The launch of the Galaxy S3
is something most tech savvy people
have been looking forward to.
The reason is simple: the Galaxy S2 was a great phone
which competed quite successfully with Apple's iPhone.
The S2 also made Samsung's reputation as being the top dog in the Android ecosystem, Android being Google's mobile operating system. Being at the top means competing with Apple's iPhone, something Samsung have been reasonably successful at. If you are able to sell phones at a similar price level to Apple, you must be doing something right.
The first thing that strikes you when you're holding one of these phones is just how large, but light, they are. The screen on the S3 is a massive 4,8 inches – the S2 was 4,3 inches but the actual size of the phone hasn't changed too much because the S3 has a much thinner bezel. The "Super AMOLED" technology screen has a resolution of 1280x720 pixels. Not too long ago, even most laptops had a smaller screen resolution than that. The iPhone 4S' 3,5 inch 960x640 display looks somewhat small by comparison.
Samsung has pulled out the stops to make the phone as light as possible, only drawback of that is that you don't get that feeling of build quality you would get with a stronger metal casing. It's not that the Galaxy S3 is built poorly, on the contrary, it's just that with the lower weight means it feels less solid. That didn't stop people from buying the S2 and Galaxy Nexus phones in large numbers, so it shouldn't be something to worry about with the S3 either. If anything, it's nice to walk around not feeling like you have a brick on your pocket. At 133 grams, it is lighter than the iPhone 4S despite being considerably larger (yet thinner)
Talking even more technical for a minute, it really is astounding just how much technology can be packed into a thin and light smartphone these days. It makes you wonder whether they are designed by engineers or magicians, because “black magic” is the first thing that comes to mind when you look at the spec list.
The phone measures 13,6 by 7,1 cm with a thickness of only 8,6 mm. The battery holds 2100 mAh worth of power, a considerable increase over the previous models. It has 2 digital cameras inside, the largest one has a resolution of 8MP. Of course the usual smartphone features are also present like the GPS navigation chip that also supports Glonass - Russia's navigation satellite system that complements America's GPS, You'll also find it has a movement sensor, light sensor, proximity sensor, a compass and a barometer.
At the heart of the phone there's a 1,4 Ghz quad-core processor and a new more powerful graphics processor that is tasked with rendering all the pixels on the screen. There's 1GB of RAM on board for the Android 4.0.4 operating system, and 16GB or 32GB of storage space for apps and files. Unlike the iPhone it also has a slot for microSD cards however, so you can easily expand the storage space – microSD cards can hold up to 64GB and do not cost a fortune.
As far as software goes, the phone is pretty intuitive to use, certainly if you've held an Android operated phone before. It comes with some neat little software tricks, particularly useful is a feature called Smart Stay. What it does is use the front camera on the phone to recognize when the user is looking at the screen. When that happens, the screen will stay on instead of timing out. Especially when reading web pages that's a nice feature. You can also talk to your phone and give it voice commands, not unlike Apple's Siri application, I'm not convinced this is the way of the future but it is a nice gimmick to play with regardless.
It will be a couple of months until Apple release a new version of the iPhone, and until then it is difficult to argue against the technical advantages of Samsung's new phone. Obviously there is more to a phone than its technical specifications, but Samsung has focused quite heavily on making the S3 pleasant to interact with and they seem to have done a pretty good job.
It's a good thing for us, the consumers, that the competition at the top of the smartphone pyramid is heating up. It means that innovation is being pushed as hard as technically possible, without the products being unaffordable. That said, the Galaxy S3 is not expected to sell for anything less than 600 euros initially.
That’s a lot of money for a phone on the one hand, but on the other the word phone doesn’t really do these machines justice. They are the Swiss army knife of the 21st century.