I cannot remember the last time I was this excited about getting my hands on a new mobile phone – the day the Galaxy S3 was released I told myself I would wait a while for a price drop before buying one, but by the 72 hour mark I could not control myself, I had to have one.
The Samsung Galaxy S series of mobile phones have been around now since around mid 2010, and they really made an impact on the market, with good reason. Combining innovative, open-source software with hardware specs previously unheard of in the cellular market, then encouraging consumers to modify, and even 'hack' their devices – Samsung knew they were on to something good, but I don't believe for a second that anyone expected the global phenomenon we are witnessing today.
Unleashing the beast
I would be lying to you all if I was to tell you I made it all the way home without tearing into the box to play with my new phone, it would be rude not to! I had signed into Google Play, downloaded Twitter and told the world about my purchase before I'd even left the shop!
Opening the box I was once again very impressed by the efficiency of Samsung, everything seemed to fill the space of the tiny box so perfectly, that not even the most seasoned Tetris master could manage to replace everything and fully close the box fully (without breaking a sweat).
Within two minutes whilst still standing in the Bolton Branch of my network carrier, I had installed my 32GB Micro SD, new Micro SIM, closed the casing and was ready to admire the new beautifully curvy side of Samsung which I had never seen before.
Impressions on appearance & feel
The first thing I noticed about this phone, is that the build just feels so solid, every curve seems to have been crafted to be easy on both the eye and on the hand. The 'layers', of the battery cover, the bezel, and the edges of the screen are so precisely flush, it is obvious that physical quality is a running theme with this device.
I was in a real rush to get my hands on this phone so I had no choice but to go for the white model (which really is not such a bad thing). The phone has a bit of weight to it, considering how slim it is, which to me is re-assurance in build quality, on the front there is one physical button which is the home key, which doubles as a task manager, the phone earpiece (call speaker), a 1.9mp camera sensor, a proximity sensor, and hidden away towards the top left is the long-awaited LED notification indicator. The left of the device has the volume rocker key, the right holds just the standby key, at the top of the phone is a standard 3.5mm stereo headset jack and what appears to be a secondary microphone, and the bottom has the primary microphone and the micro USB charging/data cable port. The rear of the phone at a glance is a clean, white, minimalistic design, in which I particularly admire the symmetrical placement of the camera flash, lens and speaker grill. On closer inspection I feel 'Marble white' is neither descriptive nor flattering enough to represent the awesome finish of the casing on this phone, there is an 'oil slick' effect that emerges and gives off a deeper 'texture' which I'm hoping is just the icing on the cake – As at this point I haven't even turned the phone on yet!
With an impressive initial boot-up, showing the first sign of life from the LED indicator I went from standstill to actively downloading apps in what seemed like only a couple of minutes, and I had made my first Tweet/Facebook status update within approximately 5 minutes. The phone comes preloaded with android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 and an upgrade to Jellybean 4.1 is expected in the coming weeks.
Let's slow things down a little here...
Once I got home and had downloaded the essential apps I took a little time to have a closer look at the screen, and core functionality. The first thing to really impress me was just how clear the image quality of the phone is, the 1280x720 HD Super AMOLED display really does the TouchWiz interface great justice – I now believe TouchWiz is no longer trailing behind the worthy HTC Sense UI, but has now closed the gap and is possibly overtaking HTC at the UI face-off.
I took the time to have a go at getting along with some of the pre-installed apps, particularly 'Flipboard', which I was surprised to see here. Everything does run seemingly flawlessly on this phone, and needless to say I have stuck with Flipboard which seems to be a lightweight alternative to Google Currents and my social apps for a quick read.
Testing the inbuilt speaker's capabilities with classical, dubstep and heavy metal I was impressed by the clarity at high volumes, when I say high volume, this phone dows get loud. Plugging in your best pair of headphones is a much better experience though, I personally use Monster Lil' Jamz which are extremely high quality in-ear headphones, the Samsung Galaxy S3 provides generous music volume and various EQ and reverberation options to suit everyone's taste.
Taking the phone out to show-off I found the easiest way to impress was the video functionality, the sample video is so crisp, and then to have the option to be watching a video whilst scrolling through Facebook is a great surprise for most!
Another addition to Samsungs growing ensemble of exclusive apps is the S-Voice app which can be accessed anywhere with a quick double-tap of the home key, whilst I don't think it's a Siri-Killer yet, I do like the ease, and versitility of the app.
One week in
After using the S3 as my primary device for one week I found the battery is rather impressive – my phone is rarely sat in my pocket for more than five minutes at a time, I am a Google addict and read news articles frequently throughout the day, with an average of 12 text messages sent/recieved, over an hour of articles read online, 3 youtube videos, 15 minutes of phone calls, a good 20 emails read and 20 minutes playing games per day I would be left with about 10% battery life by bed time, though I am still using an MP3 player for my commute as opposed to using the phone's media player, which could have tipped the phone to the dreaded final red bar of battery!
Though I haven't used this phone as my primary music player, the media player suite is just awesome. The video player seems to recognise every type of codec I have thrown at it and once again the crisp display plays a huge part in the WOW! Factor. I particularly like the option to browse by folder rather than ID3 tags in the music player, which just simplifies the entire experience.
Texting and sending emails seems to be natural on this device, there was literally no 'gettting used to it' period, it was full-speed from the word go, though I do miss Swype I am having literally no problems at all!
The camera was a little strange at first, a number of times I thought I had not pressed the shutter due to the lightning fast response, my only fear now is that I may never be able to live with shutter delay on any other device! Now I am used to it, the camera is great, the 8MP sensor really captures rich images with no need for re-takes. For video recording I feel the greatest advantage is the size and quality of the screen which makes watching over the video you just captured not just easy, but a pleasure.
I am still using this phone as my primary device and will be sticking with it for the forseeable future as I cannot see another device offering anything anywhere close to the experience I am offered by the S3. The device is built solid, reliably, and the battery is just about the best performer out of all rival smartphones to date.
This is just the beginning too, as we saw with both predecessors of this model, all we are waiting for now is for the app developers to catch up and really make the most of the technology here. I recommend this phone to anyone who wants a phone that doesn't only outperform all other devices, but one that has more power than it knows what to do with. We are going to see some great apps in the coming months and the Galaxy S3 is ready for even the most demanding software.
With the Dawn of Android Jellybean expect big things to come.
Make up your own mind.
Any questions please comment below or find me on twitter @virtuoso666