Sunday, May 6, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S3 review: Internet and camera

While the focus of the Samsung Galaxy S3 is all about the new things it can do, spare a thought for the humble internet browser – it's goshdarn good on this large screen as well.

Over Wi-Fi, the loading speeds were noticeably better than a Galaxy S2 from a standing start – around two or three seconds on most cases.

The words on the screen look pin sharp and really ping off the screen, as do pictures and Flash video where necessary.


As this is Android 4.0.4 under the hood, you've got all the Ice Cream Sandwich bells and whistles, meaning the ability to turn desktop mode on and off to see different versions of the web – although this didn't always work every time.

Using Pop Up Play to watch a video while you're browsing the web is a really fun feature – however, in today's attention-deficit-based times, we're not sure that being able to mess about on one's smartphones twice as hard is the best thing in the world…


The Samsung Galaxy S3 camera is 'only' 8MP, which is bound to bring forth ire from users that always want a big step change in a sequel.

It's not necessary to have a 12MP sensor on here though, as the S3 is more than capable at taking snaps and brings a much more intuitive experience compared to the Galaxy S2

Samsung also promises excellent low-light snaps from the S3 as well, but 'hasn't finalised' the aperture ratio at the time of writing.

From a blindingly bright flash to a backside illuminated sensor, our quick snaps came out crisply and clearly – and when we say quick, we mean it.

To put it into real numbers: you can take three photos manually per second, or 20 in a row (at six per second) in burst mode.


Burst mode also brings with it 'Best Shot', which isn't a new experience – but the phone was adept at noticing when no smile or closed eyes were present in a picture and easily chose the best out of 20 photos – this is the sort of element we think users will really get on board with.


The facial recognition mode allows you to zoom in on any mug without a hitch – a double tap is all it takes to make sure that person is the focus of the photo, although the digital noise is hiked up quite a bit.

You also get a 1.2MP camera on the front of the phone for some decent personal snaps – plus you can also get 720p video recording out of it as well if you're into those 'I love Britney so much under a sheet' movies.

The whole range of functionality is on board: High Dynamic Range (HDR), panorama, Smile Shot, Beauty Mode and many more all offer something different in varying degrees.


But it's the post-snap area that also impresses: it can work out where the faces are and tag them based on your contacts' profile pictures, as we mentioned before. Should you want to start a slideshow on a larger screen is also a slightly tweaked experience, as the S3 will show the whole photo before bouncing each face in the photo.

Why? We don't know. Samsung seems to think it fits in with the whole 'human interaction' element though.

You can also set up specific groups in your phonebook, and when the S3 recognises each person will automatically sort them into the correct pile – meaning if you're one of those that likes taking pictures of your kids or cats you can easily have them in one place.

Providing your cat has a phone number in your mobile, that is…


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