Samsung Galaxy S3 Review: Best and worst features
The 4.8in device is one of the most highly anticipated Android devices of 2012. We go through the top five features of the Galaxy S3 and also point out its niggles.
The successor to the phenomenally popular Galaxy S2 handset has enhanced specifications, an upgraded OS and introduces unique gesture-based features.
The S3 ships with a 4.8in Super AMOLED HD display and is powered by Samsung's own 1.4GHz Exynos quad-core processor. The device also includes 1GB of RAM, is available with 16/32/64GB of internal storage and supports an additional 64GB via the microSD slot.
We’ve whittled down our favourite features of the Android Ice Cream Sandwich handset and also managed to eek out five things we're not thrilled with.
5. Gestures which work
Gestures have been introduced on a number of Android handsets, including the preceding Galaxy S2, but they have been inconsistent and fiddly.
Samsung has heavily promoted the gesture set on the S3, so the firm would have been left red-faced if they didn't perform.
Out of the numerous features, Smart Stay, Direct Call, Palm Sweep and Turnover are our favourites and will be the most useful to business users. Although they are not perfect, we have used them regularly.
Smart Stay is a feature which uses the 1.9-megapixel front facing camera to track your eyes. When the phone detects you have looked away from the device, it will dim the display and switch off (depending on length of screen time out), but as long as you maintain eye contact, it will continue at full brightness.
This is particularly useful if you put the device down for a couple of seconds. The display may dim, but once you pick it up it will brighten up. This is handy as it means the device will not dim when you are reading web pages, but we did find it to be inconsistent in low light.
Direct call is simpler, but just as effective. When you are viewing or writing a text message, browsing a contact or checking a missed call, the phone will call the person if you raise the device to your ear. The system isn’t perfect and we found it to be inconsistent when you are typing message. However, when we were viewing a message, it worked everytime and saved a couple of clicks.
Raise the phone to your ear when a contact is on screen to call them
Palm Sweep helps to simplify the process of taking screen shots. These have always been fiddly on Android phones – requiring users to simultaneously hold volume and lock buttons down.
To take a screen grab on the S3 you use the edge of your hand and swipe from the right hand edge to left edge (more examples of these later on). This is quick and particularly useful when using apps such as Docs to Go as you can take screen grabs of important pictures or documents.
It is also possible to capture screen grabs of internet web pages too, but these can be tricky as it is easy to scroll down by accident. We also found you have to be viewing the webpage in “desktop mode” and it is only possible to take screen grabs in portrait mode.
Turnover is another simple idea which will be useful for business user who forget to turn their devices to silent when entering meetings. If the phone rings, you turn it over to mute it instantly and avoid disruption.
Turnover is the easiest gesture-feature to use and the most consistent
OS: Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich with TouchWiz
Processor: 1.4GHz Exynos quad-core
Memory/Storage: 1GB RAM; 16/32/64GB internal + 64GB microSD slot
Screen: Super AMOLED HD 4.8in (1280 x 720)
Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, micro-USB, 3.5mm headphone jack
Other: Accelerometer, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, RGB Light, Barometer sensor, Assisted GPS / GLONASS available
Bands: EDGE / GPRS (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900MHz), HSPA+21 (850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100)
Camera: 8MP rear with LED flash and autofocus, 1.9MP front-facing
Size: 70.6 x 136.6 x 8.6mm