09
May
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Last Updated: June 16th, 2012

The Galaxy S III, announced at a highly anticipated event last week, immediately impressed me with its advanced software. Samsung has stuffed the SGS III with so many features that my mind explodes every time I try to remember all of them - and what you saw during the unveiling is only half the story. There's more, a lot more, which is why the S III is going to be the most interesting Android phone to play with and review this year.

On the hardware front, "the next Galaxy" is quite beefy, and the only letdowns for me were the likely lack of LTE in the quad-core version and the looks. Initially, I was kind of turned off by the overly rounded corners and the weird skinny middle button (so were some of you), but I wanted to defer judgment until I got to play with it in person.

Thankfully, Samsung, which doesn't even have a booth at CTIA this year, let six of these bad boys out to play for a few hours at Mobile Focus last night, which finally satisfied my cravings (though they had to pry them from my hands - the fingers just wouldn't let go). Read on for my impressions and an 8-minute video with a rundown of some features you probably didn't know existed.

Video

Spec Recap

  • 4.8-inch 720p Super AMOLED HD Display
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16/32GB storage, 64GB version planned
  • microSD Card slot up to 64GB
  • 8MP rear shooter with zero shutter lag, 3.3 shots per second burst mode, HDR and 1080p HD support
  • 1.9MP front camera with "face recognition" and HD video capabilities
  • 2100 mAh battery removable with Wireless Charging technology support (though this requires an aftermarket accessory)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 (LE)
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi HT40
  • GPS/GLONASS
  • NFC
  • Notification LED
  • 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm, 133g
  • Android 4.0.4, at least right now

My Impressions

Let's get this out of the way - the Galaxy S III in person feels and looks about a metric crapton better (that's the scientific term) than it does in press photos. The screen is absolutely gorgeous - even though it's using the same technology as the Galaxy Nexus, it still somehow looks better. Perhaps it's the Gorilla Glass 2, which is about 20% thinner, or perhaps they put in some software optimizations - I'm not sure. The whole pentile debacle is not an issue for me with this phone at all.

I absolutely love the way the Epic Touch looks, but after checking it out side-by-side with the S III, it suddenly looks dated. What? How did this happen? I could swear I said the exact opposite of this a week ago, but seeing both in person reversed that right up.

wm_IMG_1435

The Galaxy S III feels really good in your hand. I am a fan of large-screen phones, and the S III has the perfect size for me. It's a little longer than the S II, which some people may have a problem with, but hey - you gain almost 0.3", which is very noticeable. The bezel is about the same size, but because the edges are more rounded, it actually creates more edge-to-edge illusion, which I definitely won't complain about.

The phone is relatively light and definitely feels lighter than it looks. The only problem I have is the rear cover - it's made with what Samsung calls hyperglazing - a rich coating that, unfortunately, is still very prone to fingerprints. I'm not even talking about the gloss - it's just so ugly. Can we at least have a matte replacement cover, Samsung?

The good news, on the other hand, is that it won't get dirty every couple of days like the One X. As for the material itself, I actually don't mind the plastic - if you've ever used a Galaxy s II, you'll know that it's almost impossible to damage. I've dropped the Epic Touch more than any other device (it's a slippery little bugger), but it still looks mint. The One S - not so much.

image

As far as the color preference, I would definitely go with the darker option. While the white One X tends to look a lot better than the gray one, in Samsung's case the situation is just the opposite. The main reasons are the absence of the black/white contrast on the front, which gives the One X its signature bad-ass looks (in my opinion, it's the single best looking mobile device to date) and the plasticky back that looks a whole lot better in dark blue.

wm_IMG_1389

Looks pretty good there, doesn't it?

Software

Oh my, where do I start... First of all, the S III is buttery smooth. I wasn't able to make it choke right there on the spot, but I'll have to reserve judgment until I have a few days to play with it and load up close to 200 apps that I have loaded on my daily driver.

Unfortunately, and this is a big one, the notorious screen-on delay that annoys me greatly on the Epic Touch is still present. It can take literally 2-3 seconds for the display to wake up when you press the power button, which is absolutely unacceptable. I can't believe Samsung hasn't fixed this problem - in contrast, HTC always reacts immediately - even the original EVO 4G screen-on time beats the S III every time. Seriously, guys, fix it. It's embarrassing.

I asked the Samsung rep about the green "Gingerbready" feel of the notification area and got a response I anticipated - they want people who are already kind of familiar with Galaxy products to feel somewhat at home. Those customers who have never played with stock ICS wouldn't even know what they're missing, and while I can partly see where Samsung is coming from, I also think they've made the wrong decision here. I think most of you would agree with me. Drop the green, Samsung, it's starting to look dated. Please?

