As promised, we give you today, Casi’s test of the smartphone for two days straight testing out all the features. Although two days time is short, Casi found out a lot about the S3 and this are his first impressions and his judgement of the newest Galaxy from Samsung.. Casi used the
For those of you who understand a little German, or just want to see how the S3 looks in action, here is Casi’s hands-on video:
Look & Feel
Let’s start with the superficial: what impression the S3 makes in terms of look and feel. Samsung presents us with a huge plastic smartphone, which on the front seems to consist almost exclusively of display. The large display is protected by Gorilla glass 2. Compared to the Galaxy S2, it is of course, at 4.8 inches, much larger. The HD Super AMOLED display looks great in this size. The size is not overwhelming at all and it feels comfortable to hold. As for the back of the S3, we have to give the critics credit- there is not much great bout it, although it is extremely stable polycarbonate. The back is fairly easy to remove from the phone, which can sometimes be a bad thing, but the microSD card slot and the slot for the SIM card are back there, so its necessary to have access. But you have to take care not to remove the battery when you’re trying to get to the slots.
In terms of form, the S3 is more like a sequel to thethan that of the Galaxy S2. Its shape is rounded and smooth. Casi liked both design and the materials. He thinks the S3 will successfully compete with HTC on that front. It is a real lightweight despite its size at only 4.7 ounces.
Always at the center of the conversation is the screen. With the S3, you can expect the 4.8 inch super large HD AMOLED display to have good contrast, bright colors and very appealing right angles. Some critics have complained that the display ”only” dissolves 1280 x 720 pixels or comes up with a Pentile matrix. The latter is absolutely no problem for Casi, probably because it already takes macro shots for the human eye to make out the lack of sub-pixels. Samsung has definitely done very good work here.
At this point, I need hardly tell you what hardware is installed, because anyone who’s interested in the S3 already knows. We are dealing here with the tetranuclear Exynos 4412 by Samsung, which is clocked at 1.4GHz and supported by the Mali GPU and 1GB of RAM. In practice, this is absolutely perfect, neither video playback in HD, surfing or whatever you are using gives you the feeling that you’re driving the four cores to their limits. The benchmark values are below:
Egypt offscreen – 11226 frames / 99fps
Pro offscreen – 6138 frames / 123fps
NenaMark: 58.8 fps
I personally don’t think these naked, dreary numbers can really paint a clear picture of the performance, but at least they are an indicator of how the S3 stands in comparison to other smartphones. As expected, the performance in most of the tests, comes out at the top when compared to other models and if the S3 isn’t on top, it’s at least within striking distance of leader.
(This video is not in German )
The new camera may be the real story here. Casi was completely satisfied by the capabilities of the 8 MP camera on the S3. Not only is the quality of the photos and videos perfectly adequate for the average person’s purposes (apart from slightly weaker results in darker rooms, but that is also common for most phone cameras), but the camera also responds quickly and focuses really fast.
As far as new features are concerned, in comparison to its predecessor, in HDR mode, the added panorama function and the continuous shooting feature are pretty cool. Within a few seconds, you can shoot up to 20 images. The face recognition feature was been touted as basically good, but unfortunately in practice, it is not always very reliable. If it works, you can directly select a person in the picture and the next time you can call the person by touching the contact details, or start a call directly. All in all, these are all very logical, systematic and successful advancements in comparison to the very good camera in Galaxy S2!
Below is Casi’s test video with the S3 camera. It’s in German, but well, you’ll get the idea anyway. And you get to see a beautiful park.
In the S3, we have a more powerful battery than in the previous model. The 2100 mAh are sorely needed if one wants to keep the four cores and a 4.8-inch display running for a while. When used very intensely- with HD video or other battery draining programs – you can expect that the unit to last about 7 hours. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s better than the S2 in hardcore use. If it is, however, used in just “normal” settings, the S3 can last the full day. Charged in the morning, Casi still found that the battery had enough juice in the evening, before it was back to charge again.
Here Samsung wanted to score some major points and most certainly did so for Casi. Sure, Android 4.0 is onboard – here in the latest version 4.0.4 – but the main attraction was naturally the TouchWiz interface.
Samsung has managed to preserve more of the original Android Experience and complete it with ingenious new features. Much can be controlled by gestures, such as the music player. You just flip the device, and up comes your music. When you get a text message or email, you hold the phone to your ear, and the corresponding contact is actually called. The feature worked swimmingly in Casi’s test. You can use it the same way on the profile page of the contact you want to reach.
As usual, you can pull the notifications from the top down with your finger and pop up the menu where you can directly access key functions like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or sleep mode.
If you have off-line videos stored on your smartphone, you can use another great feature: a picture-in-Picture function! In the video player is a button at the bottom right corner that will shrink the video size and then your can use your phone as usual, while constantly in a corner, the video is active. And with a tap of your finger, you are back in full screen mode.
Also we should mention the software under “hubs” that is video, will help play, or musical content. With the Galaxy S2, this was completely ignored until now and that will not behave much differently here. Only the music is an exciting hub for us. It can provide you with music streamed at a price of $10 per month and also allows you to dig up to 100 GB of original music in the cloud – similar to Spotify. Once the feature is fully operational here, we will surely update you on how it works.
Also, the Siri counterpart – here called S-voice- Casi took a long look at. It works reasonably well for a first try, but for the most part it’s quicker to do whatever you’re trying to do through the menu. For Casi it is not a very successful app and also not a very important feature. S-voice is unquestionably in need of improvement.
All Casi can say about this device is: GO BUY IT DAMMIT! (direct translation ). He’s used his Galaxy S2 for a year and he has had the Note, the Nexus and the current competitors from HTC in his hands at one point or another, so this recommendation is founded in some serious user knowledge. Is it worth switching from S2 to S3? According to Casi: Definitely yes! This is certainly not a smart phone, as Samsung sees it, but the changes made to the S2 make sense at every turn. A bigger, better screen, longer battery life, better features and of course a fresh operating system with a far better TouchWiz interface- all these additions and improvements more than justify the purchase.
Of course the design is a matter of taste and the cost might make you hem and haw for a while, but you will get a lot for your money. Samsung has reached a happy medium with the S3- the necessary improvements in the hardware and the innovative software ideas are here. For Casi, the powerful5 will have to do a lot in order to top Samsung’s triumph. So if you’ve got the money and the desire, go on out and order your S3.