GADGET WATCH: Samsung Galaxy SIII

Samsung has been coy about the Galaxy SIII for several months now, but last month unveiled the new device at a press conference in what was probably one of the worst kept secrets in the tech industry.

But the rumours were right – it’s an impressive device. Could it be enough to beat the iPhone and end Apple’s dominance? Reviewers have only had a quick glance at the new gadget, but early thoughts determined after some quick time with the SIII suggest it may very well be up for the fight.

Hardware and Features

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is powered by a 1.4Ghz quad-core ARM processor with 1GB of RAM, and 16, 32 or 64GB of internal flash memory. Another 64GB can be added through microSDXC.

The device itself features a 4.8-inch AMOLED screen with 1280×720 resolution. The front camera is 1.9 megapixels, while the back camera is eight megapixels.

The device is NFC capable, with Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC. Running the Ice Cream Sandwich software, the Galaxy SIII is also NFC capable.

What’s the consensus?

The design of the device has been praised, even though the Galaxy SIII uses an unusually large screen, with TechRadar saying the design of the gadget is good to handle. However, it also said the plastic finish does feel a little cheap, and that it won’t appeal to everybody.

The publication did, however, say the screen was “beautiful”, and that reviewers “feel sad that this isn’t the first HD screen we’ve seen on a mobile phone”.

“It seems Samsung has tweaked the colour balance on the Galaxy SIII as well – things don’t look as saturated as before, which will certainly help entice those that previously were against Super AMOLED before due to the harshness of colours.”

Software-wise, Engadget said there were some welcome additions as soon as you turn the gadget on, including four lock screen shortcuts, all of them customisable, along with the introduction of new “human gestures”. These allow you to go straight to some features, such as the camera, by using certain gestures, such as pressing the screen and turning to landscape mode.

A few minor things like button placements have been changed, but overall, it remains the same.

Engadget noted the S Voice software, it did mention having trouble getting Samsung to recognise voice commands – and said it’s “anything but” an interpretation of Apple’s Siri software.

However, it did say the ability to use files through NFC and WiFi is handy. “Sending video files between handsets only takes tapping them together, and the ensuing transfer is fast – we shot a 1080p sample video from one phone to the other in a matter of seconds,” it said.

“We’re intrigued, and are looking forward to testing how well these software additions fare when we can put them through their real-world paces in our forthcoming review.”

Over at PCWorld, the publication praised the speed of the device, saying it felt quick while using apps and browsing through the web.

It also pointed out the gadget actually follows your eyes through the front camera, tracking your movements, and locking the screen when you move away – saying it worked “pretty well”.

Unfortunately, given the publications haven’t had enough time with the device just yet, battery life reviews will have to wait until the full release.

Who’s it for?

It’s hard to tell at this point how exactly the SIII will perform, given reviewers haven’t had enough time with the gadget to judge how it’ll work under normal conditions. But all the hands-on previews seem to suggest this is a real winner for both consumer and enterprise customers.

Time will tell, however, as the full reviews start coming in. Publications haven’t been given enough time with the phone itself to make a full decision. But, as it stands, the SIII is shaping up to be one of the biggest smartphone releases of the year.

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