The Samsung Galaxy S III (SGS3) was announced last week on May 3rd. There is usually a rush of excitement on Day Zero of any greatly anticipated product launch, and then a few days later, people start to get a more balanced view of the real pros and cons of the product. It seems to have worked the opposite for me. I was a little underwhelmed when I learnt of the SGS3 last week. But after digesting all the available information about the SGS3, and considering what the competition has to offer, well, there are certainly some interesting things going for the SGS3.
Not that I’m sold over to the SGS3. You’ll see why.
I must admit that my initial impression of the SGS3 wasn’t good, because to me, it didn’t look good. Yup, I’m firmly in the camp that thinks the new SGS3 looks bad. It is too curvy. I wasn’t really fond of the Galaxy Nexus, and I think the SGS3 accentuated the aspects of the Galaxy Nexus’ shape that I didn’t like. Next, the face of the SGS3, to me, looks awkward. The display doesn’t fit in the face, and there is too much space between the bottom of the screen and the home button. It’s not balanced with the space that’s above the screen. Why does the SGS3 look the way it looks? Well, Android Police surmises that the SGS3 was designed by Samsung’s lawyers.
Let’s put the looks aside for now. The main things that I want to look at are basically hardware features, features that are only possible because of hardware, and possibly also software features that neither the competition nor open source projects can offer.
The first thing about the SGS3 that stands out is, well, the look: it remains relatively thin at 8.6mm. It’s still thinner than the HTC One X, despite the latter having a slightly smaller screen. Furthermore, the SGS3 is also thinner despite it having a substantially larger battery capacity at 2100 mAh (the HTC One X’s battery capacity is 1800 mAh).
The bigger battery capacity, hopefully, will mean that the SGS3 will run much longer. I have a Samsung Galaxy S II (SGS2) and I think its battery life is pretty good, especially after the ICS upgrade. The Exynos CPU on the SGS3, although a lot more powerful, is supposed to be quite light on power. But we’ll have to wait for more detailed and in-depth reviews to know about the SGS3′s battery life for sure.
Something that I missed on my SGS2 is the notification LED. It’s such a simple piece of hardware that I cannot understand why Samsung would omit it. Fortunately, the SGS3 will come with a real RGB LED notification indicator.
Smart Stay, the feature of the SGS3 that looks to see if you’re looking at it so that it can keep the display on instead of going to sleep, sounds like an awfully useful feature. I don’t know if it is worth the battery drain though. Even though face recognition will probably be done in dedicated imaging hardware rather than CPU, the fact that you’ve got to run the front camera is definitely going to cost some battery. This will have to be determined when in-depth reviews become available.
The SGS3 also continues to have features that we’ve taken for granted, but which has gone missing in HTC’s flagship One X: removable battery and MicroSD card slot. The battery might not be such a big thing if battery life is reasonably long, but it seems like a very good thing, at least to me, to have a MicroSD card slot. The SGS3 is also blessed with extra sensors like a pressure sensor. (I would like to have an ambient temperature sensor.)
It’s also nice to know that the SGS3′s CPU and graphics performance outdoes just about all the competition, including Apple iPhone 4S. Unless you play intensive games on your phone, this may not matter too much. But you never know how even in the near future, before your phone contract is up for renewal or your handset is reasonably old enough for you to consider replacing it, some new super duper application shows up that demands all the extra compute and graphic power that the phone can muster.
Are these features enough for the SGS3 to outdo its competition? We badly need the detailed in-depth reviews and input about real-world usage to decide.