The best part of the Galaxy S III experience is a huge pile of extra features, easily double any other Android device. This is the first time I would seriously consider permanently sticking with the stock OS - I have big doubts that custom ROMs would ever be able to catch up, even if they succeed in porting some of the features. Every manufacturer tries to differentiate, but I can confidently say that nobody has ever differentiated the way Samsung did. I am one of those people who actually enjoy TouchWiz 4.0 (though I immediately swap out the launcher), so I welcome further improvements Samsung made in the SGS III.

Here are just some of them:

  • Smart stay - a sensor periodically checks to see if you're looking at the screen and keeps it lit up. If it dimmed because you turned away, the phone will undim it when it catches you looking again. I've tested this, and it really works. Because the sensor is not on all the time, I think the battery hit is negligible - Samsung wasn't born yesterday and took it into account while carefully designing every feature. Of course, we'll have to see just how good or bad battery life is when we get our review unit.
  • Smart alert - a friendly vibrating nudge lets you know if you have missed calls or messages waiting when you pick up the phone. Love, love, love everything about this - we've finally entered the territory of truly useful features that all add up and place this device on a whole new level.
  • Direct call - another feature that just makes so much sense. Looking at an SMS? Just put the phone to your ear, and it'll dial the number of the person you were texting with automatically. If you've watched the keynote, you already know this, but did you also know that it works on a contact detail and call log pages? Brilliant.
  • Face and voice unlock - in addition to the ICS face unlock, the S III features an additional "face and voice" unlock method, which should theoretically be more secure.
  • Gestures galore - you can perform a wiper-blade gesture to take a screenshot, there is a gesture for firing up the camera or jumping to the top of a scrollable list by double tapping the top of the phone. You can also pause videos (and probably music) by placing your palm over the screen for a moment, although I'd like to see whether this works with apps that aren't focused. Otherwise, a single screen tap, which accomplishes the same thing, seems a whole lot easier. I'm sure there are more gestures I'm forgetting, but we'll find them all in the review.
  • Pop up play - just like with Stick It!, videos can be overlaid over other apps, so, for example, when you get a message, you can reply while continuing to watch cats making fools of themselves. You wouldn't want to miss that, would you?
  • Best photo - just like the One series, the S III can take a bunch of photos in rapid succession and then automatically pick one to save. Unlike the One series, you need to actually put the camera into Burst mode first. I was also surprised that pressing Best Photo doesn't actually show what photo ended up being the best and just switches back to camera mode. I hope that can be changed in the settings, because I want to make the final decision.
  • Share shot - this is something Samsung added to the camera that I haven't heard of before. Share shot uses Wi-Fi Direct to share images between all connected devices. So if you go to a party and connect with your friends who also take photos, you will all end up with everyone's photos. And because it doesn't require Wi-Fi (but rather Wi-Fi Direct), you won't need to be connected to an existing Wi-Fi network and won't need to mess with Wi-Fi passwords. This feature is demoed in the video above around 2:50.
  • S Voice - voice recognition, a la Siri, which actually works really well. I especially like that it is aware of the history - you can almost have a whole conversation with it about one topic. For example, "set alarm" - "what time?" - "1pm" - "here's your alarm," followed by the image of the clock. This is the prettiest and most polished implementation of a voice assistant to ever hit Android, hands-down. I am curious if they're still using Nuance-owned Vlingo in the backend or not.
  • S Beam is a mashup of NFC and Wi-Fi direct, which allows you to beam images, videos, music, and other files a whole lot faster and at greater distances than NFC. This marriage makes so much sense, it's almost a no-brainer.
  • Social tagging, buddy photo share - the Galaxy S III uses facial recognition to analyze and auto-tag your photos. If it's unsure of a match, it'll show a question mark next to the name, which you can then approve. Once you click on IDed names, you can call, text, email, or interact with them on social networks. You should be also able to share the photo you're looking at with the contacts displayed, but I wasn't able to demo this feature properly. This feature is demoed in the video around the 2:00 mark.
  • AllShare Play - as far as I understood, AllShare Play, previously called AllShare, has 2 parts - cloud sync and direction connection. The first bit is powered by SugarSync and is basically a cloud service that's deeply integrated into the OS. You can register up to six devices (they don't all have to be SGS IIIs) and have them sync files to the cloud. Oh hey - 50GB of Dropbox storage for 2 years is not so bad either, don't you think (the Tab 2 has the same deal as well)? Having two cloud storage services on one device is kind of weird, but hey, we'll take it.
    If I got it right, you can also directly connect to devices that are currently accessible (via 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi) and transfer files bypassing the cloud. However, I am not able to confirm it at this point.
  • AllShare Cast streams photos and videos to your TV, presumably using DLNA or Wi-Fi Direct. An optional AllShare Cast dongle lets you stream them to TVs that have an HDMI input. While we didn't get any demos of AllShare Cast at this event, we did manage to snag a video back in London.
  • Group Cast - we didn't get all the details, but presumably this is a local Wi-Fi group chat. I'm not sure whether you can transfer things outside of messages this way, we'll have to see when we get a review unit.
  • News ticker built right into the lockscreen - need a quick news update? Just enable the news ticker and look at the bottom part of the screen. You can also expand the ticker and peek at more headlines by flicking it up. Pressing on each story fires up the web browser. This feature is demoed around 7:00.
  • The notification quick access toggles have been enhanced, and now include additional functions, such as toggling mobile data, driving mode, sync, notifications, screen rotation (finally - my Epic Touch doesn't have it), and power savings. Since there are now many more buttons than before, the whole area swipes sideways. This feature is shown in the video towards the very end.

