Product Type: Samsung Smartphone
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I'm not great with technology, but this has blown me away....
Samsung GALAXY S III
Member Name: Holland1
Samsung GALAXY S III
Advantages: User friendly, great range of features, internet, apps, good camera, large screen
Disadvantages: Touch screen attracts fingerprints, expensive at full price, battery life not great
I had a choice over the colour of my phone, and I opted for the graphite blue rather than white. My decision was based entirely on the thinking that the white one would get dirty more quickly, and the blue seemed very sleek and smooth.
The size of the phone is quite surprising, because in a time where everything seems to be getting smaller, this phone is a bit bigger than its predecessors. The phone is about 5 inches long, and about 2.5 inches wide. The depth is less than half a centimetre, so it is long and wide but also thin at the same time. I often wonder when new phones are released, how different they will be to the previous version, but comparing this with my husband's old phone (the Samsung Galaxy SII), this one is thinner but longer, and although it's still quite large, it seems less chunky than the previous version. That said, I personally don't feel confident carrying this phone in my pocket, as I'm too worried it might drop out and break. I usually carry phones in my bag anyway, so this isn't an issue for me, but if you're the kind of person who likes to have your mobile on your person 24/7, this might be something to consider. It's not too heavy to carry round, weighing in at around 130g.
The screen is a really good size, at 4.8 inches, and to be honest is more like a small computer than a phone. It makes it very easy to read on my phone, so I use it for downloading books and reading during my commute to work. It's also great for surfing the internet, and my review reading and rating knows no limits since having this phone!
==Ease of Use==
The first thing I would say about this phone, is that I was really taken aback by how easy it was to use. I've never had a touch screen phone before, but I settled into using this one almost immediately. Once I had worked out that life is a lot easier if you use the tip of your finger instead of your nail, I was tapping left right and centre enjoying my new phone.
Usually, when I get a new phone, I spend an evening on the sofa with the instruction manual, getting to know all its features. When I opened the box, however, I was disappointed to find that there wasn't an instruction manual included with this phone, as it is built into the phone itself. At first, I was a bit put out by this, but after my husband had given me a five minute whistle-stop tour of the phone, I actually found I've only needed to refer to the instruction manual a couple of times. The phone is that easy to use, it kind of explains itself.
The phone can be used vertically or horizontally, depending on what you're doing. So if I'm texting for example, I'll keep it vertical, but if I'm reading a review which is quite lengthy, I can simply flick the phone to make the text appear horizontally. This makes it so much easier to read, and if you tap the screen twice, it will automatically fill the screen instead of you having to zoom in and out with your fingertips.
As with most mobile phones, I had to put the SIM card and battery in first, and then fully charge it before I could use it. There is a little bit of paper in the box which tells you this, and gives good instructions if it's something you've never done before. The only issue I had with it was that I struggled to get the back of the phone off a little, as despite having decent length nails, the back felt flimsy like it was going to snap. I persisted, and it didn't snap, but when I mentioned it to my husband he said the back is a little flimsier than the previous version of this phone, which he upgraded from. It seems quite sturdy from the outside, but I would apply caution when taking the cover off, just in case.
Before I started familiarising myself with all the new-fangled features of this phone, I wanted to do the basics such as setting up my contact list. This gave me chance to get used to the touch screen nature of my phone. In fairness, I didn't need any guidance to help me do this, as it's so straightforward anyone could do it. I was pleased to see the contact list allows you to add all the relevant details for each contact, so I now have phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, and email addresses for all my contacts stored in my phone. I find this useful for those times you're in the post office about to send a last minute birthday card, and discover you've forgotten to write the address down. It acts like a portable address book, and also reminds you of people's birthdays and other important dates once you've entered them.
I wanted to choose a ringtone which was different to my husband's, to avoid us both jumping up whenever one of our phones rang, and found there were plenty of options on ringtones. The final thing I wanted to do before getting started, was to set up my email account, which is Gmail. My husband actually did this for me, not because it's difficult or I'm incapable, but as he works in IT he has a habit of taking over anything remotely technical (for which I'm grateful!). I was amazed when I started entering my contacts into the phone, it had picked up email addresses from my Gmail account, as the phone is an Android phone and so anything Android is synched to the phone. Amazing!
==A Communication Tool - Phone calls, Emails and Text Messages==
Usually, I would be of the opinion that the main purpose of a mobile phone is as a means of communication. And whilst I still believe that is the case, I have to admit I probably use this phone primarily for things other than communication. This is a first for me.
However, a mobile phone review would not serve its purpose if I neglected to mention the performance of the phone when it comes to phone calls and text messages.
Making and receiving phone calls is a very easy process, and I haven't yet found any issues with hearing other people or making myself heard. There is a volume button at the side of the handset, so if you are struggling to hear, you can just press it whilst on the phone, until it reaches a comfortable level. I don't really use my mobile for long phone calls, more for the odd few minutes here and there, so I can't really comment on battery life. For my purposes, it is perfectly adequate, but as I use the phone a lot during the day for other things, if I was having long conversations on the phone as well, I think the battery may struggle to keep up.
The handset is quite wide, which I think would become a little uncomfortable to hold if you were on a call for prolonged periods. But, as I've said, I don't use my phone for this purpose so it doesn't pose an issue for me.
There's not really much I can say about text messages, as most phones fulfil this function. However, the size of screen makes reading messages much easier, and it also provides the history of the conversation so you can scroll through and read the whole conversation back should you wish. Obviously, you can also send and receive picture messages on this phone.
