My first look at the Samsung Galaxy S III

By | Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:18 am

This is my dream phone. (The HTC Desire was my Nightmare!) For starters, the 32GB of memory is fully open to your apps, data, files, music, photos, whatever you throw at it. (The HTC Desire, after all of your updates from a fresh wipe of the phone, had about 80MB available. That’s about 1 or 2 apps you can install, since you’re “supposed” to leave 30MB free so the phone will run properly). With Andoid 4, like I have on my tablet, there’s no arbitrary 1GB or 2GB app memory limit, it’s wide open for whatever you want, giving you all of the memory in the phone, whichever way you need to use it. Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is very smooth and functional, and it means I can install the Apex Launcher and get all of the benefits I only previously had on my Motorola Xoom tablet on my phone now! With the same OS and launcher on both of my devices, it also makes things so much easier to deal with all the way around. If you end up getting an SIII yourself, save yourself a lot of frustration and re-learning, and install Apex Launcher as one of the first things you do. It’s really worth it! If you wait until later, you’ll end up having to re-learn how to use with the menus and functions, which are much different (and very enhanced and expanded) in Apex Launcher, and you’ll also have to completely setup all of your home screens from scratch, of which, by the way, you can have nine, and I always increase it to the maximum, just to I have an extra home screen or two to play around with, or view the wallpaper cleanly at any given time.

The camera has some nice improvements over my Electrify–it has a great HDR photo mode that takes awesome shots, has a 20-frame burst mode (the Electrify could only do a 6-frame burst), and a very cool addition to burst called “Best Shot” where it will take a burst of photos, analyze them, and suggest the best one for saving. You can even look through them yourself and choose one, but, as expected, the phone probably chooses the best one correctly every time…unless you WANT some blur in your phone. There are many more new camera features as well, but I leave it at that for now.

Siri is even included on this phone! Well, actually her name is “Galaxy” on this one, but it’s virtually the same as Siri. Double-click the only button on the phone and she makes a tone and says “What would you like to do?”, and waits for you to talk to her. She reminds me a lot of “Eliza”, the old artificial intelligence program that started the whole “AI” revolution just after PCs came out and started to do speech synthesis. She’ll make smart remarks to silly questions, just like Siri. She’ll give you the weather when you ask if it’s going to rain, and answer all those questions you would normally use Google for. I asked her “What’s the population of Kenosha, Wisconsin” tonight. She said “99218 people”. It’s like you’re talking to web. And that’s about what it is. If Google or Wolfram Alpha can give you the right answer, Galaxy can…while incorporating a little “AI pizazz” to make it seem more human.

The S3 runs on a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor, which is even faster than my tablet. It has a larger screen size that previous Androids, yet it’s much thinner than all of my previous phones (a whole two of them).

Complaints? Sure, I have a few: Since it doesn’t have an NVidia Tegra graphics processor in it, I can’t play my Zen Pinball tables! I guess I’ll have to keep playing those tables on my tablet…aw shucks. I also have a problem with the location of the volume buttons in relation to the power button. They’re exactly opposite each other on the phone, and I tend to squeeze the phone when I need to power on, power off, or adjust the volume, causing the other side’s button to push as well. This results in me either turning the volume up or down when I try to power the phone on or off, or vice versa. I think I just have to get in the habit of holding the phone properly in my palm, so that my thumb is always higher than my other fingers. And, lastly, at US Cellular, the only 32GB Galaxy SIII that they sell is WHITE. It’s not my preferred color–far from it–but I put it in a nice blue case, so it looks much better to me that way. The area around the screen is white, the bezel and back are blue…now, if I can just find a way to add a RED touch to it somewhere… “U-S-A!! U-S-A!!”

So, even with those negatives out there, none of them are deal-breakers for me. I love the phone and highly recommend it. Price? I paid $199 (after a mail-in rebate of $100) on an existing US Cellular plan (no contract).

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