wm_IMG_1427

image image

image

There are likely more features we haven't found yet that will surface upon closer inspection. This makes me very excited - no phone has ever been as intriguing as this one.

The Galaxy S III, you can't come soon enough.

A Note on U.S. Availability

As we all know, the S II had a disastrous timeline with U.S. carriers - by the time the phone was available in the States, it was already half a year old. While all Samsung reps were very vague on availability, they all seemed quite upbeat on the announced summer timeline. If I didn't know better, I'd say we'll have the S IIIs here in June, but we also know U.S. carriers and their notoriously long testing procedures. Still, I got the vibe that the wheels were put in motion well in advance, and this launch will be nothing like the SGS II's. We'll have to see about that, but I'm feeling optimistic.

Photos

Blue

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wm_IMG_1390 wm_IMG_1391 wm_IMG_1392

wm_IMG_1393 wm_IMG_1400 wm_IMG_1402 wm_IMG_1404 wm_IMG_1406

wm_IMG_1414 wm_IMG_1415 wm_IMG_1408 wm_IMG_1410 wm_IMG_1411

wm_IMG_1412 wm_IMG_1413 wm_IMG_1416 wm_IMG_1417

White

wm_IMG_1418 wm_IMG_1419 wm_IMG_1420 wm_IMG_1421

wm_IMG_1422 wm_IMG_1423 wm_IMG_1424 wm_IMG_1426 wm_IMG_1427

White + Blue

wm_IMG_1429

wm_IMG_1431 wm_IMG_1433

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Alex

    I would kill to get my hands on this device...

    • Dax0987654321

      No you wouldn't, now stop lieing.
      I currently have an iPhone 4 awaiting the next iPhone, but I'd it's not to my liking I'll be jumping ship to the best Android device on the market for my AT&T carrier, which is the HTC One X!!

      • CoreDuo08

        'Best' is inherently subjective.

        • sansenoy

           not if you take a look at the calendar...

          • Nian

            Seriously, the One X is crushed by the S3 anywere. Dont even try to justify a failed device you spent loads of cash and its just inferior.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XLOQV53SI3PT755OOWWSBQPYFU Anon

         Why wait? Buy it now and call it a day.

      • sgtguthrie

        I can't do the non-removable small battery, no Micro sd slot, and HTC Sense is horrible imo!  Hope you enjoy your device...lol!  I must say, it is certainly an upgrade from an iPhone though :-)

  • Fun With Drugs

    Lol "Niger." 

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yes, that's a country.

    • Mr. Mark

      I'm again reminded that Intelligence is Overrated.

      • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

        Cut him some slack. It could be the drugs.

  • Victor

    Still an ugly phone

    • The dude

      That's just like, your opinion, man.

  • Fakerbaker

    no physical keyboard, so it's an angry birds player strictly. pro android users, look elsewhere.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Not even sure where to start with this one...

    • James Cranston

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, if i could be bothered to waste more "ha"'s on you i would.

    • Awwmang911

      Physical keyboard sucks grow up

    • Awwmang911

      Physical keyboard sucks grow up

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XLOQV53SI3PT755OOWWSBQPYFU Anon

      I hear Keyocera made a slider for you this year. It even has ICS.

    • sgtguthrie

      I guess you're SOL dude...the physical keyboard has gone the way of the dinosaurs!  Honestly, on my D1 (may it rest in peace) I only used to keyboard to hold x so I could get to recovery.  Onscreen keyboards are sooooooooo much better!

  • http://them3blog.wordpress.com/ Abel

    like i said the only thing i do not like is the lack of on screen keys 

    • http://www.facebook.com/baldilocks73 Steve Hartsock

      Why? On screen keys waste screen real estate. Why even have a big screen at all if you are going to fill them with on screen keys and menu bars??

