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Australia’s first Samsung Galaxy S3 review

By Leigh D. Stark | 5:28 pm 01/06/2012

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Samsung’s update to last year’s excellent Galaxy S2 is one of the most talked about and hyped phone for 2012. With ten million preorders internationally, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is already a winner for the Korean company. But how does the phone perform, and is it enough to take the crown from Apple as the best smartphone, right before the next iPhone arrives?

Features

In Samsung’s next generation of Galaxy handsets, the company is doing more than just prove it can ramp up the specs, pushing the software to a new place while improving much of the hardware.

First let’s look at the screen, with the 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus from the S2 shifting to a bigger 4.8 inch Super AMOLED on the S3, sporting an increased 1280×720 HD resolution (up from 800×480). This increased size and resolution also makes the pixels per inch value higher, coming out to 306ppi, under that of the iPhone 4’s Retina panel (330ppi), but certainly high enough for the human eye to see perfectly clear text and images.

The choice of processor has improved dramatically, with a Samsung dual-core processor being effectively doubled to a quad-core Samsung chip in the S3. Dedicated graphics is on offer as is the same 1GB RAM size from before.

Android has also changed, now at the current version of the operating system, 4.0, also known as “Ice Cream Sandwich”, bringing with it faster camera support, a more speedy interface, face unlocking, and a whole bunch of other improvements.

Samsung’s overlay to Android still comes with the handset, with a cleaner version of the TouchWiz interface installed on this handset.

Most of the specs are close to the Galaxy S2 from here, however.

Storage in the S3 sits at practically the same as the previous generation, with a minimum of 16GB built right into the handset, though there is a 32GB model coming shortly. A microSD slot is also this handset, affording you the optionto upgrade with up to a 64GB microSD card.

Like the Galaxy S2, you’ll find an 8 megapixel rear camera with autofocus and LED flash, as well as a front 1.9 megapixel camera capable of capturing 720p HD video recordings, as well as being useful for video conferencing.

Connectivity options are also similar, with WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, and a HSDPA 21Mbps downlink for mobile Internet. A few things are different here, with GPS getting support from the Russian GLONASS satellite system, Bluetooth being pushed up to the newer power efficient Bluetooth 4.0 version, and the modern wireless Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology being included in the battery.

While some Galaxy S3 devices are being reported as having a dual SIM, we only had a microSIM and a microSD slot on ours.

Like most touchscreen devices, you can expect an accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, and proximity sensor, as well as a couple of newbies, including an RGB sensor and a barometer.

Gone from the Galaxy S2 though is the standard SIM card slot, replaced with the ever-popular microSIM standard we’re seeing on most devices released lately.

Samsung hasn’t changed the chassis much, though, again relying on plastic as the main build material, completely with plastic rear cover that can be removed to change microSD cards, microSIMs, and of course the battery. The front of the handset is protected by Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 2.

Few ports or buttons exist on the S3, with merely a microphone and microUSB port at the bottom of the handset, a 3.5mm headset port and second noise cancelling microphone at the top, volume rocker button on the left, and lone power button on the right. A single home button sits on the front, flanked by a soft button on each side that are only visible when the phone is powered and they light up.

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Price (RRP)

$899 outright; Available on plans from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Virgin, etc;

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

The fastest phone there is; Excellent camera; One of the easiest Androids to use;

Product Cons

Battery life is still pretty average; No 4G LTE option; Aspects of the system are overly complicated; Body feels very cheap and plasticky;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Ease of Use

Design

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