I’ve been lucky enough to have the latest Samsung Galaxy S3 handset now for the last couple of weeks, and with a price plan of just £33 ($52 approx) a month with 7000 minutes, 5000 texts and unlimited internet, its given me the chance to really try out all the phones features and give it a robust going over in every department.
The Samsung S3 is Samsung’s premier mobile phone. It has a huge 4.8inch Super AMOLED HD Screen, a Samsung Exynos Quad-core processor, a stunning 8MP Camera and oodles of other features all wrapped up in Android’s 4.0.4 operating system (soon to be updated to 4.1.x).
If mobile devices are you thing, also be sure to check out our Google Nexus 7 review.
The phones back slides off to contain the battery, and also inside the battery compartment you can find the SIM-Card slot and thankfully a Micro-SD card slot, meaning the phone’s already generous 16GB or 32GB memory can be updated by a further 64GB with the help of the card. The whole phone feels solid in the hands and with only one mechanical button showing on the bottom of the screen along with a volume rocker on the left of the phone and a power button on the right of the phone, the phone looks contemporary with its minimalistic controls.
Making Call or sending a text
The handset has a really loud speaker, and using active noise cancellation with a dedicated mic, every call sounds unbelievably clear. Samsung has really got it right with the call quality, signal on the phone even in marginal areas is very powerful, and you won’t struggle to hear the other caller.
Contacts can be brought up quickly and depending on the information that has been entered (or discovered via numerous social networks), you can choose to make the call, send a text, make a video call, email or make a Skype call if Skype is installed. The layout makes it easy to understand, and everything is done super-quick when you make the decision on what you want to do.
Texting can be accessed via a dedicated text icon on your home screen. The standard Android keyboard has been tweaked on the Galaxy S3 and for the most part, even with my huge thumbs, words were spelt correctly. Samsung has its own word guessing software which does a good job of guessing what you are going to say, if it doesn’t know a word, then you can type it in manually with no problems and the S3 will learn that word. A great alternative to typing is swiping over the keys in a single key-stroke. At first I thought this was a bit of a gimmick, but swiping your finger over each letter of a word without taking it off the screen really does work and is quick and very effective.
The most important part of the phone these days of course, other than making calls and sending texts is having a good screen so that you can perform multiple tasks with the device. The Samsung S3’s 4.8inch Super AMOLED HD screen has 720×1280 pixels with a pixel density of 306ppi and 16million colours. This is impressive, and a quick play of a 720p copy of Battleship showed just how impressive it was. Combined with the size of the screen and the shear amount of pixels, the film looked nothing short of stunning. As with all AMOLED screens, the blacks were super-black, and the colours were realistic. Because of the phones powerful processor, there were no problems with playback at any resolution that I tried, and what’s more, games such as Dead Trigger and Riptide GP played better and looked better on the S3 than on any other device I had played the games on.
Samsung has set the brightness on the phone quite low, obviously to save battery, but this is easily changed in the settings. I found that half-way is about right, and the phone is still nice and bright without being over-powering. Full brightness is enough to light a small room, it is that bright!
As mentioned I tested the screen with various media, but I have not said how impressively the Samsung S3 handles anything you throw at it. As far as video goes, I tried numerous downloads and they all worked perfectly. The phone handles MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.264/H.263 video formats straight out of the box, and if you should ever need to throw any more at it, then there are plenty of media programs that will allow you to play those files. With sound files, the S3 handles MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC meaning most people’s needs are taken care of. It’s really good to see FLAC files handled here, as I know so many people who love this uncompressed format.
The S3’s video player is simple but effective and works perfectly. Your videos are displayed as thumb-nails on the menu screen for you to choose what you want. It all looks ok, there have been nicer looking media-players, but at the end of the day most people just want to click on a video and watch it.
The music player on the S3 is better looking, and is quite intuitive to use. Thumb-nail pictures are used of album covers or single covers, and the usual controls for music are available. Once again, this does the job you need, no more or no less. There is also an FM radio on the phone, so you can have music even if you have no music on your phone, as long as you have the headphone’s plugged in, as these act as the aerial for FM reception.
Getting media on and off the Samsung S3 is as simple as plugging it into a PC and dragging and dropping into the relevant folders. This is something that always pleases me with Android devices, plug them in and they act just like an external hard-drive, so much easier and convenient than using a dedicated file handler such as iTunes.
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