Samsung Galaxy SIII, iPhone killer - review

2012-06-14 08:25
The Samsung Galaxy SIII has made its bid for the smartphone crown. (Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy SIII has made its bid for the smartphone crown. (Samsung)

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Cape Town - The Samsung Galaxy SIII is touted as an iPhone killer and Samsung is unapologetic about its desire to take on the California company for the global smartphone crown.

The latest Galaxy has a massive 12cm super Amoled (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) touch screen, but it's not fragile as the Gorilla Glass limits breakage and scratching.

The big screen may be uncomfortable for some, but the compromise is worth it as you get a great display for video, and web browsing is easier on the eye.

The body is plastic, but doesn't feel cheap and is framed in metal with recessed buttons which is an elegant touch.

But the Galaxy SIII is more than a pretty face: The device has a fast 1.4GHz quad core processor and 1GB of RAM that delivers a smooth experience when using demanding apps.

Polish

You don't buy the Galaxy SIII to make calls and send text messages: Calling this device a phone is quite an understatement and one can understand why Apple wants it banned.

It has several touches that make it unique in a crowded Android market. Samsung has taken Ice Cream Sandwich and added its own brand of polish on so that the device literally watches your face to detect what it should do.

The main 8 megapixel camera records video in high definition and along with regular features like geo tagging and picture stabilisation that we have come to expect from high-end devices; it also has smile detection and face recognition, making photography easy and there is no excuse to carry around a point-and-shoot camera.

Daytime shots are fast with zero shutter lag. In low-light conditions though, the device does struggle to get the shot, but it's a short wait to focus rewarded with better pictures than budget digital cameras can manage.

You can also take pictures while shooting video and zoom by pinching the display. This is where the large display comes into its own: Clumsy large fingers don't hit the wrong buttons and the result is a smoother experience creating video, and a better one watching the results.

Onboard is 16GB of memory and thankfully Samsung has also included an internal micro-SD so you can expand the memory up to 64GB.

The biggest competition for the Galaxy SIII is other devices running Android and Samsung has added a widgets category in the app directory so that one can easily choose which widgets to add to one or more of the seven home screens so that the display never looks cluttered.

You can also pinch the screen to view all the home, app and widget screens for faster access to a particular program.

S-berserk

Also, in an apparent nod to Nokia's N9, the Galaxy SIII employs several hand gestures: A palm swipe captures a screen grab, a palm touch mutes the device or pauses music playback. A shake of the phone tells it to scan for Bluetooth devices. The Galaxy will also call a contact displayed on the screen automatically when you bring it to your ear.

If you're passing the device around, showing pictures to friends on the display, it recognises that people are looking at the screen at won't dim until you either look away or your eyes close.

Understandably, Samsung is proud of the Galaxy SIII, but it has gone a bit S-berserk in naming its calendar application S Planner, it's app suggestion program S Suggest, and a voice program S Voice (Take that, Apple).

Audio on the SIII is great, especially with the speaker located at the rear of the phone and one can load content onto a micro-SD card, or send it directly to the phone via the supplied USB cable.

Files between two devices can also be exchanged wirelessly at high speed via the S Beam functionality, but at a recommended nose-bleeding retail price of R7 999, you won't be seeing many of these phones at the mall soon.

Samsung also launched Video Hub in SA which allows users to rent or buy movies from the phone or compatible tablets. The company said that the TV series and movies will be expanded over time.

Competition

The iPhone maker will have pull something much better out of the bag than the "same old same old" when it launches the next generation device to compete with the Samsung Galaxy SIII and growing competition from the Android market.

While diehard fans won't switch because of the Apple ecosystem, many others are moving not only to Android in general but to Samsung, specifically.

The South Korean company has a device offering in almost every category of cellphone, feature phone and smartphone and has overtaken Nokia to be the biggest mobile phone manufacturer in the world.


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