      • Justin

        I agree with this, HOWEVER I do believe that the Galaxy Note 2 should have on screen buttons. Simply because when using the stylus, it would be easier to press back/home/multitask rather than having to swap to your finger. Doing multi tasking on the Note with your stylus is particularly cumbersome as you have to either use the stlyus to hold down the home button, or swap to your finger. 

        It's not intuitive and the Note has plenty of screen real-estate so the on-screen buttons wouldn't be as much of a big deal imo.

        • http://them3blog.wordpress.com/ Abel

          on screen buttons is the way to go, Google changed this, look at the one X horrible menu button. any new android device should come with both NFC and on screen keys because android is including features we wont see.

          people fail to see the big picture, Google is adding more and more changes to the os since they aren't in charge of hardware they are trying to include many software features android software is moving into a new evolution but manufacturers disregarding google's standard only hinders that capability 

      • http://them3blog.wordpress.com/ Abel

        well, the android OS is changing in order to get rid of the menu button, on screen keys have a lot of potential, because they are a part of the OS they can also be modded along with it. any new feature with future android updates wont be seen on deices with no on screen keys. 

  • http://twitter.com/Serotheo Simon Yu

    Does normal Android Beam still work?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Not sure about that, sorry. I would imagine that it does.

      • hot_spare

        Normal Android Beam works through NFC. SGS3 establishes a connection between the pairing devices using NFC, but the actual file transfer happens through WiFi-Direct. This enables to transfer huge files at very high bandwidth (it's WiFi afterall). 

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Yeah, that's pretty much exactly what I said about S Beam. What we're trying to figure out here is whether the traditional Android Beam functionality is still supported, for communicating with NFC phones that don't support S Beam.

  • James Cranston

    can you get the s-voice apk for us? :P

    i wanna put it on my S2 haha.... until i own one of these quadcore beasts

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      We couldn't pull stuff off the phone right in front of the PR people, plus they didn't have data enabled :P

  • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

    S Beam -- Google should have done that when they came up with Android Beam. Combining Wifi-Direct with NFC is a no-brainer.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      No disagreement there.

    • jm9843

      I think that Google sometimes leaves features out on purpose.  Thus giving 3rd party oems and developers an opportunity to "add value" by doing the obvious.

  • the realist

    The author of this article is a douche. Sounds like an apple fan boy with his nitpicks.

    • truegrit

      Agreed, total douche. Whaa I don't like the battery cover. Blah the screen is the exact same as galaxy nexus but it looks better... Your a joke dude.

      • cooldude

        200 apps so I always have an excuse to pull my phone out... yeah we see you buddy, real cool

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Nice job talking to yourself, person with same IP and 3 different names.

          • Shane K Downes

            Ignore that weirdo Artem

          • J Rush

            OWNED!!! Lol nice Artem! Loved the article by the way. Was a very good and interesting read.

          • Guest

            The founder of this site has nothing better to do than give out peoples IP addresses?????

          • KL

            LOL... busted!

          • Nitin

            Haha! Idiot.
            Great post! Waiting to see the phone in person but i am pretty sure ill be buying it.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            @d7faeb22ca9ccf6593ed319a629fe77b:disqus Where did I give out his IP address? Jesus, what's with all the trolling today...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Well, now that's funny.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thelastsaint Fernando Santos

     this phone will be available in the U.S. around the same time Samsung Galaxy S4 will be announced lol

  • Skillit

    After many days past after the release and hundreds of pictures and videos the little bugger of the GSIII is starting to look better, I still prefer the One X and the all screen Galaxy Nexus but the GSIII  design is starting to warm up to me...

    Can someone please tell me why they went for the menu button instead of the multitasking one ?

    • http://www.facebook.com/baldilocks73 Steve Hartsock

      Having the menu button below allows for more screen space because the app itself doesn't have to display the menu option. It makes sense. One reason I'd never have the Galaxy Nexus -- too much wasted screen real estate.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        I am a big fan of the menu button and I like that it stayed. There are many reasons for this (like having to reach for on-screen menus because they get put towards the top, all while covering up the screen with the palm, different menu positions rather than instinctively knowing where the button is, wasting real estate on menu buttons, etc). Good thing Android made it an option and not every manufacturer opted in to immediately phase it out.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Emil-Johansson/1428147693 Emil Johansson

      Another good reason is the problem that the one X has with the menu in applications that havent been updated for ics, where a "home made" menu button pops up at the bottom of the screen, basically taking up as much space as it wouldve taken had they implemented on screen buttons.

  • Vu Viet Anh

    I guess my only issue with this phone's design is the front button. :/ I really think Samsung should just go for all capacitive buttons, seeing how prone to break these ubiquitous "home" buttons are.

    • http://www.facebook.com/baldilocks73 Steve Hartsock

      I've never broken a 'home' button on any phone I have owned. I'd love to see your data on this...

