After a lot of rumours doing the rounds, Samsung has finally unveiled the third generation of Galaxy S smartphones. The new smartphone is called Galaxy S III and it comes with the tagline ‘Designed for humans and inspired by nature’. The pricing of the device is not yet available but it will be made available in Europe from the end of May, before rolling out to other markets globally. The mobile phone is a definite improvement from its predecessor, the Galaxy S II, but whether it is a true iPhone killer, we will soon find out.
The mobile phone has a 4.8 inch Super AMOLED high definition (HD) touchscreen (1280×720 pixel resolution) display (306 ppi) and runs on the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system (right out of the box) with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI interface. It is powered by a 1.4GHz Quad-core Exynos 4 Quad processor (with Mali 400 MP GPU), which basically means you can expect lightning-fast performance from the smartphone. The device has 1GB of RAM and in terms of internal memory; users will have a choice between a 16, 32 and 64GB models. There is also a microSD slot which allows the memory of the device to be expanded up to 64GB.
As far as the camera is concerned, the mobile phone has an 8 mega pixel (MP) autofocus rear camera (yup, no 12MP) with LED Flash and zero shutter lag that can also record full high definition (HD) videos (1080p) at 30 frames per second (fps) with video stabilization and a 1.9MP front facing camera for video calls that can also record HD videos (720p) at 30fps.
The camera also has burst shot mode with which users can take 20 continuous shots (3.3 shots per second) and a ‘best photo’ feature that can automatically select the best photo out of the various ones taken in the burst mode. It also comes with face zoom which allows users to zoom in on people’s faces with a double tap and users can also take photos while recording videos (similar to HTC One series).
On the connectivity front, the device has Bluetooth4.0, Wi-Fi (with Wi-Fi direct), Near Field Communication (NFC), 3G and 4G (depending on the region). It also comes with a micro USB port (with USB on-the-go) and a microSD card slot. The device has a 2100mAh battery and it comes with stereo FM radio with RDS, GPS (with A-GPS support) and a suite of Google apps.
The dimensions of the device are 136.6mm x 70.6mm x 8.6mm and its weight is 133 grams. Galaxy S III has a notification LED to the left side of the device and it will initially be available in marble white and pebble blue colours (Samsung will later introduce additional colour options).
The Galaxy S III also comes with a number of new features that the company claims will enhance user experience. These include-
Smart stay- The front facing camera identifies eye movement and unlike other phones that go dim after a scheduled time (if the screen is not touched within that time frame), S III maintains a bright display if a user is reading an e-book or browsing the web, etc.
S Voice- It is Samsung’s answer to Apple’s ‘Siri’, a natural language UI that listens and responds to voice. In addition to allowing information search and basic device-user communication, S Voice allows users to ‘snooze’ alarms, play songs, turn the device volume up or down, send text messages and emails or automatically launch the camera, among others.
Direct call- The device also understands motions; so if you are messaging someone but decide to call them instead, lift your phone to your ear and ‘Direct call’ will automatically dial their number. An interesting feature, but why would anyone change their mind while messaging someone; don’t people usually message when they can’t talk in the first place?
Smart alert- The mobile phone vibrates automatically when picked up after being idle to notify the user of missed calls and messages. Another redundant feature, we mean who doesn’t already check his/her mobile phone after picking it up after a long time.
S Beam- The company has expanded upon Android Beam (remember the feature in Galaxy Nexus) and according to the company, S Beam will allow S III users to share a 1GB movie file within three minutes and a 10MB music file within two seconds with other S III users by simply touching the phones (even without a Wi-Fi or cellular signal). But the fact that S Beam only works for S III phones kind of defeats the purpose.
AllShare Cast & AllShare Play- While AllShare Cast allows users to wirelessly connect their Galaxy S III mobile phones to television sets for viewing content onto a larger display, AllShare Play enables instant sharing of files between Galaxy S III and Tablets, PCs, and TVs. AllShare Play also has a ‘Group Cast’ feature that allows you to share your screen among multiple friends on the same Wi-Fi network.
Pop up play- A feature that allows you to play a video anywhere on your screen while simultaneously running other tasks, hence eliminating the need to close and restart videos when checking new emails or surfing the Web.
The mobile phone will also have Samsung’s hubs (only in select countries initially) which include Game Hub, Video Hub and Music Hub.
Galaxy S II Vs S III
The first thing you notice is the difference in screen quality and size. While S II has a 4.3inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen display (480 x 800 pixel resolution) with 217ppi, S III has a 4.8 inch Super AMOLED HD touchscreen (1280×720 pixel resolution) with 306ppi. The processor in S III is a 1.4GHz Quad-core in comparison to S II’s 1.2GHz dual-core and while S II can be upgraded to Android ICS OS, S III runs it out of the box. A 64GB (internal memory) model is also being introduced in S III while S II is only limited to 32GB. The rear camera is still 8MP but a lot of features have been added to it, while the front facing camera has been upgraded in S III and it can also record HD videos now.
The battery has also received a bump and is now up from a 1650mAh to a 2100mAh (makes sense because of the increase in screen size) and S III also comes with 4G. The design difference is obvious and S III is bigger (by 11.3mm), slightly thicker (by 0.1mm) and heavier (by 17 grams) than its predecessor. But unlike S II, it doesn’t come with an odd bump at the back (where the camera is); hence it looks better in that sense.
Galaxy S III is definitely a better mobile phone than S II but that was a no brainer considering it is the next in line.
But Is It An iPhone 4S Killer
Even though S III is a much bigger device than the iPhone 4S, the fact that the company has still managed to keep it thinner (by 0.7mm) and lighter (by 7 grams) than the iPhone 4S is commendable. In comparison to S III’s display, the iPhone 4S has a 3.5 inch touchscreen display (640 x 960 pixel resolution) with 326ppi. So while S III wins out on resolutions, iPhone still has a better pixel density.
Additionally, S III has double the RAM (1GB in comparison to iPhone 4S’s 512MB), a much more powerful processor (the iPhone 4S only has a 1 GHz dual-core processor) and comes with NFC and 4G. It also has a better front facing camera, a bigger battery and comes with a FM radio (absent in iPhone 4S). So is it a better phone, most probably yes, but is it an iPhone killer, we don’t think so.
The prime reason for this is that it looks a plastic toy. Samsung claims to have made a human-centric design for the S III which is supposedly very comfortable to hold and use, but we still feel it doesn’t stand anywhere in comparison to the stylish iPhone 4S (so you can cross out all the style conscious people from the customer list). Then the difference in screen size means that it will actually cater to a much different audience altogether. A 4.8 inch screen difference means that it will almost be impossible to operate the phone with just one hand and while it will be good for watching videos, browsing the Internet and reading e-books, it will be a pain carrying it around and it could also look funny while using it for calls (remember how weird the Galaxy Note looks).
Finally, the fact that it is a much newer device than the iPhone 4S means that the scales are already tipped in its favour in terms of specifications. We feel that the actual competition between Samsung and Apple will take place later this year when Apple launches the iPhone 5.