Product Type: Samsung Smartphone
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Sleek new phone, on balance better than my iPhone! But only just!
Samsung Galaxy S3 16GB
Member Name: julwhite
Samsung Galaxy S3 16GB
Advantages: Sleek, modern and powerful
Disadvantages: I've found a few bugs which have been frustrating
I've previously owned an iPhone and my initial reason for looking at this phone was that it is a larger size. Even with the bigger iPhone 5 which has just been released, I felt a larger screen was useful for reading web-sites when away from my laptop and for using other apps. The display is really as large as you can comfortably expect a phone to be, with a 4.8 inch screen.
I'm not particularly engaged with the precise technical details of the phone, they're a little over my head, so in this review I'll use my old iPhone 4 as a comparison for some of the functions. Apologies in advance however for this, there are of course other options available, but these are the only two phones which I can comfortably comment on.
As mentioned, the larger screen was an important factor in moving, but another was that I had become a little frustrated by the closed nature of the iPhone operating system, which didn't give me the control over the phone I preferred.
In terms of apps, the Android market place, accessed via the Google Play app on the phone, is enormous and I understand contains more apps than the Apple system. This has the advantage of offering more choices, but the disadvantage that some of the quality (and safety) control isn't as strong.
Most of the apps that I've relied on in the past, such as Evernote, BBC iPlayer, and games, etc, are also available on the Android Marketplace. This has meant that the transition in terms of apps has been relatively painless, although a few favourites aren't available, some new ones are. One app that is struggling at the moment is the BBC iPlayer app, but I was pleased that this wouldn't be a problem as the BBC are releasing a new version which isn't reliant on Flash, which is being withdrawn.
I was very impressed with the quality of the Samsung S3's camera. It has a quick shutter speed which means taking photographs is easy, and you can also take photographs whilst videoing. The quality on the highest resolution exceeds my requirements, and I've been impressed with the features which include the facility to take multiple photos and pick the best one. I don't know how good the iPhone 5 camera will be, but this certainly exceeds the iPhone 4 for me. I note that the camera has eight megapixels from the advertising information which I had.
I have been impressed with how smoothly the phone connects to wi-fi signals, which can be useful when needing to get a quick connection. The process is seamless, and the phone notifies me when a connection has been made. I haven't had any trouble with this, and I've been pleased at smooth the whole process of connecting to both wi-fi and 3G is.
WEIGHT AND SIZE
I noted from the advertising material that the phone weighs around 130 grammes, which is perfectly light for me to carry about. The size is certainly bigger than the iPhone, and it may be too big for some, as although the design is quite smooth and sleek, it is still large. Personally I think that the size is ideal, it's great for reading web-pages, watching video and looking at my iPhone 4 now, I'm not sure I could go back to that size, or even the iPhone 5, which still has the same width.
MUSIC AND VIDEO
I don't listen to music much, but I've experimented with the music and video playback, and have been impressed with the quality of the images and the sound. The screen quality seems to be just as good as the iPhone, or certainly for the purposes which I need. The phone comes with headphones, which work just fine, and also block out exterior sound well as they have the in-ear plastic attachments, of which I don't know the more technical name. There is also a radio, which seems to work fine when I tested it, and the headphones are used as the antenna.
As I send a lot of text messages and e-mails, it's important that the screen is easy to type on for me. I'm impressed with the Samsung, the larger screen makes it just that bit easier to type quicker, and the phone is responsive and quick to my needs when sending e-mails or texts. Compared to the smaller iPhone, this is an area in which I prefer the Samsung.
The iPhone has been a very robust phone for me, I've dropped it on concrete with no ill effects, just the smallest little chip out of the side. I've never had a case for it, but it has survived many minor drops, and it does feel like a really robust phone. The Samsung doesn't feel quite as robust, although I feel that if I drop it, even if the back smashes off, then this is relatively cheaply repairable. On this point however, I do find the iPhone to be a more robust and strong piece of kit, but I may change this comment in the future depending on how robust my new Samsung S3 turns out to be!
The biggest improvement I found over the iPhone for me was that the phone lets me do a lot more by not being tied down to the Apple system. This is applicable to me in two ways, firstly in terms of the software, and secondly, the hardware itself. Personally I find it preferable to have control over all the settings of the phone, how large icons on the screen are, what font is used, through to more technical changes I might want to make.
Also, in terms of the phone itself, I prefer being able to take the battery out if I need to change it, and also being able to add an SD card if I want to up the memory capability, as I was always running out on the iPhone. The lack of flexibility to add extra to the iPhone was a problem for me, as although I could plug a battery into the base of the iPhone, it's much easier just to switch the battery on the Samsung.
I've noticed that Google Chrome crashes a lot more than it did for me on the iPhone, but after running some updates, the problem seems to have diminished. I have had problems with the phone losing data in apps in a way that the iPhone never did. As another example, the stopwatch reset itself when I turned to a different app, in a way that it doesn't usually do, and in a way that the iPhone never did.
So in terms of the operating system's robustness, I do prefer the Apple operating system. However some of the bugs that I'm finding may well be either partly user-error, or might well be fixed in future software or firmware updates.
My contract is on Vodafone, and this was an upgrade which I didn't have to pay for, but I've noted that to buy the phone the cost is around 450 pounds. This is a lot of money, so anyone wanting to spend that much might want to consider if a cheaper phone does what they want, such as the slightly older Samsung S2, which is around 300 pounds.
My phone is white, but you can choose between this or pebble blue, either of which I think look perfectly sleek and modern. In the box that comes with the phone, you get the plug which can also be used as the USB charge and also ear phones and the plastic bits that come with them.
I haven't gone into other areas of the phone as this review is already getting a little over-long, but the Samsung does have some other nice features. These include a smart camera which judges whether you're looking at the screen, a direct call facility when you're mid-text and move the phone to your ear and it just rings them, and also easy access to other phones via S-Beam. I've found lots of other little neat features, and hope to find some more!
Overall I'm not sure that the Samsung S3 is better than the iPhone because different users have so many different requirements. I miss the user-friendliness of the iPhone, and can get irritated at the minor problems I'm having with the Samsung. However these are minor, and I can get round them. For my needs however, a larger screen, more flexible user-experience, I think that this phone is more suitable for me than the iPhone. It is however expensive, but it looks great and overall I'd happily recommend it.
Summary: Overall a really advanced phone and great to have the bigger screen
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