      • Vu Viet Anh

         I got 3 friends whose iphone's home buttons were broken during their first year of usage. Maybe it's because of the iphone's particular home button (incised in) and android phones' ones have better durability because of a dedicated back button. Still, I'd rather go with capacitive buttons - like the one X and one S :/

    • KL

      I LOVE the home button - please never take it away! I wake and unlock my G Note with it - so convenient just pressing the button twice, like I did with my Nexus1.

      • ThePeninsula

        Yep - agreed. Waking the phone with the power button takes slightly more concentrration and its always good to have the option of using either.

  • Troydoran

    Well im looking forward to play with this phone in person.. Then i will make the call. But it is looking even better every review i read. Great job

  • Justin

    Hmm one thing I noticed in this article is that the author says that the phone is a lot better looking in real life than in the screenshots of the phone? I myself found my initial reaction to the phone was that it was ugly when I saw the press shots, but I'd like to ask Artem, when you're holding it and looking at it, is the device really better looking than what we all thought at the start?

    The more videos I see of the phone, the more I'm 'getting used' to the look, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to say 'it's a nice looking phone' just yet. You think if people see it in person, it'll change their minds on it?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, that's exactly what I'm saying (though I didn't say screenshots, but rather press photos). By the end of the night, I liked the way it felt and looked more than the SGSII.

      • ThePeninsula

        More than the GSII wow!  O_O

  • bse88

    At 2:20, why didnt the phone recognize you were looking at it while browsing the gallery?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      The phone was pointed at the camera (or the other way around rather), and we weren't looking directly at it.

  • http://meercat9.com/ Billy Moffat

    I haven't watched the video yet, but from the pictures, Samsung made a bad choice with the colour theme. The blacks of the news on the lock-screen look amazing. If the interface had more black like the GSII, the screen would show off its true potential.

  • aatifsumar

    Hahahahha @varunkrish:twitter used the phone before you. "Hi this is varun from FoneArena in the Compose SMS"

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, he was there, I actually met and chatted with him that night. Nice guy :)

  • Jasraj7111

    From the photos, I like the white one better. Does the blue one really look better in person? Also any possibility that this is coming to Verizon? Does 4.8 inch really not feel that big in the hand?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Guess it comes down to personal preference. I think the possibility it's going to be on Verizon is very high, but we haven't heard anything confirming it just yet.

  • cody kain

    there are only a handful of features interesting and i wonder how much of a batt drainer they are over all i dont need a phone with more crap on it to make the updates take 100 times longer. ill pass on this but decent review i do find it a little samsung fanboyish tho....

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      You bring up a great point - the complexity of the software will make OS updates (JB, and on) a lot harder for Samsung, and who knows if they'll even decide to implement the next major version at all.

      • miso_sori

        I thought Samsung signed on to the supporting/updating devices for at least 18months thing, or is that just a scam that doesn't really promise any updates?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Nothing ever really happened to that, it was a promise that never came true.

          • miso_sori

            Damn, that's dissapointing, thanks.

          • sgtguthrie

            Exactly...look at the Droid Charge...won't even see ICS and there's no reason for it.  It has the specs and came out after the Blunderbolt!

  • Called it

    i knew it would turn out like this. all the fags complaining about how ugly it looks, until they get their hands on it and its suddenly the best thing ever made.

    bleh. fanboys are always so predictable

  • http://twitter.com/TheGermian Germian

    You know what? I can't wait until I get that phone and it gets hacked like hell. I would LOVE to be able to see my RSS feed instead of those Yahoo News nobody really cares about.

  • Realistic consumer

    Those are some fantastic pictures! The crazy thing is, anal retentive nerds whine about pentile when many of those shots look like fake marketing shots (like with a pasted on, photoshopped screen)even though it's the real deal. 

    Whoever says this has a crappy screen or looks terrible needs an MRI and an eye exam.

    • chlo1ber

      "Whoever says this has a crappy screen or looks terrible needs an MRI and an eye exam."
      Rather the opposite, but nevermind ;)

  • himmatsingh

    Now, wait till some enterprising folks get the APKs of all those awesome features out. Imagine loading them up on your S2...you won't feel so left out then.

  • chlo1ber

    Somehow I think the software features are pretty much useless and I disagree completely there:

    Smart stay - you will turn that off after a week, I promise.
    Smart alert - very useful when you already got notification lights!
    Direct call - that one is cool - however, I can already call a person with one touch anyways...so yeah.
    Face and voice unlock - gimmicky, but cool
    Gestures depending on how well they're implemented, that's really something I look forward to also on other devices. Gestures should be used more often.
    Pop up play - useless
    Best photo - nice, but not new
    Share shot - completely useless
    S Voice - useless (it won't work as well as Siri and Siri is already useless)
    S Beam don't know where I could use that one, but makes sense, yes
    Social tagging, buddy photo share - social tagging is cool, buddy sharing is useless
    AllShare Play - *shrug*
    News ticker probably sucks as a built in news app is used

    Everything put together, Gestures remain as a real useful feature if implemented correctly. The rest is either useless, extremely gimmicky or used once in a lifetime.

