Sunday, May 6, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S3 review: Apps, battery and verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S3 has a similar number of pre-installed apps – well, mostly Hubs, but other like S Suggests and S Memo are pretty clear on what they are.

We're wondering if the Hubs available on the S3 have been pared back from the Galaxy S2 – we saw no Reader Hub for magazines and newspapers, and the Social Hub to unify your social networking accounts and email wasn't anywhere to be seen either.

But the likes of the Video Hub are now available to take its place – and this will be a real portal to movies on the go to take on HTC Watch and the (also installed) Play Movies from Google.


We've not been given information on how much said movies will cost from Samsung, but we've been told the collaborations with studios is pretty comprehensive from the outset.

The Music Hub is also present and correct, with music available to buy (sadly not stream) but still not any cheaper than can be found on the Amazon MP3 store.

Gamer Hub is a more interesting proposition, as Samsung has managed to get some top titles on board that really make use of the quad core graphical power and HD screen.

Samsung is touting up to 65% improvement over previous GPU capability on the Galaxy S2, so it will be interesting to see what that actually looks like in real terms – and when it comes to pounding the battery.

S Beam is also present – which is a turbocharged version of Android Beam from Google, allowing you to send content between phones over NFC.


But with S Beam, Samsung uses the NFC capability to connect the phones, but then uses Wi-Fi direct to transfer movies, photos, music or office files.

So instead of being only able to send links or map directions to a buddy, now you only have to hold the phones together, wait for the beep, tap the screen and you can send content at 300Mbps… and it really comes across that quickly too.

You can share a whole photo library almost instantly in this way – but sadly it's only limited to Galaxy S3 units, despite being theoretically possible with an HTC One X or similar.


Samsung has managed to keep the thickness of the Galaxy S3 pretty comparable to the Galaxy S2 (OK, 0.1mm thicker) but upgraded the battery from 1650mAh to 2100mAh, promising a much larger capacity and therefore longer life.

 However, with all those extra pixels (1280 x 720) to drive and more cores – we're not sure whether this will actually translate to better battery life or not. Samsung has promised that the power management will be more intelligent than ever before, but we're yet to play a good half hour of HD gaming and then a monster movie marathon on the S3.

Early verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S3 has got all the hallmarks of the best Android phone yet – exactly what Samsung wanted to achieve.

The specs are all industry leading: 4.8-inch Super AMOLED+ HD screen, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, 64GB internal memory, eye tracking and so much more. The design may be lightweight but is certainly iconic, and the feel in the palm and pocket is impressive.

Samsung's decision to focus on services and interaction as much as design will be the area that makes or breaks the Galaxy S3 – if they all work as intended, the rest of the competition will really have to work to catch up.

However, if the likes of Smart Stay or S Voice don't live up to expectations, this is still a cracking phone – it's the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on steroids and covered with Samsung's own overlay, which will divide opinion for Android lovers.

But we're really excited about this phone – following up the Galaxy S2 was always going to be a difficult task, but with the S3 we've definitely got a phone that could be worthy of that crown.


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