I have my phone linked to my Gmail account, which is great as I receive emails throughout the day rather than catching up at the end of the day. The emails aren't intrusive though, so they just appear in the same way a text message will appear, as a symbol on the top of the phone for you to check when you want to, rather than interrupting whatever you're doing. I did wonder whether I would get interrupted by emails, for example when reading a book, but this isn't the case.
==Getting down with the kids, I now have "Apps"!==
I'll be honest, although I've heard of these "apps" everyone is always talking about, I had very little interest or desire to find out more about them. However, I am now converted. At first, my husband and I had a little stand-off in the kitchen about this, as he suggested downloading some apps but I didn't see the point. "Why do I need a Facebook app, when I can just log into Facebook?" was my reasoning. But I humoured him, and since then I've been downloading apps, having been surprised (and secretly pleased), that everything I attempt to do has an app! Damn, I hate it when he's right.
In case anyone doesn't know (and that's nothing to be ashamed of), apps are applications which are all designed to make modern life easier. So, although I could just log into Facebook, the Facebook app means I don't have to navigate to the website, type in my password, and find my way round the homepage on my phone screen. Instead, it's laid out to be accessible and easy to use for smartphone users.
Other apps I have since started using are the LoveFilm app so I can add films on the go, the HSBC app so I can check my balance and recent transactions without having to log in fully, WhatsApp which is an instant message service meaning you can communicate with your friends without having to use the text message allowance you get with your contract, and I also have a Swagbucks app which allows me to earn Swagbucks points when searching the internet on my phone (anyone who is a member of Swagbucks will know what I mean by this).
The phone has an icon for Google PlayStore which is where you buy all your apps, music and books. So far, the only apps I have downloaded have been free, but I have bought books from the Play Store which I then read on my phone. This has curbed my urge to buy a Kindle...for now.
I could talk all day about the features this phone has, but you'll be pleased to hear I'll try and keep this bit short! Other features include GPS sat nav (which I haven't needed yet but I would guess you'd need an in-car charger otherwise the battery would go flat quite quickly), a diary which can be synched to your tablet if you have an Android tablet, alarm clock, a very good quality (8 megapixels) camera which also has the ability to take self-portrait shots by changing the view so you can see how the picture will turn out. This is great for those times you want a photo of you with your partner and there's no-one around to take the photo, as it means you'll get a decent photo rather than cutting someone's head off! You can also use it as a mirror if you're desperate to know if mascara is running down your face and you don't have a mirror to hand.
The phone has retina recognition (which you need to activate through the settings), which detects your eyes are still on the screen so the screensaver doesn't come on when you're reading but haven't used the phone for a while. It's only a small detail, but something I find so useful. It also has voice activation but I've not attempted this yet. I'm sure there are lots of features I haven't yet discovered, but on what I have experienced so far, I am already mightily impressed by this model.
==Will I hear a bad word said about my new gadget?==
No gadget is perfect, and although this comes close, it does have a couple of irritating features. The negatives are not bad enough to warrant me dropping a star off the rating, as they don't impact on my enjoyment of the phone, but for anyone considering getting this phone, I should probably make you aware of a few things.
Firstly, the battery life isn't brilliant if you plan to use this phone for all its features. As mentioned earlier, I tend to use it mainly for internet, apps, and reading, and I usually have to charge it every night, or every other night at best, before going to bed. If I was more sociable and spoke to people a lot, the battery would take even more of a hammering, but as it is, it's not a huge inconvenience to charge it every night. I will hopefully be getting an Android tablet soon, which will take some of the burden off my phone, as I can synch everything and use the tablet at home instead of draining the phone's battery. It is supposed to be "mobile" after all, and isn't really designed to be used all evening at home because you're too lazy to get your laptop out.....
Secondly, the screen does attract fingerprints, as you'd expect from a touchscreen phone. I keep meaning to look into it to see if they make cleaners especially for touchscreen phones, but haven't got round to it yet. The only time it annoys me is when I'm reading a book or a review, as it covers the whole of the screen and sometimes I'll try to remove a fingerprint mark and end up turning the page by accident! I'm sure this is an issue with other brands of touchscreen phone though, so it's just something you have to accept with this type of phone.
Other small niggles are the charger, which has a very short lead, the fact it's expensive at full price, and the fact the backlight is very bright so I'd recommend sleeping with it facing down, otherwise you'll get woken by a very bright flashing light if you get an email in the middle of the night. I mentioned this to my husband and he tells me you can change the settings so your phone doesn't flash overnight, so this phone has tried to combat the most obvious problems.
==Would I recommend?==
Absolutely, yes. Although there are a few (very minor) niggles, I still give this phone five stars as it really has improved my life. That may sound like I'm being dramatic, but the fact I can download books onto this phone has led to me enjoying reading more, which was something I'd got out of the habit of doing as I never remember to take a book with me to work. I can access my emails, catch up on reviewing, and check all the other websites I'd usually need to be near a computer to check, on an app on my phone. I'm not sure I would ever pay full price for a phone, as if you shop round enough you can usually get a good deal as part of your contract, but if you're trying to decide between different brands of smartphone, I can highly recommend this as being user friendly and designed to make life easier.
Apologies this review is so long, thanks for reading!
(This review is also posted on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
Summary: As you can probably guess, I recommend this phone!
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