    • sansenoy

       I agree, but did you see that popup video in action?!?!? The last device to impress me in such a way was my old ipod touch...

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XLOQV53SI3PT755OOWWSBQPYFU Anon

         Overskreen and Stick it do the same things as the pop up player. I think that should be an Android feature from the drawing board, but on both apps I think they require a pretty powerful processor. Maybe thats why it has not been attempted by Google thus far. My Tf101 had a hard time with playing videos without hickups using stickit. Hopefully this 4core Exy can do it seamlessly.

    • Paul Werner

      I'm going to have to agree with chlo1ber here. I'm still holding onto my Epic 4g because Sprint is the best bang for my buck and I don't have the terrible network people like to complain about with them. I do want them to come out with another phone with a keyboard and LTE. 

      I'd pick this up for the specs if Sprint puts a keyboard on it but it's doubtful they would. Due to how I won't use most of the new features... I'd still load it with CM9  once it was put on there. The only thing I'm missing from Touchwiz on my Epic is the Macro settings on the camera since it's not in CM9 (or I'm not looking hard enough)

  • Palmer Nyako

    artem should have ripped some apks -_-

  • Sean Mullins

    Want to see the real killer features? Look at the codecs list, its fucking insane. FLAC support by default, and the possibility for 128GB means almost no reason to root.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Good call - Samsung made it a point that they concentrated on supporting a wide variety of formats to make this an all-purpose device that you can throw any media at.

      • CORYK333

        Nothing to do with the article, but thanks for rollin' with the older Disqus format & not forcing us to be beta testers for the horrible "New Disqus" that certain sites are making us use jusy bc they get a kickback. Im sure itll b fine once its FINISHED, but to force it on the users of a community-driven site is in poor taste, especially since the amount of bugs make it unusable ATM. (cough...DroidLife..cough) Sorry, rant over

        • fixxmyhead

          yea i hate the new one

          • sgtguthrie

            I like the new one, except the fact I can't make comments with my phone.  Kind of damning for an android enthusiast site...lol (cough cough Droid-Life cough cough)

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          I had to revert due to a few bugs that weren't acceptable and I've been reporting tons of stuff to the Disqus team. But come on, do you really think there's some sort of "kickback" involved here? Never thought conspiracy theories would reach something like a commenting system.

    • CORYK333

      Nice find righthere, totally missed all that.....a media powerhouse

    • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

      This is one great reason I tend to support Sammy. (And why I'll miss them when / if I get a Nexus next time.)

      But it depends on the processor though - I have the Tab 10.1 with Tegra 2, and it doesn't play all the media my SGS2 can.

      • http://profiles.google.com/fahadayaz Fahad Ayaz

        Are you sure its a hardware rather than a software thing?

        • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

          I believe it's both.

    • sansenoy

      This would have been impressive last year, but there are far too many good media players for android today... The phone is ugly, end of story, glad I went with HTC this time...

      • sansenoy

        also, One X supports FLAC, mkv and probably everything else the GS3 does, apart from dolby audio dammit!!!

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XLOQV53SI3PT755OOWWSBQPYFU Anon

           Enjoy your One X. No way it will beat the SGS3 as the phone to have. HTC had their run and its over. I was the biggest of HTC fanmen, but after a disappointing Evo line last year, the absence of the Nexus and them swithcing to plastic like Samsung they lost it.

          On looks alone the OneX takes it. On everything else....Well lets say it like this. If the One X was the beast you thought it was my 700 bucks would not be waiting in the bank for the first import to fly west on May 29!

          • http://twitter.com/shipman jon shipman

            Yeah, the possibility of 128GB on a phone is INSANE. Makes me a bit jelly.

            I just hope S Beam is compatible with ICS's vanilla beam. It'll be shitty if Sammy messed with standards.

          • LivelyBanter

            lol wut? You realize they're practically the same phone. Heck, when it comes to the states it's going to have the same SoC.

          • http://profiles.google.com/fahadayaz Fahad Ayaz

            @twitter-14695102:disqus  S-Beam will be compatible with Android Beam, don't worry! :) It will fall back to the default behaviour of transferring via NFC rather than the temporary wifi that S-Beam creates.

          • http://www.statsprofessor.org/ StatsProfessor

             There will be better phones than the SGS3 this year. 

