Product Type: Samsung Smartphone
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The Perfect Phone
Samsung Galaxy S3 16GB
Member Name: rosebud2001
Samsung Galaxy S3 16GB
Date: 13/09/12, updated on 27/03/13 (111 review reads)
Advantages: Large screen, lightweight and thin, easy to use, brilliant range of functions
Disadvantages: None - this is a five star product
The S3 is, like its two predecessors, a smartphone which means you can use it to surf the internet, take pictures and shoot video, listen to music, watch videos, play games and even make phone calls and send text messages.
Where the S3 differs most obviously however is in size. This is a much bigger phone in terms of length and has a screen which is a massive 4.8 inches while being less than a centimetre thick. The phone also has a quad core 1.4 Ghz processor and runs on the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android. Other basic information you need to know if considering this phone is it weighs just 133g, measures 70.6 x 136.6 x 8.6mm and has an 8MP camera capable of recording full HD (1080p) footage. It is wifi enabled and Bluetooth ready and also has GPS installed.
~~In the Box~~
The box for the S3 is small but perfectly formed - you get your phone, a charger, USB lead and headphones.
You can get the S3 in either white or pebble blue, which is a shiny metallic blue with a hint of silver. I opted for pebble blue when I got the phone. The charger plug uses the USB lead which I have mixed feelings about because I like to keep the USB lead beside my computer and it's not something I generally associate with charging. It seems Samsung have taken a leaf out of Apple's book with this set up (hopefully Apple won't sue!).
The headphones are white and I must admit I don't like them. They are of the in-ear variety with soft cups to protect your ears and have a volume control button attached which can also be used to pause and restart songs. The sound quality is a bit tinny and you really need to push the control buttons on them firmly to get any response.
When I got my upgrade from Vodafone they threw in a phone charger and a phone case (complete with screen protector) free of charge.
Although this is a smartphone the main function is to make and take calls or send text messages.
Like my Galaxy S, the S3 uses a swipe action across the screen to unlock the screen and to answer a call. When the phone rings there is a green button on the left and you swipe this to answer. If you want to reject the call then swipe the red button on the right.
If you want to make a call the "Phone" button is located on the bottom left of the homescreen , beside the contact list and Messaging function. You can either use the keypad to dial a number r pick one from the Logs, Favourites or Contact buttons on the top of the screen.
I really like how easy it is to use this phone to call and sound clarity is generally good although that is something that is always going to be dependent upon how good a signal you have on your phone. When the signal is bad I do sometimes get echo on the line (when I can hear what I have just said echoing back to me) or dropped calls but by and large sound quality is good. To end a call you simply press the red button on the screen.
Texting is equally easy and like the Galaxy S uses the conversational style of linking texts which I really like. This means texts you send and receive from one person are viewable on one page and makes it easy to view conversations you have with different people. The screen uses a qwerty keyboard for texting and has auto correct as well as predictive text. By and large I do like both systems but it's always worth checking exactly what comes up on your screen as auto correct has proven to be an auto error machine on occasion for me. The screen is very responsive too.
You can choose from a wide range of ringtones for your phone. I always use mp3 music clips as my tones and these are easy enough to add to your phone and set up as tones. My only very minor gripe about the pre-installed ringtones is the fact the S3 doesn't have the Fairy Dust tone I used for texts on my old Galaxy S, opting for some altogether more obtrusive tones instead. I got around this by using an mp3 tone instead.
One of the things I didn't like about my Galaxy S phone was how tricky it could be to switch the 3G internet on and off, meaning I resorted to downloading an app to make this easier. Samsung seem to have taken this on board and instead of having to download an external app or dig around the Settings on the phone you can now access the internet by tapping at the top of the home screen which will give you the option to either connect to the web via wifi or mobile internet with one touch. Switching it off is equally easy.
You can also use your phone as a wifi hotspot using the tethering function. This is useful if you want to use your mobile internet on a tablet or laptop and is easy to do by downloading an external app such as FoxFi.
