Until the arrival of the Apple iPhone 5, by common cause Samsung’s Galaxy SIII was accepted as the king of the smartphones. Even Apple fans, pre-iPhone 5, would have admitted (albeit grudgingly) that the Samsung was a fine piece of kit.
Frankly, it’s still a fine piece of kit.
Its huge screen size is an obvious advantage. That presupposes, of course, that you don’t have a problem with thumb-reach: you simply won’t be able to cover most of the screen by using just a single hand.
Although its sleek-looking, slim, light form factor is now bettered by the even thinner and lighter iPhone 5’s, the difference really seems negligible. And yet, despite the jibes from the opposition, the whole device is not so big that you need to start wearing cargo pants. It fits quite comfortably in a jeans or shirt pocket. Still, those little details are the kind of thing that will matter to those whose lives are ruled by specmanship. And let’s face it, there’s a lot of that on Planet Smartphone.
From the hardware point of view, the Samsung’s internals are cutting-edge. The central processor is high-powered enough to barely break a sweat on everyday chores and the standard 32 GB storage capacity (expandable up to 64 GB) is plenty.
Externally, the picture is a little less rosy. The Samsung’s plastic shell doesn’t inspire confidence. That said, it came through unscathed from two falls on to tiles from about a metre. Unintended, heart-stopping falls, let it be known.
Call quality was generally good. Our S3 went home every day to a part of town notorious for its lack of signal irrespective of network and, predictably in those circumstances it struggled. Out in the real world it connected without a care. (A feature that we’re not sure yet is more than a gimmick: look at a contact’s details, then bring the phone up to your ear and it dials automatically). Where 3G was available it whizzed through the data faster than you can say, “you have reached your cap”. Fortunately, it’s possible to limit data consumption in the device itself with a warning once a threshold has been crossed and a total switch-off once a pre-set limit has been reached. (You can, of course, simply switch it back on if you are happy to pay out-of-bundle data charges.)
There’s so much that is smart about the SIII that we certainly can’t cover it all in a review of this size. And there’s some stuff that we haven’t yet had the opportunity to use – near field communication, for instance. But what we can do is mention a couple of the things that we like about a device that is the very model of the modern smartphone.
Security. You can restrict access to the phone, usually accomplished by the typical Swipe to Unlock, by means of (in increasing strictness) face recognition, pattern, PIN or password. A neat feature allows the Galaxy to remain unlocked as long as you are looking at it.
Input. Virtual QWERTY keyboard, of course, but there’s also Swype, handwriting- to-text (via the S Memo app) and S Voice (Intelligent Personal Assistant). Besides being able to use several preset commands (“new event lunch with James July 21st at 1 pm”), it takes voice input to Google (residual value vs balloon payment) and actually reacts quite accurately and is reported to be able to understand eight languages.
Home screens. Seven customisable home screens allow a liberal sprinkling of widgets and apps just where you need them.
Camera. Best Picture means never having to say, “Damn I missed that.” And for those panoramas, there’s panorama shot, of course. Videos in 1080p HD are a plus.
Allshare Play. Hey, connecting to other gadgets isn’t just for *Ph*n*s.
Connectivity ……….HSPA quad-band/Edge/GPRS; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0,
Operating system …Android Ice Cream Sandwich
CPU ……………………..Quad core 1,4 GHz
Camera ……………….Main: 8 MP AF; front: 1,9 MP
Video …………………..Full HD (1080p) playback and record
Display ……………….122 mm HD Super AmoLED
Storage ………………32 GB
Location ……………..GPS, GLONASS
Price …………………..R7 500
In the box:
Headset, AC/USB charger, Quick start booklet