There's not much room for doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S III is the most impressive Android smartphone launched this year, and it will surely remain at the top of the heap for months. It's not hard to see its clear advantages over the flagship models from its competitors, as it's more advanced in almost every way.
The European version of this smartphone is built around a quad-core 1.4GHz Exynos 4 processor, which has proved to be faster than NVIDIA's Tegra 3 chip. The U.S. version, on the other hand, will have a dual-core processor.
No matter where this device is released, it will sport a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen with HD resolution (which is superior to other HD displays), a huge battery with 2100 mAh, and the Android OS 4.0.4 operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich) backed up by the TouchWiz user interface that's packed with numerous options for gesture management.
Build and Design
No matter what you may have read about this phone based on early impressions, the Galaxy S III is far better in reality than in photos. Its large display is so dominating and distracting, even when turned off, that you simply aren't aware of what the back is made of. That said, the casing is made of a type of plastic material that is exceptionally solid, incredibly resistant to scratches and damage, and particularly light. When holding this handset in hand, you won't have the impression that it weighs 133 grams. Quite the opposite -- it seems lighter.
Its rounded casing edges also make the device's relatively large dimensions - 137 x 71 x 8.6 mm - seem smaller.
One of the more impressive features of the Galaxy S III is its Super AMOLED screen with a 720 x 1280 pixel resolution. This offers a pixel density of 306 ppi on a 4.8-inch diagonal. While its not the maximum we have witnessed on a smartphone, the sharpness, color vividness, contrast, and viewing angle definitely surpass almost all previous devices.
The touchscreen offers an equally pleasant and superior experience than we have seen on Apple's iPhone 4S. It should be noted that Apple's device is 1.3-inches shorter diagonally, which leaves a far different impression in practice. Furthermore, the screen on the Galaxy S III is covered by Gorilla Glass 2 that's mildly convex along the edges. This makes it very pleasant to use, especially when moving your finger left to right across the screen.
Compared to the displays of other phones with a similar size, such as the HTC One X, the Galaxy S III offers a better experience. The best example of this is when flipping through the home screen - a motion that offers a seemingly 3D look. This creates an impression that the screen actually has depth, i.e. a third dimension unlike any other phone. All these advantages can be seen in other situations as well, such as while playing games, viewing photographs, watching videos etc.
The contrast on Samsung's Galaxy S III is very naturally set up; the usage matrix on this device is such that it enables good visibility, regardless of the viewing angle.
Still, a loss of contrast is noticed once the phone is directly exposed to sunlight - this loss is not as bad as on some other devices with Android OS, but is a bit greater than on the iPhone 4S. In this situation, the design of the Android and TouchWiz user interface is a shortcoming, as iOS and Windows Phone offer an exceptionally contrasting user interface that makes them easier to use in direct sunlight. This can be partially solved by choosing exceptionally dark wallpaper, at least for working with the desktop.
Other Design Elements
The power key on this smartphone is conveniently situated on the right edge of the phone, which means that snapping the phone from stand-by can be done with just one hand, without the need to move it a centimeter up or down, as the case was with its predecessor, the Galaxy S II.
Apart from the power button on the right edge, the Galaxy S III has a volume control switch on the left side and a recognizable physical key in the center of the device, just below the display; this is used as the home key. Next to it are two capacitive keys for activating the menus on the left-hand side and the back key on the right. These are all the keys this device includes. There's no seperate camera key.
The bottom of the phone features a tiny microphone and a micro-USB slot which is also used for connecting the device with HDTV via MHL technology. The upper edge includes an additional microphone for video calls and a standard audio output port, while the back features an 8 megapixel camera, an LED flash and a speaker.
The cover which overlays the entire back side hides a battery which can be taken out, a microSD memory card slot and microSIM card slot. Using the microSIM slot, Samsung joined HTC and Nokia which did the same with their top models, facilitating the migration of iPhone owners to these rival handsets.
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