            All HTC needs to do is bring out an A15, 2gb ram, etc. in a few months and s3 is crushed.

            To me this phone is already obsolete before it even comes to the U.S.

            I was really excited but now limp.........

          • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

             @openid-130858:disqus lol, what made GSIII awesome is not it's spec alone. It's the features. I guess you never read the whole articles and went straight to the comments section.

    • http://twitter.com/shipman jon shipman

      Except for the Touchwiz bloat to remove...

      • fixxmyhead

        even if u dont like tw (i personally do.only thing i replaced on my s2 was the launcher to apex cuz its just soo damn good) look at all those badass features. i doubt a custom ROM will do any justice. theres no way they could get all those features on a aosp or whatever u like. if i were to get this i wouldn't even put a custom ROM but yea ur right bloatware has got to go

  • cosmin_b78

    I was an HTC man. I have a rooted sensation an previous I had HTC phones. But now I'm seriously considering Samsung galaxy s3. I tried HTC one x and is a lovely phone, but I think Samsung is the leader in android phones now. Samsung galaxy s3 is just over every phone on the market now. Iphone 4s is not even close.

    • http://twitter.com/shipman jon shipman

      As a OneX owner, it's really nice. I think in the store side by side, the average consumer will choose the One X over the SGS3.

      • sgtguthrie

        Not if they hate Sense like me ;-)

        • http://twitter.com/bkoppe bkoppe

          Have you tried Sense 4.0 though? It's quite different and much lighter. Add to that it looks much more polished than Touchwiz and I have to agree with jon shipman

          • sgtguthrie

            They didn't really make it lighter imo, they just removed some animations and took away the notification toggles. Oh, and used a faster processor so it doesn't lag like all other sense devices. As for Touchwiz, I think I may actually like it on the s3! It doesn't look all cartoonish anymore and does add some useful stuff.

            As for "polish", I think stock Android 4.0 looks more polished than sense ;-) Bottom line for me, sense is still sense! That's the problem! I also don't like the nonremovable battery and no sdcard slot....

  • Guest Yo

    I HATE the menu button..

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      You mean the home button? The menu button is on the left and lights up when you touch it.

      • Guest Yo

        I really mean the Menu Button on the left.. you guys know why Google actually tried their best to hide the menu inside the software if you know what I mean. You  at Android Police had some Tutorials about that..

        Google invented the Software Menu Button in ICS, wants every developer to use it, but Samsung instead builds a Hardware Menu Button.. I cant even imagine what appears when I press the hardware button..

        I mean the idea behind the software menu is that its not there all the time. It appears when necessary and disappears when not needed. 

        Hope you get what I mean!

        • http://twitter.com/shipman jon shipman

          Think of it like this: In a year you'll have a useless button on your device as most android apps will be coded for ICS and not use the menu button.

          Hell, the last company I worked for stated that I shouldn't ever write apps that require the menu button because they found most of the users didn't know how to use it (internal company apps). This was with GB and Froyo.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Emil-Johansson/1428147693 Emil Johansson

            It would only become useless if the application has no menu, if it does, the button makes it a lot easier to find and press, instead of having to go all the way to the right upper corner where a lot of (ics) applications choose to put the menu button. 

      • Dwilks

        The menu button on the left diverts too much from the minimalist navigation approach ICS introduced and I can't help feeling it is a backward step. This is the only thing would make think twice before picking one up.

  • geezagame

    I love the white phone from the front, but from the back it's fugly. Wonder what the white phone would look like with the blue battery cover

  • Sven Enterlein

    So Artem, what's your feeling about the camera? I've read somewhere that it's the same as in the SII - is that true or did they upgrade it? Once you have a baby you realize how important a good camera on your phone can be ;)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Will have to defer judgment until we get one to play with.

    • http://profiles.google.com/fahadayaz Fahad Ayaz

      I've heard that though it's still 8mp, they've made improvements to it. I can't recall where though. :s

      • Sven Enterlein

        8MP is perfectly fine for me. It's more about the low-light sensitivity etc. Also the zero shutter lag is great

  • ga_st

    you forgot to mention that the SIII sports again the Wolfson DAC in the audio department,same audio chip we already deeply appreciated on the SGS1. best audio experience you can have on mobile. it puts ipods to shame. 
    you can like it or not,aestethically..but under the hood this SIII it's a beast,totally. amen.

  • sansenoy

    I have the euro One X and the screen-on delay is PRESENT and very noticeable, are you saying the US version has a better display??? Anandtech testing reveals some differences in favor of the fact... It's only a fraction of a second, sometimes longer, but it annoys the hell out of me, especially when I want to end a phone call...

