If you’re looking to buy an Android smartphone now, the Samsung Galaxy S III (SGS3) is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best, there is that you can get now. The gadget person that I am, I had to go out the check out the actual handset to get a feel of the real thing and form my own hands-on impressions about it. Not about its performance, or software. Just to know how the handset feels in my hands. So what do I think about it?
The SGS3 does not look and feel as ugly as I had envisioned it to be. When Samsung first announced the SGS3, I was very disappointed about the design. I had wondered if the new design will somehow grow on me over time. It seems to have. I don’t find it as repulsive as I originally felt. I still don’t think it’s a great design. It is a satisfactorily acceptable design. Maybe it’s because images of the SGS3 has been plastered all over printed media and online websites that I’ve gotten used to its look.
When I picked up the SGS3, it felt thin, flat, and light. Just as it is supposed to be. But I have to be honest. It did not win my heart the way the HTC One X did. The new polycarbonate body of the SGS3 just doesn’t exude a premium touch. Don’t get me wrong. The SGS3′s body feels solid in the hand. It doesn’t feel like cheap plastic. But it isn’t in the same league as, say, the iPhone 4S or Nokia Lumia 800. Not, in my opinion, as good as the HTC One X either. But an improvement over the Samsung Galaxy S II (SGS2).
The SGS3 sports a 4.8″ display. It’s big. Even if you had come from another screen that’s already reasonably large like, say, a 4.3″ one. The big screen, thankfully, doesn’t mean big body in the case of the SGS3. The 8.6mm thinness of the body helps a lot. It’s still comfortable to hold in the hands. I used to gawk at even 4.3″ displays because I felt that made the body too big, but I guess I’ve already gotten used to the idea that almost all smartphones are headed toward big screens nowadays. You might, however, still be slightly concerned if your hands are small, or if you need the phone to fit in small or shallow pockets.
I wondered about the hyperglaze coating that Samsung touted of its SGS3. I am disappointed to say that, well, it feels just like gloss finish. It doesn’t feel better than the SGS2′s finish. I don’t know if it will be more hardy. I noted the black coating of my SGS2 can chip off.
Buttons are nice and easy to press, similar to those of the SGS2. I felt, however, that the home button now feels a bit archaic. Some other smartphones have already gone 100% touch on the display’s surface, so having a hard physical button, and one that also felt somewhat rigid and which needed a firm press to register anything, breaks the sleekness of the SGS3.
Overall, I feel the hardware design aspects of the SGS3 could be improved. It’s still, without doubt, the best of the Galaxy S series flagships, and there probably aren’t many Android challengers in the hardware design.
ps: My purpose in this post is to share my thoughts on the physical design elements of the SGS3. If you were hoping to find out more about hardware performance, software features, etc, please check out other fine reviews such as these from Engadget, Slashgear, and The Verge.