person, which I am, who likes to tinker then you really need Windows or Android.

Loving the Galaxy SIII, the Galaxy Tab however will require a little customization to get the best from it. What a great deal though! New phone and FREE Tab. Can't say fairer than that :-)
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Re: Samsung Galaxy SIII First Impressions

Post by gixxer » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:18 pm

Getting a free Tab was ok .I just sold my i phone 4 and will wait and see what the new5 looks like before i purchase .The s2 would be as big as i would like as having seen the s3/s2 side by side the s3 looks huge .
I think some of the manufactures have forgotten what the word mobile means , if they get any bigger then you might as well hang an i pad round your neck lol.
Ios v Android think its just personal choice both have good / bad points .One thing that i dont like is I tunes i find it a real pain to navigate and once you have purchased music, apps from Apple then they kinda have you by the short and curly's.

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Re: Samsung Galaxy SIII First Impressions

Post by jthspace » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:21 pm

There is actually a trackable move for phones to go back to being a phone, rather than a PDA/Phone combo - which is why pundits think that the next batch of 7" tablets will succeed (new Google pad out today, an Apple 7" rumoured for later this year and the MS Win8 touch pad as well.

Jeff

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