    • sansenoy

      Ok, i forgot to mention I was comparing it to the Sensation, whose LCD lit up really fast, it's far from the disaster such as 2-3 seconds of lag...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I think you're talking about a different delay - one that happens due to a proximity sensor when you separate the phone from your cheek. I'm talking about the one when you press the power button to wake up the display.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/424VTGKW3D2SXWCXF3RZ6ZI26Q Reality Check

    Any date for a full review of the Galaxy S 3 on this site? ;) + i wonder if it can do Zoom while recording in 1080p? ? ? That would make it a must buy for me, but i am still not sure on it's looks tho. I need to see it in the (hmm) flesh first i suppose :D

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Not yet, we'll know more when we can secure a review unit.

  • http://twitter.com/Dave_BG Dave Bg

    What size are the internal memory for apps and the cache partition?

    • hot_spare

      Same as GNex, full capacity.

    • hot_spare

      Same as GNex, full capacity.

  • sadfsdf sadfsdfsdf

    can i request a picture of the white phone but using the blue phone's battery cover as the white phone's battery cover pretty please?
    many people are wondering how that will look like because many are in agreement the white's battery cover doesn't look good.

  • RaphiBF

    Come on, most of these features are already available through third party apps. Aditionally I don't see my white One X getting dirty even after weeks of usage. Contrary, as you can see in all hands on videos - the glossy back of the GSIII is indeed full of fingerprints after 10 minutes, where the One X looks like it came right of the box. The Galaxy S III is a really great phone and sits right beside the One X as one of the two best smartphones out there, but "the most exciting handset" or "best"...no. Some things are different to the One X and vice versa (HTC has it's own special set of features, too). That's it. Don't let yourself fool by Samsungs Apple Like S-*-marketing. It's a smartphone and it does things...

  • Kageurufu

    now we need a rom dump, most of those features could fairly easily be transferred into another rom :p

  • JonJJon

    Great early review and covering of the features, more than I thought it had for sure. I look forward to you testing real world applications and battery consumption. @artem I know you say that the screen is great and it being pentile makes no difference (I honestly couldn't care if its pentile or not, it looms gorgeous) but if you had a choice of screen to put in it would you swap it for an LCD like in the One X (would that speed up screen on time?) Or would you pick AMOLED everytime? I've never had an AMOLED smartphone and was wondering if I'd ever want to switch back if I went AMOLED (I like the screen on the SGS2 so would think this would be even better)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Well, I'm really not sure just yet. I'm getting an EVO LTE (basically a One X) later this month, and I've upgraded from a crappy HTC EVO's screen to the Epic Touch, so I definitely prefer the AMOLED at the moment. However, both of those screens are now obsolete, and having seen the One series made me drool. I think they have the best screen overall, but the SGS III is superb as well.

      • JonJJon

        Thanks for the insight, I look forward to the more in-depth review of the SGS3 and a possible comparison to the EVO LTE.

  • http://twitter.com/notbens Benjamin Schifman

    Has anybody seen a demo or review of the "Car Mode" anywhere? I've heard people compare it to the similar feature on the One X but have not seen any actual information about it.

  • Geoff Johnson

    I want to see photos of the back for the blue version

  • Palmer Nyako

    rip apks
    >:D

  • Freak4Dell

    You know, the blue one actually looks a lot better here than it did in the press photos.

  • sgtguthrie

    Can't wait to get my hands on it!!!  I sure hope VZW doesn't butcher it :-/

    Unless they want to change the physical home button though of course...lol!

  • Jack Spam

    All I would do is root and go....

  • http://twitter.com/JirafaBo JirafaBo

    BUT. IT. IS. SO. UGLY.

    Looks like a MyTouch 3g reincarnated.

    • Juan

      It is not.

  • http://twitter.com/JirafaBo JirafaBo

    How's the GPS?  The one fault of all Samsung phones is the crappy GPS....

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Definitely too early to tell. We were indoors while playing with the demo units.

  • Ercliou

    Samsung fan boy much? Artem, get your facts right about one s chipping problem

  • Barrybilt

    I have no idea why Samsung doesn't push marketing of things like the ability  of the phone to plug in a flashddrive to it...and transfer files (OTG), or they didn't push the dual display technology from your TV to your GS2/3...along with the mirroring thing.  and by the way, wifi direct is amazing on the gs2. instantaneous large files transfer. hopefully the improved the media player over the s2.
    I"m glad the screen looks nicer than the Gnexus one. i was worried.

  • Maansleroux

    Was lucky enough to get hands on this week with a white and blue one. Based on the photos at launch time I thought the design was a bit.. Meh. But when I saw and held it myself I can say it really is a beautiful device. The screen is amazing and the UI truly is blazing fast but shows its age, so might still install Nova launcher. Just hope the 64gb version is not just a paper launch.