The quad core processor on the S3 makes everything so much quicker, meaning restarting your phone is quick and painless. Similarly browsing the web is a quick process and because the screen is so large on this phone it's almost like having a mini tablet for surfing.
I do find it easier to access several sites using apps than going in on the regular internet page and using either Google or the bookmarks to find a page. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook work much better through their respective Android apps. Downloading apps on this device is easy although I would advise you use a wifi connection when downloading so as to not eat into any data allowances you have on your mobile web.
Apps are available from the Google Play store (formerly known as the Android Marketplace) and to download them you need a Google account to access content. Most of the apps you will need for popular sites are free although there are others available to buy.
I've been impressed with the camera on the phone. It's actually got better spec in some regards than my regular camera (which is admittedly quite old now) and it's incredibly easy to use. There is an app which you touch to take you to the camera and from then on it's almost self explanatory how to get a picture taken.
You can switch to video by touching the camera button at the top right of the screen. Similarly if you want to take a self-portrait the camera can be "turned" using the button on the top left of the screen. You can easily turn the flash on and off and select the shooting mode from a selection of choices along with effects such as sepia, negative and black and white on the camera screen. There is a zoom function which utilises the volume control buttons on the side of the phone. To take a picture you simply press the large button with a picture of a camera and your picture is available to view almost immediately via a small preview on the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Similarly to shoot video the large button shows a red dot which you press to stop and start filming.
Picture quality is very good - although the zoom function does tend to knock focus out a little. HD video is staggeringly good too - with razor sharp images and a microphone which is capable of picking up lots of detail in the sound.
~~Music and Video Player~~
When I reviewed the Galaxy S phone I mentioned how awful the Samsung Kies software is which you use to upload music or video files to your phone. You can also use Kies to back up contact lists, photos and anything else you may have saved to your phone. Kies has improved over time thankfully but you can bypass it altogether using the S3 if you like by just connecting your phone to the internet and then selecting your phone as an external hard drive. Once you have done this you can add media content without having to open Kies and do one of their regular software upgrades.
The music player is easy to access via an app and easy to use - you can scroll through songs easily and skip or fast forward them quickly too. My only real gripe with the music player is when I transferred the music that was on my old Galaxy S to the S3 the artwork didn't transfer over too, but that's pretty minor.
Watching video content is equally easy and because the screen size is so big this is a great device for watching films on when travelling. Pictures are sharp and clear on the screen and sound quality is just as good as on the music player.
I loved my Samsung Galaxy S but I have been even more impressed with what Samsung have come up with in the intervening two years.
The S3 looks amazing and while I must admit I was a bit taken aback by the size of it at first I couldn't imagine using a phone with a smaller screen now. When I compare my phone to my iPod Touch the screen on the latter looks tiny.
The internal memory on my phone is 16GB but you can buy the S3 with 32GB or 64GB hard drives. It's worth considering that the phone is capable of handling a 64GB external micro SD card in addition to the internal memory so you can expand your memory in a way that isn't possible with the iPhone.
Sound quality is excellent, touch response is fantastic and the Super AMOLED HD screen is quite simply the best screen I have seen on any phone.
Battery life on the phone is good too - because it's so easy to switch 3G or wifi on and off you can preserve battery life to such an extent than a full charge will last a good 4 days before you need to charge again if using purely for phoning and texting. There's no denying 3G does drain the battery quicker than any other function however and if you use this regularly then you will need to charge the battery every day.
Obviously the S3 isn't going to be for everyone - if you just want a phone to text and make calls then this isn't going to be for you. The phone costs £425 to buy and you need to be using other functions on it to make it worth the money.
The price tag is high but this phone is worth it - there isn't a single function it offers which is bad with Samsung quite literally having perfected every smart aspect of it, without forgetting to make it a functional phone at the same time.
This is easily the best phone I have ever owned - and unsurprisingly it's the best smartphone on the market right now - despite what Apple fans will try to tell you.
Summary: The best mobile phone I have ever owned