The Samsung Galaxy SIII is undoubtedly one beautiful looking phone, but how does t have the depth required to compete in today’s smartphone market?

Design

The first thing that jumps out at you about the SIII is the design. The sleek curved white body flows around the centre piece of the device, the massive 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD screen. The phone feels really good in your hand thanks to the gently curved back piece albeit a bit light. The polycarbonate frame is very light and lacks the reassuring weight of the iPhone 4 and 4S, however when you slip the phone into your pocket it is easy to forget that it’s even there.

samsung galaxy s3 review

The device is really thin and the design accentuates this. In fact with the claims that the iPhone 5 was the world thinnest smartphone I immediately doubted it, thinking that there is no way its thinner than the SIII. While Apple’s claims were correct, at first glance the SIII really looks to be one of the thinnest phones around.

samsung galaxy SIII thin

There is one major issue that I had with the design of the Galaxy SIII is the screen lock button. The button is placed on the right hand side of the screen, but on the left hand side is the volume buttons. Due to the sleekness of the phone it is very hard to press the lock screen button without accidentally pushing the volume buttons on the other side. This is particularly annoying when in silent mode, as touching one of the volume keys immediately turns off silent mode and makes a nice loud beep.

Other than that there is no doubt that the SIII is a beautiful phone that will definitely grab people’s attention with its slick white frame and gorgeous screen.

Performance

The Samsung runs on Android and the version we test was running Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) which provides a huge amount of customizability and access the Google Play store for all your apps. The Samsung Galaxy SIII includes its own tweaks and features on top of the standard Android set. The first thing you will notice is the lockscreen features a water ripple effect as you move your finger around. This feature stems from the “inspired by nature” feel that the phone has. In addition to that there is the ability to pin apps to the lock screen and a range of cool widgets that you can setup up in a few swipes to provide real time information on your homescreen.

samsung galaxy siii review

The 1.4GHz quad core Exynos processor is among the fastest Samsung has launched and it doesn’t disappoint. The phone is superfast and responsive, quick to open up apps and browse through files with one of the highlight being the camera and photo browser. The SIII’s camera opens almost instantly and can snap photos almost as quickly as you can tap the screen. A few times I actually thought “Has it taken the photo yet? Surely not…” but it had already snapped and filed the pic. In terms of the camera quality the 8MP you can expect a lot of sharpness and very good colour representation. The only time the camera struggled was in low light conditions.

A nice touch is the ability to apply filter like effects to your images before shooting. This gives you a unique perspective on the world around you and can inspire some interesting pictures.

Surprisingly, the Galaxy SIII’s battery manages to stand up to the challenge, powering the phone’s massive screen and processor really well. I was surprised by the battery life in general with a full charge lasting me a full day of heavy usage, without any problems. Samsung must have worked some dark evil magic behind the scenes to produce a battery like this, very impressive.

samsung siii camera comparison

When it comes to connectivity, it’s unsurprising that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is fully stocked – in fact I can’t think of a single thing that I’d want to see that’s missing. It includes everything from NFC to advanced location sensors, everything you need has been packed into the slim SIII frame.

Samsung has built on the Android Beam system – based on NFC – that Google created to allow users to share things like map directions, web links and YouTube videos. However, it’s been souped up by the addition of Wi-Fi Direct, which can transfer large items at dizzying speeds. The only limit is that it will require another SIII to work – we’re hoping that might change in the future as more phones adopt the technology.

My last point is both the highlight and the downfall of the Galaxy SIII in my opinion – the beautiful screen. Due to the size of the screen it makes the phone almost impossible to navigate properly with one hand. There is just no way to hold the phone that allows for your fingers to reach all parts of the screen. You will find that you need to use two hands, holding the phone in one hand and using the other to navigate the screen.

It’s interesting to look at the decision that Apple has made with the iPhone 5 to elongate the screen slightly but still keep it smaller for easy one handed use. Having said that, if you use the SIII for just a few days you will get used to the size and clarity of the amazing screen and switching back to an iPhone or similar will make you feel like you have regressed 5 years. It’s very hard to describe just how breathtaking this SIII screen is.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is an excellent phone, right up at the top of the smartphone food chain. It’s more sexy and exciting than either the iPhone 4 or the new iPhone 5, but does lack a little bit of the practicality. With the iPhone 5 revealed there are no more hidden risks for you when deciding on a new phone in the next 3 months. If you are partial to Android or looking for a beautiful phone, then the Samsung Galaxy SIII won’t disappoint, it does everything you ask of it and much more.

Pros

  • Beautiful screen
  • Fast & responsive
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Badly positioned lock screen button
  • Difficult to operate with one hand